A CRM, or Customer Relationship Manager, has been an invaluable tool for sales and support teams for decades, helping them interact better with customers or prospective customers by providing them with the information they need to do their job more effectively.
A Community CRM, or Community Relationship Manager, brings the same benefits to those of us working with communities. They offer a different approach than a sales CRM, and are focused solely on boosting the effectiveness of community managers as well as the health and happiness of your community.
First and foremost, a Community CRM is about bringing order to your chaos. Most communities are active on multiple platforms, where your members have separate accounts, interact with different people, and often engage on different topics. And while each platform might provide you with information about who is doing what on that platform, they can’t give you the whole picture.
A Community CRM allows you to collect all of that information, from whatever platforms your community uses, and put it together in one place where you can easily find it. It allows you to build a profile for each member of your community that includes their accounts across all of your platforms to represent their true level of engagement in your community.
Your Community CRM is also where you can record your own knowledge about a person, such as: additional contact information, notes about what you talked about, tasks for the things you need to do for them or swag that you’ve sent them. By adding these to a Community CRM you don’t have to try and remember them months or years later when you find yourself asking “Who was I talking to a while back that was doing something interesting around this topic?”
Perhaps the most powerful feature of a Community CRM is that you can share all of this information with other people on your team. Instead of all the experience and knowledge you gained through your engagement with your community being locked up inside your own head, you make it available to anybody else who needs it as they engage with them too, and in return you benefit from all of the knowledge and experience they gain!
Going beyond just keeping yourself organized, a Community CRM can use that data to produce insights you wouldn’t otherwise get. By combining all of this information into one system, you can start to answer high level questions about your community’s size, level of activity, and the changes to both over time.
With deeper analysis a Community CRM can tell you what topics are the most popular in your community, and whether they’re trending up or down, letting you respond to changing interests in real time. Using tags and filters allows you to look at these for a subset of your community, whose needs and interests might be different from others, allowing you to get fine grained insights that those high level metrics don’t.
And when you’re ready to launch new initiative, a Community CRM will be invaluable in helping you decide which community members will be the most crucial to your success. Whether you’re starting a VIP program, launching a new product, or targeting a new demographic, the ability to see who your most active and influential members are within that specific subset of needs will tell you who you should recruit to join it.
The biggest professional benefit to using a Community CRM is that it brings accountability to your work. For a very long time community management was an art form and it was notoriously hard to say if you were doing it well or not. Decisions were made based on gut instinct or personal experience, and outcomes were often either immeasurable or so disconnected from what you were doing that it was impossible to know whether you were having the impact you wanted to have or not.
A Community CRM lets you take a data-driven approach to community management, so you can make better decisions based on the reality of your community. Then it allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of those decisions by tying it directly back to metrics gathered from community, so you know when an initiative is working out and when it’s not. Are your office hours boosting engagement? Are your swag giveaways encouraging more contributions? A Community CRM can answer those questions. Plus it will help you recognize the people who are doing the most for the community, not just those who are the most visible, and will bring to your attention contributions being made in areas you didn’t even know about.
And finally, a Community CRM can directly demonstrate the impact your community (and by extension your work as a community manager) is having on the goals of your company or organization. Whether the goal of having a community is outreach, support, feedback or direct contributions, being able to track and measure these in a Community CRM will give you an objective way of proving the value of your work.
If you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits of having a Community CRM, signup for Savannah now and in just minutes it will start building your community member directory, profiles and activity information for you.
If you’re still not sure, try a demo of Savannah CRM to get a feel for what it can offer you.