Traditional customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have long been helping businesses to manage their relationship with customers and prospects tracking all their interactions that happened over the phone and email – the traditional channels. These solutions make it possible for businesses to monitor leads, make notes following any kind of communication, and to, generally speaking, track that relationship and its conversions over time.

But social media brought a whole new form of communication to the mix. Suddenly, conversation was no longer just one-on-one between the business and the customer. It became a group discussion, and a whole lot difficult for businesses to monitor.

This shift in the way customers communicate also necessitated a shift in how we use our CRM solutions. While many traditional CRM options allowed for tracking things like emails, they didn’t allow for the kinds of tracking which businesses really needed to have, which now included Facebook and Twitter communications, among others.

The good news is things are now evolving and getting more social. More and more CRM providers are offering solutions with social components now, and new vendors with a strong social component and customer centric view are offerings solutions as well. Using these social CRM solutions, businesses can interact with customers across all channels – both traditional and social, and have a single unified view of the customer.

Sure, you could go through all of the trouble of setting up search parameters in something like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to monitor for mentions and then manually make notes in your CRM system. Sure that is a start, but that would only really help you out in the most limited of ways. You could scour social sites individually, but that would be unnecessarily time-consuming, and time is money.

Using a social CRM solution, you can quickly and easily monitor for mentions of your business name and keywords – or anything else you might want to track – across multiple social platforms. You can see conversations that you might not otherwise have been able to see. Not only will this alert you to unhappy customers or other problems that need to be addressed immediately, but it will also give you deep actionable customer insights.

Furthermore, the social integration with CRM allows you to track communications right from the dashboard. Being active on social sites will help you increase brand awareness, and it will also make it easy for your customers and prospects to find you. After all, that’s where they are spending more of their time. From your social CRM dashboard, you’ll be able to easily interact and engage with your community. After all the Holy Grail is to have one single view of the customer and engage seamlessly via both traditional and social channels.

If you haven’t made the switch yet from traditional CRM to social CRM solutions, now is the time. Your community is too social for you to be missing out on those important conversations.

What most intrigues you about social CRM? What convinced you to make the transition? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!