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I’ve been wanting to sit down and write a blog post with Brian Vellmure (author of the excellent CRM Strategies Blog and CEO/founder of Initium) for quite a while. He and I first met earlier this year at the Social CRM Certification Workshop in Washington D.C., back in February of this year (remember Snowmageddon?).

Few people I know understand the big “what is the what” question around the social customer. So many sales professionals, at all levels of the corporate hierarchy (from the inside sales guy in the bullpen to the EVP of sales) have a critical lack of understanding around the social customer.

Here are the five things you need to know, straight from the mouth of Brian (along with some pretty awesome free CRM downloads, if you run a small company that doesn’t have an active Sales 2.0 platform). Read ’em, think ’em over, and begin using ’em, today. Straight from the mouth of Vellmure:

  1. They don’t need you to educate them anymore.
    They are asking their peers and independent trusted voices about your company and your products and services. they need you to establish trust, understand their needs, and demonstrate competence.
  2. They don’t care about your sales process.
    They need you to create alignment between your sales process and their buying process.
  3. They are dropping breadcrumbs around the social web that you can use to help your sales efforts.Use these breadcrumbs to create a richer customer profile, establish common interests, and potentially provide them with what they don’t even know they need. Advantage will go to those that know their customers better, and use that information to help their customers within the context of their lives.
  4. They are looking for you on the social web.
    If you’re not there, they’ll find someone else. If they do find you, what will they find? You have an opportunity to differentiate by being where your competitors aren’t.
  5. Social is not a replacement for the communication channels you already know.
    Don’t be afraid – it’s a non-geographic bound, 24 hour networking channel that is simply an additional on-ramp to the conversations that are the lifeblood to your success.

This post was cross-posted to the Sales 2.0 Conference blog, too.