Applying The 80/20 Rule To Social CRM – Part I

Posted: March 24, 2010 in Business-Social Media, CRM, Sales 101, Social Media

This will be Part I of a three-part post. It’s also the easy part. Part II is going to be a bitch (smile). Part III will discuss execution.

You’ve heard it all before … 20% of the people do 80% of the work. 20% of my efforts will yield 80% of my results. No matter what you do and where you are, there is an 80/20 rule in play. Being in sales, my axiom is that “80% of my business will be generated by 20% of my clients” and, it’s all true!

Which brings us to Social Media. Social Media is no different in terms of the formula. Where it does differ is in the huge size of the overall variables. Due to its incredible reach via the accompanying degrees of separation, the numbers are monstrous! If your directly connected numbers are huge, what are those numbers potentially? They are …. GINORMOUS.

My direct connects are not large by any comparison when it comes to Social Media. I have about 1,500 followers on Twitter, about 200 connections on LinkedIn and a little over 125 on FaceBook. Still, that is over 1,800 connections. God only knows what I would do with more. The numbers I have are totally unmanageable as it is. I also have approximately 1,500 contacts in my email database so this potentially brings the total to more like 3,300.

Now let’s apply the 80/20 rule. Can I find 660 folks in this mix who are my go-to people? If these 20% are going to help me to produce 80% of my revenue, does it not make sense that they should be receiving the lion’s share of my attention? Yes, it does. The following concepts are nothing new…

I already have the database(s) and presumably have those sorted. The next step is classification and this also involves qualification. We can use an “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” method with “A” being our best connections and with “D” being … well with “D” being “delete”. Dump them. Don’t need them. Give them to your competitors along with your compliments (smile). You are going to need to devote some time to first deciding what qualifies a connection as an “A” vs. “B” etc. I would say that an “A” connection is someone who …..

  1. Consistently invests large dollars toward your services
  2. Has the potential to maintain or increase their investment
  3. Knows you on a first name basis
  4. Is a huge supporter of you, your business, and your services
  5. Always takes your calls
  6. Actively refers others to you
  7. Speaks to you regularly about areas that are not business related
  8. Likes to pick up the check even though he or she is buying from you (smile)

Perhaps your “B” contact, while still very important today, is somebody who more so has a huge potential to be groomed into becoming an “A” client. The “C’s”? Let’s just say that they help pay the bills. They comprise the 20% of your volume and the 80% of your contacts. The fact is, you “A” category may only contain 5% of your total contact base which, in my case would be 165. Still, these 165 may contribute 65% of my total volume or more.

Here is where this all becomes very complicated. I may be connected with multiple contacts on multiple services. For example, I am connected to “Mr. Smith” via email, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If I use multiple email accounts, he may be listed on all of those. Therefore, my 3,300 contacts is quite likely a much smaller number in actuality. For me, all of this is true. I think that maybe I should just “gut” myself and get it over (smile).

It gets even worse. My four or more databases (email, Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn) are all separate databases. Please also remember that several of these contacts will appear in more than one of these lists. Do I classify each database separately? How do I keep them updated and all in sync? If all of this sounds easy to do … please leave a comment and hopefully the answer! Hell, I might even ask you to write Part II and Part III. LOL. Part II will be posted likely this coming weekend and will include my suggested solution to help mitigate this challenge.

Thanks for visiting!


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  1. It sounds like you are facing the same thing that many heavy social users are: network fatigue. One useful solution is to adopt a social media management platforms.

    I have used a number of these with different clients and on a trial basis, and have picked out a few favorites for different types of teams and goals.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this overview of the best tools:

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