In the book, he described an article he read about a fellow who brought his custom dress shirt business onto Facebook, where the fellow thought he'd make a killing selling gorgeous dress shirts. In fact, the only way you could buy the guy's shirts was through his Facebook page. You could pick your fabrics, collars, cuffs and the rest.
But the fellow forgot one step.
"He never really paid any attention to the demographics on Facebook," Pombriant says. "He figured that there were so many people there that he'd find some to sell to. He didn't really know that the audience was mostly women. And they didn't buy his shirts. In the article, he was complaining that Facebook was a poor medium for sales."
The lesson in this tale, says Pombriant, is that listening to your customers is key, not just talking at them. "When you think outbound messaging only, you are thinking like the shirt maker."
To get a better handle on what your company can be doing to improve your Social CRM strategy, there are lots of IT tools and vendors in the marketplace who can help your company listen better.
Sentiment analysis vendors include SAS and Radian6, which was recently acquired by Salesforce.com, according to Pombriant. Analytics vendors include Marketo, Cloud9 Analytics and major vendors such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft.
A good place to start is with the basics, he says.
"If you're an executive, you can investigate various vendors or do some of these experiments," Pombriant says. "Take your company name and Google it [as noted above] and ask yourself, 'what's it costing me to do nothing about it?'"
You can even take a look at your product sales figures and correlate them to the customer sentiments you find online. "I suspect you will find out that there's a direct connection between your products and the sentiments people are leaving," he says. "Happy customers buy more products."
And don't forget to also take a look at competitors, too, and benchmark yourself against them to find out how your company is doing in comparison in the world of online comments from customers.
"That can help you discover some metrics," Pombriant says. "If the CEO discovers that his competitor's customers are happier than his, he can declare war" and drive new improved metrics based on social media research. "It can be the root for a new charm offensive."
And there's still more to come in this evolution, he says. "What we're looking at is a transition state, not a final solution," Pombriant says. "We are in a customer intimacy age. If we want to sell more we need to be listening."