How a community CRM can help you scale

I’m obsessed with building communities that are USEFUL to businesses and their people.

One of the ways to deliver value when building a community is to develop profiles around the people IN the community.

Let me back up.

Good community managers are some of the best social networkers out there.

They know how to connect people with each other, and WHY they should connect.

They know details about members in the community that no-one else may knows.

If the community manager keeps all that amazing information to themselves…

Or if they left it all to just themselves to do this, the community will miss out on AMAZING opportunities in future.

It’s just not scaleable for one person to be the connector.

The information would simply waste away…

Enter a community CRM.

Now let’s say the community manager and other team members enters details about members after every interaction into a CRM.

After every discussion/ interview/ chat with a member, the community manager makes updates to the CRM.

If you create a GOOD community CRM, the updates should only take a few minutes maximum.

It sounds like a lot of effort on the community managers’ part, but let’s look at the opportunities from creating a CRM.

Why start a Community CRM?

  • Collect information on community members that helps with connecting them with each other
  • Deliver more personalised experience to community members
  • Other teams in the business can gain valuable insights on the community (vs. just “here say”, there’s real data to back up conversations CM’s are having)

I already have a sales CRM. Do I need to create a separate community CRM?

The short answer is no. You can add fields to your current sales CRM with information relevant to your community.

What information should I be collecting?

Think about the information you need to connect members with each other.

As a community manager you are already doing this naturally.

Think through this and determine what these are.

E.g. perhaps you are connecting people based on their location, expertise, background etc.

Then start collecting this information. Add it to the CRM.

Then ANYONE in the team (or even community ambassadors) can use this information to help make those connections happen.

My CRM tool of choice: Airtable

I honestly love Airtable and use it on a daily basis.

But you can use whatever suits you. Google sheets also works fine.

The most important aspect is the ability to

You can import CSV files if you have any of your current member profiles.

Then you can get to work on creating columns/fields that help you filter and sort through member data.

Community CRM example using Airtable

Here’s an example of what I create (I go really deep on this, but want to keep it simple for this example).

I’ve created a community CRM with the name of members, where they are based, their progress in a course they joined (which is something they all have in common) along with what they need.

This information has been collected during the onboarding process or during conversations with the community manager/team.

Now let’s say you want to connect members in The Americas (USA/Canada) who are looking for a job and have started the program. Perhaps even run an event for them (in their timezone). 

I filter the data to focus on the location, their status and whether they are looking for a job.

You can see we now have a list of all community members who are based in Americas, started the program AND are looking for a job.

And note that two members are also looking for career advice! Perhaps it’s a peer mentoring community, and connecting those members would be valuable.

That’s the power of the community CRM, it can help ANYONE in the team:

Build valuable connections between the members in your community.

Run events that are super tailored with high engagement (where people ACTUALLY show up!).

Create content for segments of your community that matters to them.

The list goes on.

Now imagine you give the CRM to your community ambassadors to help with the above.

THAT’s how you scale.

I don’t know what I’d do without a community CRM!

I’ve helped a number of clients build community CRM’s that work to meet their own community needs, along with helping them track their business goals.

Book a 20 minute meeting with me to chat more.

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