Integrating your CRM with WeChat in China
By Laurent Ross - November 17, 2019
It’s hard to explain just how prevalent WeChat has become in China. In China there is really only one dominant platform, where to an increasing degree, it’s hard to function without it. WeChat has an estimated 902 million daily users and now over 14 million active corporate accounts who are aiming to reduce friction with their leads and customers by being available through the most frequently used app in China.
Traditional sales and marketing in China are done through a network of ‘contacts’ held privately by the individual on WeChat. This presents a large problem for bigger companies who have a relatively high turnover and are always losing important leads when staff leave. The Western solution for this, the CRM, is still a new concept in China and it’s common to find a lot of opposition in training a Chinese team in how to use them. Luckily, as technology matures in China, there are now ways to connect CRM’s with WeChat and make the best of both worlds.
On its own, WeChat offers most of the essential front-facing tools you need to interact with your customers. These features depend on the kind of WeChat account you have:
- Personal Accounts: accounts for regular users, cannot be used for company or marketing purposes.
- Subscription Accounts: for companies or individuals wanting to promote themselves, very similar to having a company page on Facebook.
- Service Accounts: same as a subscription account but appear as friends in the chat section meaning they are more visible.
- WeChat Mini-programs: these are mini-apps within the main app. Usually used for e-commerce platforms, games or productivity tools.
- Enterprise Accounts: meant for internal management of companies. They require both the account and the follower to approve each-other.
Without any external programs, your WeChat funnel will look something like the chart below:
As you can see, while your WeChat page can attract and potentially engage with leads, moving leads into your CRM would be an entirely manual process. It’s advisable to avoid any manual process where possible (especially in China) as they will be prone to human error.
WeChat & JING
To create a better funnel and completely remove manual processes, JING was developed as a supplementary product to WeChat by JING Digital, a company based in Shanghai. JING uses API connections to interact with WeChat and measure engagements and contact information. As WeChat is still a very closed system, there are lots of restrictions as to what contact information can be exported, but JING does a good job of nurturing leads and getting more contact information (phone, email etc) which it can pass to a CRM.
Here’s what your WeChat funnel could look like with JING:
Features of JING
- O2O (offline to online) tracking through custom QR codes which can be generated within the application.
- Advanced ChatBot: engage with leads in real-time using complex logic to nurture engagement and improve conversions.
- Customer Service: allows sales to interact with leads through the company portal without needing to use personal accounts.
- Custom Workflows: show the right content to the right people at the right time.
Planning your China campaign well will be crucial to its success. Here are some best practise steps to ensuring that your campaign runs smoothly:
- Plan what automation will be done inside JING vs what automation will need to be done in your CRM.
- Use an agency who are experienced with integration and automation who can help create the first ‘gold-standard’ campaigns.
- Make sure that your Chinese teams are well trained in how to use the new platform and understand the power of nurturing leads with content.
- Test test test! Make sure that all your processes, automation and notifications are thoroughly tested.
Alternatives to JING
While JING is a great tool that provides users with flexibility and room for customization, it is important that you select your WeChat CRM integration based on your business needs.
While Knight is not an official Hubspot partner, some of its functions can be integrated with Hubspot. As a Salesforce partner, Knight CRM would be particularly useful for retail businesses.
If you are looking for a ready to use solution with an intuitive interface, Parllay is your best bet. As an official Hubspot partner, Parllay lets you import all customer data into Hubspot so that you can keep the same centralized lead management system while expanding your reach.
While Oktopost is another Hubspot partner app, its WeChat capabilities are much more limited. It is a good option if you are looking for a solution suitable for a wider variety of social media, as it can be integrated with most of the Western platforms.
Is your company right for WeChat automation and CRM integration in China? Speak with one of the marketing experts to find out.