Social CRM’s Predicted Explosion Reflects Businesses’ Need for Management Tools

When businesses have a need, companies develop a solution. That’s exactly what’s happening today in the social software space. As social media becomes a primary focus for businesses in a variety of areas – marketing, customer service, research, and more – the necessity of a management tool is evident.

Recent Gartner research shows that companies are reaching out for a solution to the fortunate problem of managing vast amounts of customer interaction. Social software, specifically social CRM software, will see see an “exponential rise”. The numbers are impressive:

  • By 2013, companies will spend $1 billion on social CRM software to support sales, marketing, and customer service. (Overall spending for CRM will be $12 billion in 2012.) In 2010, just 4% of the CRM spending was spent on social CRM – by 2012 it’s predicted to jump to 8%.
  • The cloud gets bigger: In 2010, 26% of CRM software was SaaS. By 2015, a third of CRM spending will be.

The numbers reflect the deeper trend of companies adopting systems that will help them perform better when it comes to managing relationships in social media. As Gartner puts it: “CRM is entering a new era where the focus is much more on the relationship and less on its management. Driven by social media, a more open, honest and balanced approach is emerging, where organizations listen to and work with their customers to provide mutually beneficial and rewarding relationships.”

For companies looking for a solution, Gartner provides some advice:

Gartner Tip #1: Investigate internally to see if any social CRM projects are already in the works.

Great advice. If the departments in your organization aren’t already working together in social, discussing this can be a first step to developing a true social business. Top thought leaders in social media are predicting that in-house integration of social will be a major theme for 2011.

Gartner Tip #2: Calculate the likelihood your company will need a solution like this in 2011.

If you’re active in social media, and you’re serious about collecting insight from your activities, we suspect there are few companies who couldn’t benefit from social CRM. Companies might believe their social media programs aren’t robust enough yet to invest, but an early investment can mean that you grow more efficiently by having vendors in place already before that growth increases.

Gartner Tip #3:  See what’s out there. Look for other organizations’ successes in social CRM.

As we move through 2011, case studies will become more prevalent as companies are able to analyze how social CRM has really impacted their social media goals and business objectives.

Social software of all kinds – social CRM, enterprise social media management, Facebook and Twitter management, and more – is growing. Tools that companies welcome into their business operations will make social media strategies simpler to execute and more valuable in terms of the data analysis they can help them process. The upward trend will be interesting to track, but even more fascinating will be the real-world stories of companies seeing an impact from this emerging technology.