September 1, 2011 ­– The worldwide social customer relationship management market will total $820 million this year, according to new research from Gartner, Inc. This figure is an increase from approximately $625 million in 2010, according to Gartner. Social CRM includes social software for marketing, customer service and sales.

Gartner research states that enterprises are deploying social CRM for a variety of reasons, including hosting and supporting a branded community, monitoring and responding to private-label social networks, facilitating the sharing of business to business or business to consumer contacts through communities and establishing community product reviews.

Other findings from Gartner show that while social software spend for marketing, customer service and sales increased by 40 percent in 2010, social CRM remained less than 5 percent of the total CRM application market. Consumer use currently accounts for more than 90 percent of spending on social CRM, but spending on B2B use is growing faster and will account for 30 percent of total social CRM spending by 2015, in Gartner’s projections.

In order to thrive in the future, analysts said that social CRM will need to provide clear benefits for sales, marketing and customer service processes. Enterprises are asking for the integration of social data with other customer data, which will require the integration of social CRM with applications such as a knowledgebase for customer service, multichannel campaign management, sales force automation or e-commerce, Web content and Web analytic applications, master data management and back-office applications.

"Until recently, many companies have treated social CRM as a series of experiments and tactical purchases,” explains Adam Sarner, research director at Gartner. “Few have a social CRM strategy or established metrics to measure its effect on hard business results.”

Gartner advises vendors to assemble a full set of social CRM functions to meet the growing requests from companies. These requests include deeper integration with traditional CRM processes and social network services like Facebook and Twitter; measuring ROI; analytics and new use cases for social CRM.

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