When it comes to winning over the “social customers”--arguably a redundant term as customers are social though technology e.g. sites like Facebook and Twitter et al has enhanced their ability to influence others and be influenced--the sooner they can be won the better.
A new study by SugarCRM, the 2010 Social CRM Survey reveals that less than one-third of firms have incorporated social network outreach into their CRM systems. Yet companies which are reaching out to social customers have obtained a competitive advantage in the market. And success breeds success, with many firms planning to follow the lead of others.
The survey also predicts that 2011 will bring much change to the CRM market; virtually all of the respondents agreed that over the course of the year they planned to integrate their customers’ social networking information into their existing CRM data. While nearly half stated that having social CRM capabilities would impact their decision making when purchasing their company’s next CRM system, “it’s clear that social CRM will become a staple in the market by 2012” says SugarCRM.
Here is a summary of the results:
* Only 26 percent said they currently integrate their customers’ social networking information with their existing CRM data
* Yet 50 percent said yes, social networks have helped their business become more successful in the last 12 months
* 72 percent said they plan to integrate their customers’ social networking information into their existing CRM data within the next year
While social media/the social channel is often regarded as a B2C medium, 42 percent of respondents cited LinkedIn, a popular B2B site, is where they most often interact with or research customers and prospects. Meanwhile 32 percent listed Facebook and 14 percent listed Twitter.
SugarCRM has done its part in developing and making available technology that makes accessing and utilizing social media easier and useful. Last fall it expanded Sugar 6’s social CRM capabilities with a new Twitter Connector that enables users to quickly monitor the Twitter stream of any contact or company from within their Sugar installation. A new integration with Qontext enables users to collaborate with associates, partners and customers in any SugarCRM via a single platform, thus eliminating "social silos."
Some companies have chosen to lead the charge on social CRM, and upgrade their CRM software before it becomes an industry norm. Insource Performance Solutions, a SugarCRM customer, is one of those companies.
“The integration between InsideView and SugarCRM allows us to leverage social media and other real time data sources to our advantage, all in a simple-to-consume, automated format,” said Chip Meyers, sales operations manager for Insource. “The merging of social and CRM system data gives us a competitive edge.”
To learn more about social media and social CRM there is no better way than attending conferences, meeting and raising questions with speakers and talking with colleagues and suppliers. The SocialCRM Expo provides a great opportunity to do just that; it is co-located with the ITEXPO East conference and show Feb.2-4 in Miami, Fla. Look forward to seeing you there!