Social CRM

Our team will be attending the marketing event, TFM&A on the 26th and 27th February at Earls Court, London. David Beard, CRM Evangelist at Sage will be presenting ‘Social – Understanding the future of CRM’ (Social Media Theatre, 26th Feb, 12.00 -12.30). If you can’t make it along to his talk pop over to stand F24 and say hello to David, Katie and the rest of our team.

Is it still all about Social?

It’s everywhere…still! There’s no getting away from it, read any Marketing magazine or E-newsletter and Social Media is still a hot topic among Marketers. To be honest it’s not really a ‘hot topic’, Social is an integral part of modern society, up there with television and the Internet.

With a study from comScore indicating that a whopping 82 per cent of web users now have some form of social media presence, and research published by Nielsen in July 2012 revealing that the average amount of time spent on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and related sites increased by 58 per cent in just 12 months – the potential of Social for Marketers cannot be overlooked.

And if that wasn’t stats enough to convince you, research conducted by Cone Business found that personal experience (98 per cent) is the most influential factor on customer decisions, with the company’s reputation or brand (92 per cent) and third-party recommendations (88 per cent) next-most important. Social Media gives you the opportunity to deliver in each of these areas – meaning there may be a direct link between networking activity and sales.

So that’s why it’s such a favourite for Marketers

Social Media gives you a significant opportunity to interact with your target audience online, often in real-time, with a view to securing their trust and long-term custom. Social allows you to open communication channels, giving an opportunity for real dialogue, acquiring customer intelligence which can shape your customers relationship with your brand.

What is Social CRM?

Maybe another hot topic or buzzword? Despite the noise many business are yet to embrace social CRM, Awareness Inc’s State of Social Marketing report, published in Q4 2012, revealed that just 16 per cent of businesses were using a ‘social CRM system’, some 17 per cent of respondents did not know what social CRM is, and the remainder – 46 per cent – said they choose not to use networking sites for customer engagement purposes.

In its report, Awareness Inc explained that social CRM is as much about culture as technology, and simply “jumping on Facebook and installing some software won’t make you successful”. “You need internal support, a real desire to tighten the relationship between customer and brand, along with tangible and intangible resources to make it work,” the firm stated. “If the culture isn’t right, it won’t thrive.”

The future for Social CRM

You shouldn’t ignore that in today’s business world Social CRM needs to form part of your marketing strategy. Although largely about keeping communication channels open, and positioning your brand in the forefront of people’s thoughts, Social CRM also gives firms the opportunity to learn more about your target demographic – even individual customers – through direct interaction. Helping you to shape products, services and wider marketing activity accordingly.

Gartner predicted in May 2012 that the market for social CRM software licenses and subscriptions would total $1.2 billion (£0.77 billion) for the year, up from $0.85 billion (£54.9 billion) in 2011.

The report predicted that business-to-business applications for sales use will see the fastest growth, accounting for 30 per cent of social CRM spending by 2015, up from five per cent in 2011. Certainly food for thought.

Katie Slater, Sage CRM Team