By Barton Goldenberg
As many are aware, the growth of Social Media is having a tremendous impact on business throughout the world. Social Media is changing the rules of the marketplace, just as the Internet did a decade ago.
A key impact of Social Media is on the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) marketplace.
The increasing interplay of Social Media with CRM has created an entirely new marketplace phenomenon, Social CRM, which is forecasted to grow to a $9 billion+ worldwide market by the end of 2018. Social CRM is the intersection between Social Media and CRM. It consists of the ability to: harvest information from Social Media communities, integrate this information into customer profiles and use the expanded profile to better personalize customer service, marketing messages and sales offers.
With Social CRM, an organization can gather information about customers from information that their customers have placed online (such as their opinions on a product/service) using Social Media tools. Afterward, filtered customer information can be placed into an organization’s Social CRM system and added to the appropriate customer profile. Subsequently, the organization can use this information to personalize their customer communications such that customers will receive only organizational communications relevant to them.
To further clarify Social CRM’s benefits – by using Social CRM tools, an organization’s staff can easily gather what I call ‘sentimental’ information, from the customers/prospects including their attitudes, likes/dislikes and sentiments on various topics/issues that impact the organization. An organization can acquire the sentiment analysis from customers/prospects and incorporate this element in a way that will be communicated to an organization’s constituencies. This functionality has never been available before. Furthermore, with Social CRM, an organization’s staff can quite easily open a two-way online conversation with their customers and prospects relating to their preferences and their emotional content concerning the organization’s products/services. Social CRM enables organizations to harvest such information and use it to make customer communications and product/service offerings that, as a result, have become more appropriate and more relevant to their target audiences.
As I sees it, Social CRM is the next logical step in CRM’s evolution. If CRM is a business approach that integrates people, process and technology to maximize relationships with all customers, provides seamless collaboration between all customer-facing functions and increasingly leverages the Internet and Social Media, then Social CRM is the next wave that will engage the ‘social customer’ in customer relationship efforts.
The impact of Social CRM is expected to be tremendous in the next few years. Gartner stated that 50% of its clients were using some type of Social Media applications within their Social CRM systems in 2014. By the end of 2015, Social Marketing processes will influence at least 80% of consumers’ discretionary spending. Social CRM is in its infancy, appearing in a fully realized form in only a limited number of businesses so far, and yet there is a great deal of clamoring already going on in major organizations to harness the tremendous potential of Social CRM functionality.
In my new book: The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, I will provide the reader with a more comprehensive understanding of the current CRM, Social CRM and Social Media marketplace. I will also provide readers with insight into how other organizations have achieved specific goals via best practices in Social CRM, and to help overcome skepticism so that any organization can exploit the real benefits of Social CRM. To find out more about my new book, please click here
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Barton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.