Half of enterprises waste money on social CRM initiatives

Is your business getting good value from customer relationship initiatives, or are you even able to quantity it? Gartner says unlikely. Only half of all Fortune 1000 companies are expected to see a positive return on investments in social CRM through the end of the year. The findings call into question the effectiveness of using the social web to further business objectives, or whether companies even have the capability to measure success.

Of those failing to achieve positive ROI, only one-fifth can actually measure these failings. That means an overwhelming majority of enterprises are losing revenue through failed social initiatives and don't even know it, the analyst firm argues.

"Social data, such as numbers of fan pages and weekly Tweets, is not enough to correlate with the contribution of top business objectives", Gartner research director Adam Sarner argues. "ROI, measurable business value and budget justification for social projects are becoming unavoidable topics for many organizations".

Gartner says the next two years will be vital. If companies are unable to tie true business objectives to social ones, it may spell trouble for the social CRM industry. That's why the firm expects over three-quarters of new social CRM initiatives that are funded will be tied to some form of measurement that can ensure positive ROI. As this need has increased, so has the demand for CRM services and software.

The worldwide market for such services and software will total $2.1 billion this year, up from $850 million in 2011. Also behind this increase is an expansion outside of the typical marketing uses for the social web: companies are increasingly using social initiatives to better sales and customer support initiatives. B2B relations also make up an increasing portion of these revenues: Gartner says by 2015 such uses will account for 30 percent of social CRM spending by 2015.

This presents a challenge for the social CRM vendors themselves, who will be challenged to think outside the box when it comes to development. "Vendors that can assemble a full set of social CRM functions and make progress in two or more areas, such as marketing and customer service or sales and marketing, will be best-positioned for success", Sarner says.

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