posted on 2/8/2011 2:59:45 PM
By 2013, social CRM technology will be a $1 billion market, according to Gartner. The research firm has some advice for companies trying to juggle that and other CRM trends, including the deluge of SaaS offerings.
The next few years will reshape the customer relationship management market, significantly altering the way manufacturers and other businesses buy and use CRM software.
That’s the forecast from the CRM analysts at research firm Gartner. They predicted in a recent report that trends such as social CRM, the SaaS delivery model, and more empowered consultants and systems integrators will be crucial factors in changing the market for customer relationship management software.
A few years ago, few business users were familiar with social CRM; within two years, Gartner predicts, social CRM technology will account for $1 billion in sales. That would be 8% of the $12 billion CRM market. The catch-all phrase “social CRM” encompasses elements of social networking technology, and is often used for initiatives such as crowd-sourcing product ideas, broadening the reach of customer service beyond traditional call centers, and building new customer relationships through the growing universe of online social networks and applications.
For companies still new to this brand of CRM, Gartner advised three steps to creating a holistic strategy:
- Determine whether any projects are already underway somewhere within the business.
- Assess the odds that competitive trends will force the company down this path.
- Learn from case studies on how other companies have used social CRM.
As for the market for SaaS CRM software, which was pioneered by Salesforce.com, Gartner expects SaaS sales to account for 33% of the total CRM market by 2015. The success of Salesforce.com has inspired other upstart SaaS-only vendors, even as it has nudged makers of traditional CRM software to embrace the trend of SaaS-based CRM. In 2010, Web-based software constituted 26% of all CRM sales.
Gartner also foresees a thriving market of best-of-breed CRM software providers by 2015, populated by independent software providers and consultants who have built industry-specific CRM offerings that run either as standalone packages or as bolt-ons to popular CRM packages.
In their report, the Gartner analysts also cautioned sales departments and other internal constituents to resist the temptation to buy, for instance, a SaaS CRM system without coordinating the purchase with IT. The downside of that kind of siloed purchase, according to the report, is that data integration issues—with ERP or EDI systems, for example—can become onerous if not addressed up front with the support of IT.