A Survey on the adoption of Social CRM

We recently conducted a small survey on the adoption and priorities of Social CRM in corporations. The results, of course, cannot be treated as absolute, as the sample size is too small. However, they correlate to research done by Jeremiah Owyang and the Altimeter Group. This especially relates to the modest available budgets and somewhat to the way ahead. The Altimeter group research can be found here.

Btw: Jeremiah’s blog is a worthwhile reading for anyone who deals with social CRM.

Back to my main topic, our survey results.

The top findings are that

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  • only 12 per cent of our answers indicate that companies are not using social media at all, and are not planning to do so. There is a quarter of the answers saying that social media usage is part of normal business processes.
  • more than fifty per cent of the respondents say that they are using social media for marketing, but not via formal campaigns
  • about 90 per cent of the respondents claim that they are working with a budget for social media that exceeds 10,000 dollar
  • a vast majority of 80 per cent of the respondents think that the importance of social media will increase for their company in the next year.
  • Companies are using a plethora of unintegrated tools to manage their social media efforts
  • a staggering 40 per cent of the respondents see it as unlikely that they connect their CRM system with their social media efforts.


Now the last one puzzles me, especially following the statement that the usage of social media is important, especially in the marketing. This indicates a slight disconnect, as marketing is core functionality of noteworthy CRM systems – and social media are “just” another channel. Of course it is a bidirectional channel, in contrast to the traditional ones. Still this ambivalence may raise the question whether social CRM is as mainstream as most protagonists think.

But where does all this lead us to?

To me it appears that companies are well aware of the – still increasing – importance of social media. There also seems to be an increasing notion that working with social media involves listening. Third, many companies seem to still be in experimentation mode, as indicated by the low available budgets. Social media efforts still often seem to be driven by the passion of small groups of employees.

The vendor side apparently still needs to evolve in their maturity, too. There are literally hundreds of point solutions available. Apparently the CRM vendors, be them big (and traditional) like SAP, Oracle,, Microsoft, or smaller like Sage, SugarCRM, RightNow, NetSuite, … to just count some important ones, have not yet been able to provide compelling (or just good enough) integrated functionality.

A similar picture appears when looking at the vendors that come from the social side, the likes of Lithium, Jive, CrowdFactory, GetSatisfaction, to name but a few. There is no immediately visible deep integration into one or more of the important CRM systems.

So, as a conclusion and matching the time of the year: These are my three forecasts about what happens in 2011

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  • the adoption of social media will increase
  • we will see vendors coming out with more integrated products, that are structured around business processes, not departments
  • we will see a consolidation and a good number of mergers as the market right now is too fragmented


This year will certainly be interesting in terms of CRM, especially when looking into the maturing social CRM. How do you see 2011?

This blog is a revised version of the one originally posted on as Social CRM – a forecast for 2011 and has been posted here with the author’s permission.