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Social search and analytics essential to solving CRM shortcomings?

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22nd Jul 2010
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Social search and analytics software must be employed to plug the gaps left by traditional CRM systems so that marketers can build up a clear picture of their customers and prospects, analyst firm Ovum has warned.

At present, CRM systems in some organisations contain pertinent information about less than 25% of contacts, according to business social analytics software provider Trampoline Systems.

But this means that up to 75% of actionable information, which is "vital from a competitive and business survival aspect" was currently missing, said Richard Edwards, a principal analyst at Ovum. This situation had arisen not least because difficult economic circumstances had led many organisations to restructure their business, which meant that, in many cases, customer contact databases were no longer up to date.

"CRM platforms contain only some of the information pertaining to business contacts and customer prospects and so those tasked with business development spend an inordinate amount of time searching for information that will give them the 'big picture'," he explained.

As a result, marketers would be well advised to employ social analytics software alongside traditional enterprise search offerings in order to access the burgeoning amount of "real customer intelligence" available both online and in social forums.

Such tools should have the ability to web crawl, catalogue, index and analyse unstructured information from a multitude of different sources, including social networking sites, internal email systems, CRM applications and corporate directories, Edwards said.

The aim in using them was to determine the "connection strength" of relationships or business affiliations, which would help sales and business development executives to identify potentially useful contacts within the organisation for lead generation purposes.

But such information could also be used to understand what information staff were sharing via social networks. Because third party online discussion groups and forums are not under the control of corporate marketing managers, it was often difficult to gain insight into what was being said about the organisation, Edwards said.

"In the past, reputation management systems tended to monitor news outlets and financial databases for information pertaining to a particular company, but this is now giving way to search engine reputation management," he added.

Such systems enabled organisations to manage their brands more effectively and, together with the use of search engine optimisation technology, to target corporate messages to important constituencies.

But Edwards warned that brands needed to revisit their information management, privacy and governance policies if they wished to capitalise on the 'social web' because they had a bearing on the extent to which information on specific individuals and groups could be used.

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By Intelestream Inc
19th Oct 2010 04:14

This is exactly the informational gap that social CRM, or sCRM, is attempting to rectify. In part, CRM has married Social for its ability to organize and rationalize the vast amount of social web customer interactions and data in a way that actually makes sense for businesses. Businesses can interact with the social web without sCRM, however they will have great difficulty organizing the influx of interactions and what consumers are saying about them. As a result it will be very difficult to obtain insight and establish an integrated social strategy. The marrying of analytics with what you refer to as traditional CRM principles has made this approach viable. If you'd like to read more about sCRM there's a very useful whitepaper on the Intelestream website: http://www.intelestream.net/en/whitepapers/the-power-of-social-crm.html.

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