Social Media/CRM Integration Gaining Speed as Return on Investment Significant

There is a new trend emerging in social media. According to the results of a recent SugarCRM survey, companies are using social networks and tying them into their CRM software. And, while only 26 percent said that they were actually making this link, 72 percent reported that they plan on doing so over the coming year.

One very obvious finding from this survey was that companies using social networks received a significant return on investment for their efforts in 2010. In fact, 50 percent of respondents indicated that social network integration made them more successful than they were in 2009.

The overall survey results suggest that companies will continue to drive integration between social network data and CRM. To win this business, however, CRM vendors will have to compete effectively with other applications, which may be controlled by other departments. This can throw an interesting twist into the purchase decision process.

For its part, SugarCRM has been supporting social networks for some time. A recent statement in Information Week showed that the company’s users are taking advantage of embedded connectors to sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter that already allow them to perform simple social monitoring and leverage relationship capital.

By integrating into social networks, customers can facilitate lead qualification, discover better inroads to reducing the time involved in the sales cycle or simply build on current relationships. This not only helps to streamline the sales process, it also enables a company to gain more control over their brand message in the social networking arena.

This survey suggests that companies can easily benefit from social CRM without investing significant amounts of capital. The most popular social services used by participants include LinkedIn by 42 percent, and Facebook by 32 percent. Leading CRM vendors provide the necessary security features to enable companies to leverage these sites to grow opportunities.

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