In August, Allen Bonde, industry blogger and managing director of consultancy Evoke CRM, decided to put today's "social CRM" vendors to the test, by ranking companies on just how social they are. The impetus for the study was a Forrester Research stat indicating that 91 percent of B2B technology buyer decision makers now use social media to gather information.
"The evidence keeps coming in," Bonde says, "about the role social media can play in terms of the B2B buying decision." Evoke CRM's study of the CRM and social business software vendors a few months back further demonstrated the push toward social, with the majority of the players "walking the walk" on outlets such as Twitter and corporate blogs.
Bonde opened up Part Two of his research to show that business intelligence and analytics vendors are also increasingly social in their marketing strategies. "Everyone is on Twitter and that's a good proof point for how they are starting to take this seriously," he says. "B2B is catching up quickly." In some aspects, this BI and analytics segment appears to be even more social than CRM and social software vendors. Not only do BI and analytics vendors blog more often than their CRM counterparts, but they host many more comments per blog post than the others. Out of the 15 companies included in the BI and analytics vendor analysis, the companies average 763 tweets and nearly 20 blog posts during a three-month period. (CRM and social vendors averaged only 14 blogposts in the same time span.) BI and analytics vendors also averaged 18 comments per three months, versus five by the CRM/SBS vendors.
Bonde explains why this might be so: "The BI and analytical tools tend to be geared more toward end users as opposed to social platforms which is more of an enterprise sale. There's maybe more of a personal relationship in the sales cycle and in account relationships than if I'm selling to the CIO or a business-manager type of role in terms of CRM." He adds that often CRM is sold through systems integrators or channel partners; whereas, business intelligence can be more of a one-to-one sale.
Another key difference between Evoke's Part 1 and Part 2 is the placement spread. CRM and SBS have a larger spread between the top and bottom performers--with 9 categorized as "early movers and mavens" and 6 categorized as "late arrivals." On the BI and analytics side, only vendor (Arcplan) fell in the laggards category. "As a group the BI vendors have their act together and they are mostly bunched toward the top," Bonde says. He notes that in the CRM space, the KM subcategory has most of the "late arrivals".
Evoke categorizes the vendors into three areas--early movers and mavens, social climbers, and late arrivals. Here are the final standings based on Evoke's evaluation of number of Tweets, blog posts, blog comments, and engagement on Twitter.
Early Movers & Mavens
- Business Objects
Bonde says that there were several vendors — such as Information Builders and Autonomy — for which he was unable to find a corporate blog or Twitter handle. Those vendors were excluded from the evaluation.
Bonde says that he plans to continue adding vendors and evaluating new subsets and related software segments. He also says he's considering an expansion of the criteria to include LinkedIn activity, as well as efforts via Facebook and MeetUp to extend social media to in-person network events. "The social channels are sort of reinvigorating the in-person meet-ups. There continues to be a surprising number of in-person events. In a way, the channels are creating conversations that shift into in-person interactions."
News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.
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