I have a terrific colleague, Ed Thompson, who is working with me on a market guide for Social CRM software vendors. As part of the work, we have created sub-categories inside of marketing, sales (including eCommerce), and customer service. We’ll be releasing this research some time in the next four weeks, and one of the most glaring conclusions that we’ll need to examine is: this market has to consolidate.
When we examined the software providers we discovered that the breadth of functionality was as thin as a slice of Nova Lox atZabar’s(or tuna sashimi in the stalls around Tsukiji fish market!). The market (for Social CRM) is not going to be able to sustain all of these subtle angles. We are now exploring them to come up with a better hypotheses as to which companies will be the acquired and which the acquiring. We have some initial perspectives that we will discuss in our published research.
If you are looking at one of the more-than-80 software providers in the Social CRM space, and you are wary of a massively consolidating market, do you need to wait? For most businesses: No. There are important qualifying questions you need to ask, and provisions in contracts you need to append – and we help with that, but if done properly you can get the functionality and expertise you need while minimizing risk. They are mostly Cloud / SaaS-model delivery, so IT infrastruture issues will be less.
It’s likely that 45% of today’s Social CRM vendors will change ownership inside of 36 months. We’re in for some exciting times.