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Are We There Yet? The Long Road to the CRM Revolution
April 17, 2014
They say you must walk before you can run. It follows that you should crawl before you walk. In CRM, however, there are a lot of businesses that talk at great length about wanting to run even though they haven't mastered crawling yet. They battle with the same old problems: adoption issues; technology decisions made before business needs are identified; lack of executive buy-in.
4 Ways to Waste Great Marketing Opportunities
February 28, 2014
CRM has always purported to be about relationships, but it's often used primarily for sales. That's kind of a good news, bad news situation. The bad news first: CRM got a bad rap when it didn't become a sales panacea (mostly for adoption issues). The good news: It exposed a void in the mix that marketing automation rushed to fill. The key to successful relationships is communication.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
The 3 Ages of CRM
February 05, 2014
I have written often about the connection between CRM and economics, almost as if one explains the other. While I still believe it in part, my thinking has evolved and become more nuanced over the last 15 years to the point that today I want to discuss my evolution. Social science is for me the obvious metaphor for CRM, but which social science? The first era of CRM can be explained by economics.
Marketing Automation Report Card
January 29, 2014
After two years of fairly hectic activity in the marketing automation space, it might be useful to ask where all the commotion has gotten us. Once a captive of finance, which was concerned with reeling in marketing's costs and rationalizing expenses with known -- or at least knowable -- benefits, marketing automation emerged in the last couple of years as a powerful tool.
Foreign Firms Flee US Cloud Services
January 13, 2014
Further proof that the NSA surveillance scandal is impacting the United States IT industry came on Friday with the publication of a study conducted for Canadian Web hosting and cloud services provider Peer1 Hosting. Fully 64 percent of the 300 UK- and Canada-based respondents to the survey hoped to move data from U.S.-based cloud service providers to their own countries within the next five years.
Your Employees Are Rock Stars
October 30, 2013
I go to a lot of conferences. Usually they're a combination of customer user group meetings and analyst days, and we all hear more or less detail about product futures, new functions and features, and policy rollouts. If you know how to look at these events, you can see a certain scene repeated: A customer meets an employee face to face for the first time and gushes like a kid meeting a rock star.
5 Traps to Avoid in Social CRM for Retail
October 17, 2013
It is difficult to overstate the importance of social CRM to retailers given the almost tailor-made suitability of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest et al. for reaching out and engaging with customers. What's less clear, however, is exactly how retailers should use social CRM to talk with those customers. Is it fair for customers to expect to conduct all of their business over social media?
Analog Marketing Strategies for a Digital World
September 04, 2013
Do you remember walking by telephone poles at downtown intersections 10 or 20 years ago and seeing them covered in fliers, placards and notices? If it was a really popular intersection, there were probably several layers of paper pinned, tacked, taped and stapled on top of each other. If the telephone pole was wooden, you could see generations of old staples and tacks still biting deep into the wood.
Zozi: It's All About the Experience
August 08, 2013
Zozi, which connects customers to activity-related adventures or trips -- say sailing lessons or rock-climbing tours -- rolled out a CRM system earlier this year that is an offshoot of an acquisition the startup made at the end of 2012. The name of the CRM system is "Zozi Advance," and it is a build-out from a system the company acquired when it purchased TripFlavor.
Mobile Privacy Laws Are on the Horizon
June 25, 2013
This past May mobile app developers dodged a bullet when a California state court sided with Delta Airlines in a dispute over its mobile app. California's attorney general had sued Delta, alleging that the company violated the state's mobile privacy law, which requires a company to clearly state that users' personal information is being collected.
Intercom Connections Aid $6M Funding Round
June 21, 2013
Intercom, which offers businesses a tool to create personalized communications with customers, has secured some $6 million in a Series A round of funding. The Social+Capital Partnership, founded by former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya, handled the fundraising. Some prominent tech players have attached their names to Intercom, including Twitter founder Biz Stone and Facebook exec Paul Adams.
5 Places Customer Relationships Go to Die
June 14, 2013
Building a customer relationship -- the kind that lasts a long time -- is a not an easy thing. There are lots of occasions where things can go awry, touch points where signals can get crossed and communications that can unwittingly turn a customer off. In a lot of cases, the conclusion is triggered by something the business does that brings the relationship to a premature end.
2 Steps Back: The Social Revolution
March 20, 2013
We have this idea of modern computing that is closely tied to social media, and rightly so. Social media is a kind of glue that ties us together in new and bigger configurations than our own human capabilities. However, it is also the unspoken issue in the Yahoo brouhaha about working from home -- the idea whose name shall not be spoken. How else to explain the ultra retro edict -- anachronism, really -- that all Yahoos must report to the brick-and-mortar in person rather than "telecommute."
Subscriptions, Social and CRM
March 13, 2013
"Who is the customer?" It's a great question, one that my managers liked to ask when I was a young sales representative. Like all great questions, it got to the meat of the matter with an economy of words that were impressive as much for their brevity as for thir meaning. The customer's identity is often far from obvious, and it's why professional sales and marketing people obsess over it.
Secrets for Speeding CRM Time to Value
February 21, 2013
We all know about the idea of total cost of ownership and the concept of return on investment. Both have their place in business evaluations of CRM. There's another measurement, however, that should be considered -- one I like to call "time to value." The T2V test is simple.
3 Bad Habits to Unlearn for SCRM Success
February 14, 2013
For the better part of six years, we pundits have been urging businesses to get social. Social CRM even has its own Gartner Magic Quadrant, and while the entries in that document are all over the map in terms of what they do, vendors serving aspects of SCRM are well established. Gartner itself said that sales of software for SCRM topped $1 billion in 2012.
Chick-fil-A: Stop Trying to Control the Conversation
August 09, 2012
When people are under stress, many respond with remarkable grace, courage and decisiveness. Then there are those who, under great stress, become paralyzed, flail about, or lash out in unproductive and unprovoked ways. The social era is showing us that while corporations are not people, they are run by people. And choosing wisely when elevating people to leadership positions is critical.
Seeing Social Meet in the Middle
August 08, 2012
I'm just back from a week in the woods, trying to get my head around social media and CRM again. That means I'm in the middle of writing up a report on some research that uberanalyst Esteban Kolsky and I did over the last few months, and smack in the middle of CRM Idol judging. Everything's fine, and I see some interesting parallels, and without giving the store away, here is one interesting cross tab.
Do You Remember All the Cool Things Your CRM App Can Do?
August 03, 2012
If you mention a certain brand of lower-priced, assemble-it-yourself furniture of Scandinavian heritage, you stand a pretty good chance of getting a response that dwells at some length on how hard it is to put it together. I've never felt that way -- in reality, I actually like putting stuff together. It's not that I'm good at it -- I've just learned to follow the directions. If only CRM were as simple.

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