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Benioff Flees Facebook in Search of Peace
October 2, 2015
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has quit Facebook and shut down his account, sparking speculation as to his motives. Is Salesforce at odds with Facebook? Is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg no longer Benioff's BFF? Is Salesforce planning something with Twitter? "I'm on a FB pause," Benioff posted on Robert Scoble's Twitter account, in response to his query. "It was too overwhelming to keep up to date."
Customer Support in the Digital Age: Collaborative, Personal
September 8, 2015
Apple made a bold move on the customer support front this summer: The company started publishing customer support videos for its Beats by Dre headphones via the product line's Twitter account. The strategy is notable primarily because Apple published how-to videos natively on Twitter, taking a proactive approach to deflect service calls and ensure user satisfaction.
Spredfast Gets Something to Shout About
August 25, 2015
Spredfast last week announced its acquisition of Shoutlet, a social data aggregator. Shoutlet has been a "huge innovator" in the social CRM space, said Spredfast CEO Rod Favaron. "With this acquisition, Spredfast gains that technology as well as the team that built it. It's a game changer. ... Customers will have more ways to understand their audiences and impact the customer journey."
Dearth of a Salesman: Does Technology Erode Sales Talent?
August 18, 2015
For many years, provocateurs have been able to stir people up by proclaiming the death of the salesperson. Ten years ago, in fact, Marc Miller authored the book Selling is Dead. It must be a lingering death, because I still know lots of salespeople. I sure hope they have their affairs in order, what with their impending demise foreshadowed for so long.
Salesforce Extends Marketing Cloud to Instagram
August 7, 2015
Salesforce has extended its, Active Audiences and Social Studio marketing tools to Instagram. These tools let marketers buy and manage advertising, publish content, participate in and review discussions with customers, resolve customer service issues, and analyze conversations. Marketers already are using these tools on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.
There's a Science to Engaging With Empowered Consumers
April 13, 2015
We all know customers have changed. They can voice their dissatisfaction with you, complete most of the buyer's journey without you, and even seek out support and service without you. If you're a business, you have two questions to ask yourself: 1) Do you really want to become unnecessary to your customers? and 2) What are you going to do about it?
Surviving 4 Inescapably Unfair Aspects of CX Delivery
December 19, 2014
Ever built a house of cards? It's critical to start with a sound foundation to support your later efforts. No matter how sturdy your start is, however, a wrong move anywhere along the way can bring down the house and cause all your work to be for naught. Delivering good customer experiences is like that: You can do extraordinary work in planning the basics and even get customers to buy from you.
Online Reviews: Separating the Wheat From the Chaff
December 9, 2014
The majority of Americans rely on online reviews, with some 78 percent checking them out before making a purchase, according to a recent survey. Forty-four percent of those polled said they had written reviews themselves. At the same time, many customers doubt the ratings reviewers give products. Perhaps that's because a number of people admitted to reviewing products they never used. Debuts Faster, Smarter Social and Mobile Tools
October 7, 2014 on Tuesday unveiled two new products: Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1. The company has a long history of product offerings in these areas, but these new iterations have been designed to address the radical changes in the sales and service space -- namely, the emergence of social and mobile. They also are primed for action when the Internet of Things goes mainstream.
Jive Software Tightens Its Connections
September 22, 2014
Jive Software recently unveiled upgrades to its Summer Cloud release of its two flagship products -- the Jive and JiveX communication and collaboration suites. There has been a slew of improvements to both suites, ranging from better UIs, mobile optimization and third-party integration to new community management tools. In particular, there has been a great deal of energy around JiveX. Engulfs Communities in Community Cloud
August 27, 2014 on Wednesday announced the debut of the Salesforce1 Community Cloud. The product is launching as a new division for, on par with its Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud offerings, said Lisa Hammitt, VP of business operations. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform, Community Cloud connects to Salesforce CRM and related business processes.
There May Be More to Salesforce's RelateIQ Buy Than Meets the Eye
July 14, 2014 will shell out $350 million in common stock for RelateIQ in a deal expected to close by October. It will provide another $40 million dollars in stock for its cash balance. RelateIQ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Salesforce, according to an SEC filing. "This gives Salesforce more of a footprint in process orientation," said Denis Pombriant, principal of Beagle Research.
Microsoft Dynamics Steps Out of Shadows
June 3, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced global availability of the latest feature set in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which was introduced earlier this year. It offers new marketing functionality, enhanced customer service features, a Unified Service Desk for call centers, and additional social listening features. The marketing functionality in this version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been rebuilt.
Going Off-Script to Delight Customers
May 16, 2014
I had an exciting moment while grocery shopping last week. After 10 years of going to the same market and seeing the same checkers, one of them actually pronounced my name right. I know my last name's a bit hard to pronounce, and clerks have spent the better part of the 21st century asking me how to say it. I also know that, at the market where I shop, clerks are instructed to thank customers.
FirstRain Mobile Showers Sales Reps With Data
May 13, 2014
FirstRain has released its third iteration of the mobile version of its personal business analytics app, enhancing it with social sharing functionality and building in a new contextual layer that gives users more information about the data they receive. FirstRain also debuted a version for Windows Phone with this rollout. These changes are preceding what FirstRain is doing on the desktop.
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.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 4, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
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.
Nimble Spreads Its Social Wings
November 11, 2013
Before speaking with a reporter recently about the latest upgrade to his company's CRM platform, Nimble CMO Eric Quanstrom ate his own cooking, so to speak: that is, he used Nimble to learn as much about her as possible. A few keystrokes later, he knew where she went to school, her hometown, other business affiliations and that she was an avid tweeter.
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.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sharpens Social Skills
October 21, 2013
Microsoft on Monday announced the availability of its latest version of Dynamics CRM along with a new partnership with InsideView that adds social intelligence capabilities to the CRM system. Available for purchase starting Oct. 31, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 offers a number of new features and capabilities, including new templates for certain workflows and work processes.
Earshot Helps Marketers Tap the Home-Field Advantage
September 28, 2013
Imagine you're walking down a city street heading for a vegan restaurant that you've heard good things about. You get to the address only to discover it has gone out of business. Hungry and disappointed, you pull out your smartphone and wail to the Twitterverse, "Veggie Delight is closed! I'm starving and there is nowhere to get a vegan meal!"

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Do you want to live in an Internet-connected home?
Yes -- I have some smart things, and I want more.
Yes -- I'm looking forward to all the conveniences.
Not sure -- I have security and privacy concerns.
No -- the technology isn't good enough yet.
No -- it's a ridiculous waste of money.