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Take Marketing Off Autopilot and Get Creative
April 19, 2017
More than a quarter of marketers went into marketing because they wanted to be creative, researchers have found. So why do so many B2B marketing efforts seem exactly the same? The reason, in part, is that some things work well. In nature, convergent evolution leads different kinds of organisms to similar solutions when they work. The number of strategies that will lead to success is limited.
CPQ: Boost Selling Performance and Accuracy
April 17, 2017
They say it can take a product idea 10 years to go from concept to mass-market appeal but that might be only an optimist's viewpoint. Some of the best ideas in CRM right now have been marinating for at least that long -- and some for much longer. Two great examples are analytics and CPQ, which companies like Oracle, Salesforce and others have embraced with passion.
CloudCraze EVP Andrew Witherspoon: For Successful B2B, Set Aside Expectations
April 12, 2017
"If there's anything true about B2B service, you have to do it in the context of the customers themselves in order to be successful. That's our philosophy," said CloudCraze EVP Andrew Witherspoon. "What is the purpose of CRM and marketing? It's to reach out, find and engage prospects, and to move them through a buying cycle. All those capabilities are on a CRM platform.
SugarCRM Adds Enterprise Management to Mobile App
April 6, 2017
SugarCRM has announced the latest version of its app for iOS and Android, Sugar Mobile 5.0. It includes a redesigned user experience based on customer feedback; support for Apple's Touch ID; a new Sugar MACS service that lets users customize login, splash and loading screens to support their organization's branding, look and feel without coding; and enterprise mobile management support.
What Is Verizon Promising With Its New Oath?
April 4, 2017
Verizon on Monday confirmed reports that it will rebrand its AOL and Yahoo businesses under a new entity called "Oath." AOL CEO Tim Armstrong delivered the message via a tweet. The rebranding is part of a plan to reinvest millions into the legacy digital content companies with the aim of creating a major new platform. The "Yahoo" and "AOL" names will live on under the overarching Oath brand.
Salesforce Offers AI-Powered CRM for Financial Advisors
March 31, 2017
Salesforce this week announced Financial Services Cloud Einstein, an AI-based CRM tool for financial advisors. It gives users a holistic view of each client's household and wealth ecosystem and lets them leverage Salesforce's AI technology to seek out new business opportunities. Einstein Opportunity tracks clients' sentiments, competitor mentions, and overall engagement.
Translating Website Visits Into Quality Leads
March 30, 2017
Back in the day -- like, 1993 -- every company had to have a website because it was the thing you did! A website was something new, fresh and shiny, and it allowed the marketing team to reach more people than ever before. It was on the Internet, which automatically made your company seem cool. It was totally rad! Within about 18 moths, though, everyone had a website and the novelty wore off.
Trust: Why Financial Services Should Embrace DoL's Fiduciary Rule
March 24, 2017
When the Department of Labor issued its fiduciary rule last year, it set financial advisers, insurers and agents into a mad scramble to meet an implementation deadline. The rule elevates all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice to the level of a fiduciary, or someone bound legally and ethically to meet the standards of that status.
LinkedIn Burnishes Sales Navigator for the Enterprise
March 23, 2017
LinkedIn on Tuesday launched an enterprise edition of its Sales Navigator product, with strengthened links to CRM. LinkedIn Enterprise Edition lets users send 50 emails on LinkedIn a month; adds Single Sign-On and other management features; and introduces TeamLink Extend, a tool that pools the networks of all the Sales Navigator users in an enterprise.
Blockchain: CRM's Next Frontier
March 22, 2017
We've seen a parade of technologies coming into the front office since 2000, including browser-based cloud computing, social media, mobile technology, workflow, journey mapping, and big data and analytics. It's typical that at first there's only a tenuous relationship between the technology and CRM's original mission, but over a short time innovators adopt and commercialize the innovation.
Outreach CEO Manny Medina: Selling Success
March 21, 2017
Making sales account-based is "the ability to take an account and use a holistic approach when dealing with it," said Manny Medina, CEO of Outreach. "You use a combination of marketing and sales to get to that account. It's giving a name to something people already do, and it creates an alignment between sales and marketing. You [target] top companies that you know for a fact are open to you."
ProsperWorks Adds In-App Comms to its Google CRM Solution
March 20, 2017
ProsperWorks, which provides CRM for Google's G Suite business tools, last week announced the addition of in-app cloud communications functionality. The new features are available through a custom integration with RingCentral, which provides enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions. The integration lets users make, receive and log calls without leaving the CRM solution.
Analytics and Workflow
March 15, 2017
There's a big difference between B2C and B2B analytics that no vendors seem to be addressing, and it involves the consumption model. I recently spoke with K.V. Rao, founder and chief strategy officer of Aviso, an analytics company focused on sales, and his unabashed opinion is that "if you're trying to expose insights and make things consumable, you have to address workflow."
OpenMethods, Next Caller Join to Streamline Call Routing
March 14, 2017
OpenMethods has announced an integration with Next Caller's Advanced Caller ID database that will let contact centers on the Oracle Service Cloud use real-time contextual data for more than 500 million landline, mobile and VoIP numbers to personalize and simplify their agent and customer interactions. OpenMethods integrates IVR and telephony data into the CRM package call center agents use.
WhatsApp Field-Trials Business Chat
March 14, 2017
WhatsApp reportedly has been conducting tests of a business chat system with a number of companies that are part of the Y Combinator startup incubator. The API gives companies a direct line of communication with WhatsApp users. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum last year said the company would seek to monetize the free chat service by providing businesses with direct access to consumers.
IDG's New Pipeline Activator Aims to Get Sales Timing Right
March 13, 2017
IDG has launched Pipeline Activator, a global subscription-based service pinpointing verified projects and active sales prospects for those selling to enterprise IT. Pipeline Activator, the latest addition to IDG's ABM360 suite of account-based marketing services, provides sales and marketing teams with detailed insights on target companies actively researching products and services for purchase.
Salesforce FY18 Kickoff
March 9, 2017
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff invited a select group of press, analysts and customers to a fiscal year kickoff presentation overlooking San Francisco and environs. It was held on the 23rd floor of one building that the company monopolizes, just across Mission Street from another that it is building and the bay beyond. It's a nice view. Salesforce starts its year in March.
Salesforce, IBM Kick Off New Artificial Intelligence Era
March 8, 2017
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on Monday announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint solutions leveraging artificial intelligence. Einstein, the AI that powers Salesforce applications, will be connected seamlessly with IBM's Watson AI platform. The integration is scheduled for availability in the second half, and pricing will be announced at that time.
CallidusCloud Steps Up Call Center SPM Game
March 3, 2017
CallidusCloud on Thursday launched ServiceMotivate, a call center sales performance management, or SPM, solution. ServiceMotivate is tightly integrated with Salesforce to track and reward call center agents based on key performance indicators of their service center, such as quick issue resolution and case closure rates, data quality improvements and customer satisfaction.
New Rules
March 1, 2017
One of the foundational ideas of business is the Pareto analysis, which tries to identify the small portion of factors that are responsible for the majority of business results. You know -- 80 percent of profits come from 20 percent of the customer base, and similar observations. Vilfredo Pareto formulated a business classic that we now refer to simply as "the 80/20 rule."
4 Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
February 27, 2017
I recently received an email from my health club that said, in part: "Dear Chris, We've noticed you haven't been in as regularly in recent weeks. I understand there may be many reasons for not being able to make it in, but I just wanted to send a quick note to check if you're happy with the service we've been providing. Let me know if I can be of any assistance and I hope to see you very soon!"
Social Marketing Grows Up
February 23, 2017
Before there was experimental data to support various contentions, it made perfect sense to believe that the likes and endorsements posted to friends on social media would drive more business. After all, didn't we all subscribe to the idea that a disgruntled customer would tell many more people about a brand's shortcomings than a happy customer would sing its praises?
Oro CEO Yoav Kutner: Getting a Sense of Your Customer
February 16, 2017
One of the most noticeable recent trends in CRM is that "there are a lot more companies looking for tools to centralize data," noted Oro CEO Yoav Kutner. "We're seeing multichannel businesses that interact with customers both through a brick-and-mortar and through multiple touchpoints. That data has to be collected someplace so they understand how they're doing with their customers.
Output vs. Outcomes
February 14, 2017
How many times have we been lulled into complacency over getting a project or a product done but not necessarily well received, because it was someone else's gig? This is a great reminder that the job isn't done simply because we produce something and shove it out the door. It's also a cue to pay close attention to what our CRM systems tell us. Our concept of a product has changed.
AI Deconstructs Phone Sales Pitches
February 13, 2017
SaaS solutions firm Gong last week released the findings of a study on sales phone conversations, including an analysis of gender speaking patterns. Women delivered slightly longer sales monologues, averaging about 9-12 seconds longer than those their male counterparts gave, but men generally spoke faster, the study found. Men tended to speak at a faster pace than women.
Quip Adds Serious Muscle
February 9, 2017
Salesforce has announced new integrations for Quip, the collaboration startup it acquired last summer for $582 million. Quip, which operates independently, also added new capabilities to its product's existing feature set, which includes smart notifications, chat built into every document and spreadsheet, and a smart inbox. Quip lets users direct-message group members.
Winning the Sales Talent War in the Big Data Era
February 8, 2017
Had a hard time hiring sales talent lately? You aren't alone. And guess what? It's only going to get worse! There are a lot of headwinds confronting sales recruiters these days. Among the strongest: The number of sales jobs is projected to grow 18.8 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- so you're facing stiffer competition for talent.
Is Salesforce Getting Serious About the Back Office?
February 8, 2017
Even as Salesforce aggressively seeks to consolidate its position as the leader of cloud-based front-office applications via a series of acquisitions, it is possible that 2017 could be the year the company uses some of the same purchases to make a strategic move. Salesforce soon may become a major player in the back-office financial management and ERP market as well.
Top CRM Blogs of 2016: Countdown, Part 2
January 24, 2017
There's something to be said for consistency. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn hit over .300 19 years in a row. The swallows have returned to Mission San Juan Capistrano every year since 1812. Richard Belzer played Detective John Munch in nine different television series over 23 years. Doing things well for a long time should earn you some attention for your efforts.
Oracle's Important Little Acquisition
January 23, 2017
Oracle last week announced the acquisition of Apiary, a small company that tucks into its product line and will not make much of a splash in the financial pages or possibly even in tech circles. Nonetheless, it's important strategic news. The value of the deal wasn't publicized -- but given the parameters, the dollars will get lost in the rounding of Oracle's overall revenue and profit numbers.
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What's most likely to cost a company your customer loyalty?
a major product fail
major unethical corporate behavior
public advocacy of social or political views I oppose
a really bad customer service experience
stagnation -- I'm attracted to innovation
none of the above -- I'll stick through thick and thin