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10 Steps to Create a Seamless Omnichannel Business
April 9, 2019
During the last year, longstanding brick-and-mortar retailer chains such as Toys "R" Us, Payless, and Diesel USA have filed for bankruptcy. Failures like these happen despite the fact that U.S. consumer spending currently is high, and the unemployment rate is low. Why is that? We cannot address this topic without first taking a good look at Amazon and the massive power it represents.
Stocks and Flows, in Brexit and CRM
April 4, 2019
In one way or another, CRM is the heart of the digital disruption, or the modernization of business. CRM was the first front office system to help organize significant staff doing important but far from routinized things for the business. You could rely on back office apps to organize various aspects of production, but the front office was the Wild West before CRM.
Extreme Customer Experience
April 2, 2019
CRM guru Samson Lee has a new idea about customer experience. I don't know that I agree with it, but Lee has a way of making you question your assumptions and possibly change your viewpoint. Lee describes extreme experience as the inevitable pain you have to go through to reach nirvana -- that is, get the product or service you want from the vendor you want.
Retail Tech for Millennials
April 2, 2019
It's time to get strategic about winning over Gen Y. Members of the millennial generation were born roughly between 1980 and 2000. They're the largest age cohort in human history, making up about 25 percent of the entire global population. When they're mentioned in headlines, however, the news sounds bad for business: They're broke. They're self-obsessed. They're definitely not buying your stuff.
How to Reinvent E-Commerce Personalization in 2019
March 28, 2019
You'd be hard pressed to find a tactic more capable of winning and losing customers than personalization. In the past, bad personalization has cost businesses three-quarters of a trillion dollars. In the future, smart personalization could enable businesses to boost their profits by up to 15 percent. Today, personalization is everywhere -- in B2B, B2C, e-commerce, SaaS -- the list goes on.
Is Your Contact Center Ruining Your CX?
March 27, 2019
While CRM software is a vital tool, CRM itself is really a discipline: It's the cultivation of the customer relationship and the management of customer data to create better experiences for the customer and to generate better results for the business. The CRM application doesn't exist on its own in many organizations -- or in many vendors' suites of products, for that matter.
CDP Early Days
March 26, 2019
Here we go again, right down the hype cycle and into new product land. In the last week, two major enterprise software companies, Oracle and Salesforce, announced customer data platform products. Oracle announced its product last week in Las Vegas at its Modern Customer Experience event. This week, Salesforce announced that it is building a customer data platform.
Oracle MCX
March 21, 2019
Oracle held its Modern Customer Experience conference in Las Vegas this week, and it was eye-opening. This is the fourth MCX conference and an important milestone for a company that came to the cloud later than its competition. No doubt about it, Oracle has done much in a short time to develop and deploy its customer experience vision, so it is now possible and fair to critique the company's progress.
From Virtual to Value: Building Meaningful Experiences With Gamification
March 15, 2019
Amid shifting consumer habits and the digitization of everything, the retail landscape has undergone significant transformations over the past decade, and it continues to evolve as quickly as ever. These transformations bring about a slew of challenges and opportunities for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience. One technique for increasing engagement is gamification.
Millennial CRM
March 13, 2019
Trying to do business without also having a modern CRM system is like walking around naked. You can do it, at least for a little while, but people will begin to think you're weird -- and the trouble is, those people are all potential customers. CRM is essential today because, despite our reverence for the free market, it's really more like free markets -- plural.
Modern Selling
March 7, 2019
Looking at the current assortment of CRM functionality, including AI, machine learning, voice recognition and chatbots, you might conclude that the tools are evolving to remove salespeople and others from direct customer contact -- and you wouldn't be wrong. What's surprising to me, though, is the amount of sales angst among senior people about the division of salespeople's time.
Pitney Bowes Launches Self-Service Tool to Drive Post-Buy Revenue
March 6, 2019
Pitney Bowes has unveiled Consumer Connect, a self-service post-purchase marketing solution for retailers and brands. "Retail marketers spend a tremendous amount of time and money attracting consumers and getting them to click the buy button only to leave them in the hands of third-party shipping partners for tracking and notifications until the package is delivered," noted Pitney Bowes EVP Lila Snyder.
Learning Online: Getting Down to Business
March 4, 2019
Online learning platforms have made it easier than ever to offer workshops, courses and educational content of all kinds. In addition to the growth of online learning in traditional educational spheres, there's been growth in the business world. Companies increasingly have been using online learning platforms both to train employees and to educate customers.
Salesforce Reflections
February 26, 2019
Salesforce will be celebrating its 20th birthday on March 8. Where did those decades go? "Time flies like an arrow," said Groucho. "Fruit flies like a banana." There it is. A respectable chunk of the analyst community that follows Salesforce converged last week in San Francisco inside the company's cavernous new headquarters to hear about its plans for the year ahead.
Blending Offline and Online Commerce With Advanced Payments Tech
February 19, 2019
Technology by its nature changes the market. The introduction of efficient solutions spurred by technology to meet consumer demand creates new positive effects across an economy. Plenty of industries -- entertainment, transportation, the press and retail, for example -- have experienced changes in business models, delivery methods and competitors, due to the development of new technologies.
Integrating MAP With CRM Can Fuel Your Pipeline
February 14, 2019
Sales teams are tasked with nurturing leads and driving them to a sale. In order to do this, they need to maintain a clear record of communication with each prospect. This is especially important as the customer journey requires several touchpoints. As customers get deeper into the journey, strategic face-to-face meetings must take place to generate real business outcomes.
Spreading CRM's Message
February 12, 2019
I've recently been writing a lot about platforms -- not about any one in particular, but about the importance of platform to the future of what we all do in CRM and beyond. Platform provides a level of abstraction between machines and humans. Inventing the platform was like inventing the power loom or the printing press. It was a way to separate the creative effort from rote production.
OceanX and the E-Commerce Subscription Wave
February 8, 2019
Becoming a subscription provider used to be a big and expensive task. To get into the game, a vendor needed to build a subscription business model right next to its traditional businesses, which typically involved building an e-commerce Web store and member site, organizing an online price list and catalog, and figuring out how to handle subscription business receipts, shipping and returns.
The State of Selling
February 6, 2019
What's the state of the selling profession today? In brief, it fluctuates significantly based on economic circumstances and a company's position in a category lifecycle. At the start of a category lifecycle, when vendors really need people who can educate and explain what a disruptive innovation actually does, salespeople are in demand and life is very good indeed.
How Do You Build a Software Company?
February 5, 2019
How do you build a software company? There are certainly things you need to do and not do on the way to building a successful software company, but there are no recipes. In my career, I've seen firsthand some of the ways that company builders succeed or fail, and to paraphrase Tolstoy, happy companies are all alike; every unhappy company is unhappy in its own way.
US Mobile Phones Flooded With Robocalls
January 31, 2019
Americans received 26.3 billion robocalls on their mobile phones in 2018, according to Hiya. That was 46 percent more than in 2017. Consumers received an average of 10 spam calls per month, Hiya found. The top unwanted call in the U.S. was for the Wangiri, or "one-ring" scam, which grew 250 percent year over year. Seven of the top area codes targeted by spammers were in Texas.
Top CRM Blogs of 2018: Countdown, Part 2
January 18, 2019
The Top 10 blogs on our top 20 list are written by people well known to CRM professionals. There's a reason for that: In order to understand and appreciate the discipline of CRM, you must be a person who values other people, and part of valuing people is being able to communicate with them. As a result, these bloggers bring a unique combination of insight and personality to their posts.
NetSuite's Revelations at NRF
January 17, 2019
NetSuite announced results of its sponsored study at this week's National Retail Federation show in New York, shedding light on technology adoption in a retail setting. The study suggests that merchants are not doing what customers would want and that they have a misguided perception of the situation. The findings indicate that merchants may have gotten some things very wrong.
Let Your Data Do the Forecasting
January 16, 2019
Decision makers in any sales organization know that forecasting correctly is both art and science. To predict the unforeseen successfully, you must use every piece of logic and reasoning available to help you make your predictions reality. When developing a strategic forecasting approach, your business needs to take a number of items into consideration simultaneously -- and that is no easy feat.
Salesforce and the Machine
January 15, 2019
There's been way too much obsessing about how artificial intelligence and machine learning will eliminate jobs. For example, 60 Minutes recently ran a feature about AI venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, one of many stories predicting the elimination of jobs and a dystopian takeover of the world, or so it seems, by machines. Lee is a persuasive voice.
Top CRM Blogs of 2018: Countdown, Part 1
January 10, 2019
After several years of instability on this list, 2018 saw things settle down a bit. In past years, blogs would make the list for a flurry of great posts one year, then fizzle the next. Sometimes, bloggers would change careers and their CRM content would dry up. Once in a while, a great blogger would get hired by a major vendor and see his or her output bent to fit the corporate line.
Microsoft, Kroger Ring Up Retail as a Service
January 9, 2019
Microsoft and Kroger announced a collaboration on Retail as a Service to equip stores with Kroger Technology products that run on Microsoft Azure. The technology utilizes the IoT, connectivity, the cloud, and data collection and analysis to improve both customer experiences and store bottom lines. Two stores will pilot a smart technology system connected by IoT sensors, running on Microsoft Azure.
Creating New Customer Experiences: 6 Retail Technology Predictions for 2019
January 8, 2019
As e-commerce has gained serious momentum over the past 10 years, there have been dire predictions about the impending death of brick-and-mortar retail. The narrative has been framed largely as "technology is killing retail," but the reality is not quite so simple. While technology undoubtedly has transformed the retail landscape, it also has been pushing the industry forward.
2019 CRM Wish List
January 3, 2019
I've been writing a forecast column every year at least since W was president. Nothing's wrong with that, lots of people do. However, I often find that my forecast is more of a wish list than a true prognostication, so this time I'll dispense with the fiction of analytical rigor and just say what I think needs to happen. First, the industry is consolidating. The big and successful companies are competing on a different plane than the smaller ones.
Oracle's Customer Transition Challenge
December 19, 2018
Oracle narrowly missed its number last quarter, so it was good to see the company come roaring back -- it made a lot of money. More importantly, many analysts have conceded that Oracle has reached a point in its infrastructure deployment where it can mount a serious challenge to other providers and supply the needed cloud services for its ERP and cloud database businesses.
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