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Dreamforce Points to New Disruption
December 4, 2019
There were more than 170,000 people at Dreamforce a couple of weeks ago, and many more watching from afar. Also, there were well over 2,000 sessions. Numerous announcements sprang from the big Salesforce event. Some announcements and sessions, like the Tim Cook fireside chat, stand out. Of the top six, I reckon that five were more about integration and working across vendor boundaries than CRM.
SMBs Enjoy Online Surge on Small Business Saturday
December 3, 2019
While many retailers mull the takeaway from this year's Black Friday Cyber Monday shopping event, others may be more interested in the action that took place on Saturday. Online shoppers on Saturday spent $3.6 billion dollars at both large and small retailers, reflecting 18 percent year-over-year growth and setting a new sales record for the day, according to Adobe Analytics.
4 Big 2020 Sales Enablement Predictions
November 23, 2019
Now is the time when growth-minded organizations and their sales leaders begin to evaluate this year while looking ahead to the next. It's a time to identify opportunities for improvement, anticipate industry changes, and solidify a sales strategy that will align with the evolving expectations of business-to-business buyers, emerging technologies, and the company's business goals.
Why a Single Source of Truth Often Isn't
November 21, 2019
This week, Salesforce used its annual Dreamforce mega-show to make a host of announcements, ranging from contact center partnership with Amazon to a smart speaker tool for sales. For the most part, the keynote featured practical applications of Salesforce technology. Some Dreamforces focus on the highly aspirational; others focus on the ways to attain those aspirations. This year is the latter.
Salesforce and Microsoft in Another Deal
November 14, 2019
With Dreamforce approaching, it's no surprise that Salesforce is making a flurry of announcements. What is surprising are two big ones involving partnering with other vendors, mostly on infrastructure -- announcements that I believe make the idea of an information utility more real with each passing day. I see evidence of an information utility forming.
The Information Utility, Continued
November 13, 2019
I've been sharing my theory on the formation of an information utility for some time now. Various big vendors have announced alliances with that kind of aim. For instance, Oracle and Microsoft announced an effort to make their cloud databases interoperate, and Microsoft and others have announced common data model projects. Now Salesforce, AWS and Genesys have teamed up with The Linux Foundation.
Previewing Dreamforce 2019
November 13, 2019
Dreamforce is next week. Once again, the sold-out show will be headquartered at San Francisco's Moscone Center and overflowing to neighboring hotels. Over the years Dreamforce has become the Las Vegas of trade shows in one important respect. Both are famous for being bastions of excess. Vegas has excesses of the sensual kind, while Dreamforce offers a business and technology equivalent.
The CRM-ization of Healthcare
November 6, 2019
We've been watching the CRM-ization of healthcare for a while. Salesforce recently embarked on parallel paths. The obvious option was to build tools that enabled users to craft systems of engagement. The second started when the company also began reaching out to various industrial sectors with its technology and those of some partners. The result has been a vibrant vertical industry approach.
DevOps for Salesforce Lightning
November 4, 2019
The tools you work with have a lot of impact on what you can accomplish, and the more sophisticated the tools the better -- especially in software. Beagle Research just completed a study into the use of a DevOps strategy with the Salesforce Lightning Platform. DevOps is a strategy for building, changing and deploying enterprise software that can be used with Scrum, Agile, and other methodologies.
The Ultimate E-Commerce Guide to Black Friday
October 28, 2019
The shopping season is fast approaching. Black Friday -- the kickoff of Christmas consumerism -- falls on November 29 this year, six days later than last year. However, e-commerce stores easily will compensate for this shorter shopping season: Last year consumers broke records with $6.22 billion spent online, but this year Black Friday is set to surpass $12 billion in online sales.
Bob Stutz, CRM Nomad
October 24, 2019
Bob Stutz is a great guy. I have interacted with him occasionally over the years in his various senior postings throughout the CRM industry and always found him to be kind, generous and thoughtful. Last week he announced he was leaving his position as head of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which he's been at for four years, and taking a job as President of SAP's CX effort.
How CPQ Can Drive Manufacturing Sales
October 23, 2019
In manufacturing, margins are everything. In fact, if you're like most manufacturers, your business operates on such tight margins that even a small change in the price list can have an enormous impact on your bottom line. So what happens if your sales team inadvertently uses an old price list and the cost of steel actually has gone up a quarter since that price list was made?
Zoho's Catalyst to Growth
October 21, 2019
Now would be a good time to put Zoho on your radar if for some reason it isn't there already. The Austin-based company just announced Catalyst, a developer environment that helps programmers and others to speed development of apps and microservices with capabilities inherited from Zoho's apps portfolio. Catalyst is based on the company's internal development tools.
A New Business Model With Help From CRM
October 17, 2019
I have been writing about Salesforce for 20 years. That's incredible for me because aside from marriage, there's nothing in my life I've done so consistently for so long. Perhaps like a marriage, the thing that's been attractive about Salesforce is its constantly changing nature. The company went through a typical adolescence for a startup but it always had a sense that it was changing the world.
Autonomous Linux and the IT Utility
October 12, 2019
Oracle came late to cloud computing, joining the fray only after competitors like Microsoft and Salesforce had established dominant positions, and newcomer Amazon Web Services leaped from a standing start to a position of dominance. Amazon is so strong in the cloud that it is on the cusp of extinguishing the last challenges to its win of the 10-year $10 billion Pentagon JEDI procurement.
Getting CX Nuances Right: A Subscription Driver for Brands
October 9, 2019
National Customer Service Week is the first full week of October -- a designation we've celebrated every year since 1992. The week highlights the importance of customer service and the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. Customer service is a big deal in e-commerce, as 73 percent of customers reportedly view it as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Getting Ahead of the Digital Marketing Evolution Curve
October 7, 2019
Digital marketing was the firstborn child spawned from the invention of the Internet. It quickly became the major focus of businesses interactions -- and transactions -- both online and in person. Digital marketing now is fundamental to the success of your business. Why is digital marketing so important? Simply put, it is the last remaining channel for content that consumers can trust.
Hey Sellers - Your Customers Are #WorkingPoolside Today
October 2, 2019
Your new salespeople have very specific expectations of how their workday should flow. These 20-somethings want to sign a contract poolside, then post about it on Instagram -- #workingpoolside, anyone? They want to approve a purchase order on the go as they head to post-work Pilates and pizza. They want zero bumps in the road as they go from meeting to mixer.
How Committed Is Your CEO to a Great Customer Experience?
September 30, 2019
Consumers have been adopting disruptive digital technologies in their daily lives at a rapid pace. Customers went from being limited to brick-and-mortar stores to researching, comparing and buying a company's products and services online. Along with those shifts came a change in how customers communicate with companies, and the need for positive, consistent and engaging customer experiences.
OpenWorld Takeaway
September 24, 2019
I was speaking to an Oracle executive about some of the company's announcements at OpenWorld, and my impression that the company has changed so much that it is difficult to recognize it from the entity it was just a few years ago. On the macro side it's easy to see that Oracle has transitioned from a products company to a subscription company. It uses its own apps in a proof-of-concept mode.
Oracle's OpenWorld Happening
September 18, 2019
Q1 in any business is the toughest for generating revenue and Oracle is no exception. In its Q1 earnings call it admitted missing by about $70 million on a $9.2 billion nut: small but consequential. No need to run for the smelling salts though, Oracle has been here before and it's got this. It should be noted that in Q4 any self-respecting salesperson works tirelessly to drain the pipeline.
Zoho Is Starting to Look Like a Utility
September 12, 2019
It has been my belief for several years that our industry is trending toward the formation of an information utility. I draw this conclusion carefully based on my understanding of how markets develop and commoditize. I consider the beginning of the modern IT era as the early 1970s. You can graph a rising line of performance and a declining one for price -- essentially Moore's Law.
Salesforce Q2 Earnings: No Worries
August 24, 2019
Salesforce continues to grow, albeit a little slower than in prior quarters. At least that's my reading of a $4.0 billion quarter that's 22 percent better than the same quarter a year ago. I am used to seeing growth percentages in the high 20s but I am not concerned about a slowdown. I don't know if the spending spree on Tableau and ClickSoftware had anything to do with the numbers.
Platform Power
August 21, 2019
For decades a database application was what we called an "app" that collected and regurgitated data in preset formats on paper reports and screens. That's becoming passť, but it once was a major advance because it gave a worker the necessary information to take decisive action. Today that's rarely enough. Downward cost pressures have been replacing some of the rote human effort with algorithms.
Taking the Leap With B2B Customer Experience Tech
August 20, 2019
The business-to-consumer shopper experience has undergone a seismic shift in the past few years, thanks in large part to new technology. Improved personalization enables consumers faced with a vast field of purchase options to select the brand that best meets their needs and desires. Business-to-business buyers rarely enjoy the same rich buying experiences.
G2's Revelations
August 17, 2019
In a world where information is expected to be free, G2 just made its research reports available to the public gratis. Sure, you have to be a registered user, but how hard is that? From what I know so far, these are interesting reports, but they may not be the last word because they're primarily high-level overviews and indices based on G2's crowdsourcing research approach.
ClickSoftware Buy Signals Important Directional Shift for Salesforce
August 13, 2019
What's the big deal, I thought? Last week Salesforce announced it was paying in the range of $1.35 billion for ClickSoftware, a private field service automation and workforce management company. At first, I attributed it to a slow summer news cycle that was driving attention to the deal at a time when many people in the industry are off trout fishing near the Continental Divide or elsewhere.
4 High-Impact E-Commerce Customer Service Trends
August 1, 2019
E-commerce has exploded since Amazon and eBay were founded in 1995. Today, e-commerce is part of everyday life. By 2023, retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. are projected to surpass $735 billion. Even industries like food, healthcare and banking, which previously were dominated by offline transactions, now are embracing e-commerce for increased efficiency and cost reductions.
Turning Research Into Product
July 31, 2019
Oracle just published some commissioned research that gives us insights into both CRM generally and the times we live in. A study of more than 1,100 people across several generations found the following: Almost half of consumers have blacklisted a brand as the result of a bad experience; more than one-third of consumers said they would never shop with a company again after just one bad experience.
Salesforce's Road to China
July 25, 2019
It was bound to happen. Salesforce was going to China at some point, and it announced that action this week saying it was partnering with Alibaba. There are so many ways to read this, but I don't have the filters to resist comparing the announcement to what Robin Williams once said about cocaine: "Cocaine is God's way of telling you you are making too much money."
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2020 online shopping habits and retailer strategies
How has the pandemic impacted your daily life?
I'm interacting more with family and friends, off and online.
I'm consuming much more news.
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I'm spending more time on personal and home projects.
I'm feeling isolated and anxious.
I have less time for work due to distractions.
My work is on the front lines -- I'm overwhelmed.