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Harnessing Video for Customer Advocacy
October 22, 2018
Video has risen in recent years to the forefront of any marketing campaign, recognized as the optimum medium to elevate brand awareness and share a company's latest product buzz with an increasingly diverse and sophisticated audience. It's so easy to work with; platforms are readily available, simple to learn, and hyper affordable. High-quality results can be achieved on a budget.
Turning a Corner in CRM
October 19, 2018
For the last 20 years, CRM has occupied a preeminent niche in enterprise software. It has been the hip, up-and-coming solution in the front office, brimming with innovation and new approaches to some difficult problems. CRM applied basic database technology to a business' chaotic collection of customer data, streamlining business practices and boosting productivity in sales and service.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday Is Coming - and It's Only the Beginning
October 19, 2018
Are you a retailer trying to get ready for the 2018 holiday season? Well, I'm afraid I can't help you. Just kidding. Sort of. I could just sit here and share yet another checklist to remind you of all the standard e-commerce table stakes you need to master. However, what I really want to do is help you get ready for Cyber Monday 2019 -- and beyond.
OpenWorld Preview
October 17, 2018
As of this writing, I haven't been prebriefed on what Oracle will be announcing at OpenWorld regarding CRM -- or as it refers to it, "CX" -- so this is a good time to express my own opinions. Oracle's direction in the last few years increasingly has been toward cloud computing and the autonomous database, and each has several flavors or divisions. The company has three levels of cloud.
Where Online Shopping Search Has Gone Wrong
October 17, 2018
While online shopping has exploded over the last decade and innovation around e-commerce has skyrocketed, there has been very little development around quality improvements in product search, navigation or discovery, notwithstanding the success of generic and open source search solutions, such as Elastic. That is ironic, as great search can make all the difference for an etailer's bottom line. Here's the problem: Define exactly what "great search" is.
How to Avoid 10 Mobile E-Commerce Conversion Killers
October 15, 2018
Just five years ago, mobile e-commerce was a minor part of the e-commerce landscape. Today, most online searches are carried out from mobile devices, and 40 percent of all e-commerce is carried out from smartphones. This has forever changed the e-commerce industry. The smartphone is the most important lead channel. Smartphones are an extended part of our brains and social life.
How to Position Your Brand for Holiday Success on Amazon
October 8, 2018
The holiday season presents a significant opportunity for sellers to capture unprecedented sales on Amazon. Cyber Week alone, the seven-day period beginning the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving and running through Cyber Monday, is expected to account for 40 percent of all e-commerce sales during the holidays. The bulk of those holiday sales are likely to occur in one place: Amazon.com.
The CRM Oligopoly
October 4, 2018
As markets mature, they trend toward oligopoly or even outright monopoly. There isn't much difference, because an oligopoly has several members instead of just one. Examples include electric power generation, an oligopoly made up of vertically integrated monopolies in most areas, and the airline industry -- an oligopoly made up of many airlines that may have monopolies in regional hubs.
6 Surefire Ways Etailers Can Boost Customer Loyalty
October 4, 2018
Given today's data and technological advancements, coupled with an abundance of choices for consumers, the importance of loyalty has never been greater. The marketing landscape has shifted as power has moved from sellers to buyers, and businesses have realized a heightened need for customer loyalty. Market fragmentation has dramatically increased competition, magnifying the need for loyalty.
Dreamforce 2018
October 1, 2018
Salesforce has been very good at skating to where the puck will be, to paraphrase the great Wayne Gretzky. As a result, the company has a long line of firsts, beginning with its initial disruption and continuing through its early adoption of social media and analytics. So it's no surprise that it is pursuing some very different issues now than it did almost 20 years ago -- or even five.
5 Reasons the Sales A-Player's Era Is Ending
September 28, 2018
Sales talent for a long time has been broken up into three groups: A-players, B-players and C-players. Everyone loves the A-players -- they're the ones who bring home the bacon, after all. The B-players show promise and, with the right training and motivation, could become A-players. The C-players? Well the less said, the better. This simplistic method of segmenting a sales force has worked for decades, but it dates to a simpler era.
Silo Buster: Salesforce Attacks the Data Sprawl Problem
September 25, 2018
I have never been a big fan of the term "360-degree view of the customer," mostly because you never can have a complete view of your customers. It's simply impossible. Things happen that you don't capture in the data, as CRM guru Paul Greenberg has pointed out. They get divorced, their dog dies, they get a really nice birthday gift. Those things can affect customers' buying behavior.
A Good Storm
September 20, 2018
Dreamforce continues to bear down on the world like a hurricane slowly approaching from across the ocean -- in a good way, if that makes any sense. Salesforce has pumped new products into the market that will serve as the focus of at least part of the discussion. The company recently introduced improvements or whole new products for the SMB market, philanthropy and financial services.
10 Things People With Disabilities Wish Online Retailers Knew
September 20, 2018
Many shoppers would be just fine if they could never set foot in a retail store again. After all, everything is available online: books, groceries, pizza, household necessities, even big ticket items like mattresses and cars. However, 15 percent of people worldwide have a disability that affects their daily life, and many retailers are unaware that their websites are not always accessible to them.
Utopia or Disaster? AI's Transformation of Sales
September 19, 2018
If there's one thing that can be said with certainty about AI in the field of sales, it's this: It's coming. Solutions for sales leaders, account executives and business development reps tout various AI-enabled features and the benefits they offer to sales. Writers breathlessly forecast the loss of millions of jobs due to AI, including the decimation of most professions, sales included.
How Online Retailers Can Make the Most of Preorders to Maximize Sales
September 10, 2018
Among the myriad of tactics that e-commerce businesses can use to pump up sales, preorders might be the most overlooked strategy. Yet preorder sales are a highly effective way to generate early buzz to gin up demand for new products. A "preorder" by definition is the sale of a product that is not immediately available to the consumer but will be sometime soon.
Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara: The Beauty of the CRM Beast
September 6, 2018
"The reality of relationships is that people buy from people they like, know and trust," said Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara. "In the old days, before we ever engaged in selling, we made a connection by looking at books, things on the shelves, that kind of thing. Today, we're doing that more and more electronically. Social is the perfect way to know more about somebody, and that's actually your job."
How Retailers Can Use AI to Break the Compensation Equation
September 4, 2018
Nowhere is the customer experience more vital to the long-term success of a business than in retail. This is particularly evident as retailers work to ensure that brick-and-mortar shopping experiences are as seamless and personalized as those offered by their digital counterparts. Nearly 80 percent of Americans are now online shoppers, according to Pew Research Center findings.
Is Weak Data Integrity Killing Your CRM?
August 29, 2018
American companies spend an enormous amount of money on training. Spending reached more than $90 billion in 2017, an increase of over 32 percent from 2016. It's unlikely that even a small share of the billions spent on training last year were devoted to educating and motivating employees to regularly and accurately input data into a company's CRM. Maybe it should have been.
User Experiences That Convert - The Do's and Don'ts
August 27, 2018
In tech parlance, the emotional result of a person's interaction with a website or digital app is called "user experience" or "UX" -- and the success of a business depends on it. Users who have easy, positive experiences with websites and apps likely will be drawn back to the business. On the contrary, websites and apps with poor navigation and slow loading times likely will turn off consumers.
Pulling a Thread
August 25, 2018
There's an emerging theme in sales and marketing that I expect could influence some of the messaging associated with upcoming events like Salesforce's Dreamforce and Oracle's OpenWorld. Each company will have lots to say about security, analytics and machine learning, the IoT, and blockchain, but what's under the radar is the practical application of much of this to marketing and sales.
Ad Targeting Tool Leverages Real-World Relationships to Influence Buying Decisions
August 24, 2018
AdTheorent, which offers a machine learning platform for advertisers, has announced AdTheorent Relationship Targeting. This new product allows advertisers to harness the power of relationships with family members, cohabitants or friends to influence a consumer to take desired actions. Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50 percent of all purchasing decisions, AdTheorent noted.
From Browser to Buyer: How Smart Solutions Are Transforming E-Commerce
August 24, 2018
Shopping: It's not what it once was. Forget the long drive to the mall and countless hours of browsing. Customers now simply log in from the comfort of their own home to have the world at their fingertips. The massive uptake of e-commerce is an unprecedented shift in consumer behavior, expectations and purchases. The evidence is clear: Internet shopping is the most popular online activity.
New B2B Tool Aims to Lower Overhead, Raise Profits
August 22, 2018
Atlatl Software has unveiled its bCommerce Visual Configurator, which gives manufacturers access to the company's 3D Visual Configurator via Web browsers. B2B buyers can use it on manufacturers' websites to make selections and pass them on to the manufacturers' sales reps in real time. Customer and configuration information in bCommerce is captured in Atlatl's QuoteBooks Cloud.
Optymyze SVP Arturo Bentin: Give Your Salespeople Options
August 21, 2018
If you want to boost sales performance, "there are a few things to think about," said Optymyze SVP Arturo Bentin. "One is, what behaviors are you trying to drive? When you're talking about sales performance, you're talking about a lot of things. You need to think about the metrics and the tools you can use to drive those specific behaviors in your salesforce."
JEDI Mind Games
August 15, 2018
During the same week it was sued by irate investors over progress moving its customer base to the cloud, Oracle protested a procurement process for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. The lawsuit will take a long time to resolve, and it's difficult to see how the plaintiffs can prove their case -- but in comparison, the Department of Defense's procurement will run at light speed.
5 Strategies for Collecting, Creating and Circulating Customer Testimonials
August 14, 2018
Most of us understand how overwhelming it can be moving to a new city. Surrounded by a host of options for dining, shopping, daycare, leisure time, auto mechanics and everything else under the sun, making an educated decision on where to go involves some groundwork. So what is there to do? Many of us will turn to a new coworker or neighbor for recommendations.
AI-Driven Marketing Offers High Hopes to B2B Firms
August 8, 2018
Versium has announced a partnership with LiveRamp to launch artificial intelligence-powered B2B audience segments,as part of a new business-to-business data management platform. The partnership will let companies perform online targeting of offline business professional data that often is housed within their own CRM systems. LiveRamp customers will get access to Versium's modeling engine.
What Your CRM Data May Not Be Telling You
August 4, 2018
The ability to collect massive amounts of data represented a huge leap forward in customer service and communication when CRM first hit the market as a marketing, sales and data management tool. However, CRMs aren't a holy grail. Data management is one thing. Using data to understand what customers really need -- not just what you think they do -- and how to engage them is another thing entirely.
Slide Over, Salesforce? Freshworks Scores $100M in Funding Round
August 1, 2018
Freshworks has secured $100 million in funding from Accel and Sequoia Capital India with the participation of CapitalG. That brings the total amount of capital raised since the firm's 2010 launch to $250 million. "The new funding will be used to invest in our platform and to continue scaling internationally," said Arvind Parthiban, Freshworks' director of marketing.
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