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How Social Selling Changed the Buyer's Journey
February 27, 2020
Social selling has changed how online consumers are interacting with and buying from e-commerce businesses. Why? Because it's had a huge impact on the buyer's journey as a whole. Today, we live in a digital world, and this means the consumer has the upper hand, thanks to the growth in e-commerce and the Internet of Things. The modern buyer does more research up front and online.
Latest E-Commerce Trend: The Rise of Shoppable Posts
February 11, 2020
There were 4,521,480,071 Internet users as of Dec. 1, 2019. A month later it was closer to 5 billion users. A decade ago there were fewer than a billion social network users. That's worldwide. That user growth has been a leading indicator of the rise of alternative social networking platforms. Marketers -- and consumers -- are always on the lookout for the newest thing with which to engage.
4 Marketing Automation Tools for SMB Success in 2020
January 14, 2020
Marketing automation isn't a thing of the future -- it's very much a part of the here and now for small and midsized businesses across the world. However, many are unaware of a variety of marketing automation tools that can help SMBs reach customers in a timely and effective way. To compete with larger firms on customer reach, SMBs need to approach their marketing plan with a strategic mindset.
Building E-Commerce Wave: Social Media Shopping
January 13, 2020
Consumers are on social media constantly, scrolling through posts. Many have begun clicking on brand posts and making purchases. "Social commerce is becoming increasingly popular for brands," noted Darin Archer, chief strategy officer at Elastic Path. "Even when the transaction itself may be happening outside the app, there's a much smaller gap between discovery and purchase."
FTC Targets Fake Influencer Metrics, Fake Reviews
October 23, 2019
The FTC announced settlements of a series of fraudulent marketing charges against two high-profile firms. The actions taken make it clear that anyone who engages in similar illegal behavior will face enforcement action, the FTC said. In the first case, Devumi agreed to settle the FTC's first-ever complaint challenging the sale of fake indicators of social media influence.
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.
For Brands the Future Is Facebook
June 7, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg recently said that the future of Facebook is private. Interestingly, connecting the dots between all the announcements made at Facebook's 2019 developers conference draws a bright picture of what the future looks like for brands, small e-commerce stores, and new businesses using the Facebook family of apps. It includes a whole new world of opportunities.
The Biggest Customer Service Mistakes Brands Make on Social Media
May 29, 2019
Social media has become a part of everyday life. Case in point: Eighty-one percent of people in the U.S. have a social networking profile, and the number of worldwide users is expected to reach 3.02 billion by 2021. Consumers also have been devoting more of their time to engaging with social media sites. One-seventh of the average user's waking life is spent on social media.
What Social Can Learn From CRM
April 25, 2019
There's been a chorus of calls from all corners for social media regulation -- from pundits like me to the halls of Congress and even from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself. The social media community seems tied up in knots over what to do about the abuse happening within their communities, but if you look elsewhere you might see signs of solutions that could solve some fundamental problems.
Social Media's Next Act
April 9, 2019
A little over 10 years ago, we were toasting social media as the great innovation that would enable CRM to traverse the mythical last mile between vendors and customers. Every analyst had something positive to say about social and its future role in CRM. I wrote a paper forecasting that social networking and analytics would be tightly interwoven into the fabric of the vendor-customer relationship.
How to Bring Relationships Back to CRM
March 16, 2019
Customer relationship management is a term you've likely heard if you have worked in the tech space. CRM software solutions have not always been as far-reaching as they are today. Over the last 40 years, CRM has evolved from a range of disparate business solutions developed for various customer needs. The earliest CRM tools were devices like Rolodexes, which you can hardly even find these days.
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.
The Teetering Social Empire
January 9, 2019
Disruptive innovations are only disruptive for as long as it takes competition to develop and thus create a market. Worse, for the disruptor, the niche it created can spawn other niches. Social networking provides a vivid example. First, there were networking sites that could help you find a job or a sales lead. Then there were social sites whose purpose was simply, well, networking.
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.
The 4 Best Ways to Get Customers to Pay Attention
November 14, 2018
I don't have to tell you how difficult it is to find and attract customers online. With millions and millions of businesses all vying for attention, the Internet has quickly turned into a very crowded place. But, believe it or not, there's opportunity in all that clutter, and if you approach your marketing and visibility right, you can easily rise to the top.
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.
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."
Dreamforce Considerations
August 28, 2018
The Salesforce people whom I speak with are all heads down and breathing hard in the big push to Dreamforce. In other words, things are normal for this part of the cycle. The big questions for each show are, "What will the vendor emphasize this time?" and "Will that be a tone set for the industry for the year ahead?" Sometimes the announcements set a tone but not always.
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.
5 Steps to a Riveting Company Story
August 22, 2018
Telling an engaging and effective story is vitally important for the success of a business. A good story draws people in, fosters loyalty, and brings your brand alive. "It's important for brands to tell their story because the story is what actually resonates with humans," said Nathan Young, storytelling communication instructor at Storytelling Consultant. "We're hardwired to remember stories."
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.
The Social Utility 2
August 7, 2018
Social is nearing the end of its "hypecycle," the phase during which an innovation is seen as everything from a cancer cure to free lunch. Most of the claims prove baseless, but then something curious happens. Users take another look and discover some things that the innovation is good for. There's a really good case to be made for a technology that helps you keep in touch with your 200 besties.
Wheat and Chaff
July 31, 2018
I fear CRM could be tainted by the failings of social media and the bad actors who exploited social platforms. Today it seems especially important for CRM to separate itself from the worst aspects of social to the extent that we can. There's certainly a lot to say -- from continuing to talk about the care we take of customer data to explicitly renouncing some of the tactics.
What I Learned at the Conferences
July 7, 2018
The close of Q2 ends the first wave of vendor customer events. Still to come this fall are Salesforce Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld -- and others -- but mercifully, we have the summer to digest all the information absorbed this spring and re-sync with our native time zones.For starters, CRM doesn't appear to be slowing down. As an industry, it's rated at about $35 billion in revenues.
HubSpot Connects With Shopify, Workplace by Facebook
May 6, 2018
HubSpot has rolled out platform integrations with Shopify and Workplace by Facebook, which are designed to support the marketing and sales efforts of SMBs. The Shopify integration lets e-commerce marketers sync specific merchant sales data from Shopify into HubSpot for use as a marketing signal; segment users based on products, deals and order history; and follow up on abandoned shopping carts.
Zoho VP Rodrigo Vaca: AI Can Help Salespeople Seize the Moment
March 26, 2018
"The rise of artificial intelligence, for sales teams both internally and externally, is the biggest trend in the industry," observed Rodrigo Vaca, vice president of marketing for CRM at Zoho. If you think of CRM as the centerpiece for your company, and you marry that with the escalating amount of data that each company is gathering each day, ... you can do any sort of analysis on it."
Facebook's Vulnerabilities Surface
March 7, 2018
Adam Smith famously referred to "the invisible hand" of the free market in his landmark book The Wealth of Nations, and with that made himself one of the very first political economists. Smith's observation was so on point that most of us assume markets run through the agency of individuals pursuing their enlightened self-interests, which helped drive the evolution of CRM as a tracking tool.
5 Ways E-Commerce SMBs Can Cool Social Media Complaints
January 6, 2018
SMBs should "be proactive and ready to help [customers] right at the moment they need it," said Linda Crawford, CEO of Helpshift. Companies must streamline support systems to resolve issues faster and more efficiently, she said. An up-to-date knowledge base enables instant self-service, "but SMBs must also offer channels for customers to communicate directly with support agents."
Facebook Messenger Jumps to Business Websites
November 8, 2017
Facebook on Tuesday announced that it was preparing a plugin to its popular Messenger platform that will allow a website's visitors to chat with a human or bot without leaving the location. Customer Chat is one of a number of changes in the version 2.2 update of Messenger platform revealed at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. The chat plugin will be available on desktop and mobile devices.
5 Innovative Ways to Inspire Customer Loyalty
November 6, 2017
Getting customers -- and keeping them -- is the name of the game in e-commerce. "The e-commerce market is crowded and noisy, and brands need to do everything they can to differentiate themselves from the pack," said Eric Hansen, CTO of SiteSpect. "Loyalty programs do just that, giving a brand the edge they need to stay a step ahead of their competitors."
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Salesforce is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant 2019 for Digital Commerce
What do you consider most worrisome if the Internet should go down during the pandemic?
It would compromise the delivery of critical health information.
It would impair the operations of providers of needed services.
People would not be able to order goods online.
The damage to the global economy would be incalculable.
Many people would not be able to communicate with loved ones and friends.
It would make working from home impossible.
Loss of entertainment options could threaten mental health.
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