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Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.
Conspiracy of Culture: 5 Contributors to CRM Failure
June 12, 2014
Most companies of any size have a CRM application. Every company says it wants to build great relationships with its customers. Almost as many businesses say they want to be "customer-centric." However, as any customer can tell you, the companies that attain these goals are few and far between. What is it that's keeping businesses from doing what they know they need to do? It's not one thing.
New Treehouse Tools Gauge Marketing Campaign Success
June 09, 2014
TreeHouse Interactive has rolled out an enhanced version of its Marketing View application, infusing it with advanced reporting and analytics features and a spruced-upped user interface. The point of the upgrades, said Erich Flynn, CEO of TreeHouse Interactive, was to provide and display all the necessary campaign-related statistics a marketer would need to judge the performance of a campaign.
Microsoft Dynamics Steps Out of Shadows
June 03, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced global availability of the latest feature set in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which was introduced earlier this year. It offers new marketing functionality, enhanced customer service features, a Unified Service Desk for call centers, and additional social listening features. The marketing functionality in this version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been rebuilt.
SAP Seeds the Cloud With Industry-Specific CRM Applications
June 02, 2014
SAP has updated its cloud-based CRM portfolio with the rollout of three industry-specific applications. These applications, designed for the insurance, utilities and retail sectors, are the first cloud-based verticals for CRM, aside from a broader-based application with functionality tailored for consumer goods. In addition, SAP has introduced a cloud-based marketing performance dashboard.
Kudos to Xactly
May 28, 2014
Xactly, the SaaS-based incentive compensation solutions provider, has kicked it up a notch. The user meeting I attended last week in San Francisco was very successful -- but more importantly, it made some real news in the compensation space. Conferences like this often are news generators -- or, more precisely, they're PR engines. Everybody with a show announces something.
SuiteWorld's Vision
May 22, 2014
Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, talked a lot about CRM in his recent keynote at SuiteWorld. You might not think that's unusual, given that the company has a whole suite of cloud-based ERP-CRM-E-Commerce, but it represents a departure -- and I don't know if even Nelson is fully aware of it. NetSuite built its reputation and a half-billion dollar business around front- to back-office integration.
Sub-Ledger for the Hybrid Enterprise
May 07, 2014
There is a business problem that comes up in the life of every company, and these days it seems that a lot of companies face it at once. It's the question of how to transition from one business model to another without clobbering your current revenue flow. Even if a company's executives really want to change its model, there is always a faction that says, "not yet."
4 Ways to Embrace Crowdsourced Knowledge
May 02, 2014
Traditional knowledge management programs focus on distilling knowledge into systems of record, which end up being underutilized, chiefly because they cannot contain the long tail of knowledge. Conversely, nowhere are successful KM programs as impactful as where they intersect the customer experience -- from customer support to sales to marketing and product development.
Partner Selling
April 30, 2014
If there's one thing that vendors and channel partners agree on, it's selling. Everyone agrees that more selling is better, but the discussion can diverge greatly from there. Vendors and their partners are not immune to the virus that affects direct sales people. We often hear direct sales people say their leads are no good and we hear marketing say that sales doesn't follow up. Sound familiar?
Using Reporting Tools to Turn CRM Around
April 28, 2014
Whenever the term "business intelligence" is bandied about, thoughts immediately turn to the customer. BI, it is thought, should allow you to learn things about the customer by correlation, inference and comparison. However, BI is a two-way street. In the course of using CRM -- which becomes the repository of data that BI then analyzes -- you also record data about the way your business uses CRM.
Marketing Automation's Next Gig
April 24, 2014
If you aren't sold on marketing automation yet, there's another reason to consider it before you end up down two touchdowns with three minutes to play. We usually think of marketing in its traditional role of new customer outreach, which is good but no longer enough. Keep in mind that in today's zero-sum markets, your competition has not stopped marketing to your customers, so why should you?
inContact Rolls Out Feature-Rich Cloud Call Center Update
April 23, 2014
inContact has released its first cloud contact center software update for the year. Version 14.1 contains a new two-way SMS channel, more refined automated call-routing, deeper integration with Salesforce.com and Oracle, and new APIs that give enterprise users the ability to customize their own applications and do a deep dive into their data. The company currently is rolling out the new version.
Are We There Yet? The Long Road to the CRM Revolution
April 17, 2014
They say you must walk before you can run. It follows that you should crawl before you walk. In CRM, however, there are a lot of businesses that talk at great length about wanting to run even though they haven't mastered crawling yet. They battle with the same old problems: adoption issues; technology decisions made before business needs are identified; lack of executive buy-in.
SugarCRM Refines Customer Analytics for Sales
April 14, 2014
When SugarCRM debuts version 7.2 in the coming weeks, users already will have had a taste of one of its main themes: tighter integration around productivity tools aimed at better understanding a customer base. That is because SugarCRM has previewed two such integrations over the past month -- one with Marketo and one with Dun & Bradstreet -- both designed to improve the user experience.
Setting Goals and Rewards
April 09, 2014
You should check out The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. It's a thoughtful analysis of the technology progression handed to us by Moore's Law and its effect on every aspect of our lives. Their thesis is simple yet powerful. Over the last 10 years or so, the pace of innovation has accelerated. Processes that were only imaginable before are becoming easy.
Clari Sharpens Its Focus on Data-Driven Processes
April 07, 2014
Clari is bursting onto the CRM stage with a mobile sales productivity platform that is coming out of stealth mode, thanks to a $6 million infusion of funds from Sequoia Capital. The product, says CEO Andy Byrne, marries "a beautiful design," with data analytics and mobile tech to create a system that helps reps close deals faster, while cutting down on productivity-killing data entry tasks.
Smartphone Tracking: How Close Is Too Close?
April 04, 2014
There you are, strolling down the coffee and tea aisle at the supermarket when you get an alert on your smartphone that you can get extra points in the store's reward program if you purchase a certain brand of coffee. Are you annoyed that you have been tracked with such precision that the merchant knows not only that you are in the store -- but also which food aisle you are in?
Transaction or Process?
April 02, 2014
After many years, I think I can boil down CRM to this: Vendors prepare for transactions but customers expect process. Of course, this demands elaboration and neither of these ideas is stationary. The desire for better processes evolves as customers and markets do, and transactions become more sophisticated as vendors play catch-up with their markets.
Using Feedback Loops to Manage Your Subscription Business
March 26, 2014
Everyone in business claims to want to listen to the voice of the customer. It's a noncontroversial issue, but the approaches are all over the map. There is little consistency -- and truthfully, many vendors do a poor job of it. Capturing customer feedback always has been a challenge for conventional vendors because they have to generate new processes to reach out to customers.
Determining an Online Customer's Value
March 25, 2014
Chris remembered his mom fumbling for her keys as she stepped out of the house, quickly locking the door and dashing toward the car. They were off to shop. Chris felt this to be a very clichéd way of shopping and always dreamt of an easier way to shop with less hassle. Jane, experiencing a very similar drill, never hated it once. Over decades, the experience of shopping has taken many forms.
Digging Deeper Into CRM Data
March 21, 2014
CRM is sometimes described as the place where all your customer data resides. That's a nice image -- all that helpful data, chilling in its own hangout. That data works for you, though -- if you're just storing it, it isn't helpful. It's important to think about what you want to do with and learn from that data. We talk a lot about what we want to do -- less about what we should learn.
Developing Customer IP
March 19, 2014
Sales people have been demanding better leads for a long time, and marketing today is in a position to provide them. At the same time, marketers have discovered that the kind of data they collect is as important as its volume. Marketers need to provide rich prospect profiles that answer many of sales people's most important questions: Is there a need? a budget? an executive sponsor?
Pega's Next-Best-Action Marketing Learns on the Job
March 03, 2014
Pegasystems has rolled out Next-Best-Action Marketing 7.1. Built on Pega 7, it aims to provide marketing executives with the best customer service strategy -- the next best action -- for any given scenario, based on customer data captured by the system, along with rules configured by the user. The differentiator between this and other platforms is its self-learning functionality.

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