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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.
Big Data and the Process Revolution
February 26, 2014
A wave of change is now making its way through the front office with uneven results. CRM is moving from a data capture and retrieval solution to something that supports end-to-end processes -- and as with ERP, data analysis is helping to improve what once were purely manual processes. The trick is in producing knowledge from data. Alone, data is useless.
The Travel Battle Rages On: May the Most Relevant Brand Win
February 25, 2014
The travel industry will increase 41 percent by 2016, making it worth $143 billion. With that much revenue on the line, booking sites are taking significant steps to ensure that they get their piece of the traveler pie. Brands no longer can offer experiences that are irrelevant to the end-user. Travel has become a user-centric industry, and the brand that serves up the most relevant content wins.
Clarus Offers Etailers a Prime-ish Loyalty Platform
February 24, 2014
If you were to administer truth serum and ask a retailer how it really felt about Amazon Prime, chances are the response would be that it's pure genius -- or pure evil genius, perhaps. Why? Because Amazon Prime encourages shoppers to come back and back again to browse and buy, and it's all based on an incentive that online consumers hold very dear: free shipping.
Transition State
February 20, 2014
The CRM market appears to be experiencing a transition state -- something betwixt and between, a time of high energy and great possibility, above all a time of change. A ball bouncing around a spinning roulette wheel is in a transition state; chemical reactions go through transition states as reactants become products. The key concept is indeterminacy.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
Completeness Is the New Black
February 12, 2014
Are we collecting enough data? It seems like a weird question given the glut of it at most companies, and perhaps it is. Perhaps a better question is, are we collecting the right data? We could get into a long philosophical discussion of just what the right data is, but that would only happen if we made the mistake of thinking all data was the same.
Microsoft Makes BI Power Play
February 11, 2014
Microsoft on Monday released Power BI for Office 365, a business intelligence application for its Office 365 Enterprise subscribers. Power BI packages together several features that help business users access information from such sources as Windows Azure and elsewhere. They can then use that data to generate business intelligence models, graphs, charts and other visualizations.
Looking for Customer Love in All the Right Places
February 07, 2014
If you're a vendor, the idea of providing visibility is a winning notion. It's what's driven social CRM-related software tools and analytics to their current prominence within the market, and it's why the "Internet of Things" is so alluring. The problem that these technologies purportedly solve is a lack of visibility -- that is, the inability to understand what's going on with customers.
Marketing Automation Report Card
January 29, 2014
After two years of fairly hectic activity in the marketing automation space, it might be useful to ask where all the commotion has gotten us. Once a captive of finance, which was concerned with reeling in marketing's costs and rationalizing expenses with known -- or at least knowable -- benefits, marketing automation emerged in the last couple of years as a powerful tool.
Epicor Aims to Ratchet Up Loyalty
January 27, 2014
Epicor Software has announced the general availability of Epicor Retail CRM 7.0. The updated platform reflects a complete shift to .Net and SQL reporting services and includes a number of new features in analytics, reporting and security As a whole, 7.0 "gives a more granular view to the retailer about a customer's behavior," said Sarah Barron, Epicor Retail product manager for CRM.
Subscriptions in the Enterprise
January 22, 2014
Curiously, subscriptions and platforms have grown up together, even though neither is yet a necessary or sufficient requisite of the other. ZipCar and its ilk don't have formal platforms and the idea is not relevant to their models. Wireless vendors all have homegrown platforms -- primarily to run their Byzantine pricing and billing models -- and that's still off center.
Let's Hear It for Metadata
December 16, 2013
It is a quirk of the data-information-knowledge continuum that data perceived by one person might be seen as information by another. The same goes for information and knowledge -- the frame of reference is important. You might even say it's all relative, and I don't think you'd be wrong. This conundrum is all brought into sharper relief by yet another slice of the range, and I don't mean Big Data.
Top of the Funnel
December 04, 2013
The new customer era accepts that the direct contact between a vendor and customer or potential customer is being augmented by non-human intermediaries like websites, software robots that triage customer issues, e-commerce systems, social media, and who knows what else. The good news is that customers leave data trails like ants leave trails of pheromones to a candy bar on a sidewalk.
The Class of '14
November 20, 2013
The story of this year's Dreamforce might best be told through the partner community and AppExchange, and that makes it a story about the platform. Appropriately enough, Salesforce teed up the platform topic in Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff's Tuesday keynote and the press conference immediately following it, where he announced Salesforce1.
3 Ways Corporate Culture can Crush CRM
November 08, 2013
CRM technology often gets blamed for the failure of customer initiatives -- and sometimes it's deserved. In many cases, though, the technology works exactly as advertised -- as far as technology can work. Still, CRM is a discipline, not a technology -- the technology merely helps business scale up the discipline. For that reason, the people and the processes around CRM are vital to its success.
Harvest Customer Intelligence Through Smart Surveying
November 07, 2013
Satisfaction surveys can be much more than a yardstick to measure customer opinion or an extra channel for customer support. The optimal survey presents an opportunity to uncover important insights about your business process and drive real improvements in the organization. Before you can start reaping the customer intelligence benefits that result, however, you have to lay the right groundwork.
Mobile CRM Design, Part 1: Different Devices, Different Rules
October 29, 2013
Most mobile app developers today have the basics of e-commerce design down pat. Increasingly, they are now thinking about the psychology of the user and how that should be factored into a mobile site or app's design. That's where testing becomes essential. "The features and functionalities of smartphones are inherently different from those on tablet devices," said Maxymiser's Daniel Toubian.

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