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Dreamforce 2013 Notebook
November 22, 2013
There's always a lot to digest after Salesforce.com's annual bacchanalia, Dreamforce, which drew 135,000 registrants this year. Some of it is about Salesforce's announcements, but a lot more of it is about the implications of those announcements, the people who attend, and what goes on around the show. Despite its peculiar name, Salesforce1 is an important step for Salesforce.
Keep Holiday Shoppers Happy, in 3 Easy Steps
November 21, 2013
This holiday season, everything from Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blasters to Doc McStuffins dolls and even diamond jewelry will be purchased via mobile devices to a greater extent than ever before. In fact, mobile shopping will surpass the growth of all other channels during the upcoming holiday season, eMarketer has predicted, as more and more consumers change they way they purchase gifts.
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.
Tablets and CRM, Part 2: Revolution in the Making
November 19, 2013
GE Capital has an iPad app, based on Salesforce.com, that integrates geospatial data to let mobile sales reps know which customers need attention and where they are. It is a simple, yet impressive example of a company using tablets and CRM functionality to improve its internal productivity. While appreciating its capabilities, many companies would not put the necessary energy into developing it.
Salesforce Automation Tops CRM Buyers' Software Wish Lists
November 15, 2013
Ask prospective buyers of CRM software what they're most interested in, and you'll probably get a mix of variations on the following three themes: "I am not sure about the deployment model yet, although I have heard good things about the cloud"; "I know about the benefits of using an integrated suite, but frankly I would like to investigate some best-of-breed offerings too"; and "Is it salesforce automation related?"
Microsoft Gives Stack Ranking the Boot
November 13, 2013
Microsoft is ending its controversial practice of using stack ranking to evaluate its employees. Instead, the company is changing its performance review program "to better align with the goals of our One Microsoft strategy," wrote Lisa Brummel, the company's executive vice president of human resources, in an internal memo reportedly sent to Microsoft employees on Tuesday. The stack ranking technique requires managers to rate their employees on a curve.
Community Action
November 13, 2013
I had an interesting conversation last week with Eric Berridge, CEO of Bluewolf, about a new report his company sponsored, "The State of Salesforce." This is the second year that Bluewolf has compiled this report. Researchers from MIT's Sloan School interviewed hundreds of Salesforce customers to learn about their attitudes, opinions and future demand.
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.
Dreamforecast 2013
November 06, 2013
For many years, I have written a piece that attempts to forecast the major themes of Dreamforce. I am not always right, but the exercise is fun and helps me orient toward what should be happening industry-wide even if it's not. This year, with no briefing yet from the company, I am unfettered about what I can speculate on. Otherwise, I would be prevented by an NDA and common sense from doing this.
Mobile CRM Design, Part 2: Refining the M-Commerce Experience
November 05, 2013
Now that mobile app developers have the basics of user-friendly design down, we've moved into the m-commerce industrial age, according to Pradeep U.N., Symphony Teleca's vice president and global head of design and innovation. Specifically, the mobile app vendors and retailers that rely on this channel are now experimenting with more sophisticated tactics.
Oracle's Questionable Buys
October 31, 2013
I heard during my travels last week that Oracle had bought or at least announced its intention to buy configuration, price, and quote software company Big Machines. Just a few days earlier, it had bought content marketing startup Compendium. This can't be good news -- and not for the reasons you think. Good for Big Machines. It needed a liquidity event. But what about Oracle?
Fall Roundup
October 24, 2013
There's a lot going on right now that bodes well for next year. It's amazing to even say this in October, but the evidence I've seen points to a busy new year. Companies are spending money on marketing and sales like they have not in several years. Venture capitalists are putting their capital to work, and some emerging companies are telling me they didn't actually need the cash they've taken.
Mobile CRM's Next Battleground: Point of Sale
October 22, 2013
Some brands' mobile CRM efforts amount essentially to creating versions of their websites that are visually friendly to mobile users. Others make mobile an integral part of their CRM strategies. Case in point: Arby's, which earlier this month debuted a new item on its menu -- the Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich -- with a campaign that involved a number of social media components.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sharpens Social Skills
October 21, 2013
Microsoft on Monday announced the availability of its latest version of Dynamics CRM along with a new partnership with InsideView that adds social intelligence capabilities to the CRM system. Available for purchase starting Oct. 31, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 offers a number of new features and capabilities, including new templates for certain workflows and work processes.
Avaya Aims IP Office 9.0 Squarely at Mid-Sized Users
October 21, 2013
Avaya last week released a slew of new applications onto the market, including a robust collaboration platform that targets mid-sized companies. Avaya IP Office 9.0 includes a number of features and deployment options geared specifically for companies that aren't ready to invest in enterprise offerings.
5 Traps to Avoid in Social CRM for Retail
October 17, 2013
It is difficult to overstate the importance of social CRM to retailers given the almost tailor-made suitability of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest et al. for reaching out and engaging with customers. What's less clear, however, is exactly how retailers should use social CRM to talk with those customers. Is it fair for customers to expect to conduct all of their business over social media?
A Social Branding Moment
October 16, 2013
A little while ago I wrote about New Coke and the time in the 1980s when Coca-Cola tried to change its formula without much prompting from customers. As you may recall, especially if you were alive and drinking the stuff at the time, the customers didn't much like it. They were miffed about the new taste, but probably more so over the way the company more or less unilaterally made the change.
In-App Processing: It's Not Just About the Money Anymore
October 15, 2013
In-application features have been all about revenue so far, but as the technology evolves and mobile becomes ever more entrenched in consumers' psyches, the in-app phenomenon will likely spread to other forms of customer outreach as well, including messaging. First, though, let's talk about the money. Some 43 percent of mobile gamers have made purchases via an in-app mechanism, according eMarketer.
Study: Topnotch Customer Service Yields Strong Returns
October 11, 2013
There is a significant performance gap between companies that fully apply best customer service practices and those that are inconsistent in their approach, according to a new report from the Miller Heiman Research Institute. There was a gap of 13 percent between the two groups of companies in performance metrics such as account acquisition, customer retention, account billing and revenue growth.
Groupon Adds a Dash of CRM to Its Breadcrumb POS App
October 10, 2013
On Wednesday Groupon announced that it has added new CRM features to its Breadcrumb point-of-sale app with the potential to drive traffic and improve customer relations for Groupon merchants. Customer tracking, for instance, is one of the new features now included in Breadcrumb. The software tracks customers, stores their contact information, analyzes purchase behaviors and records notes on their preferences.

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