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What Buyers Want
June 12, 2015
Technology is giving companies an unprecedented view of their customers: demographic data; buying preferences; behaviors that signal the intent to buy; and analyses that enable them to develop expectations about how customers are likely to act during the buyer-seller relationship. Those abilities are new, and they hold a lot of promise. However, customers have changing expectations as well.
Dodging Disorganization: Showing Sellers a Sharper Image
June 4, 2015
Despite vendors' claims, CRM is not all about technology. Technology helps it scale, but CRM is really a discipline. It's the discipline of creating relationships that benefit both buyers and sellers. CRM is really great at organizing the data that makes it possible to build relationships. However, many things that aren't driven by your CRM technology can have a major impact on relationships.
The Business Power of Empathy
April 24, 2015
In our high-powered, win-at-all-costs business environment, the word "empathy" often evokes derision and scorn. Who has time to be a squishy, touchy-feely wimp overflowing with empathy? We're all busy closing deals and kicking butt! Kicking, closing, etc., is great and all -- but empathy has genuine business value. Don't forget that CRM has "relationship" right in the middle of it.
There's a Science to Engaging With Empowered Consumers
April 13, 2015
We all know customers have changed. They can voice their dissatisfaction with you, complete most of the buyer's journey without you, and even seek out support and service without you. If you're a business, you have two questions to ask yourself: 1) Do you really want to become unnecessary to your customers? and 2) What are you going to do about it?
5 Crafty Customer-Retention Strategies
March 23, 2015
Remember all those hours you spent at the mall just hanging out, not buying a thing? Well, a lot of us just never grew up. We just moved our hangout from the local mall to the Internet. We meet our friends online, we order food online, and we window-shop online. It's a good life. That is, it's good unless you are at the receiving end of this online voyeurism.
Online Reviews: Separating the Wheat From the Chaff
December 9, 2014
The majority of Americans rely on online reviews, with some 78 percent checking them out before making a purchase, according to a recent survey. Forty-four percent of those polled said they had written reviews themselves. At the same time, many customers doubt the ratings reviewers give products. Perhaps that's because a number of people admitted to reviewing products they never used.
Mea Culpa: Social Media Apology Do's and Don'ts
October 21, 2014
When DiGiorno tweeted, "You had pizza. #WhyIStayed," Twitter lit up with criticism of the brand. The hashtag "WhyIStayed" is associated with domestic violence. In response to the firestorm its tweet unleashed, DiGiorno peppered its Twitter feed with apology after apology, all of them essentially like this: "A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting."
Salesforce.com Debuts Faster, Smarter Social and Mobile Tools
October 7, 2014
Salesforce.com on Tuesday unveiled two new products: Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1. The company has a long history of product offerings in these areas, but these new iterations have been designed to address the radical changes in the sales and service space -- namely, the emergence of social and mobile. They also are primed for action when the Internet of Things goes mainstream.
Give the Gift of Social Customer Service
September 30, 2014
Snow flurries and the smell of pine needles. Eggnog and hot apple cider. Gingerbread men and latkes. Stockings and dreidels. Ornaments and menorahs. Trips to see family, and... visits to the customer service department? The holiday season is upon us, and it isn't complete without a customer service interaction or two. Remember when there was an actual customer service counter in department stores?
The 5 Worst Blunders of CRM-Destroying Execs
September 9, 2014
One of the CRM secrets to success is executive buy-in. That typically means the support of a high-level executive for the deployment and use of CRM technology. That executive often is an SVP of sales, or maybe a chief revenue officer or a CMO. The support of multiple executive roles is critical to implementing and supporting a CRM strategy. Having the buy-in of one executive is not enough.
Salesforce.com Engulfs Communities in Community Cloud
August 27, 2014
Salesforce.com on Wednesday announced the debut of the Salesforce1 Community Cloud. The product is launching as a new division for Salesforce.com, on par with its Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud offerings, said Lisa Hammitt, VP of business operations. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform, Community Cloud connects to Salesforce CRM and related business processes.
Yelping Back: Using Yelp to Turn Customers Into Fans
August 12, 2014
After writing a positive review of Roy's Hawaiian Grill on Yelp, Matt Siltala received a "thank you" from the company. It's that kind of active involvement with Yelp that Avalaunch Media President Siltala recommends to his clients. "I love Roy's Hawaiian Grill because it's done that for me," Siltala said. "It makes you love the brand even more and go back more and spend more."
Hotel Bites Internet - Internet Bites Back
August 4, 2014
Online reviews are a modern-day fact of life for any company operating in the hospitality industry, but an Internet maelstrom erupted when one hotel's surprising response to that reality was brought to light. Namely, the Union Street Guest House in upstate New York threatened to charge those who booked wedding parties at the venue $500 for every bad review posted online by any of their guests.
Target Customers Broadcast Epic Checkout Fail
June 16, 2014
Target's customers jumped en masse onto social media Sunday night after technical malfunctions at its stores around the country resulted in long checkout lines and, in some cases, inability to make purchases with store-branded credit cards. The episode struck a nerve with customers, not only because of the inconvenience, but because it was a reminder of another Target point-of-sale glitch.
Microsoft Dynamics Steps Out of Shadows
June 3, 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.
5 Ways Social CRM Builds Indirect Channel Relationships
May 23, 2014
The concept of social CRM has been around so long now that, if you listen to the pundits, we should stop saying it and just include it as part of CRM. That assumes most companies have fully digested what "social" means and have made plans to use it effectively -- which is assuming a lot. That said, there's another area where social media needs to be incorporated: partner relationship management.
Going Off-Script to Delight Customers
May 16, 2014
I had an exciting moment while grocery shopping last week. After 10 years of going to the same market and seeing the same checkers, one of them actually pronounced my name right. I know my last name's a bit hard to pronounce, and clerks have spent the better part of the 21st century asking me how to say it. I also know that, at the market where I shop, clerks are instructed to thank customers.
FirstRain Mobile Showers Sales Reps With Data
May 13, 2014
FirstRain has released its third iteration of the mobile version of its personal business analytics app, enhancing it with social sharing functionality and building in a new contextual layer that gives users more information about the data they receive. FirstRain also debuted a version for Windows Phone with this rollout. These changes are preceding what FirstRain is doing on the desktop.
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.
4 Ways to Waste Great Marketing Opportunities
February 28, 2014
CRM has always purported to be about relationships, but it's often used primarily for sales. That's kind of a good news, bad news situation. The bad news first: CRM got a bad rap when it didn't become a sales panacea (mostly for adoption issues). The good news: It exposed a void in the mix that marketing automation rushed to fill. The key to successful relationships is communication.
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.
The 3 Ages of CRM
February 5, 2014
I have written often about the connection between CRM and economics, almost as if one explains the other. While I still believe it in part, my thinking has evolved and become more nuanced over the last 15 years to the point that today I want to discuss my evolution. Social science is for me the obvious metaphor for CRM, but which social science? The first era of CRM can be explained by economics.
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.
Foreign Firms Flee US Cloud Services
January 13, 2014
Further proof that the NSA surveillance scandal is impacting the United States IT industry came on Friday with the publication of a study conducted for Canadian Web hosting and cloud services provider Peer1 Hosting. Fully 64 percent of the 300 UK- and Canada-based respondents to the survey hoped to move data from U.S.-based cloud service providers to their own countries within the next five years.

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