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Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 4, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
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.
Nimble Spreads Its Social Wings
November 11, 2013
Before speaking with a reporter recently about the latest upgrade to his company's CRM platform, Nimble CMO Eric Quanstrom ate his own cooking, so to speak: that is, he used Nimble to learn as much about her as possible. A few keystrokes later, he knew where she went to school, her hometown, other business affiliations and that she was an avid tweeter.
Your Employees Are Rock Stars
October 30, 2013
I go to a lot of conferences. Usually they're a combination of customer user group meetings and analyst days, and we all hear more or less detail about product futures, new functions and features, and policy rollouts. If you know how to look at these events, you can see a certain scene repeated: A customer meets an employee face to face for the first time and gushes like a kid meeting a rock star.
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.
Earshot Helps Marketers Tap the Home-Field Advantage
September 28, 2013
Imagine you're walking down a city street heading for a vegan restaurant that you've heard good things about. You get to the address only to discover it has gone out of business. Hungry and disappointed, you pull out your smartphone and wail to the Twitterverse, "Veggie Delight is closed! I'm starving and there is nowhere to get a vegan meal!"
Experian Steps Up Its Social Engagement Push
July 25, 2013
It can be difficult enough to market to consumers through one channel, but trying to work across channels compounds that difficulty considerably. Enter Experian Marketing Services, which recently upgraded its cross-channel marketing platform with several new features. Experian regularly updates its application, said the company's Jeff Hassemer.
Pipeliner 5.2 Keeps CRM in Sync
July 8, 2013
After making its beta debut back in 2009, Pipeliner CRM software recently graduated to version 5.2, bringing with it the ability to automatically sync data in near real time -- for both Mac and PC computers -- locally or through the cloud. "This is key for salespeople that work globally," said Nikolas Kimla, founder and managing partner of Pipelinersales.
Intercom Connections Aid $6M Funding Round
June 21, 2013
Intercom, which offers businesses a tool to create personalized communications with customers, has secured some $6 million in a Series A round of funding. The Social+Capital Partnership, founded by former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya, handled the fundraising. Some prominent tech players have attached their names to Intercom, including Twitter founder Biz Stone and Facebook exec Paul Adams.
Thunderhead.com Smooths Out the Wrinkles in Customer Communication
June 17, 2013
Almost a year after launching its ONE Correspond for Salesforce, Thunderhead.com rolled out version 2.0. A part of the company's flagship ONE Engagement Platform, ONE Correspond for Salesforce allows users to create communications for customers. Via Salesforce's Chatter, it also has strong collaborative features that give users a way to review, edit and approve documents internally.
New Tools Play Up Twitter Games, Polls for CRM
May 2, 2013
Fan Appz provided more tools for digital marketers Wednesday when it added a suite of Twitter features to its real-time customer feedback platform. The new features help brands interact with followers by running polls, hashtag games and loyalty-based reward activities on the social network. Those interactions can help build a brand's database.
Salesforce.com's New Mobile Chatter Expands the Conversation
March 22, 2013
Salesforce.com has rolled out the latest iteration of its Chatter app designed specifically for the mobile environment. "With this version, we are taking [it] to a new level, allowing users to really drill down into accounts and take many different types of actions while in the field," said Michael Peachy, senior director of solutions marketing at Salesforce.
Let's Hear It for The Ecosystems!
March 6, 2013
Could we have a moment of sustained loud noise for all of the companies that form the various ecosystems around major product lines? I mean it. The ecosystem -- and maybe not even social -- is the story of the last five years. While many of us have been talking up social, the ecosystems have been adding immeasurably to the customer experience.
Sage Made a Wise Decision
February 20, 2013
I liked what Sage did last week in agreeing to sell off some non-core assets to partners, and I am most interested in the decision to sell ACT! and SalesLogix. The move reduced Sage's bullpen of CRM solutions from three to one -- and that's the right number for this market.
3 Bad Habits to Unlearn for SCRM Success
February 14, 2013
For the better part of six years, we pundits have been urging businesses to get social. Social CRM even has its own Gartner Magic Quadrant, and while the entries in that document are all over the map in terms of what they do, vendors serving aspects of SCRM are well established. Gartner itself said that sales of software for SCRM topped $1 billion in 2012.
Zoho Digs Deeper With Marketing Campaigns
August 17, 2012
Zoho has been speedily turning out applications to complement its core platform. Earlier this spring, for instance, it introduced Zoho CRM. Now, it is rolling out Zoho Marketing Campaigns to buttress the marketing functionality it introduced in the CRM app. "We had marketing and campaign features in that app, but the functionality wasn't deep enough for our satisfaction," said Zoho's Raju Vegesna.
Fixing Customer Complaints in a World Gone Social
August 16, 2012
Henry David Thoreau's quiet wisdom is best exemplified by sayings like, "in all things, simplicity." That's a nice credo to live by -- but it may be a hard one to fully embrace if you're trying to provide great customer service these days. After all, if you work in service, you have customers coming at you through a wider variety of channels than ever before.
Awareness Helps Social Marketers Know the Score
August 10, 2012
Awareness has enhanced its social marketing automation suite, Social Marketing Hub, with a new feature called "social scoring." The feature allows marketers and brands to identify, store and rank prospects across all the major social networks based on scoring criteria they define. It is a deliberate change from the fluffy metrics typically associated with social marketing.
Do You Remember All the Cool Things Your CRM App Can Do?
August 3, 2012
If you mention a certain brand of lower-priced, assemble-it-yourself furniture of Scandinavian heritage, you stand a pretty good chance of getting a response that dwells at some length on how hard it is to put it together. I've never felt that way -- in reality, I actually like putting stuff together. It's not that I'm good at it -- I've just learned to follow the directions. If only CRM were as simple.
SAP Lets Enterprises See What Customers Really Feel - in Real Time
August 2, 2012
SAP on Wednesday unveiled a rapid-deployment solution for marketers. It lets users analyze customer sentiment from social networking sites, communities, wikis, blogs and other sources. Users can combine the information with CRM text data and, if they so choose, business intelligence applications to get results in real time. The results are displayed on mobile devices or desktops.
Pinning for Business: Pinterest as a CRM Tool
July 26, 2012
WORX, a power tool company, has a unique Pinterest board: one devoted entirely to tools that aid in zombie defense. The WORX JawSaw, for instance, has a pin that tells consumers to "accessorize before they rise, and protect yourself now!" The board's sense of humor makes it especially effective on the social pinning site.
Fiitfu Puts Follow-Up Front and Center
July 24, 2012
When Mary-Jane Mehlenbacher left the corporate world to have her daughter, she didn't realize she would be leaving behind network marketing software that worked. Mehlenbacher had decided to form her own home-based network marketing company but couldn't find an appropriate CRM software application that fit her needs and single-proprietor company size. So she decided to build her own application.
Tweeting CRM
July 16, 2012
Most businesses recognize the need to be on Twitter to post about their latest products, services and recommendations. In addition to such marketing uses, however, it can also be used to manage customer relations. "To remain competitive, businesses have to figure out how to acquire, serve and retain customers through social channels," said Justyn Howard, president and CEO of Sprout Social.
Votigo Ventures Into Full-Scale Social Marketing
July 12, 2012
Votigo has debuted a full-fledged social marketing suite that builds around its original core functionality of social promotions. The 6-year-old company is offering a price point that is reasonable for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as functionality that can scale to enterprise level fairly easily, said Mike La Rotonda, co-CEO and founder.
Salesforce.com Adds Another Brick to Social Media Edifice
July 10, 2012
Salesforce.com is acquiring GoInstant, reportedly paying $70 million for the startup. The news generally fits the "another day, another Salesforce.com acquisition" story line. The CRM cloud vendor has been on an acquisition binge -- it bought at least six companies in 2011 alone.
Tools for Crafting Social CRM Connections
July 9, 2012
Adaptu serves people in all stages of life, from young people just getting married and buying a home, to more mature investors planning for their children's educations or their own retirements. "Tracking our more public users allows us to create content, crowdsource ideas, and offer solutions that we wouldn't normally get the chance to talk about," said Jenna Forstrom, Adaptu's community manager.
The Brass Tacks of Social Media
July 3, 2012
This week Esteban Kolsky and I launched a research initiative aimed at better understanding how businesses across the world are adopting social media for their business processes. There has been anecdotal evidence over the last five-plus years about social's efficacy as a business tool, and there have been about as many stories of companies that have failed to see any benefit.
Nimble CRM Ties Up All the Loose Social Ends
June 25, 2012
A year ago, Nimble CRM launched with a simple idea: If one application could bring together a contact's social media profile, online comments, company information and other relevant data, the sales and marketing process would be much easier. The hardest part -- bringing in social media conversations -- has also been the most elusive, said Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara.
Yammer May Get Microsoft Into the Social CRM Club
June 15, 2012
Microsoft is in discussions to acquire Yammer, a social media and communication platform for businesses, according to a report in Bloomberg, which cited two anonymous sources. Microsoft is prepared to acquire the company for a $1 billion purchase price, the report said, and the deal could be reached as soon as Friday.
Salesforce.com Chatter Unlocks Doors to Enterprise Collaboration
May 25, 2012
Salesforce.com is adding more functionality to its Chatter tool -- in this case, real-time communication capabilities. The two new features soon to be available are Chatter Messenger and Chatter Screensharing. Chatter Messenger is an instant messaging application to be used within the Chatter application. When it launches as part of Salesforce.com's Summer release in a few weeks, it will give users live chat functionality.
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Should social media sites be held accountable for terrorists' communications?
Yes -- They are providing a platform to facilitate murder and mayhem.
Yes -- Everything must be done to protect society from danger.
Maybe -- I'm not sure they have the technological capability to stop them.
Maybe -- I'm not convinced terrorists are using them for serious plotting.
No -- Authorities should monitor social networks to gather intelligence.
No -- Social networks are no different than phone carriers or mail services.