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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.
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.
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.
Feds Hankering for Mobile IT Management Solutions
October 09, 2013
The acquisition process for the latest innovation must keep pace with the ever changing IT landscape. In the public sector, that process has surfaced in acquisition vehicles related to cloud technology, data management and IT security. For the U.S. government, the GSA has become a focal point for developing contract vehicles and programs to facilitate the acquisition of innovative IT.
Microsoft Tops Corporate Social Responsibility Rankings
October 04, 2013
Microsoft has topped the Reputation Institute's Global CSR RepTrak 100 Study for the second year in a row. The institute surveyed 55,000 consumers worldwide about their attitudes toward the reputations of companies in terms of corporate social responsibility. Google, which was No. 2 last year, fell to third place. Four of the top 10 companies in the study are tech firms.
Big Data and the Customer Analytics Challenge
October 03, 2013
Big Data is changing the game around customer analytics, giving organizations the means to develop far better analytics about their customers than ever before. Numerous examples, in fact, illustrate how high-performing and cost-effective Big Data processing can shed a world of new insight on customers' wants and preferences.
Taking the Showrooming Out of Holiday Shopping
October 01, 2013
There are many reasons marketers today are gearing up their mobile strategies for the holiday season, and not all of them are as obvious as one might think. Yes, revenue and competition are of course key factors, but in this Internet era, so is a third: Namely, a proactive, aggressive mobile CRM and marketing campaign is the only way to play offense in a season and industry now characterized by showrooming.
Oracle OpenWorld 2013 Sails On
September 25, 2013
Like any major trade show, OpenWorld has been in planning for a long time. However, this OpenWorld might be the most planned show of its kind ever, because in addition to the extravaganza taking place in the Moscone Center, many of the hotels in the area and even in closed-off streets, an important sideshow and object lesson -- America's Cup -- is taking place in San Francisco Bay.
Marketers Relying on Mobile to Make the Season Bright
September 24, 2013
The holiday season is upon us; even those uninitiated in the ways and means of retail can see it in the Halloween decorations and candy that are now so plentiful on store shelves. For the initiated -- that is, anyone who expects to make a buck off of the holiday shoppers this year -- not only is the season here, but plans to address it are already in place.

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