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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.
Quosal Lets Salespeople Add Video Spiels to Quotes
March 20, 2015
Quosal has announced a new feature that lets salespeople record a personal explanatory video to go with their quotes and proposals. Videos can be posted directly to Quosal's proprietary Order Porter purchasing experience for clients. "If the video can take the load off of having to read all of a proposal -- or, more likely, explain some gray areas -- then great," said analyst Denis Pombriant.
Importance of a System
March 18, 2015
I was telling a friend recently about some of the ideas in my book, Solve for the Customer. He was interested in my belief that customer science has evolved from a general emphasis on process in business, especially in the back office. His company does a lot to ensure that its customers are happy and loyal, because their business involves long-term relationships and agreements that renew for many years at a time.
Record Systems as Deal Savers
March 11, 2015
Transaction systems have all the fun but systems of record do all of the work; at least it seems that way. Maybe you've never thought of it this way but unless both kinds of systems are working well -- and working together -- your results will suffer. Record systems can tell you what happened, but by themselves they don't bring in business.
The Easiest Path to CRM Failure
March 9, 2015
One of the pitches sales reps selling CRM make the mistake of dropping into conversations is that it's easy to use. "Users can practically train themselves, it's so intuitive! Just start clicking! And did we tell you -- we just introduced a new UI to improve the UX!" It's a line of discussion that really does CRM a disservice. Yes, today's applications are easier to use -- but there's a "but."
What the Buyer Sees
March 4, 2015
Partner Relationship Management gives a lot of attention to the vendor and partner relationship, and it should. But it's worth remembering that as important as this relationship is, the one that really counts involves an end customer. So what does the end customer need from a channel partner that a PRM system can uniquely provide? I'd say the most important partner deliverable is intangible -- trust.
Relax, You're Surrounded
February 25, 2015
I don't know how many old movies there are in which the good guys say, "You're surrounded, come out with your hands up!" Somehow being surrounded is a bad thing -- or at least it was -- until it became a hot trend in the back office. Let me explain. Surrounding legacy systems, such as conventional ERP, is proving to be a good idea for a bunch of reasons.
Solving for the Customer
February 19, 2015
You'd probably take umbrage at the notion of a weak human, and rightly so, because in business you have to be able to play with the team you have, not the one you wish for. So for business purposes, let's think in terms of empowered humans, since we always want to empower our employees to do great things -- at least we should.
The Rhyme and Reason of Sales and Marketing Tech Adoption
February 18, 2015
For all the breakthroughs in technology and process, and for the vast amounts of money invested in making sales and marketing more productive and better aligned, we still face a staggering adoption problem. Sales and marketing pros answered a lot of questions in a recent survey. One of them was this simple query: How much of your sales team has adopted and regularly uses your current solution?
Parature from Microsoft Caters to Customer Service Pros
February 10, 2015
Roughly a year after it acquired Parature, Microsoft last month unveiled the Spring '15 release of Parature from Microsoft. The new application, the first major release since the acquisition, adds to Parature's self-service and knowledge management functionality. The feature set focuses on increasing the productivity of customer service teams as well as giving them additional above-the-queue insights.
Customer Science
January 28, 2015
Part of my new year routine has been ordering new business cards. In this electronic age, they are the only things I actually print, and I'm a writer! In a few weeks I'll publish a book, Solve for the Customer, in paperback, and the two are related. I made a discovery while writing the book that fundamentally changes what I do for a living and the title I use, hence my need to reprint.
Engage.cx Makes Customers an Offer They Can't Lose
January 27, 2015
Engage.cx just secured $2.9 million in Series A financing. The round of participating investors is noteworthy, but for the CRM industry the real intrigue lays in Engage.cx's premise -- or rather, promise: how to present a unified cohesive customer service operationr, no matter which channel is used. Other vendors claim they can do this, but Engage.cx is taking a novel approach.
T-Mobile Courts Credit-Challenged Customers
January 26, 2015
T-Mobile last week announced Smartphone Equality, a new credit program aimed at existing T-mobile customers with less-than-sterling credit who have paid their wireless bill on time for 12 straight months. Under the new plan, this group qualifies for the best pricing and offers on devices and tablets available to T-Mobile customers -- including those with the best credit ratings.
Time to Drill Deeper
January 21, 2015
This is not an article about fracking -- drilling for gas and oil in shale. This is about "drilling down" into big data. We've been using the term for a long time and it provides a useful metaphor for data analysis. However, we've conditioned ourselves to think of drilling down only to a superficial degree, and that needs a rethink. When data wasn't big, we were only able to scratch the surface.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 2
January 20, 2015
The second half of the Top 20 Bloggers list is the half that holds the most surprises and fresh faces. This year, it also has the most variety -- from non-English speakers to blogs targeted at small businesses -- as well as plenty of marketing-oriented content. There also are some re-entries to the list who have rediscovered their blogs and come roaring back.
What SMB CRM Shoppers Want
January 19, 2015
CRM is expected to grow at a steady pace, and CRM customers are sending some specific signals about the functionality they need. Thirty-seven percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses that participated in its annual survey want an integrated suite of multiple CRM applications, Software Advice reported last month. That's up from 7 percent in 2013.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 1
January 12, 2015
The field of CRM bloggers is like the start of a marathon: There may be thousands of entrants, but there are only a few elite runners. Spotting them in the rest of the pack is not always easy -- especially as their enthusiasm for blogging waxes and wanes, or as they move into other formats, like becoming regular columnists in publications. However, there are a few things that identify the elite.
Better and Better
January 7, 2015
James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds and business and finance columnist for The New Yorker, published an article in the magazine's Nov. 10, 2014, issue entitled, "Better All The Time." The piece connects the importance of culture-wide continuous incremental improvement using data and analytics -- what the Japanese call kaizen -- to business and employees.
Retargeting May Work, but Pretargeting May Work Better
December 18, 2014
The practice of repeatedly serving up ads for products consumers previously viewed or asked about -- called "retargeting" -- not only works, but works so well that its use is spreading beyond simple marketing. So says a recent survey of marketers conducted by Adroll, which provides this type of ad technology. The company released the results this week.
Sales Kaizen
December 17, 2014
CRM makes several promises to its users: selling more or selling faster; resolving service issues faster or at least quickly; and generating more leads. If you do root cause analysis, however, you can quickly conclude that at least in some cases, you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. For instance, the best way to resolve service issues is to avoid them in the first place.
Zendesk Crystallizes Mobile Customer Service
December 16, 2014
Zendesk has launched a new platform, Zendesk Embeddables, that allows companies to incorporate certain elements of the Zendesk product suite in mobile and Web apps, as well as games and other online mobile experiences. Zendesk Embeddables includes a mobile software development kit and Web Widget. Using these, a company can offer Zendesk's self-service functionality through a mobile app.
Year-End Thoughts
December 11, 2014
We are now through almost 15 years of the century, and for all of that time I have been analyzing the CRM industry as it has evolved. This year, rather than simply reviewing some of the progress we made in the industry during the last 12 months, I'll take a broader view of the decade and a half, which might be more interesting. It certainly gives us a great perspective on how far we've come.
Sales and Marketing Aren't Aligned - but Their Problems Are
December 8, 2014
The numbers prove it: Sales and marketing just aren't playing well together in most organizations. A not-so-small industry has sprung up to attack the issue of sales/marketing alignment, but the problem is so deeply entrenched that it may never be fully eradicated. That's a little weird when you think about it. The two sides are confronting problems that parallel each other.
AgilOne Bends Over Backwards to Understand Customers
December 1, 2014
AgilOne has rolled out an enhanced version of its predictive marketing platform with new tools, as well as improvements to fine-tune its forecasting capabilities, said CMO Dominique Levin. The focus of the upgrade was to automate even more of the analytics and subsequent decision-making by users. One of the new tools uses predictive analytics to uncover underserved customer segments.

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Do video cameras make the world safer?
Yes - People exercise more restraint because of them.
No - We just get to see more horrible things happen.
Maybe - They might deter some kinds of crime.