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IBM's Watson May Change the Face of Business Analytics
September 17, 2014
IBM on Tuesday announced Watson Analytics, a natural language-based cognitive service designed to provide businesses with instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytics tools. It runs on desktop PCs and mobile devices. Watson Analytics automates data preparation, predictive analysis, and visual storytelling for business professionals in data-intensive areas such as marketing and sales.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Tears Down Sales, Marketing Walls
September 16, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, along with updates to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. All will be generally available in the fourth quarter of this year. This release will focus on knitting together the sales and marketing functions. The goal is to provide users of the app with more opportunities for collaboration.
Analytics: The Tie That Binds Sales and Marketing
September 15, 2014
If you want to make an old-school salesperson flinch, just bring up the idea of data-driven selling in conversation. To sales pros, especially those who started in the game more than 10 years ago, the idea of data driving the sale is sacrilege. It minimizes the sales person's talent, and it suggests that sales are driven by a bunch of desk bound propeller-heads who never talk to customers.
Monetizing the IoT From A to Z
September 10, 2014
There is no question that one of the hottest topics in the tech industry is the rapidly evolving world of the Internet of Things. The seemingly infinite variety of use cases for capturing data from a widening array of connected devices and objects is inspiring the imaginations of corporate decision makers and fueling a new wave of innovation among established and emerging players.
The 5 Worst Blunders of CRM-Destroying Execs
September 09, 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's Investment Bodes Well for the Mobile IoC
September 08, 2014
Salesforce.com's vision of the Internet of Customers is getting clearer, and it has a decidedly mobile orientation. The company on Monday announced the launched the Salesforce1 Fund -- a dedicated fund in its newly renamed investment unit, now called "Salesforce Ventures" -- that will pour $100 million into companies building mobile apps and connected products based on the Salesforce1 Platform.
Xactly Unlocks Storehouse of Insights
September 02, 2014
Following years of development, Xactly has made Xactly Insights generally available. The product compiles the compensation data of all the companies that use Xactly's products, aggregates and anonymizes that data, and then gives users access to it. Participating companies opt in, fully aware of how their data is being used. The end result is a searchable database of compensation information.
Stop Missing the Big Goal
August 29, 2014
Why do you go to work each day? Some people may claim it's love of the work. What they do is so rewarding and wonderful that they'd do it for free. "Don't tell my boss!" they joke. Hardy-har. However, even the most fulfilled, self-actualized and altruistic person lives and works in a world where money talks. It takes money to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.
Evolving CRM
August 26, 2014
The CRM Evolution conference held last week in New York was interesting for multiple reasons. Most importantly, perhaps, is the perception that the market is moving into a higher gear, slipping past the restraints of a recession that would not quit. Good things are in store for the industry, I think, as buyers step up their games and vendors unleash a passel of new solutions.
Qvidian Upgrades Help Sales Pros Pick Up the Pace
August 25, 2014
Qvidian has updated its Sales Playbooks & Analytics platform with features that help reps do a better job of gleaning pertinent information from the buyer in the initial sales approach. It then incorporates that information into the CRM system. Other enhancements are aimed at helping sales reps respond to buyers' questions on the fly by serving up relevant information during the back and forth.
Salesforce Stock Climbs on Great Expectations
August 22, 2014
Salesforce.com on Thursday reported a second-quarter loss of about 10 cents per share -- but hey, who's counting? Not investors, apparently, who drove up the price of its stock 7.6 percent by market close Friday. Certainly not Wall Street analysts like Deutsche Bank, which promptly raised its target price for the company to $70.00 per share, pointing to a potential 25.65 percent upside.
Moving the Sales Needle
August 20, 2014
Apttus and Adobe Echosign earlier this year conducted a survey of more than 100 Fortune 1000 sales leaders, focusing on perennial blind spots for sales managers. Among their just-released findings: One in four companies don't have sufficient KPI insights for average pipeline multiple, deal size, quote-to-cash cycle time and win rate; and four out of 10 take three days or more to generate a quote.
Google Pinpoints Ads That Get Customers on the Horn
August 19, 2014
Google has launched a new service that lets advertisers track their ads' success at generating phone calls following user clicks. Website Call Conversions is designed to help marketers tweak their online ads to prompt more valuable phone inquiries. The tool works by generating a unique phone number that appears on a company's website after a user arrives there by clicking on an ad.
Gryphon Sales Intelligence Analyzes KPIs
August 18, 2014
Gryphon Networks has had a presence in the sales intelligence and marketing compliance space for several years, primarily working through carriers. About two years ago, however, it tweaked its direction after CEO Jeffrey Fotta noticed a curious fact during a client call. The client was a national insurance provider that had some 8,000 reps using the Gryphon system for compliance.
Infor Aims to Fill a Gap With Saleslogix
August 15, 2014
Infor, a provider of business application software and cloud services, has agreed to acquire Saleslogix, a CRM application that is currently owned by Swiftpage. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks. Financial details were not disclosed. For Swiftpage, the reason for the sale is straightforward: It allows it to focus on ACT!, a less-complex CRM application.
5 Big Data Marketing Myths
August 15, 2014
Big Data's legend has reached mythical proportions. Increasingly, it is described as a powerful solution that could resolve some of the world's most complex challenges, from terrorist strikes to curing cancer. It is still early days for Big Data implementation, however. Every industry and category is still working through how to best harness it. This is especially true in the advertising world.
The Many Faces of Multivariate Testing
August 14, 2014
When Facebook and OKCupid recently admitted they had been tinkering with headlines and content to see how users reacted, many consumers were outraged -- but the business community just shrugged. What the companies were doing was simply a form of multivariate testing -- albeit in the case of OKCupid, it was particularly aggressive. The practice itself has been around for years.
Desk.com Support: Video Is the New Manual
August 11, 2014
Salesforce.com has debuted a new feature for its Salesforce Desk.com Support Center: video support for knowledge-based self-service offerings. Desk.com Video Support Center allows users to embed video content from any of the major video platforms in their online customer service offerings. There is also analytics support that allows companies to assess which videos are working well.
Beacons Hit the Retail Spotlight
August 07, 2014
It was just six months ago that we saw what beacon technology could do on a wide scale. For Super Bowl XLVIII, the National Football League installed wireless transmitters in Times Square and at MetLife Stadium to send simple yet specific messages to smartphones: "bathrooms to the right," "snacks to the left," and so on. The deployment was considered a bold test for the nascent technology.
Sales Forecast Dynamics
August 06, 2014
Take a look at almost any sales software on the market, and you'll find the vendor's claim that the product accelerates the sales process. It's a given. For years, we've been trying to achieve this acceleration, and we've been succeeding. The only problem with this approach is that it can't go on forever. It's a form of expecting infinite growth based on limited resources.
Qstream Runs Broader and Deeper
August 05, 2014
Qstream, which has developed a gamification-based app to help sales reps learn complex sales-related content, has broadened and deepened its functionality so the platform can be used in new scenarios. It has expanded the types of situations in which a company can use its Qstream license, said CEO Duncan Lennox, because it has proven to be wildly popular with companies beset by a common problem.
Federal Cloud Adoption Blossoms
August 04, 2014
The U.S. government's foray into cloud computing could hardly be called "mature," but it appears to be moving from infancy to something akin to pre-teen status. Agencies increasingly are embracing the cloud, and the pace of acquisition reflects more comfort with the solution. Several recently launched initiatives affect federal agencies and technology vendors in the cloud acquisition process.
The Social Side of Big Data
July 31, 2014
The power of Big Data technology is being successfully applied to understanding such complex unknowns as consumer sentiment and even intent. That understanding then vastly improves how businesses manage their customers' experiences -- increasingly in real time. Fortunately, today's consumers are quite willing to share their intents and sentiments via social media.
Sales Reach: A Marketing Tool for Reps
July 30, 2014
I was impressed by the announcement by Salesforce.com last week of a new product combination it calls "Sales Reach." It's supposed to be a mashup of sorts between Sales Cloud, Pardot and Communities functionality that helps reps run micro-campaigns, perform nurturing and develop communities. As someone who once carried a bag for a living, my reaction was, "Oh happy day!"

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