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A Customer Experience Secret Weapon
October 31, 2014
There aren't many areas in business where processes used to save money and maximize deal sizes also result in a better customer experience. The exact opposite is usually the case -- the drive to save money by making an internal process more productive or to increase the amount being sold to the customer usually impacts the customer experience for the worse. A notable exception is CPQ software.
CRM Selection: Getting Requirements to Reflect Reality
October 24, 2014
Perhaps the most important thing you can do before buying business software is to understand what you really want. Software is different from buying a car -- a physical thing you can inspect and whose operation you understand. It's different from buying a commodity, whose characteristics are already clear and there's little variation from purchase to purchase.
Top 5 Ways to Make Money With Software
October 20, 2014
While app developers generally aim to make money off their creations, this goal is often relegated to second-tier status by programmers who but the product first and foremost, as they should. Therefore, in order to minimize the time needed to devote to a monetization strategy, developers generally choose one of the following tried-and-true methods.
Salesforce's Wave Is Only Half the Analytics Answer
October 17, 2014
Salesforce.com's major Dreamforce news was, as the company itself admitted, the worst-kept secret at the show. Marc Benioff, no less, spilled the beans about it during the summer; the crowd for his keynote was there largely to see it in action. It's a beautiful-looking analytics program. The graphic representations of data are simple, clean and automatically animated.
Ephemeral Apps May Have a Place in the Enterprise
October 13, 2014
One of the hardest-to-decipher trends of the Internet and app world today is what's known as "ephemeral software." Epitomized by popular apps like Snapchat, Frankly and Confide, ephemeral programs revolve around bite-sized, self-destructing user interactions. Since its inception, ephemeral software has baffled many industries, with marketers struggling to develop cohesive campaigns.
Make Your List and Check It Twice: Preparing for the 2014 Holiday Season
October 08, 2014
With summer behind us, brands and retailers are busy finalizing their plans for the upcoming holiday rush. Like last year, this holiday season will be a short one, with just 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas. With this condensed shopping period and digital commerce on an aggressive upswing, the holiday season is no time for retailers to take chances.
5 Ways Data Denial Hurts Marketing and Sales
October 06, 2014
Other parts of business have reoriented around data, but sales and marketing have been allowed to function as though they're black arts, with their practitioners going about their trades mysteriously, doing things for reasons only they know. Sometimes the result is a great quarter. Other times, not so much. Sales and marketing generate metrics, but many managers rely on instinct and experience.
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?
Debunking the Lead Numbers Myth
September 29, 2014
Sales people love leads. They want lots of them, and they want them now. The more leads, the more money -- because sales is a numbers game, right? Well, yes and no. Some believe in an equation that says X number of leads will produce Y number of closed deals. If you make X greater, Y will be greater, too, right? That's a quaint thought, but it's not the way it works.
The Growing Allure of E-Commerce Systems Integration
September 24, 2014
The power of e-commerce lies in the simplicity and ease of use delivered to customers. Giving customers the ability to quickly find a product, buy it and have it delivered -- without visiting a store or even speak with a salesperson -- lets companies sell on a massive scale with little overhead. However, behind the simple purchasing process that the customer sees is a very complex set of systems.
Giving Your B2B Customers an Experience That Fits
September 23, 2014
Just as businesses used to fool themselves into believing they controlled the customer conversation, many businesses today think they define the customer experience. They think that by assembling the right combination of processes, environment and people, they can develop an experience that will delight the customer. The B2B customer, however, typically has a well-defined experience in mind.
The Fine Art of Managing Inventory in an Omnichannel World
September 16, 2014
Change in the retail industry is occurring at such a breakneck pace that few retailers have the opportunity to take a moment to consider how emerging and disruptive trends are fundamentally transforming the business -- potentially making historical best practices outdated and irrelevant. In fact, a business concept that increasingly is becoming a focal point for many retailers is omnichannel.
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.
Mobile App Attacks: No Malware, No Problem
August 19, 2014
Traditional attack methods, like those used with the recent mobile online banking Trojan Svpeng, involve the installation of malware on the device to steal information and commit fraud. However, new techniques are emerging that would enable an attacker to compromise a device and steal private information from the owner -- for example, the typical copycat app on a third-party app store.
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.
Taking the Temperature of Java App Security
August 11, 2014
Current approaches to Java application protection place security at the application or the network layer, both of which are problematic. The first approach has proven to be too complex, too time consuming and too risky -- in other words, "too hot." Meanwhile, network level security that consists of perimeter devices lacks the intelligence to know what's going on inside the application.
Bringing Retail Into the 21st Century
July 29, 2014
Let's get one thing straight: E-commerce will not kill the physical retail store. Hold on, I hear you object, the digital world has utterly disrupted our shopping habits. We rarely enter a store without having researched the big-ticket items we want to buy. Much of our holiday shopping is done with a mouse click. When we do venture into a store, we rarely do so without clutching a smartphone.
6 Ways to Hone Your Lead-Scoring Skills
July 25, 2014
Your company has a CRM system that employees love and use regularly, and marketing automation tools to help streamline and automate all of your online marketing activities. That's a great start, but did you know that most marketing qualified leads -- perhaps more than 94 percent -- don't convert to paid customers? That doesn't mean your sales and marketing information systems aren't working.
Cloud App Security: Foggy With Low Visibility
July 21, 2014
While the cloud promises faster time to market and reduced costs, it also presents a new landscape for hackers to attack and achieve their goals -- namely, to find and gain unauthorized access to data and information. Attackers follow the data they are after, and if that data is residing in the cloud, then they are going to start operating in the cloud as well.
Why CEX Thinking Stimulates Indirect Sales
July 10, 2014
As much as we may wax on about engaging, enchanting and delighting our customers, most of them are not expecting such an experience. In most cases, their purchase is prelude to something else pleasurable, if the purchase is B2C -- or profitable, if it's B2B. If there's some service they're purchasing in addition to a product, then experience becomes very important.
3 Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Doing it Right Online
June 30, 2014
Christmas came late, or not at all, for many retailers in 2013, with holiday foot traffic down by nearly 50 percent compared to just three years earlier. Many brick-and-mortar stores are on a knife's edge. The closing of Best Buy and Sears stores around the U.S. suggests that the retail giants of the past decades are vulnerable to shifting trends, including the move to digital commerce.
Toward a More Perfect CRM
June 26, 2014
"Perfection is the enemy of completion" is a bastardization of a translation of the first line of a poem by Voltaire. That makes the saying itself sort of an example of what Voltaire was talking about -- but it doesn't make it any less true. In the processes we use to run our businesses and deal with customers, there's a lot of "good enough" thinking.
Break the Language Barrier by Learning Your Customers' Native Tongues
June 19, 2014
If you live in the English-speaking world, you've been exposed to the stereotype of the snotty Parisian who refuses to speak English. The idea is that Parisians know how -- but they won't -- and they turn up their noses at anyone who won't speak French. In my experience, that stereotype is largely wrong -- if you make an effort to communicate in any way, most Parisians are perfectly friendly.
Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.

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