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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.
Salesforce.com Unleashes Cloud Analytics Tidal Wave
October 14, 2014
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff last month tweeted about the tentative agenda for this week's Dreamforce, and caused a tizzy revealing a keynote session entitled "Analytics Cloud." Although the company immediately denied that it was planning to unveil such a thing or that Benioff intentionally spilled the beans, Salesforce.com did indeed launch its analytics cloud, called "Wave."
Shooting for Sales? Give Marketing the Right Weapons
October 10, 2014
The old saw is that sales is a numbers game. That's kind of true -- but less so every passing year. In reality, it's becoming a productivity game: How can we make the sales people in our businesses as productive as possible? The key is to make marketing people as productive as possible, too -- which they're becoming, thanks to the advent of better software and smarter ways of using it.
Facebook Sharpens Audience Network Targeting
October 08, 2014
Facebook on Tuesday further opened its Audience Network to third-party developers and publishers. It debuted the platform in April, positioning it as a mobile monetization tool that would leverage Facebook's 1.5 million advertisers and the millions of users who sign into apps using their Facebook credentials. The platform is now available to developers and publishers around the world.
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.
A Lot to Like in the Midwest
October 01, 2014
There was a lot to like at Salesforce ExactTarget's Connections 2014 user conference in Indianapolis last week. Now all that's needed is a shorter name. The words "marketing cloud" need to be fitted in there too, but I forget how. Perhaps it's ExactTarget's Midwest roots, but I can see a genuine concern for the customer emanating from the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and it plays well.
Facebook Launches Atlas to Shoulder the Whole Digital-Advertising World
September 29, 2014
Facebook on Monday announced Atlas, a rebuilt ad platform that gives marketers access to its vast troves of user data and helps them direct highly targeted ads across the Web. "Atlas delivers people-based marketing, helping marketers reach real people across devices, platforms and publishers," explained Erik Johnson, head of the new Facebook service.
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 New Forecasting Era
September 24, 2014
Sales forecasting never has been easy, and over time it has gotten a lot harder. This brings up a couple of points that every sales manager and CEO has to deal with: how to forecast deals and how to track them. Forecasting has gone through several generations of approaches that have been tied directly to sales practices. Unfortunately, some of us have been reticent to change practices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!"
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.
Attentive.ly's Social Marketing Taps Customer Interests
July 21, 2014
Attentive.ly recently released its application on the Eloqua platform, digging a deeper foothold for itself in the CRM enterprise space. Attentive.ly provides social marketing automation functionality in the form of a plug-and-play toolset that works with a CRM overlay. Using its tools, companies can organize customers in specific groups, listen to their online conversations, and send personalized marketing messages.

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