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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
Tellwise's Smart Messages Creates Buyer-Friendly Collaborative Environment
July 28, 2014
Tellwise, a two-and-a-half year old startup, has introduced Smart Messages, a new collaboration platform for sales reps to target prospects. The multichannel platform comes equipped with such tools as intelligent notifications, behavioral analytics and mobile functionality. Smart Messages is the culmination of the vision of Tellwise's cofounders, all of whom are former Microsoft engineers.
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.
How Many Pipelines Do You Have?
July 16, 2014
It's general practice to have multiple sales forecasts, and that typically means low and upside potential as well as what's committed -- but the idea of teasing those threads apart only at forecasting time might no longer applicable. Long before you compile a forecast, you have a good idea of which deals might be prone to a typical divergence -- so it makes sense to group like with like.
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.
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.

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