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The Class of '14
November 20, 2013
The story of this year's Dreamforce might best be told through the partner community and AppExchange, and that makes it a story about the platform. Appropriately enough, Salesforce teed up the platform topic in Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff's Tuesday keynote and the press conference immediately following it, where he announced Salesforce1.
Demandbase Puts a B2B Spin on Retargeting
November 18, 2013
Building on the B2B targeting and personalization ad platform it launched about a year ago, Demandbase last week debuted a new ad tool called "B2B Retargeting." Like the Company-Targeted Advertising solution Demandbase launched in 2012, B2B Retargeting is a rare breed of online ad software in that it focuses specifically and solely on businesses -- not consumers -- as customers.
Jargon to Jettison: 4 CRM Buzzwords that Should Be Retired
November 14, 2013
There's one thing in the post-industrial world that's never affected by economic slowdowns, changes in customer preferences, or technological advances. In fact, production of this commodity seems to pick up when there are disruptions, and each year an increasing quantity is produced. I'm talking about jargon. As technology has taken over our lives, it's brought a lot of this jargon with it.
Community Action
November 13, 2013
I had an interesting conversation last week with Eric Berridge, CEO of Bluewolf, about a new report his company sponsored, "The State of Salesforce." This is the second year that Bluewolf has compiled this report. Researchers from MIT's Sloan School interviewed hundreds of Salesforce customers to learn about their attitudes, opinions and future demand.
3 Ways Corporate Culture can Crush CRM
November 08, 2013
CRM technology often gets blamed for the failure of customer initiatives -- and sometimes it's deserved. In many cases, though, the technology works exactly as advertised -- as far as technology can work. Still, CRM is a discipline, not a technology -- the technology merely helps business scale up the discipline. For that reason, the people and the processes around CRM are vital to its success.
Harvest Customer Intelligence Through Smart Surveying
November 07, 2013
Satisfaction surveys can be much more than a yardstick to measure customer opinion or an extra channel for customer support. The optimal survey presents an opportunity to uncover important insights about your business process and drive real improvements in the organization. Before you can start reaping the customer intelligence benefits that result, however, you have to lay the right groundwork.
Mobile CRM Design, Part 2: Refining the M-Commerce Experience
November 05, 2013
Now that mobile app developers have the basics of user-friendly design down, we've moved into the m-commerce industrial age, according to Pradeep U.N., Symphony Teleca's vice president and global head of design and innovation. Specifically, the mobile app vendors and retailers that rely on this channel are now experimenting with more sophisticated tactics.
Making Feedback Mobile
November 01, 2013
Businesses and consumers instinctively understand the importance of customer feedback. Customer engagement represents a potential source of continuous improvement and competitive advantage for businesses. Consumers want to be heard and shape the products and services that impact them. I believe the creation of a virtuous customer feedback loop may represent the greatest transformative opportunity in business today.
Your Employees Are Rock Stars
October 30, 2013
I go to a lot of conferences. Usually they're a combination of customer user group meetings and analyst days, and we all hear more or less detail about product futures, new functions and features, and policy rollouts. If you know how to look at these events, you can see a certain scene repeated: A customer meets an employee face to face for the first time and gushes like a kid meeting a rock star.
Mobile CRM Design, Part 1: Different Devices, Different Rules
October 29, 2013
Most mobile app developers today have the basics of e-commerce design down pat. Increasingly, they are now thinking about the psychology of the user and how that should be factored into a mobile site or app's design. That's where testing becomes essential. "The features and functionalities of smartphones are inherently different from those on tablet devices," said Maxymiser's Daniel Toubian.
Hidden in Plain Sight: 3 CRM Analytics Pearls
October 25, 2013
CRM technology is all about collecting data -- which means it should go hand-in-hand with the trend toward analytics. Often, though, what is analyzed is not what's important. In CRM, many of the most compelling data are hiding in plain sight, but businesses are looking elsewhere. These hidden metrics can be accessed without expensive analytics tools in most cases, but they're overlooked.
Fall Roundup
October 24, 2013
There's a lot going on right now that bodes well for next year. It's amazing to even say this in October, but the evidence I've seen points to a busy new year. Companies are spending money on marketing and sales like they have not in several years. Venture capitalists are putting their capital to work, and some emerging companies are telling me they didn't actually need the cash they've taken.
Mobile CRM's Next Battleground: Point of Sale
October 22, 2013
Some brands' mobile CRM efforts amount essentially to creating versions of their websites that are visually friendly to mobile users. Others make mobile an integral part of their CRM strategies. Case in point: Arby's, which earlier this month debuted a new item on its menu -- the Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich -- with a campaign that involved a number of social media components.
Make Every Employee an Ambassador - Not a Salesperson
October 18, 2013
One of the phrases CRM vendors love to toss around these days is this saw: "CRM makes every employee a salesperson." I'm sure the VP of sales loves this vision, in which he suddenly is served by a quadrupled or quintupled number of salespeople, many of whom he doesn't have to manage and to whom he doesn't have to pay commission. The idea is a canard. It's a sham.
5 Traps to Avoid in Social CRM for Retail
October 17, 2013
It is difficult to overstate the importance of social CRM to retailers given the almost tailor-made suitability of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest et al. for reaching out and engaging with customers. What's less clear, however, is exactly how retailers should use social CRM to talk with those customers. Is it fair for customers to expect to conduct all of their business over social media?
Post-M&A, It's Time to Sync Up Your Channel Marketing Content
October 16, 2013
In the world of small business, mergers and acquisitions are a dime a dozen. For marketing organizations, however, they can cost a lot more in terms of the effort required to communicate them effectively. M&As mean integrating two separate brands into a unified message -- one that must then be collated into hundreds of pieces of collateral and distributed to a broad range of global constituents.
A Social Branding Moment
October 16, 2013
A little while ago I wrote about New Coke and the time in the 1980s when Coca-Cola tried to change its formula without much prompting from customers. As you may recall, especially if you were alive and drinking the stuff at the time, the customers didn't much like it. They were miffed about the new taste, but probably more so over the way the company more or less unilaterally made the change.
Groupon Adds a Dash of CRM to Its Breadcrumb POS App
October 10, 2013
On Wednesday Groupon announced that it has added new CRM features to its Breadcrumb point-of-sale app with the potential to drive traffic and improve customer relations for Groupon merchants. Customer tracking, for instance, is one of the new features now included in Breadcrumb. The software tracks customers, stores their contact information, analyzes purchase behaviors and records notes on their preferences.
Big Data and the Customer Analytics Challenge
October 03, 2013
Big Data is changing the game around customer analytics, giving organizations the means to develop far better analytics about their customers than ever before. Numerous examples, in fact, illustrate how high-performing and cost-effective Big Data processing can shed a world of new insight on customers' wants and preferences.
A Last, Lingering Look at Oracle OpenWorld 2013
October 02, 2013
The ghost of Anthony Lye presided over Oracle OpenWorld's third-day customer experience keynote. For CRM and related things, it was the moment I'd been waiting for. Lye is in robust health as far as I know, but he has been gone from Oracle for about a year. He was the architect of Oracle's CRM strategy that resulted in the acquisitions of RightNow Technologies, ATG, Endeca, and other brands.

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