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Spreading CRM's Message
February 12, 2019
I've recently been writing a lot about platforms -- not about any one in particular, but about the importance of platform to the future of what we all do in CRM and beyond. Platform provides a level of abstraction between machines and humans. Inventing the platform was like inventing the power loom or the printing press. It was a way to separate the creative effort from rote production.
OceanX and the E-Commerce Subscription Wave
February 8, 2019
Becoming a subscription provider used to be a big and expensive task. To get into the game, a vendor needed to build a subscription business model right next to its traditional businesses, which typically involved building an e-commerce Web store and member site, organizing an online price list and catalog, and figuring out how to handle subscription business receipts, shipping and returns.
The State of Selling
February 6, 2019
What's the state of the selling profession today? In brief, it fluctuates significantly based on economic circumstances and a company's position in a category lifecycle. At the start of a category lifecycle, when vendors really need people who can educate and explain what a disruptive innovation actually does, salespeople are in demand and life is very good indeed.
US Mobile Phones Flooded With Robocalls
January 31, 2019
Americans received 26.3 billion robocalls on their mobile phones in 2018, according to Hiya. That was 46 percent more than in 2017. Consumers received an average of 10 spam calls per month, Hiya found. The top unwanted call in the U.S. was for the Wangiri, or "one-ring" scam, which grew 250 percent year over year. Seven of the top area codes targeted by spammers were in Texas.
Top CRM Blogs of 2018: Countdown, Part 2
January 18, 2019
The Top 10 blogs on our top 20 list are written by people well known to CRM professionals. There's a reason for that: In order to understand and appreciate the discipline of CRM, you must be a person who values other people, and part of valuing people is being able to communicate with them. As a result, these bloggers bring a unique combination of insight and personality to their posts.
NetSuite's Revelations at NRF
January 17, 2019
NetSuite announced results of its sponsored study at this week's National Retail Federation show in New York, shedding light on technology adoption in a retail setting. The study suggests that merchants are not doing what customers would want and that they have a misguided perception of the situation. The findings indicate that merchants may have gotten some things very wrong.
Let Your Data Do the Forecasting
January 16, 2019
Decision makers in any sales organization know that forecasting correctly is both art and science. To predict the unforeseen successfully, you must use every piece of logic and reasoning available to help you make your predictions reality. When developing a strategic forecasting approach, your business needs to take a number of items into consideration simultaneously -- and that is no easy feat.
Salesforce and the Machine
January 15, 2019
There's been way too much obsessing about how artificial intelligence and machine learning will eliminate jobs. For example, 60 Minutes recently ran a feature about AI venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, one of many stories predicting the elimination of jobs and a dystopian takeover of the world, or so it seems, by machines. Lee is a persuasive voice.
Top CRM Blogs of 2018: Countdown, Part 1
January 10, 2019
After several years of instability on this list, 2018 saw things settle down a bit. In past years, blogs would make the list for a flurry of great posts one year, then fizzle the next. Sometimes, bloggers would change careers and their CRM content would dry up. Once in a while, a great blogger would get hired by a major vendor and see his or her output bent to fit the corporate line.
Creating New Customer Experiences: 6 Retail Technology Predictions for 2019
January 8, 2019
As e-commerce has gained serious momentum over the past 10 years, there have been dire predictions about the impending death of brick-and-mortar retail. The narrative has been framed largely as "technology is killing retail," but the reality is not quite so simple. While technology undoubtedly has transformed the retail landscape, it also has been pushing the industry forward.
2019 CRM Wish List
January 3, 2019
I've been writing a forecast column every year at least since W was president. Nothing's wrong with that, lots of people do. However, I often find that my forecast is more of a wish list than a true prognostication, so this time I'll dispense with the fiction of analytical rigor and just say what I think needs to happen. First, the industry is consolidating. The big and successful companies are competing on a different plane than the smaller ones.
E-Commerce Success Strategies: Think Local, Not Global
December 14, 2018
The borderless promise of e-commerce doesn't mean one size fits all. Your business can have customers from around the globe, but if you want to keep them and grow, it is crucial to understand local shopper preferences and behaviors, and be able to respond to them. Without localization, you won't have an effective go-to-market strategy, and your opportunity for growth will stall.
10 Brand and Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019
December 7, 2018
Metrics matter. In business they measure sales, they measure profits, they measure brand health. Marketers measure their reputations, their ad recall, and their shares-of-market. They measure tweets and shares and all sorts of social networking outreach. With all their measuring, marketers haven't yet located the silver bullet, but really smart marketers have caught the glint.
One-of-a-Kind CRM
December 5, 2018
The hoopla over vertical market or industry CRM might be eclipsing a similar move that does the same kind of thing but with less fanfare. In the end, we might be discussing two iterations and just a difference of degree. The proliferation of CRM development platforms by companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and especially Salesforce, is changing how we regard core functionality.
Salesforce's Earnings Mystery
November 29, 2018
My only question about Salesforce's recent revenue announcement is why the company described the vast majority of its nonprofessional services revenues as "subscription and support." Proserv revenues were appropriately small, at $224 million, while subscription and support was $3.17 billion, or 26 percent more than the same quarter a year earlier. Nice going, by the way.
Transforming Customer Insights Into Actionable Intelligence
November 28, 2018
From technology innovation to the workplace, the business landscape has been evolving rapidly, and companies now are tasked with adapting to fast change in a world of digital transformation. There is one element that will remain a constant requirement for success: meeting the needs of customers and delivering a quality experience. Nurturing customer relationships is vital for a company's success.
The Unsustainability of Black Friday and Cyber Monday for E-Commerce
November 28, 2018
Black Friday made its debut sometime in the 1960s as the day to help retailers move from the red to the black in profits. The day-after-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza has grown well beyond its roots since then. Last year, at the peak of Black Friday, shoppers were spending nearly $1 million per minute. However, the origins of Black Friday were pre-Internet.
How to Choose a B2C E-Commerce Suite
November 27, 2018
In order to grow, brick-and-mortar stores realize they must use their digital touchpoints to enhance their customers' in-store experiences. Online retailers recognize they need to separate themselves from the pack through faster and more informative shopping experiences. And omnichannel sellers and brands are aware they need to provide their customers with a seamless, cross-channel experience.
Governance: An Overlooked but Critical CX Solution
November 20, 2018
Today's customer feedback world is extremely complex with data coming from a variety of sources. With the growing number of cross-functional teams and silos within an organization, leaders have been finding it increasingly difficult to capture the full 360-degree view of the customer to drive true change within an organization. While it's clear that problems exist, what's less straightforward is why.
Chatbots Gaining Altitude
November 15, 2018
How do they really know? That's the question that immediately comes to mind in reviewing the top-level data from Voxpro's recent survey of customers and their relationship with chatbots. The data show that 68 percent of consumers haven't used chatbots to contact a brand. About 1,000 people answered the survey. How reliable is that number, though? I'm not disrespecting Voxpro -- just the opposite.
Above the Funnel No More
November 7, 2018
The conventional sales funnel exceeded its usefulness a long time ago, roughly when the Internet gave us the ability to gather information about vendors, products and services. Without the necessity of contacting a salesperson, individuals and businesses could eliminate the middleman in the information exchange. The result was sales cycle compression and more emphasis on getting a good deal.
Digital Disruption Pathways
November 5, 2018
Digital transformation means a lot of things to different people, but if you do it right it should be virtually unique to your circumstance. The other day I caught up with Rip Gerber, CMO at Vlocity, the Salesforce partner that specializes in vertical industries like telecommunications and insurance. Of digital disruption, Gerber told me, "Nobody changes anything without a strong business case."
Turning a Corner in CRM
October 19, 2018
For the last 20 years, CRM has occupied a preeminent niche in enterprise software. It has been the hip, up-and-coming solution in the front office, brimming with innovation and new approaches to some difficult problems. CRM applied basic database technology to a business' chaotic collection of customer data, streamlining business practices and boosting productivity in sales and service.
For Great Customer Experiences, Design Great Employee Experiences
October 16, 2018
"Customer experience" is the great watchword of 2018 -- and it was a great watchword in 2017 and 2016, too. Eighty-five percent of executives said that CX was important to their companies' strategic priorities, in an Accenture survey. Sixty-two percent of companies viewed CX delivered by contact centers as a competitive differentiator, Deloitte found.
5 Tech Advances That Can Deepen Customer Engagement
October 11, 2018
Customers are crucial to a successful business. They can be one-off customers or repeat buyers. Ideally, a business wants a mix of both. Problems arise when marketing tactics fail to attract either type, which is why customer engagement is so critical in today's hypercompetitive e-commerce environment. It should be no surprise that customers prefer companies that treat them as valued individuals.
The Fine Art of Winning Over Gen Z Consumers
October 9, 2018
From generation to generation, retail has evolved into a global business. Gone are the days of the local corner store. Today's consumers have access to products from across the world with a simple click of a button. Even brick-and-mortar stores are adapting to e-commerce as retailers find innovative ways to incorporate online orders into the storefront to accommodate their shoppers' expectations.
The CRM Oligopoly
October 4, 2018
As markets mature, they trend toward oligopoly or even outright monopoly. There isn't much difference, because an oligopoly has several members instead of just one. Examples include electric power generation, an oligopoly made up of vertically integrated monopolies in most areas, and the airline industry -- an oligopoly made up of many airlines that may have monopolies in regional hubs.
Dreamforce 2018
October 1, 2018
Salesforce has been very good at skating to where the puck will be, to paraphrase the great Wayne Gretzky. As a result, the company has a long line of firsts, beginning with its initial disruption and continuing through its early adoption of social media and analytics. So it's no surprise that it is pursuing some very different issues now than it did almost 20 years ago -- or even five.
5 Reasons the Sales A-Player's Era Is Ending
September 28, 2018
Sales talent for a long time has been broken up into three groups: A-players, B-players and C-players. Everyone loves the A-players -- they're the ones who bring home the bacon. The B-players show promise and, with the right training and motivation, could become A-players. The C-players? Well the less said, the better. This simplistic method of segmenting a sales force dates to a simpler era.
The Best of Both Worlds: Converging Online and Offline Shopping
September 27, 2018
Online and offline shopping businesses have to work together to improve customer engagement and retention. Although some brick-and-mortar stores are suffering revenue loss to online retailers, there is still an important space for them in the shopping experience. By joining forces, brick-and-mortar and online stores can meet the emerging needs of today's customers.
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Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.