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FirstRain Mobile Showers Sales Reps With Data
May 13, 2014
FirstRain has released its third iteration of the mobile version of its personal business analytics app, enhancing it with social sharing functionality and building in a new contextual layer that gives users more information about the data they receive. FirstRain also debuted a version for Windows Phone with this rollout. These changes are preceding what FirstRain is doing on the desktop.
Are We There Yet? The Long Road to the CRM Revolution
April 17, 2014
They say you must walk before you can run. It follows that you should crawl before you walk. In CRM, however, there are a lot of businesses that talk at great length about wanting to run even though they haven't mastered crawling yet. They battle with the same old problems: adoption issues; technology decisions made before business needs are identified; lack of executive buy-in.
4 Ways to Waste Great Marketing Opportunities
February 28, 2014
CRM has always purported to be about relationships, but it's often used primarily for sales. That's kind of a good news, bad news situation. The bad news first: CRM got a bad rap when it didn't become a sales panacea (mostly for adoption issues). The good news: It exposed a void in the mix that marketing automation rushed to fill. The key to successful relationships is communication.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
The 3 Ages of CRM
February 5, 2014
I have written often about the connection between CRM and economics, almost as if one explains the other. While I still believe it in part, my thinking has evolved and become more nuanced over the last 15 years to the point that today I want to discuss my evolution. Social science is for me the obvious metaphor for CRM, but which social science? The first era of CRM can be explained by economics.
Marketing Automation Report Card
January 29, 2014
After two years of fairly hectic activity in the marketing automation space, it might be useful to ask where all the commotion has gotten us. Once a captive of finance, which was concerned with reeling in marketing's costs and rationalizing expenses with known -- or at least knowable -- benefits, marketing automation emerged in the last couple of years as a powerful tool.
Foreign Firms Flee US Cloud Services
January 13, 2014
Further proof that the NSA surveillance scandal is impacting the United States IT industry came on Friday with the publication of a study conducted for Canadian Web hosting and cloud services provider Peer1 Hosting. Fully 64 percent of the 300 UK- and Canada-based respondents to the survey hoped to move data from U.S.-based cloud service providers to their own countries within the next five years.
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.
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?
Analog Marketing Strategies for a Digital World
September 4, 2013
Do you remember walking by telephone poles at downtown intersections 10 or 20 years ago and seeing them covered in fliers, placards and notices? If it was a really popular intersection, there were probably several layers of paper pinned, tacked, taped and stapled on top of each other. If the telephone pole was wooden, you could see generations of old staples and tacks still biting deep into the wood.
Zozi: It's All About the Experience
August 8, 2013
Zozi, which connects customers to activity-related adventures or trips -- say sailing lessons or rock-climbing tours -- rolled out a CRM system earlier this year that is an offshoot of an acquisition the startup made at the end of 2012. The name of the CRM system is "Zozi Advance," and it is a build-out from a system the company acquired when it purchased TripFlavor.
Mobile Privacy Laws Are on the Horizon
June 25, 2013
This past May mobile app developers dodged a bullet when a California state court sided with Delta Airlines in a dispute over its mobile app. California's attorney general had sued Delta, alleging that the company violated the state's mobile privacy law, which requires a company to clearly state that users' personal information is being collected.
Intercom Connections Aid $6M Funding Round
June 21, 2013
Intercom, which offers businesses a tool to create personalized communications with customers, has secured some $6 million in a Series A round of funding. The Social+Capital Partnership, founded by former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya, handled the fundraising. Some prominent tech players have attached their names to Intercom, including Twitter founder Biz Stone and Facebook exec Paul Adams.
5 Places Customer Relationships Go to Die
June 14, 2013
Building a customer relationship -- the kind that lasts a long time -- is a not an easy thing. There are lots of occasions where things can go awry, touch points where signals can get crossed and communications that can unwittingly turn a customer off. In a lot of cases, the conclusion is triggered by something the business does that brings the relationship to a premature end.
2 Steps Back: The Social Revolution
March 20, 2013
We have this idea of modern computing that is closely tied to social media, and rightly so. Social media is a kind of glue that ties us together in new and bigger configurations than our own human capabilities. However, it is also the unspoken issue in the Yahoo brouhaha about working from home -- the idea whose name shall not be spoken. How else to explain the ultra retro edict -- anachronism, really -- that all Yahoos must report to the brick-and-mortar in person rather than "telecommute."
Subscriptions, Social and CRM
March 13, 2013
"Who is the customer?" It's a great question, one that my managers liked to ask when I was a young sales representative. Like all great questions, it got to the meat of the matter with an economy of words that were impressive as much for their brevity as for thir meaning. The customer's identity is often far from obvious, and it's why professional sales and marketing people obsess over it.
Secrets for Speeding CRM Time to Value
February 21, 2013
We all know about the idea of total cost of ownership and the concept of return on investment. Both have their place in business evaluations of CRM. There's another measurement, however, that should be considered -- one I like to call "time to value." The T2V test is simple.
3 Bad Habits to Unlearn for SCRM Success
February 14, 2013
For the better part of six years, we pundits have been urging businesses to get social. Social CRM even has its own Gartner Magic Quadrant, and while the entries in that document are all over the map in terms of what they do, vendors serving aspects of SCRM are well established. Gartner itself said that sales of software for SCRM topped $1 billion in 2012.
Chick-fil-A: Stop Trying to Control the Conversation
August 9, 2012
When people are under stress, many respond with remarkable grace, courage and decisiveness. Then there are those who, under great stress, become paralyzed, flail about, or lash out in unproductive and unprovoked ways. The social era is showing us that while corporations are not people, they are run by people. And choosing wisely when elevating people to leadership positions is critical.
Seeing Social Meet in the Middle
August 8, 2012
I'm just back from a week in the woods, trying to get my head around social media and CRM again. That means I'm in the middle of writing up a report on some research that uberanalyst Esteban Kolsky and I did over the last few months, and smack in the middle of CRM Idol judging. Everything's fine, and I see some interesting parallels, and without giving the store away, here is one interesting cross tab.
Do You Remember All the Cool Things Your CRM App Can Do?
August 3, 2012
If you mention a certain brand of lower-priced, assemble-it-yourself furniture of Scandinavian heritage, you stand a pretty good chance of getting a response that dwells at some length on how hard it is to put it together. I've never felt that way -- in reality, I actually like putting stuff together. It's not that I'm good at it -- I've just learned to follow the directions. If only CRM were as simple.
Learning the Social CRM Data-Management Ropes
July 23, 2012
Every time people post an update, "like" a page, or otherwise engage with social media, their movements are tracked, followed and recorded. For businesses, this data is a gold mine of information about consumer thinking, preferences and opinions. "Businesses should view social media as a treasure trove of data and insights," said Wilson Raj, global customer intelligence director with SAS.
Social CRM Evolution vs. Mobile CRM Revolution
July 13, 2012
CRM technology -- along with the way we use it -- is going through an interesting patch of development right now. In part because mobile devices are now delivering on their potential, there's a renewed vigor around mobile CRM. At the same time, social CRM continues to gain attention and energy.
CRM Symbiosis
July 11, 2012
I have always been interested in the similarities between biology and economics and ultimately business. In the last few years we've adopted some of the parlance of biology when we talk about business, especially social business. Perhaps the best example is the analogy we freely make between a vendor and its partners and supply chain, i.e. "the ecosystem."
Blame Change for Social CRM's Plodding Pace
May 24, 2012
I remember being an impatient kid when something I really wanted was on its way. The first time I was aware of my parents mail-ordering something for me -- I think it was a baseball jersey I especially coveted -- I can recall bombarding them with a chorus of the phrase, "when is it going to get here?" I realize now that hearing a six-year-old ask that question 300 times a day for three or four days was genuine torture for my parents.
3 CRM Traits Shared by Good People and Great Companies
May 3, 2012
I just wrote a note to a friend of mine thanking him for his participation at a conference I recently helped organize. It was a thank you note, and he's a CRM industry influencer; I won't divulge names, because it's not important to my point, nor do I want to seen like too much of a suck-up. In any event, I was grateful for his participation in the show -- not just for his session, but for his behavior at this and every other CRM event he goes to.
Automating Social: The Perils of Trying to Fake Sincerity
April 5, 2012
"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made." This quote, often bandied about, is attributed to Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944), who was a French diplomat, dramatist and novelist. And, judging by his best-remembered quote, kind of a jerk. I'm not saying this specifically as an attempt at character assassination of a 68-year-dead raconteur -- no, there's a reason that I bring it up, and it has to do with social CRM.
Social CRM vs. the Unimaginative, the Unmotivated and the Skeptical
March 29, 2012
When I go to CRM conferences -- and I go to many -- one of the things I relish is the opportunity to speak to leaders about thinking surrounding social CRM. That group is not limited to the pundits and authors most closely associated with SCRM; it also includes users at these events who have reached the decision to fully embrace it in their businesses. I leave these events filled with excitement.
5 Ways to Sell Salespeople on CRM
January 26, 2012
The way the concept of CRM is defined during the sales process can sow the seeds of its ultimate failure. Because the decision makers are often sales managers rather than actual salespeople, the pitch is usually made that CRM makes it easier for the managers to manage their sales staff. Which is true. But what's in it for the sales staff?
Worst Practices: 3 Ways Businesses Fail at Social CRM
July 28, 2011
By now, most people understand the power and the value of adding a social component to your CRM strategy. Perhaps you're not yet ready to go to full social CRM, but you no doubt recognize that there is a lot of value in engaging with customers in the ways they want to engage. As social media become ever more omnipresent, you'll have no choice but to engage with customers through those channels.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.