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Time to Drill Deeper
January 21, 2015
This is not an article about fracking -- drilling for gas and oil in shale. This is about "drilling down" into big data. We've been using the term for a long time and it provides a useful metaphor for data analysis. However, we've conditioned ourselves to think of drilling down only to a superficial degree, and that needs a rethink. When data wasn't big, we were only able to scratch the surface.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 2
January 20, 2015
The second half of the Top 20 Bloggers list is the half that holds the most surprises and fresh faces. This year, it also has the most variety -- from non-English speakers to blogs targeted at small businesses -- as well as plenty of marketing-oriented content. There also are some re-entries to the list who have rediscovered their blogs and come roaring back.
What SMB CRM Shoppers Want
January 19, 2015
CRM is expected to grow at a steady pace, and CRM customers are sending some specific signals about the functionality they need. Thirty-seven percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses that participated in its annual survey want an integrated suite of multiple CRM applications, Software Advice reported last month. That's up from 7 percent in 2013.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 1
January 12, 2015
The field of CRM bloggers is like the start of a marathon: There may be thousands of entrants, but there are only a few elite runners. Spotting them in the rest of the pack is not always easy -- especially as their enthusiasm for blogging waxes and wanes, or as they move into other formats, like becoming regular columnists in publications. However, there are a few things that identify the elite.
Better and Better
January 7, 2015
James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds and business and finance columnist for The New Yorker, published an article in the magazine's Nov. 10, 2014, issue entitled, "Better All The Time." The piece connects the importance of culture-wide continuous incremental improvement using data and analytics -- what the Japanese call kaizen -- to business and employees.
Retargeting May Work, but Pretargeting May Work Better
December 18, 2014
The practice of repeatedly serving up ads for products consumers previously viewed or asked about -- called "retargeting" -- not only works, but works so well that its use is spreading beyond simple marketing. So says a recent survey of marketers conducted by Adroll, which provides this type of ad technology. The company released the results this week.
Sales Kaizen
December 17, 2014
CRM makes several promises to its users: selling more or selling faster; resolving service issues faster or at least quickly; and generating more leads. If you do root cause analysis, however, you can quickly conclude that at least in some cases, you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. For instance, the best way to resolve service issues is to avoid them in the first place.
Zendesk Crystallizes Mobile Customer Service
December 16, 2014
Zendesk has launched a new platform, Zendesk Embeddables, that allows companies to incorporate certain elements of the Zendesk product suite in mobile and Web apps, as well as games and other online mobile experiences. Zendesk Embeddables includes a mobile software development kit and Web Widget. Using these, a company can offer Zendesk's self-service functionality through a mobile app.
Year-End Thoughts
December 11, 2014
We are now through almost 15 years of the century, and for all of that time I have been analyzing the CRM industry as it has evolved. This year, rather than simply reviewing some of the progress we made in the industry during the last 12 months, I'll take a broader view of the decade and a half, which might be more interesting. It certainly gives us a great perspective on how far we've come.
Sales and Marketing Aren't Aligned - but Their Problems Are
December 8, 2014
The numbers prove it: Sales and marketing just aren't playing well together in most organizations. A not-so-small industry has sprung up to attack the issue of sales/marketing alignment, but the problem is so deeply entrenched that it may never be fully eradicated. That's a little weird when you think about it. The two sides are confronting problems that parallel each other.
AgilOne Bends Over Backwards to Understand Customers
December 1, 2014
AgilOne has rolled out an enhanced version of its predictive marketing platform with new tools, as well as improvements to fine-tune its forecasting capabilities, said CMO Dominique Levin. The focus of the upgrade was to automate even more of the analytics and subsequent decision-making by users. One of the new tools uses predictive analytics to uncover underserved customer segments.
Salesforce Adds App Hub to Centralize Customer Service on Desk.com
November 25, 2014
Salesforce.com on Monday launched App Hub, an upgrade to its Desk.com customer service platform. App Hub features more than 50 apps for a wide range of functions including e-commerce, email marketing, telephony and text messaging. Partner apps available with Desk.com include Harvest, JIRA, MailChimp, Olark, Shopify, Twilio, Five9, NewVoiceMedia, OneReach, RingCentral and TalkDesk.
The Intangibles: 5 Things That Aren't on the CRM Data Sheets
November 21, 2014
CRM has been around for a long time now -- more than 25 years. Amazingly, many businesses, including large businesses with revenue in excess of US$100 million, still operate without it. That's amazing, because to many business leaders, CRM has become table stakes when it comes to creating a software infrastructure. Within CRM, many of the features have become table stakes, too.
SMS: It's Not Just for Marketing Any More
November 20, 2014
There appears to be a new trend emerging in the enterprise mobile engagement space, according to OpenMarket. Increasingly, its enterprise customers are adapting its platform to use SMS in new ways, said Tim Fujita Yuhas, the company's director of product management. Sometimes those uses are obvious CRM plays; sometimes they fall more under the rubric of Internet of Things.
Platform Native
November 19, 2014
The idea of an omnipotent software platform and the evolution of customer science go hand in hand. Customer science is the upshot of my idea that we're in the process of converting from random acts of CRM in the front office to a more structured, efficient and predictable approach to conducting front-office business. Platforms make customer science possible.
The Terrifying Numbers Behind a Whopping Marketing Failure
November 17, 2014
There are lots of scary things out there -- killer viruses, Earth-smashing meteors, the possibility of yet another Real Housewives show. But those are easy to dismiss and push to the farthest corner of the back of your mind. What's really distressing? Numbers. Numbers are really scary -- specifically, the numbers around things marketers know they should be doing but aren't.
Salesforce1 Lightning Connect Aims to End the Long CRM Integration Nightmare
November 13, 2014
Salesforce.com has unveiled Salesforce1 Lightning Connect, a new component for its Lightning Platform as a Service for mobile developers, which it introduced last month. Lightning Connect, which is available immediately, is an integration tool that moves data in real time from back-end legacy systems to the Salesforce.com mobile offering. Its purpose is to make the data migration easy for users.
Kana Burnishes Omnichannel Customer Engagement Tools
November 11, 2014
Kana has announced the first major upgrade of its flagship enterprise product following its acquisition earlier this year by Verint. Kana Enterprise Customer Engagement Optimization platform has been available since Oct. 31. At its core, the platform is the same, said Director of Product Marketing Kana Kelly Koelliker. It provides tools to facilitate customer engagement across multiple channels.
5 Promises CRM Can't Keep
November 10, 2014
Don't get me wrong -- I think very highly of CRM. I've been making a living writing about it for almost a decade, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Still, covering CRM is a little bit like writing an honest biography of a complex person. Yes, there were moments when your subject achieved great things and was covered in glory, but there were also times when he didn't behave so well.
Cortana Goes to Work for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Users
November 5, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a slew of new features and functionality for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. One of the most striking is the addition of Cortana, Microsoft's intelligent personal assistant. The company also added the ability to create predefined and configurable processes using branching logic, near real-time calculations and roll-ups for business information, and client API enhancements.
Pegasystems Glides Through Social, Mobile Channels
November 3, 2014
Pegasystems has unveiled a major upgrade to its customer service application, offering new functionality both for consumers and customer service reps. Pegasystems seeded the mobile version of Pega Customer Service with new functionality as well, said Steve Kraus, senior director of product marketing for CRM Solutions at Pega. The end goal was to assist users offering omnichannel customer service.
Apple Pay May Leave CurrentC in the Dust
October 30, 2014
Apple's debut of Apple Pay has been more than a little bumpy, and the company may be in for some additional negative press about its competitive position before the dust settles. However, there is one major factor in Apple's favor that could help it win the mobile payments tug-of-war in the end: time. It's chief competition, CurrentC, won't launch for another few months.
Tact Premium Goes With the Flow
October 27, 2014
Tactile has debuted Tact Premium, a paid version of its Tact for Salesforce CRM mobile app, that offers ramped-up functionality. Tactile showed it off earlier this month during Salesforce.com's annual Dreamforce show. "The biggest challenge with CRM systems is that they do not follow how a typical sales person goes through his or her day. We have solved that problem," claimed CEO Chuck Ganapathi.
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.

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