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SAP Seeds the Cloud With Industry-Specific CRM Applications
June 02, 2014
SAP has updated its cloud-based CRM portfolio with the rollout of three industry-specific applications. These applications, designed for the insurance, utilities and retail sectors, are the first cloud-based verticals for CRM, aside from a broader-based application with functionality tailored for consumer goods. In addition, SAP has introduced a cloud-based marketing performance dashboard.
Salesforce, MS Deal Could Put Mobile CRM on Steroids
May 30, 2014
Now "anyone can run their business from their phone," Salesforce.com recently promised when it announced its Salesforce1 Mobile App. Many company announcements tend to overpromise, and Salesforce has a tendency to be particularly exuberant, so I took it with the customary grain of salt. My skepticism vanished on Thursday, when Salesforce and Microsoft announced a global strategic partnership.
Kudos to Xactly
May 28, 2014
Xactly, the SaaS-based incentive compensation solutions provider, has kicked it up a notch. The user meeting I attended last week in San Francisco was very successful -- but more importantly, it made some real news in the compensation space. Conferences like this often are news generators -- or, more precisely, they're PR engines. Everybody with a show announces something.
Salesforce1 Mobile App Drives Internet of Customers
May 27, 2014
Salesforce.com has announced that its Salesforce1 Mobile App will be generally available in the company's summer release. The app will be accompanied by an enterprise ecosystem consisting of some 65 partner apps, a new connector for SAP, and a slew of new features around sales, service and marketing functionality, said Michael Peachey, senior director of mobile products for Salesforce.com.
5 Ways Social CRM Builds Indirect Channel Relationships
May 23, 2014
The concept of social CRM has been around so long now that, if you listen to the pundits, we should stop saying it and just include it as part of CRM. That assumes most companies have fully digested what "social" means and have made plans to use it effectively -- which is assuming a lot. That said, there's another area where social media needs to be incorporated: partner relationship management.
SuiteWorld's Vision
May 22, 2014
Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, talked a lot about CRM in his recent keynote at SuiteWorld. You might not think that's unusual, given that the company has a whole suite of cloud-based ERP-CRM-E-Commerce, but it represents a departure -- and I don't know if even Nelson is fully aware of it. NetSuite built its reputation and a half-billion dollar business around front- to back-office integration.
Zero Patience, Zero Wait: The New Customer Reality
May 19, 2014
Gone in half the blink of an eye. Online customers, that is. Visitors are less likely to return to a site that is even 250 milliseconds slower than a competing site, according to Harry Shum, a Microsoft executive who led research and development efforts for the Bing search engine. That's an increment of time equal to about half the amount of time it takes a human to blink. Milliseconds matter.
Going Off-Script to Delight Customers
May 16, 2014
I had an exciting moment while grocery shopping last week. After 10 years of going to the same market and seeing the same checkers, one of them actually pronounced my name right. I know my last name's a bit hard to pronounce, and clerks have spent the better part of the 21st century asking me how to say it. I also know that, at the market where I shop, clerks are instructed to thank customers.
Maximizing a Product Rollout
May 14, 2014
Bringing a new product -- or even a new version -- to market is not what it used to be. Back in the day your market was probably empty, a green field where you could find opportunity under a rock. Everybody needed what you had, and selling was relatively easy. Things don't stay that way for long, though, and today you have to work hard to insert a new product into a crowded market.
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.
Report: CRM Is Going Strong
May 09, 2014
CRM software had a good year in 2013 with the category totaling $20.4 billion, a 13.7 percent increase from $18 billion the previous year, according to a report released this week by Gartner. Furthermore, the next few years are likely to be just as positive, if not more, the firm predicted. "CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years," said Gartner Research VP Joanne Correia.
Is a Poor Portal Ruining Your Partners' Experience?
May 08, 2014
Selling direct is a breeze -- kind of. You control everything -- you choose the salesperson, you provide the training, you establish the payment structure, and you decide on the marketing message used to reach customers, among other things. When you sell through the channel, howevr, things get complicated. You need to depend on your partners to hire, train and motivate sales people.
Sub-Ledger for the Hybrid Enterprise
May 07, 2014
There is a business problem that comes up in the life of every company, and these days it seems that a lot of companies face it at once. It's the question of how to transition from one business model to another without clobbering your current revenue flow. Even if a company's executives really want to change its model, there is always a faction that says, "not yet."
OnSip Invites Customers to Push Its Buttons
May 05, 2014
Amazon's Mayday button has intrigued CRM industry users as well as consumers. Introduced about a year ago, Mayday is a button customers can press on their mobile devices to get service or tech help. Salesforce.com last month debuted its version of Mayday. Now other tech providers are introducing variations on the theme. One such company is OnSIP, which has just debuted InstaCall.
Whodunnit? 4 Suspects in CRM Murder Mystery
May 01, 2014
CRM is often mistakenly viewed as a technology, but it is really a discipline -- and it's not a solo discipline, like a martial art or meditation. It's a team discipline in which every customer-facing employee can make a contribution. Whether those contributions are positive or negative depends on the teammates. In most cases where CRM is decreed to have "failed," the cause isn't the technology.
New Salesforce Tool Lets Customers Send an SOS
April 29, 2014
Salesforce.com last week launched Salesforce1 Service Cloud SOS, a tool that allows companies to offer service via a mobile app. It consists of a button embedded in an app's interface, and as the name "SOS" suggests, it is meant for customers to press when they need help or assistance. Then, depending on the service apparatus of the company in question, a live agent will respond.
inContact Rolls Out Feature-Rich Cloud Call Center Update
April 23, 2014
inContact has released its first cloud contact center software update for the year. Version 14.1 contains a new two-way SMS channel, more refined automated call-routing, deeper integration with Salesforce.com and Oracle, and new APIs that give enterprise users the ability to customize their own applications and do a deep dive into their data. The company currently is rolling out the new version.
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.
Marketo's Show
April 16, 2014
Marketo put on an interesting show last week at Moscone West in San Francisco. Still basking in last year's IPO, the company attracted a large and diverse audience of marketers who wanted to learn about modern marketing automation, and it was a good opportunity to take stock of where marketing has been and where it is going. The impression I got was that modern marketing is in its early phase.
SugarCRM Refines Customer Analytics for Sales
April 14, 2014
When SugarCRM debuts version 7.2 in the coming weeks, users already will have had a taste of one of its main themes: tighter integration around productivity tools aimed at better understanding a customer base. That is because SugarCRM has previewed two such integrations over the past month -- one with Marketo and one with Dun & Bradstreet -- both designed to improve the user experience.

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