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CloudCraze EVP Andrew Witherspoon: For Successful B2B, Set Aside Expectations
April 12, 2017
"If there's anything true about B2B service, you have to do it in the context of the customers themselves in order to be successful. That's our philosophy," said CloudCraze EVP Andrew Witherspoon. "What is the purpose of CRM and marketing? It's to reach out, find and engage prospects, and to move them through a buying cycle. All those capabilities are on a CRM platform.
Oracle's Strategery
April 10, 2017
Watching Oracle's cloud strategy roll out has given me renewed respect for its approach to the market. As a company that has been public for a long stretch of time, Oracle has displayed all the warmth of an anaconda. I have friends there, and they are not anacondas, but I hope they know what I mean. Oracle knows its business and it's making money, and it does it unabashedly.
SugarCRM Adds Enterprise Management to Mobile App
April 6, 2017
SugarCRM has announced the latest version of its app for iOS and Android, Sugar Mobile 5.0. It includes a redesigned user experience based on customer feedback; support for Apple's Touch ID; a new Sugar MACS service that lets users customize login, splash and loading screens to support their organization's branding, look and feel without coding; and enterprise mobile management support.
Salesforce Offers AI-Powered CRM for Financial Advisors
March 31, 2017
Salesforce this week announced Financial Services Cloud Einstein, an AI-based CRM tool for financial advisors. It gives users a holistic view of each client's household and wealth ecosystem and lets them leverage Salesforce's AI technology to seek out new business opportunities. Einstein Opportunity tracks clients' sentiments, competitor mentions, and overall engagement.
Trust: Why Financial Services Should Embrace DoL's Fiduciary Rule
March 24, 2017
When the Department of Labor issued its fiduciary rule last year, it set financial advisers, insurers and agents into a mad scramble to meet an implementation deadline. The rule elevates all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice to the level of a fiduciary, or someone bound legally and ethically to meet the standards of that status.
LinkedIn Burnishes Sales Navigator for the Enterprise
March 23, 2017
LinkedIn on Tuesday launched an enterprise edition of its Sales Navigator product, with strengthened links to CRM. LinkedIn Enterprise Edition lets users send 50 emails on LinkedIn a month; adds Single Sign-On and other management features; and introduces TeamLink Extend, a tool that pools the networks of all the Sales Navigator users in an enterprise.
Blockchain: CRM's Next Frontier
March 22, 2017
We've seen a parade of technologies coming into the front office since 2000, including browser-based cloud computing, social media, mobile technology, workflow, journey mapping, and big data and analytics. It's typical that at first there's only a tenuous relationship between the technology and CRM's original mission, but over a short time innovators adopt and commercialize the innovation.
ProsperWorks Adds In-App Comms to its Google CRM Solution
March 20, 2017
ProsperWorks, which provides CRM for Google's G Suite business tools, last week announced the addition of in-app cloud communications functionality. The new features are available through a custom integration with RingCentral, which provides enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions. The integration lets users make, receive and log calls without leaving the CRM solution.
Analytics and Workflow
March 15, 2017
There's a big difference between B2C and B2B analytics that no vendors seem to be addressing, and it involves the consumption model. I recently spoke with K.V. Rao, founder and chief strategy officer of Aviso, an analytics company focused on sales, and his unabashed opinion is that "if you're trying to expose insights and make things consumable, you have to address workflow."
Salesforce FY18 Kickoff
March 9, 2017
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff invited a select group of press, analysts and customers to a fiscal year kickoff presentation overlooking San Francisco and environs. It was held on the 23rd floor of one building that the company monopolizes, just across Mission Street from another that it is building and the bay beyond. It's a nice view. Salesforce starts its year in March.
Salesforce, IBM Kick Off New Artificial Intelligence Era
March 8, 2017
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on Monday announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint solutions leveraging artificial intelligence. Einstein, the AI that powers Salesforce applications, will be connected seamlessly with IBM's Watson AI platform. The integration is scheduled for availability in the second half, and pricing will be announced at that time.
CallidusCloud Steps Up Call Center SPM Game
March 3, 2017
CallidusCloud on Thursday launched ServiceMotivate, a call center sales performance management, or SPM, solution. ServiceMotivate is tightly integrated with Salesforce to track and reward call center agents based on key performance indicators of their service center, such as quick issue resolution and case closure rates, data quality improvements and customer satisfaction.
New Rules
March 1, 2017
One of the foundational ideas of business is the Pareto analysis, which tries to identify the small portion of factors that are responsible for the majority of business results. You know -- 80 percent of profits come from 20 percent of the customer base, and similar observations. Vilfredo Pareto formulated a business classic that we now refer to simply as "the 80/20 rule."
Salesforce Adds Health Cloud Features
February 22, 2017
Salesforce this week announced new features and an expanded partner ecosystem for its Health Cloud at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference. The new features are lead-to-patient conversion, risk stratification and advanced segmentation. Salesforce also announced a slew of new partner-developed applications for Health Cloud available on the Salesforce AppExchange.
Output vs. Outcomes
February 14, 2017
How many times have we been lulled into complacency over getting a project or a product done but not necessarily well received, because it was someone else's gig? This is a great reminder that the job isn't done simply because we produce something and shove it out the door. It's also a cue to pay close attention to what our CRM systems tell us. Our concept of a product has changed.
Quip Adds Serious Muscle
February 9, 2017
Salesforce has announced new integrations for Quip, the collaboration startup it acquired last summer for $582 million. Quip, which operates independently, also added new capabilities to its product's existing feature set, which includes smart notifications, chat built into every document and spreadsheet, and a smart inbox. Quip lets users direct-message group members.
Top CRM Blogs of 2016: Countdown, Part 2
January 24, 2017
There's something to be said for consistency. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn hit over .300 19 years in a row. The swallows have returned to Mission San Juan Capistrano every year since 1812. Richard Belzer played Detective John Munch in nine different television series over 23 years. Doing things well for a long time should earn you some attention for your efforts.
Oracle's Important Little Acquisition
January 23, 2017
Oracle last week announced the acquisition of Apiary, a small company that tucks into its product line and will not make much of a splash in the financial pages or possibly even in tech circles. Nonetheless, it's important strategic news. The value of the deal wasn't publicized -- but given the parameters, the dollars will get lost in the rounding of Oracle's overall revenue and profit numbers.
Pipedrive Attracts Funds for Global Expansion
January 20, 2017
Pipedrive, a CRM manager that targets the end-user salesperson, has raised $17 million in a round of Series B funding from an investor group led by Atomico. Two of the company's original investors, Bessemer Venture Partners and Rembrandt Ventures, participated in the new round as well. Atomico partner Teddie Wardi will join Pipedrive's board to offer advice and support to the firm.
Adaptive Intelligent Applications
January 18, 2017
At OpenWorld, Oracle jumped into the AI and machine learning space for its CX products, aka CRM, and other applications, like HCM, with an interesting difference -- a huge data store to help educate the algorithms that work for you. Machine learning depends on data about prior situations that the learning algorithms can use to get smart about a situation. Ten examples are good, 100 are better.
Clarabridge Delivers Retail Banking Package
January 17, 2017
Clarabridge, which offers SaaS and on-premises software products designed to help companies improve their customer experience management, on Tuesday announced a full-service solution for retail banking. Clarabridge's solutions use sentiment and text analytics to enable automatic collection, categorization and reporting on structured and unstructured data.
Top CRM Blogs of 2016: Countdown, Part 1
January 13, 2017
In a year when it seemed that CRM continued to blur into other technologies -- AI, the IoT, analytics, predictive tools -- there was no shortage of things to blog about. However, only a few bloggers really captured what was going on in CRM in 2016 and reflected the evolution of the technology in their own unique ways. Doing that is a great way to land on our list of the 20 Best CRM Blogs.
Oracle's Cloud Strategy: A Fine Balance
January 11, 2017
Oracle recently held a call for analysts to discuss its results for the last quarter, and there were multiple bright spots. It was much like a similar call 90 days previous, and together the calls drove home the conclusion that Oracle is turning into a cloud company. A casual observer might not be convinced, since the macro numbers show a company barely growing.
Eagle Creek CRM Director Sandeep Kadam: What Today's Customers Want
January 10, 2017
Twenty years ago, CRM "was more of an inside-out technology," recalled Sandeep Kadam, director of CRM at Eagle Creek Software Services. "It was about making sales calls more efficient, and giving salespeople all the tools they needed so they could achieve their numbers. From there it has become more of an outside-in technology, where the customer is impacting how CRM is going to evolve."
Customer Service Takes a Turn
January 4, 2017
It's widely understood that new customer service channels such as social, email, knowledge bases and the like have left the service agent with harder problems to solve. Those channels are here to stay, because when they work well, they solve problems for pennies. It can cost many dollars to resolve an issue through the efforts of conventional agents. So there's a decided bias for self-service.
Engagio CEO Jon Miller: How to Land a Whale
January 3, 2017
"Traditional demand-based, lead-based marketing is like fishing with a net," said Engagio CEO Jon Miller. "You run campaigns and marketing programs, and stuff comes out the other end. What the account-based world is all about is that you have a list of names, but you don't wait around to see if those big fish swim into your net. Instead, you go fishing with spears."
Salesforce Releases Texting Customer Service Chatbot
December 14, 2016
Salesforce has released LiveMessage, a chatbot that lets enterprises users engage customers through messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, SMS or MMS directly within its Service Cloud. Service agents can respond to customers on Facebook Messenger after accessing their records, for example, and the conversation automatically is appended and can be resumed later if necessary.
Looking Forward
December 13, 2016
Traditionally in this year-end piece, I peer into my cloudy crystal ball and forecast the year ahead in CRM. Sometimes I'm close, other times not, but either way, my predictions quickly are forgotten. This year, I've decided just to say what I want rather than what realistically might happen. Since my vote has all of the authority of yesterday's news, it will follow past prognostications.
Aptean SVP Matt Keenan: CRM Needs to Be Intuitive
December 5, 2016
There are three significant trends in CRM right now, according to Matt Keenan, SVP of Aptean's product group. "The first is the rapid evolution of human-system interaction. Gone are the days of sitting in front of a laptop and interacting with CRM. Customers are looking for multiple channels. The way people are interacting with applications and data is evolving radically."
Qualitative Data - the Other Stuff
December 2, 2016
We've become obsessed with big data and analyzing it, though sometimes I think we get in our own way. The issue is that we preferentially collect quantitative data as if it were the only thing worth the time. In fact, quantitative data is but one kind of data, and the information it provides gives a one-dimensional view of the world. It's not wrong information -- just incomplete.
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What's your reaction to Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods?
I'm excited -- both companies are great.
I'm worried Whole Foods will change for the worse.
I'm all for high-tech grocery ordering and drone deliveries.
This will mean more stores closing and more jobs lost.
It's the wave of the future -- you can't stop progress.
It's creepy -- I don't want Amazon taking over everything.