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How Many Pipelines Do You Have?
July 16, 2014
It's general practice to have multiple sales forecasts, and that typically means low and upside potential as well as what's committed -- but the idea of teasing those threads apart only at forecasting time might no longer applicable. Long before you compile a forecast, you have a good idea of which deals might be prone to a typical divergence -- so it makes sense to group like with like.
Here Come the Cloud-Based Big Data Management Services
July 16, 2014
The explosive growth of data is one of the biggest challenges facing organizations of all sizes across nearly every industry, and a growing number of cloud service providers are recognizing that they can provide more than just simple storage and economical compute power to their customers buried in data. They also can help them manage their processing needs on an ongoing basis.
There May Be More to Salesforce's RelateIQ Buy Than Meets the Eye
July 14, 2014
Salesforce.com will shell out $350 million in common stock for RelateIQ in a deal expected to close by October. It will provide another $40 million dollars in stock for its cash balance. RelateIQ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Salesforce, according to an SEC filing. "This gives Salesforce more of a footprint in process orientation," said Denis Pombriant, principal of Beagle Research.
Why CEX Thinking Stimulates Indirect Sales
July 10, 2014
As much as we may wax on about engaging, enchanting and delighting our customers, most of them are not expecting such an experience. In most cases, their purchase is prelude to something else pleasurable, if the purchase is B2C -- or profitable, if it's B2B. If there's some service they're purchasing in addition to a product, then experience becomes very important.
Marketing to Mobile Millennials: Misperceptions and Myths
July 08, 2014
Despite their financial burdens -- unconscionably high levels of college education debt and a lackluster job market -- everyone wants to know what millenials want. Where will they live? What will they buy? Mobile, of course, is an important part of millennial life. Young adults would be willing give up the basics -- sex, TV, who knows, possibly even oxygen -- if necessary to keep their devices.
Blackbaud Weaves New Data Services Into eTapestry
July 07, 2014
Blackbaud recently upgraded its cloud-based eTapestry fundraising application with tools addressing what seems to be a perennial problem in CRM -- dirty data. The ultimate goal of the upgrades for the application, which is designed for nonprofits, is to improve the quality of donor information. The upgrade does that via two new enhancements integrated from Blackbaud's Target Analytics division.
Zendesk Illuminates Customer Data
July 02, 2014
Zendesk has rolled out Zendesk Insights, a new analytics and data visualization tool that sits on top of its flagship customer service platform, for its Plus and Enterprise users. "One thing we have been hearing from our customers is that they want more access to the data and analytics that they produce by interacting with their own customers," said Sam Boonin, VP of product at Zendesk.
Twitter Taps TapCommerce for Mobile Retargeting
July 02, 2014
Twitter is deepening its mobile advertising capabilities with the acquisition of TapCommerce, a retargeting and re-engagement provider. Twitter announced the deal on Monday, calling the company's toolset an important piece of the mobile advertising platform it is building for marketers, app developers and users. TapCommerce enables real-time programmatic mobile ad buying across multiple exchanges.
Show Season Observations
June 25, 2014
Not that the shows ever end, but as I regain my spot on the ground, I have a few observations from the many shows that I have been to or read about over the last eight weeks. First, if you think that cloud platforms are simply a nice alternative to software licenses, you should think again. It's human nature to apply new technologies to old problems, and that's what such an approach really does.
Break the Language Barrier by Learning Your Customers' Native Tongues
June 19, 2014
If you live in the English-speaking world, you've been exposed to the stereotype of the snotty Parisian who refuses to speak English. The idea is that Parisians know how -- but they won't -- and they turn up their noses at anyone who won't speak French. In my experience, that stereotype is largely wrong -- if you make an effort to communicate in any way, most Parisians are perfectly friendly.
You Can Improve Your Sales Forecast
June 18, 2014
I don't know anyone who was ever great at sales forecasting. This is not to say that it can't be done, but it's a hard problem -- like forecasting the weather. Today, we can get weather forecasts for many days in advance with temperatures accurate within a few degrees, because we've invested in many data gathering and analysis tools like satellites, computer modeling and analytics.
HP Follows IBM's Lead With Enterprise Applications for Workday
June 18, 2014
HP on Tuesday announced HP Enterprise Applications Services for Workday -- essentially consulting services for customers of Workday's SaaS. Workday is an HCM package that unifies human resources, talent management, payroll and financial management. It is cloud-based and fully enabled for mobile use. All customers work with just one version of the application, so everyone gets the same update.
Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.
Conspiracy of Culture: 5 Contributors to CRM Failure
June 12, 2014
Most companies of any size have a CRM application. Every company says it wants to build great relationships with its customers. Almost as many businesses say they want to be "customer-centric." However, as any customer can tell you, the companies that attain these goals are few and far between. What is it that's keeping businesses from doing what they know they need to do? It's not one thing.
New Treehouse Tools Gauge Marketing Campaign Success
June 09, 2014
TreeHouse Interactive has rolled out an enhanced version of its Marketing View application, infusing it with advanced reporting and analytics features and a spruced-upped user interface. The point of the upgrades, said Erich Flynn, CEO of TreeHouse Interactive, was to provide and display all the necessary campaign-related statistics a marketer would need to judge the performance of a campaign.
Cloud Providers Profit by Serving Nonprofits
June 06, 2014
One of the sure signs of a maturing company, or even an entire industry, is the ability to offer free services to nonprofit organizations in order to demonstrate benevolence. However, such charitable acts aren't just about being altruistic. As a growing number of cloud providers are discovering, there are plenty of new revenue and profit opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
Subscription Economy Gold: Retention
June 05, 2014
The idea of the subscription economy is not new -- at least not to anyone who's familiar with the idea of software as a service -- but it's an idea that can sneak up on businesses. Many in the SaaS space started as more traditional vendors that saw subscriptions as simply a different delivery mechanism and a way to reach customers who couldn't afford massive upfront cash layouts.
What's the Future of Selling?
June 04, 2014
I think about the future -- perhaps too much. I recently read Jeremy Rifkin's new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, and it made me think about the future of work. Rifkin's thesis is that automation is taking on more and more jobs that once were thought to be the province of skilled labor.
Microsoft Dynamics Steps Out of Shadows
June 03, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced global availability of the latest feature set in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which was introduced earlier this year. It offers new marketing functionality, enhanced customer service features, a Unified Service Desk for call centers, and additional social listening features. The marketing functionality in this version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been rebuilt.
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.

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