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IBM's Watson May Change the Face of Business Analytics
September 17, 2014
IBM on Tuesday announced Watson Analytics, a natural language-based cognitive service designed to provide businesses with instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytics tools. It runs on desktop PCs and mobile devices. Watson Analytics automates data preparation, predictive analysis, and visual storytelling for business professionals in data-intensive areas such as marketing and sales.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Tears Down Sales, Marketing Walls
September 16, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, along with updates to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. All will be generally available in the fourth quarter of this year. This release will focus on knitting together the sales and marketing functions. The goal is to provide users of the app with more opportunities for collaboration.
Analytics: The Tie That Binds Sales and Marketing
September 15, 2014
If you want to make an old-school salesperson flinch, just bring up the idea of data-driven selling in conversation. To sales pros, especially those who started in the game more than 10 years ago, the idea of data driving the sale is sacrilege. It minimizes the sales person's talent, and it suggests that sales are driven by a bunch of desk bound propeller-heads who never talk to customers.
The 5 Worst Blunders of CRM-Destroying Execs
September 09, 2014
One of the CRM secrets to success is executive buy-in. That typically means the support of a high-level executive for the deployment and use of CRM technology. That executive often is an SVP of sales, or maybe a chief revenue officer or a CMO. The support of multiple executive roles is critical to implementing and supporting a CRM strategy. Having the buy-in of one executive is not enough.
Salesforce's Investment Bodes Well for the Mobile IoC
September 08, 2014
Salesforce.com's vision of the Internet of Customers is getting clearer, and it has a decidedly mobile orientation. The company on Monday announced the launched the Salesforce1 Fund -- a dedicated fund in its newly renamed investment unit, now called "Salesforce Ventures" -- that will pour $100 million into companies building mobile apps and connected products based on the Salesforce1 Platform.
Stop Missing the Big Goal
August 29, 2014
Why do you go to work each day? Some people may claim it's love of the work. What they do is so rewarding and wonderful that they'd do it for free. "Don't tell my boss!" they joke. Hardy-har. However, even the most fulfilled, self-actualized and altruistic person lives and works in a world where money talks. It takes money to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.
Google Pinpoints Ads That Get Customers on the Horn
August 19, 2014
Google has launched a new service that lets advertisers track their ads' success at generating phone calls following user clicks. Website Call Conversions is designed to help marketers tweak their online ads to prompt more valuable phone inquiries. The tool works by generating a unique phone number that appears on a company's website after a user arrives there by clicking on an ad.
Infor Aims to Fill a Gap With Saleslogix
August 15, 2014
Infor, a provider of business application software and cloud services, has agreed to acquire Saleslogix, a CRM application that is currently owned by Swiftpage. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks. Financial details were not disclosed. For Swiftpage, the reason for the sale is straightforward: It allows it to focus on ACT!, a less-complex CRM application.
5 Big Data Marketing Myths
August 15, 2014
Big Data's legend has reached mythical proportions. Increasingly, it is described as a powerful solution that could resolve some of the world's most complex challenges, from terrorist strikes to curing cancer. It is still early days for Big Data implementation, however. Every industry and category is still working through how to best harness it. This is especially true in the advertising world.
The Many Faces of Multivariate Testing
August 14, 2014
When Facebook and OKCupid recently admitted they had been tinkering with headlines and content to see how users reacted, many consumers were outraged -- but the business community just shrugged. What the companies were doing was simply a form of multivariate testing -- albeit in the case of OKCupid, it was particularly aggressive. The practice itself has been around for years.
Beacons Hit the Retail Spotlight
August 07, 2014
It was just six months ago that we saw what beacon technology could do on a wide scale. For Super Bowl XLVIII, the National Football League installed wireless transmitters in Times Square and at MetLife Stadium to send simple yet specific messages to smartphones: "bathrooms to the right," "snacks to the left," and so on. The deployment was considered a bold test for the nascent technology.
Sales Reach: A Marketing Tool for Reps
July 30, 2014
I was impressed by the announcement by Salesforce.com last week of a new product combination it calls "Sales Reach." It's supposed to be a mashup of sorts between Sales Cloud, Pardot and Communities functionality that helps reps run micro-campaigns, perform nurturing and develop communities. As someone who once carried a bag for a living, my reaction was, "Oh happy day!"
6 Ways to Hone Your Lead-Scoring Skills
July 25, 2014
Your company has a CRM system that employees love and use regularly, and marketing automation tools to help streamline and automate all of your online marketing activities. That's a great start, but did you know that most marketing qualified leads -- perhaps more than 94 percent -- don't convert to paid customers? That doesn't mean your sales and marketing information systems aren't working.
Attentive.ly's Social Marketing Taps Customer Interests
July 21, 2014
Attentive.ly recently released its application on the Eloqua platform, digging a deeper foothold for itself in the CRM enterprise space. Attentive.ly provides social marketing automation functionality in the form of a plug-and-play toolset that works with a CRM overlay. Using its tools, companies can organize customers in specific groups, listen to their online conversations, and send personalized marketing messages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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