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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.
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."
Sales, Marketing Poised for AI Revolution
December 16, 2016
Artificial intelligence will revolutionize marketing in the next five years, according to a Demandbase survey conducted last month. Eighty percent of the 500 B2B marketers who participated in the online poll, conducted last month by Wakefield Research, said they expected an AI-fueled marketing revolution. However, only 26 percent were very confident they understood how AI was used in marketing.
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.
LinkedIn Begins New Chapter Under Microsoft's Wing
December 13, 2016
Microsoft last week closed its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn. LinkedIn will remain a separate company and Jeff Weiner will continue as its CEO, but he now reports to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Integration of the companies' products is under way. Among many other things, a user's LinkedIn identity and network will be made available in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite.
Demandbase's CEO Chris Golec: Finding the Companies That Should Be Buying From You
November 30, 2016
"Account-based marketing is really about marketing to the accounts that are aligned with your sales team," said Demandbase CEO Chris Golec. It's been done for years, but today there's a whole technology and practice around being able to market to accounts at scale, and this wasn't possible until about four or five years ago. It's a focused, targeted marketing approach."
Microsoft Trolls Small Biz With Outlook CRM Tool
November 18, 2016
Microsoft this week introduced Outlook Customer Manager, a new cloud-based tool that aims to help its small businesses clients stay on top of their customer relationships. The new service organizes everything from emails to meeting invitations, call logs, notes, tasks, files and other essential items. It comes just four months after the launch the company's Bookings tool.
Salesforce Sets Up Lightning Community to Zap Competition
November 8, 2016
Salesforce last week launched the Lightning Partner Community, which lets business customers extend sales features to channel partners. Lightning Partner Community gives channel partners a single place to identify opportunities, track progress and close deals. It includes the Lightning Partner Experience, Integrated CRM for Partners and Salesforce Einstein for Partner Community.
Angry Customers Likely to Ditch Wells Fargo's Wagon
October 26, 2016
Wells Fargo Bank will lose customers in droves because of the scandal over fraudulently opened accounts and other issues, based on the results of an online survey cg42 conducted last week. More than 85 percent of the respondents -- 1,500 primary customers of the top 10 U.S. retail banks, including 1,000 Wells Fargo customers -- were aware of the scandal.
AI and Customer Loyalty
October 19, 2016
AI and machine learning have taken the industry by storm. Some say they will usher in a new age of better business processes and customer orientation, while others fret that automation will kill jobs. There definitely will be jobs that no longer make sense for humans to do, thanks to automation. However, there are some neglected business processes where AI and ML could make real contributions.
Aviso CEO K.V. Rao: Humans, Machines and Magic
October 14, 2016
"CRM is a mature industry, but it's fundamentally not moving the needle for the user, for the subscriber -- the sales rep or manager. It's fundamentally recording your activities, but it doesn't really let you commit with confidence to drive the right outcomes," said Aviso CEO K.V. Rao. Predictive analytics "can help you find the right content faster. That's what the state-of-the art is for sales.
FCC Slaps Comcast With $2.3M Overbilling Fine
October 13, 2016
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Comcast would pay a record $2.3 million fine to settle its investigation into whether the cable operator improperly charged customers for services and equipment they never approved, a practice known as "zero billing option." Federal law bans cable operators from charging customers for unauthorized equipment or services.
Dreamforce Redux
October 12, 2016
Dreamforce for many years has been too big for a single person to cover. While I participate in covering events like this, inevitably I am reduced to the story of the three blind people and the elephant. You can't experience enough of the elephant to describe it unless you can see it. Using your hands leaves you frustrated. In the case of Dreamforce, you can't go to all of the sessions.
Bring Back the CIO
October 10, 2016
The cloud revolution has made an enormous contribution to the evolution of sales and marketing software, as well as to business software of all types. There's a long list of benefits it's conferred on users -- from the ability to outsource security and maintenance tasks to the avoidance of manual upgrade processes, to the switch in payment modes, to a model more affordable for more businesses.
AI's Moment
October 7, 2016
There recently has been an increase in the talk -- pro and con -- about bots, AI and intelligent assistants. A lot of this talk has been percolating around the industry for decades. Silicon Collar, a book by Vinnie Mirchandani, a friend and truly gifted analyst, accepts that automation might be eliminating jobs, but it optimistically holds out for the silver lining.
Dreamforce's Einstein: First Shot in New Sales Tech Arms Race?
October 6, 2016
A technology conference staple is the over-the-horizon announcement: a proclamation that something that isn't quite here yet is the next big thing, often accompanied by simulated screen shots, hypothetical use cases and fantastic demonstrations. This year's Dreamforce announcement of a machine learning-enabled technology called "Einstein" easily could be dismissed as futureware.
Bullhorn CMO Gordon Burnes: We're Going to Flip the CRM Paradigm
September 27, 2016
"I dare you to find a sales person or account manager who enjoys spending the last 45 minutes of the day inputting data into the CRM system," said Bullhorn CMO Gordon Burnes. "A lot of companies are facing the CRM adoption challenge. Why is it that this account record doesn't have much data in it? When was it that the account manager last visited? That information just doesn't get into CRM.
Incentives-Driven Disaster: Wells Fargo's Ethical Implosion
September 21, 2016
Anyone who works with sales people knows that their ultimate incentive is their commission check. Since the first time that "sales" was identified as a profession, we've been paying the people who sell based primarily on their results. This has worked well -- but things are starting to change. The drive for results at the expense of all other considerations is running smack dab into new realities.
Microsoft Dynamics Edges Out Salesforce, Oracle for HP Win
September 15, 2016
Just two months after announcing the integration of its CRM and ERP platform under the Microsoft Dynamics 365 umbrella, Microsoft this week announced a six-year agreement to deploy the service to HP Inc.'s ranks. Under the agreement, HP will deploy the Microsoft Dynamics platform -- including Azure, Office 365 and other solutions -- to tens of thousands of its employees.
Sales Tech's Forgotten Byproduct: Employee Happiness
September 13, 2016
Why do companies invest in CRM, sales performance management software, business intelligence, and every other component of the customer-facing technology stack? The obvious response is ROI. CRM paid back $8.71 for every dollar invested in it, Nucleus Research reported way back in 2014. Business analytics applications were delivering $13.01 in value for every buck spent on them.
Gryphon SVP Eric Esfahanian: Accuracy Is Paramount
September 8, 2016
It's surprising how much inaccurate data lives in many CRM systems, observed Eric Esfahanian, SVP of Gryphon Networks. "CRM is naturally a good source for analytics and sales intelligence if the data that lives within your CRM is automated, accurate, and something that you can reliably make decisions from," he said, and the key to accuracy is automation.
Einstein to Make Dreamforce Appearance
August 25, 2016
Salesforce plans to unveil Einstein, an artificial intelligence product, at next month's Dreamforce 16. Einstein integration will give Salesforce's sales, service, marketing, collaboration and e-commerce products predictive suggestion and insights capabilities. It will serve as a new nerve system across the entire business. AI is key to Salesforce's future, CEO Marc Benioff has emphasized.
Xactly CEO Christopher Cabrera: Understanding CRM's Boundaries
July 27, 2016
It's important to recognize that "CRM is growing up," said Xactly CEO Christopher Cabrera. "It's becoming more useful to the CRM user, who is predominantly the sales rep or whoever is managing the customer relationship. The sales performance management, or SPM, space is on a collision course with CRM, because what CRM doesn't do is allow the reps that are using it to make sense of it all ... ."
Gamification's Serious Role in Sales Success
July 26, 2016
When gamification was just starting to catch on several years ago, I recall sitting next to the CMO of my then-company at a Gartner conference session. The presenter walked the audience through the concept of using ideas borrowed from gaming as a motivational tool, and about two-thirds of the way through, the CMO turned to me and whispered, "This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."
LinkedIn Spiffs Up Sales Navigator
July 22, 2016
LinkedIn this week announced three updates to Sales Navigator. One is deeper integration with Salesforce CRM data, allowing leads and accounts to be imported into Sales Navigator automatically. More than 20 LinkedIn customers already are using this feature. The second is direct integration of Sales Navigator with Gmail. The third is a new recommendation tab on the Sales Navigator mobile apps.
5 Ways to Guarantee Sales Will Hate Your CRM
July 19, 2016
CRM often is described as a discipline and a technology that will transform the entire business. Sales and marketing can get on the same page, support will have visibility into what sales and marketing are doing, and every interaction can be captured and used to create a complete view of every customer. CRM has weak links, however -- and in many businesses, the weakest is the sales team.
Salesforce VP Lynne Zaledonis: Intelligence Is the Next Generation of CRM
June 28, 2016
Salesforce VP Lynne Zaledonis drives product marketing and sales enablement for Sales Cloud. In order to succeed in the age of the customer, companies need to understand that the new cloud, mobile and social world we find ourselves in "has produced trillions of pieces of customer data, and it's totally changed how we engage with our customers, and how they engage with us," Zaledonis said.
Rethinking the Customer Journey Map
June 22, 2016
If you talk to marketers for any amount of time about what they do, you are bound to hear the term "customer journey" at some point. The go-to exercise for marketers looking to up their lead generation games today is "journey mapping," the exercise by which you try to understand how a potential buyer navigates through content and other offers on the way to a closed deal.
The Microsoft-LinkedIn CRM Connection
June 14, 2016
With its $26 billion purchase of LinkedIn, Microsoft may be setting itself up to tackle Salesforce head-on for CRM dominance. The purchase also might help Microsoft compete more aggressively with other major CRM providers, such as SAP and Oracle. The LinkedIn purchase "is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes," CEO Satya Nadella told Microsoft employees.
The Marginal Customer
June 10, 2016
I start a lot of client engagements with a simple question: Who's the customer? It's amazing the answers that I get. Some people know the customer's demographic and business or personal needs, and they focus on those things. Others don't even grasp the difference between a customer and a consumer. You might expect this if you are working in the B2C rather than B2B space.
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How do you think the tech sector will do under the Trump administration?
Very well -- corporate tax cuts will stimulate growth.
Just OK -- there will be areas of both cooperation and dissent.
Poorly -- education and immigration policies will hurt tech.
Impossible to predict, but I'm optimistic.
Impossible to predict, but I'm pessimistic.
The tech sector will do well regardless of Trump's policies.