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Take Marketing Off Autopilot and Get Creative
April 19, 2017
More than a quarter of marketers went into marketing because they wanted to be creative, researchers have found. So why do so many B2B marketing efforts seem exactly the same? The reason, in part, is that some things work well. In nature, convergent evolution leads different kinds of organisms to similar solutions when they work. The number of strategies that will lead to success is limited.
CPQ: Boost Selling Performance and Accuracy
April 17, 2017
They say it can take a product idea 10 years to go from concept to mass-market appeal but that might be only an optimist's viewpoint. Some of the best ideas in CRM right now have been marinating for at least that long -- and some for much longer. Two great examples are analytics and CPQ, which companies like Oracle, Salesforce and others have embraced with passion.
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.
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.
Translating Website Visits Into Quality Leads
March 30, 2017
Back in the day -- like, 1993 -- every company had to have a website because it was the thing you did! A website was something new, fresh and shiny, and it allowed the marketing team to reach more people than ever before. It was on the Internet, which automatically made your company seem cool. It was totally rad! Within about 18 moths, though, everyone had a website and the novelty wore off.
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.
Outreach CEO Manny Medina: Selling Success
March 21, 2017
Making sales account-based is "the ability to take an account and use a holistic approach when dealing with it," said Manny Medina, CEO of Outreach. "You use a combination of marketing and sales to get to that account. It's giving a name to something people already do, and it creates an alignment between sales and marketing. You [target] top companies that you know for a fact are open to you."
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."
IDG's New Pipeline Activator Aims to Get Sales Timing Right
March 13, 2017
IDG has launched Pipeline Activator, a global subscription-based service pinpointing verified projects and active sales prospects for those selling to enterprise IT. Pipeline Activator, the latest addition to IDG's ABM360 suite of account-based marketing services, provides sales and marketing teams with detailed insights on target companies actively researching products and services for purchase.
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."
AI Deconstructs Phone Sales Pitches
February 13, 2017
SaaS solutions firm Gong last week released the findings of a study on sales phone conversations, including an analysis of gender speaking patterns. Women delivered slightly longer sales monologues, averaging about 9-12 seconds longer than those their male counterparts gave, but men generally spoke faster, the study found. Men tended to speak at a faster pace than women.
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.
Winning the Sales Talent War in the Big Data Era
February 8, 2017
Had a hard time hiring sales talent lately? You aren't alone. And guess what? It's only going to get worse! There are a lot of headwinds confronting sales recruiters these days. Among the strongest: The number of sales jobs is projected to grow 18.8 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- so you're facing stiffer competition for talent.
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.
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.
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What's most likely to cost a company your customer loyalty?
a major product fail
major unethical corporate behavior
public advocacy of social or political views I oppose
a really bad customer service experience
stagnation -- I'm attracted to innovation
none of the above -- I'll stick through thick and thin