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Evolving CRM
August 26, 2014
The CRM Evolution conference held last week in New York was interesting for multiple reasons. Most importantly, perhaps, is the perception that the market is moving into a higher gear, slipping past the restraints of a recession that would not quit. Good things are in store for the industry, I think, as buyers step up their games and vendors unleash a passel of new solutions.
Moving the Sales Needle
August 20, 2014
Apttus and Adobe Echosign earlier this year conducted a survey of more than 100 Fortune 1000 sales leaders, focusing on perennial blind spots for sales managers. Among their just-released findings: One in four companies don't have sufficient KPI insights for average pipeline multiple, deal size, quote-to-cash cycle time and win rate; and four out of 10 take three days or more to generate a quote.
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!"
Good to Gooder
July 23, 2014
So far, Satya Nadella's moves as Microsoft CEO echo the teachings of Jim Collins' 2001 best seller, Good to Great. It's about how and why some companies wallow in mediocrity and others operate at several levels of magnitude higher than their peers -- think Apple for one and Salesforce for another. Nadella has done a good job of articulating a vision for Microsoft, a Collins fundamental.
Can I Get My Reputation Back?
July 09, 2014
Ray Donovan was U.S. Labor Secretary under Ronald Reagan and a colorful figure. During his tenure he was indicted by a Bronx, N.Y., grand jury on corruption charges stemming from a contract to build a subway line. The trial involved unions and the mob and was automatically sensational. The verdict turned on whether a construction company got a contract due to mob influence.
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.
CRM's Transition
July 03, 2014
It always happens this way. A market erupts or transitions to something new or it goes the way of the dodo and you miss the key turning point. Looking back, you can spot the telltale signs of disruption. People like me, who try to forecast these great events, have the reliability of a dartboard. Nonetheless, I'm doing it again. I am declaring that CRM is in the early phases of a major transition.
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.
What Salesforce Has Up Its Sleeve
June 11, 2014
Wearable computing hove into view in a big way this week when Salesforce.com announced Salesforce Wear, which enables developers to build new apps for teeny-tiny screens and devices that you, well, wear. Wearables is a market poised for takeoff. Last year, for instance, Apple cornered the world markets capturing all the copyrights to "iWatch," which I think was not a coincidence.
Salesforce Tries On Wearable Tech for Size
June 10, 2014
Salesforce.com is moving aggressively to carve out its own place in a hot emerging technology niche: wearable computing. With its new initiative, Salesforce Wear, it appears to be following its usual MO of co-opting technology in the consumer world and repositioning it for the enterprise. However, unlike social networking, wearable technology is still an iffy proposition among consumers.
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.
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.
Report: CRM Is Going Strong
May 09, 2014
CRM software had a good year in 2013 with the category totaling $20.4 billion, a 13.7 percent increase from $18 billion the previous year, according to a report released this week by Gartner. Furthermore, the next few years are likely to be just as positive, if not more, the firm predicted. "CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years," said Gartner Research VP Joanne Correia.
Sub-Ledger for the Hybrid Enterprise
May 07, 2014
There is a business problem that comes up in the life of every company, and these days it seems that a lot of companies face it at once. It's the question of how to transition from one business model to another without clobbering your current revenue flow. Even if a company's executives really want to change its model, there is always a faction that says, "not yet."
Don't Overlook the Mobile Searcher
April 15, 2014
The mobile browser is not dead, exactly, but if it were an animal it might be on the endangered species list. Mobile users are spending more time using mobile apps and less and less time surfing the Web from their mobile devices, based on recent statistics from Flurry. Apps took up 86 percent of the average U.S. mobile consumer's time online, or 2 hours and 19 minutes per day, the firm reported.
Mobile, Local Ad Spend Zooms Down Runway
April 11, 2014
After years of surprising the industry with its middling adoption, it appears that location-based mobile advertising is poised to come into its own. U.S. mobile local advertising revenues will reach $4.5 billion in 2014, up from $2.9 billion in 2013, according to BIA/Kelsey. Mobile local ad revenues will have more than tripled by 2018, reaching $15.7 billion, it projected.
Microsoft Beats the Customer-Centricity Drum at Convergence
March 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday kicked off its Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 conference with a keynote address by Executive Vice President Kirill Tatarinov, whose running theme was the need for the companies to be customer-centric to stay competitive. "Technology has changed the social fabric, transforming how we engage, connect and interact with one another," Tatarinov said.
Big Data and the Process Revolution
February 26, 2014
A wave of change is now making its way through the front office with uneven results. CRM is moving from a data capture and retrieval solution to something that supports end-to-end processes -- and as with ERP, data analysis is helping to improve what once were purely manual processes. The trick is in producing knowledge from data. Alone, data is useless.
The Travel Battle Rages On: May the Most Relevant Brand Win
February 25, 2014
The travel industry will increase 41 percent by 2016, making it worth $143 billion. With that much revenue on the line, booking sites are taking significant steps to ensure that they get their piece of the traveler pie. Brands no longer can offer experiences that are irrelevant to the end-user. Travel has become a user-centric industry, and the brand that serves up the most relevant content wins.
Customers' Comings and Goings Not Always Linked to Satisfaction
February 14, 2014
Which comes first -- a sector in which consumers have a lot of choices and can easily switch providers, or companies that are rigorous in their customer service policies and attitudes? A recent survey on customer service attitudes raises that question but doesn't exactly answer it. However, it does suggest there is a strong link between customer choice and customer service policies.
Mobile CRM's Great Big Internet of Things Challenge
January 30, 2014
Shortly after Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest was announced, Nest CEO Tony Fadell felt obliged to clarify something for its users: Any changes to the company's privacy policy would be opt-in. Also, Nest would be transparent about those changes, he said. It's questionable whether Fadell can keep such a promise, though, unless it's written into the deal.
Marketing Automation Report Card
January 29, 2014
After two years of fairly hectic activity in the marketing automation space, it might be useful to ask where all the commotion has gotten us. Once a captive of finance, which was concerned with reeling in marketing's costs and rationalizing expenses with known -- or at least knowable -- benefits, marketing automation emerged in the last couple of years as a powerful tool.

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