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A New Service Model
July 19, 2017
People concerned about automation killing jobs might look at Helpshift's strategy and similar automation approaches. By enabling businesses to build help or support into mobile apps, these new models are re-inventing support to get the job done. Sure, they provide automated support in lieu of conventional agents, but they do so at a level where it often can be uneconomic to position live agents.
Naming the Ephemeral
June 30, 2017
So much is happening as we approach the end of Q2 -- our industry's busiest quarter, at least by some measures. I'm flying around seeing things but not always able to comment from a middle seat on a red-eye. So this piece is an attempt to catch up and set some markers for the traditionally slower summer. I've been searching for a word to describe a new category I see: Service as a Service.
SugarCRM Launches Hint, 1st in Relationship Intelligence Line
June 28, 2017
SugarCRM has launched Hint, the first in its new line of relationship intelligence products. Hint users can enter a few contact details about a person with whom they want to connect, and Hint automatically will search social sources on the Web for information. That data, along with other details from a company's internal files, will be served up to the user in a side-panel view.
Where FinancialForce Fits
June 26, 2017
FinancialForce held its first big time user conference in Las Vegas last week, headlined by new CEO Tod Nielsen. The company seems to be telling us that it is adjusting course in an effort to create a new category aligned with enterprise resource planning, but very much for this century. The key concept is services, which must be explained.
Salesforce Parallelism
June 12, 2017
For several years now, Salesforce has built distinct product lines that all work off the same platform and can integrate in interesting ways. There are product lines for the enterprise, small and mid-sized businesses, business-to-business firms and business-to-consumer operations -- and probably some others that I haven't considered. The rationale for all of these new products is simple.
LogMeIn Makes Bold360 Entrance at CRM Party
June 9, 2017
LogMeIn on Thursday unveiled Bold360, a customer engagement platform that evolved from Boldchat -- the live website chat software it acquired five years ago. Bold360 has an intuitive interface that consolidates data from different systems to present a unified view of all customer interactions. Among its features are easy integration of Salesforce and Zendesk data; and omnichannel support.
The [xxx] Economy
June 6, 2017
While sitting in the audience at Zuora's recent Subscribed event, I couldn't help contemplate the meaning and progress of what was once a set of words that didn't roll off the tongue. I am talking about the "subscription economy" -- and it's really something. The data coming in from a variety of sources shows how rapidly subscriptions have become a big part of our lives, and why not?
Salesforce Offers Alternative to Old-School Partner Portals
June 1, 2017
Salesforce on Wednesday announced the Sales Cloud Lightning Partner Relationship Management app as a replacement for partner portals and electronic data interchanges that lack modern features such as built-in mobile, social analytics and AI capabilities. The PRM app has an interactive Guided Setup Wizard that lets channel managers configure, customize and deploy the app in days.
The Subscription Economy's Maturation
May 31, 2017
A lot happens in a decade. Bill Gates once said that we overestimate what we can do in two years and underestimate what we can do in 10. 2017 is a particularly good time to stop paddling and look back at what's been going on in the last decade. While we will all have our favorite memories, there's one in CRM that stands out more than others for me. After all, 2007 was the year of the iPhone.
Helpshift Integrates With Salesforce
May 25, 2017
Mobile technology has delivered a lot of useful functionality that enables vendors and their customers to be on the same page more frequently. However, the screen size has an inherent drawback: It shows a very narrow slice of a reality -- typically one idea at a time. The problem is especially acute in the key areas of sales and service. A mobile "help" app should deliver help the customer values.
Genesys Launches G-Nine CX Framework
May 24, 2017
Genesys on Monday introduced G-Nine. "Think of G-Nine as the Genesys innovation framework that guides many aspects of our business -- product strategy being one of those," said Genesys CMO Merijn te Booij. "Within the G-Nine innovation framework, we have defined our themes related to technology and consumer trends that we'll focus on in the next two years."
SugarCRM Trots Out Sugar 7.9 With Quotes
May 18, 2017
SugarCRM on Wednesday announced the general availability of Sugar 7.9 with a new quote-generation and management feature that helps users turn opportunities into closed deals. The upgrade provides next-generation reporting capabilities, plus enhanced advanced workflow, which lets users trigger a process based on fields changing to or from specific values.
3 Ways Your Sales Organization Should Prepare for AI
May 16, 2017
AI is a trend, and it's always nice to be trendy, but as great as CPQ is, it's still only one source of data. Without sufficient data, AI is extremely limited. It's like allowing your toddler to learn only about colors: The kid might be a whiz with colors, all right, but without context -- in other words, more data -- that information won't make any sense.
Veeva Offers Cross-Stack Customer Insights
May 12, 2017
Veeva Systems earlier this week announced Veeva CRM MyInsights, a new cloud-based data visualization capability producing tailored insights within Veeva CRM. MyInsights lets users of tablets or other mobile devices access, analyze and visualize information in real time. It includes fixed reporting for sales and activity data and a new, customizable HTML5/JavaScript framework.
Nutshell CTO Andy Fowler: Good CRM Tools Stay Out of the Way
May 9, 2017
"CRM was originally created for the managers and bosses to report on the pipeline, and it was sold as a value proposition to the manager," noted Nutshell CTO Andy Fowler. "What's changing now is that CRM is becoming much more about supporting the rep -- giving them the tools they need to improve their performance. It's no longer just a tool for the boss to check in on the salespeople."
Ecosystem Two-Dot-Oh
May 4, 2017
Salesforce this week announced significant enhancements to its AppExchange Partner Program, including a $100 million Salesforce Platform Fund to encourage developers of AI-driven solutions. Salesforce arguably was the first kid on the block with a partner program of this kind in which buyers could access a large community of apps based on a single standard from a single store.
Salesforce Rejiggers Enterprise Apps Partner Plan
May 4, 2017
Salesforce on Tuesday launched the AppExchange Partner Program, or APP, for developers, independent software vendors and startups, as a replacement for its current ISV Partner Program. The APP will cost much less. Its baseline percent-net-revenue model for all new APP partners has been slashed from 25 percent to 15 percent. Current partners will be eligible for the new PNR terms on contract renewal.
Reasoning in CRM
May 1, 2017
It gives some measure of the importance we give to AI that I went to two conferences last week and sat through two panel sessions on the subject. At CRM Evolution, I was part of the discussion in a breakfast session. At the Oracle CX show, executives involved in the adaptive intelligent applications product line tried to define the basics in a session for analysts and reporters.
Salesforce, QuintilesIMS Team to Push New Therapies to Market
April 25, 2017
Salesforce has entered an alliance with QuintilesIMS aimed at helping life sciences companies move treatments from clinical phases to commercial applications more effectively. QuintilesIMS, formed last year through the merger of healthcare data provider IMS Health and medical research firm Quintiles Transnational, is one of the world's largest integrated healthcare services companies.
Healthgrades' CareChats Aims to Tear Down Doctor-Patient Wall
April 21, 2017
Healthgrades, an online resource to provide consumers with information about physicians and hospitals, on Wednesday launched CareChats, a tool that allows encrypted text and email conversations between patients and their healthcare providers. Developed in partnership with Conversa, CareChats enables doctors and hospitals to communicate with patients outside of visits.
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.
Oracle's Strategery
April 10, 2017
Watching Oracle's cloud strategy roll out has given me renewed respect for its approach to the market. As a company that has been public for a long stretch of time, Oracle has displayed all the warmth of an anaconda. I have friends there, and they are not anacondas, but I hope they know what I mean. Oracle knows its business and it's making money, and it does it unabashedly.
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.
Trust: Why Financial Services Should Embrace DoL's Fiduciary Rule
March 24, 2017
When the Department of Labor issued its fiduciary rule last year, it set financial advisers, insurers and agents into a mad scramble to meet an implementation deadline. The rule elevates all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice to the level of a fiduciary, or someone bound legally and ethically to meet the standards of that status.
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.
Blockchain: CRM's Next Frontier
March 22, 2017
We've seen a parade of technologies coming into the front office since 2000, including browser-based cloud computing, social media, mobile technology, workflow, journey mapping, and big data and analytics. It's typical that at first there's only a tenuous relationship between the technology and CRM's original mission, but over a short time innovators adopt and commercialize the innovation.
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.
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It's critical to the entire economy, and everyone should share the cost.
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