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The Terrifying Numbers Behind a Whopping Marketing Failure
November 17, 2014
There are lots of scary things out there -- killer viruses, Earth-smashing meteors, the possibility of yet another Real Housewives show. But those are easy to dismiss and push to the farthest corner of the back of your mind. What's really distressing? Numbers. Numbers are really scary -- specifically, the numbers around things marketers know they should be doing but aren't.
Journey Map
November 12, 2014
The journey map and the tools used to make one might be the sleeper part of CRM in the year or two in front of us. The reason is simple: Journey maps enable you to figure out your processes, and they are useful in much more than just marketing. The key element of the emerging customer science idea is that the random and highly reactive approach to front-office business rapidly is being eliminated.
Kana Burnishes Omnichannel Customer Engagement Tools
November 11, 2014
Kana has announced the first major upgrade of its flagship enterprise product following its acquisition earlier this year by Verint. Kana Enterprise Customer Engagement Optimization platform has been available since Oct. 31. At its core, the platform is the same, said Director of Product Marketing Kana Kelly Koelliker. It provides tools to facilitate customer engagement across multiple channels.
5 Promises CRM Can't Keep
November 10, 2014
Don't get me wrong -- I think very highly of CRM. I've been making a living writing about it for almost a decade, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Still, covering CRM is a little bit like writing an honest biography of a complex person. Yes, there were moments when your subject achieved great things and was covered in glory, but there were also times when he didn't behave so well.
Cortana Goes to Work for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Users
November 05, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a slew of new features and functionality for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. One of the most striking is the addition of Cortana, Microsoft's intelligent personal assistant. The company also added the ability to create predefined and configurable processes using branching logic, near real-time calculations and roll-ups for business information, and client API enhancements.
A Customer Experience Secret Weapon
October 31, 2014
There aren't many areas in business where processes used to save money and maximize deal sizes also result in a better customer experience. The exact opposite is usually the case -- the drive to save money by making an internal process more productive or to increase the amount being sold to the customer usually impacts the customer experience for the worse. A notable exception is CPQ software.
Analyzing Big Data
October 29, 2014
Xactly continues its pioneering ways by analyzing anonymous data collected by its customers in compensation management. If you aren't familiar with the company's groundbreaking market analysis, you might be in for a treat. Its approach is relatively simple but extremely powerful. With the permission of the data owners, Xactly strips out identifying information and conducts sophisticated analyses.
Tact Premium Goes With the Flow
October 27, 2014
Tactile has debuted Tact Premium, a paid version of its Tact for Salesforce CRM mobile app, that offers ramped-up functionality. Tactile showed it off earlier this month during Salesforce.com's annual Dreamforce show. "The biggest challenge with CRM systems is that they do not follow how a typical sales person goes through his or her day. We have solved that problem," claimed CEO Chuck Ganapathi.
CRM Selection: Getting Requirements to Reflect Reality
October 24, 2014
Perhaps the most important thing you can do before buying business software is to understand what you really want. Software is different from buying a car -- a physical thing you can inspect and whose operation you understand. It's different from buying a commodity, whose characteristics are already clear and there's little variation from purchase to purchase.
The Customer Science Revolution
October 23, 2014
Bluewolf, the consultancy that was founded to assist customers implementing and deploying Salesforce.com, has released its annual State of Salesforce report. There is very little that's controversial. Salesforce is a juggernaut at this point, growing at an exceptional and exponential pace. My only quibble with the account is that it does not look very far beneath the surface of the statistics.
Aviso Helps Sales Managers ID the Real Deals
October 20, 2014
Aviso has launched its first product, Aviso Insights. It is a sales forecasting analytics tool that uses machine learning and portfolio management frameworks to help sales managers answer a fundamental question: What deals can I expect to close this quarter? The application has a mix of features that allow a manager to forecast, analyze and prioritize leads in the pipeline.
Salesforce's Wave Is Only Half the Analytics Answer
October 17, 2014
Salesforce.com's major Dreamforce news was, as the company itself admitted, the worst-kept secret at the show. Marc Benioff, no less, spilled the beans about it during the summer; the crowd for his keynote was there largely to see it in action. It's a beautiful-looking analytics program. The graphic representations of data are simple, clean and automatically animated.
Jottings on Dreamforce 2014
October 16, 2014
Dreamforce has always been about many things happening at once -- a three-ring circus, in a good way. There are announcements about applications, platforms, philanthropy, entertainment and, importantly, parties. This year there was all of that and then some -- I was a guest with a ringside seat. Perhaps the worst-kept secret of the event was the company's announcement of Wave, its analytics cloud.
SalesMesh Bridges Rep-Corporate Information Gap
October 15, 2014
AppMesh recently came out of the gate with Version 2.0 of its flagship product, SalesMesh -- a major leap in functionality. "CRM has made a lot of advances over the years," said cofounder Thomas Tobin. "What it hasn't addressed, however, are the needs of reps as individuals." Problem areas range from cumbersome and repetitive manual entry of data, to keeping track of conversations and leads.
Salesforce.com Unleashes Cloud Analytics Tidal Wave
October 14, 2014
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff last month tweeted about the tentative agenda for this week's Dreamforce, and caused a tizzy revealing a keynote session entitled "Analytics Cloud." Although the company immediately denied that it was planning to unveil such a thing or that Benioff intentionally spilled the beans, Salesforce.com did indeed launch its analytics cloud, called "Wave."
Shooting for Sales? Give Marketing the Right Weapons
October 10, 2014
The old saw is that sales is a numbers game. That's kind of true -- but less so every passing year. In reality, it's becoming a productivity game: How can we make the sales people in our businesses as productive as possible? The key is to make marketing people as productive as possible, too -- which they're becoming, thanks to the advent of better software and smarter ways of using it.
Facebook Sharpens Audience Network Targeting
October 08, 2014
Facebook on Tuesday further opened its Audience Network to third-party developers and publishers. It debuted the platform in April, positioning it as a mobile monetization tool that would leverage Facebook's 1.5 million advertisers and the millions of users who sign into apps using their Facebook credentials. The platform is now available to developers and publishers around the world.
Salesforce.com Debuts Faster, Smarter Social and Mobile Tools
October 07, 2014
Salesforce.com on Tuesday unveiled two new products: Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1. The company has a long history of product offerings in these areas, but these new iterations have been designed to address the radical changes in the sales and service space -- namely, the emergence of social and mobile. They also are primed for action when the Internet of Things goes mainstream.
5 Ways Data Denial Hurts Marketing and Sales
October 06, 2014
Other parts of business have reoriented around data, but sales and marketing have been allowed to function as though they're black arts, with their practitioners going about their trades mysteriously, doing things for reasons only they know. Sometimes the result is a great quarter. Other times, not so much. Sales and marketing generate metrics, but many managers rely on instinct and experience.
A Lot to Like in the Midwest
October 01, 2014
There was a lot to like at Salesforce ExactTarget's Connections 2014 user conference in Indianapolis last week. Now all that's needed is a shorter name. The words "marketing cloud" need to be fitted in there too, but I forget how. Perhaps it's ExactTarget's Midwest roots, but I can see a genuine concern for the customer emanating from the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and it plays well.
Facebook Launches Atlas to Shoulder the Whole Digital-Advertising World
September 29, 2014
Facebook on Monday announced Atlas, a rebuilt ad platform that gives marketers access to its vast troves of user data and helps them direct highly targeted ads across the Web. "Atlas delivers people-based marketing, helping marketers reach real people across devices, platforms and publishers," explained Erik Johnson, head of the new Facebook service.
Debunking the Lead Numbers Myth
September 29, 2014
Sales people love leads. They want lots of them, and they want them now. The more leads, the more money -- because sales is a numbers game, right? Well, yes and no. Some believe in an equation that says X number of leads will produce Y number of closed deals. If you make X greater, Y will be greater, too, right? That's a quaint thought, but it's not the way it works.
The New Forecasting Era
September 24, 2014
Sales forecasting never has been easy, and over time it has gotten a lot harder. This brings up a couple of points that every sales manager and CEO has to deal with: how to forecast deals and how to track them. Forecasting has gone through several generations of approaches that have been tied directly to sales practices. Unfortunately, some of us have been reticent to change practices.
The Growing Allure of E-Commerce Systems Integration
September 24, 2014
The power of e-commerce lies in the simplicity and ease of use delivered to customers. Giving customers the ability to quickly find a product, buy it and have it delivered -- without visiting a store or even speak with a salesperson -- lets companies sell on a massive scale with little overhead. However, behind the simple purchasing process that the customer sees is a very complex set of systems.

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