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ECommerceTimes.com
Choosing the Right Level for Multitiered Customer Success
June 22, 2015
Customers are more empowered than ever before -- they have unlimited access to information with the click of a button. How does this affect businesses? How are they reshaping their strategies to account for the recent rapid shift from business-centric to customer-centric? SaaS businesses and enterprises alike are restructuring their platforms and focusing on customer success initiatives.
Steer Clear of Sales Forecasting Traps
June 16, 2015
Sales executives, managers and reps spend countless hours in forecast meetings, yet often find their actual closed revenue falls far from the mark they predicted. With the advanced CRM technology and sales forecasting tools available today, it's a wonder this trend continues. There are four common pitfalls that take place during the forecasting process that every sales leader should avoid.
What Buyers Want
June 12, 2015
Technology is giving companies an unprecedented view of their customers: demographic data; buying preferences; behaviors that signal the intent to buy; and analyses that enable them to develop expectations about how customers are likely to act during the buyer-seller relationship. Those abilities are new, and they hold a lot of promise. However, customers have changing expectations as well.
Dodging Disorganization: Showing Sellers a Sharper Image
June 4, 2015
Despite vendors' claims, CRM is not all about technology. Technology helps it scale, but CRM is really a discipline. It's the discipline of creating relationships that benefit both buyers and sellers. CRM is really great at organizing the data that makes it possible to build relationships. However, many things that aren't driven by your CRM technology can have a major impact on relationships.
A Stellar Progress Report for Mobile Retail
June 3, 2015
Any industry player sitting at the vortex of mobile marketing and retail has a great deal to be excited about at present. The marketplace is witnessing an incredible growth and innovation surge. At the end of last year, mobile technology clearly upped the ante -- creating fresh, breakthrough marketing opportunities for a merchant community looking to increase revenues while better controlling ROI.
Message for Marketers: Always Be Engaging
June 1, 2015
In sales, we know customer retention is critical for success in the subscription economy. For many tech companies in the SaaS space, it takes three years to break even. In insurance, which has toiled in the subscription economy for more than a century, the average break-even time is an incredible seven years. Because of that, sales compensation is starting to change.
Containing the Zombie Malware Outbreak
May 22, 2015
Your computer could be operating as part of a botnet, sending out email spam, stealing confidential information, or furthering the spread of malware at this very moment. Computers can become zombies in many ways, but the most common technique is through a Trojan virus installed via malicious email attachments or drive-by downloads from infected websites.
Order Taker, Meet Undertaker: What Sales Pros Must Do to Survive
May 21, 2015
Within a few years, 1 million B2B sales roles will be eliminated, according to a recent Forrester Research report. That's 20 percent of them gone, thanks to the evolution of technologies like self-service and customers' increasing desire to avoid the hassle of speaking to sales reps. Personally, I think that's a bit overstated -- or rather, a mischaracterization of an ongoing trend.
5 IT Security Implementation Myths
May 19, 2015
There's a common perception that implementing comprehensive IT security to protect against today's sophisticated threats and attacks is a difficult and expensive task, and that the benefits of replacing current solutions (even if highly ineffective) are seldom worthwhile. This mindset has resulted in many businesses dealing with a virtual patchwork of disparate systems.
If You Build a Structure, Sales Enablement Will Come
May 18, 2015
There's a lot of devalued sales jargon out there, but the phrase that makes me wince the most is "sales enablement." First, it's misleading -- there are lots of things that equip sales people to close deals, but when people say "sales enablement" they usually mean content, portals, playbooks and on-boarding. That only "enables" part of the sale. Second, most companies are abysmal at managing it.
Customer-In, Not Seller-Out: 5 Realities of the Customer Journey
May 11, 2015
I was doing a little reading about the concept of the customer journey. I have distinct opinions about it, and I was looking for things that might challenge or validate those ideas when I stumbled across a blog post from a major CRM vendor that got my goat. The post proclaimed that 2015 was "the Year of the Customer Journey!" Really? This year? What about the many years before this?
The Cloud's Threatening Legal Storm
May 8, 2015
With the ever-increasing use of the cloud by more and more businesses, there is good reason to be concerned about legal risks, which are an inherent part of the cloud. The term "cloud" may be relatively new, but the concept of remote computing started more than 60 years ago, when Dartmouth University first launched "time-sharing." The remote computing risks have not abated.
5 Ways to Stop Stressing Out Your Customers
May 7, 2015
Company executives -- especially customer service leaders -- will tell you that the customer is the most important person on the planet and that the company is focused on making the customer happy with a laser-like intensity. Take a look at a typical mission statement -- it's all about the customer. Yet many customers would rather have a root canal than contact a company for support.
Satisfying Customers in the Digital Transformation Era
April 29, 2015
Customers are changing the rules of business. They are well informed and well connected, and they have high expectations. Business success in the digital world depends on individuals who make recommendations based on their personal experience. These customers expect a seamless and consistent experience, regardless of which device they are using. They demand intelligent digital interactions.
The Business Power of Empathy
April 24, 2015
In our high-powered, win-at-all-costs business environment, the word "empathy" often evokes derision and scorn. Who has time to be a squishy, touchy-feely wimp overflowing with empathy? We're all busy closing deals and kicking butt! Kicking, closing, etc., is great and all -- but empathy has genuine business value. Don't forget that CRM has "relationship" right in the middle of it.
Sleek Ad Tailoring for Online Apparel Shoppers
April 21, 2015
Consumers are on board with the concept of buying apparel online. Especially in this era of free returns and nifty sizing tools, buying clothing and shoes off the Web has become mainstream. However, some advertisers have been slow to respond. While most of us have at some point been served ads displaying items we browsed the day before, dynamic creative has the power and potential to do much more.
Big Data Drives Change if You're Ready to Be Driven
April 20, 2015
In an earlier chapter in my career, I had the seemingly lofty title of "software and intelligence editor" at a telecom trade magazine. Even back in 1996, telecom was experiencing a "big data" problem. It wasn't a problem of collection -- no, telephone companies collect more data than almost any other industry, recording call times and durations, as well as the numbers their customers dialed.
There's a Science to Engaging With Empowered Consumers
April 13, 2015
We all know customers have changed. They can voice their dissatisfaction with you, complete most of the buyer's journey without you, and even seek out support and service without you. If you're a business, you have two questions to ask yourself: 1) Do you really want to become unnecessary to your customers? and 2) What are you going to do about it?
Optimizing the Brick-and-Mortar Customer Experience
March 27, 2015
The retail industry has finally awakened to what customers always have known -- they don't distinguish too much between channels. Modern shoppers are happy to embrace the immediacy and experience of the physical store while also benefiting from the informed and personalized ease of shopping online. Retailers should translate the smartest online strategies into their in-store experience.
Self-Service and the 'R' in CRM
March 25, 2015
Self-service is generally considered a good thing, especially in CRM, where there has been significant investment in empowering people to take on more responsibility for provisioning service or making purchases. But it's not all great, and there is some interesting blowback that is causing vendors to reconsider how their offerings work. In sales, self-service has resulted in truncated sales cycles.
5 Crafty Customer-Retention Strategies
March 23, 2015
Remember all those hours you spent at the mall just hanging out, not buying a thing? Well, a lot of us just never grew up. We just moved our hangout from the local mall to the Internet. We meet our friends online, we order food online, and we window-shop online. It's a good life. That is, it's good unless you are at the receiving end of this online voyeurism.
The Easiest Path to CRM Failure
March 9, 2015
One of the pitches sales reps selling CRM make the mistake of dropping into conversations is that it's easy to use. "Users can practically train themselves, it's so intuitive! Just start clicking! And did we tell you -- we just introduced a new UI to improve the UX!" It's a line of discussion that really does CRM a disservice. Yes, today's applications are easier to use -- but there's a "but."
What the Buyer Sees
March 4, 2015
Partner Relationship Management gives a lot of attention to the vendor and partner relationship, and it should. But it's worth remembering that as important as this relationship is, the one that really counts involves an end customer. So what does the end customer need from a channel partner that a PRM system can uniquely provide? I'd say the most important partner deliverable is intangible -- trust.
Changing Sales Behaviors Through Creative Compensation
February 20, 2015
The idea of using incentives to drive business behaviors is not a new one. It happens in all areas of business, but it's most obvious in sales, where compensation is tied to performance. This is the most basic type of incentive, and it's used to get people who sell for a living to sell. However, other incentives can drive behaviors more complex than simply selling.

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