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ECommerceTimes.com
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.
The Rhyme and Reason of Sales and Marketing Tech Adoption
February 18, 2015
For all the breakthroughs in technology and process, and for the vast amounts of money invested in making sales and marketing more productive and better aligned, we still face a staggering adoption problem. Sales and marketing pros answered a lot of questions in a recent survey. One of them was this simple query: How much of your sales team has adopted and regularly uses your current solution?
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 2
January 20, 2015
The second half of the Top 20 Bloggers list is the half that holds the most surprises and fresh faces. This year, it also has the most variety -- from non-English speakers to blogs targeted at small businesses -- as well as plenty of marketing-oriented content. There also are some re-entries to the list who have rediscovered their blogs and come roaring back.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 1
January 12, 2015
The field of CRM bloggers is like the start of a marathon: There may be thousands of entrants, but there are only a few elite runners. Spotting them in the rest of the pack is not always easy -- especially as their enthusiasm for blogging waxes and wanes, or as they move into other formats, like becoming regular columnists in publications. However, there are a few things that identify the elite.
Surviving 4 Inescapably Unfair Aspects of CX Delivery
December 19, 2014
Ever built a house of cards? It's critical to start with a sound foundation to support your later efforts. No matter how sturdy your start is, however, a wrong move anywhere along the way can bring down the house and cause all your work to be for naught. Delivering good customer experiences is like that: You can do extraordinary work in planning the basics and even get customers to buy from you.
The Intangibles: 5 Things That Aren't on the CRM Data Sheets
November 21, 2014
CRM has been around for a long time now -- more than 25 years. Amazingly, many businesses, including large businesses with revenue in excess of US$100 million, still operate without it. That's amazing, because to many business leaders, CRM has become table stakes when it comes to creating a software infrastructure. Within CRM, many of the features have become table stakes, too.
Is Your Mobile Campaign Working?
November 21, 2014
More and more marketers are eager to engage with consumers on the devices they use for just about everything these days -- from connecting with friends and colleagues to consuming and creating content, playing games and, of course, shopping. But are the billions of dollars now being invested in mobile advertising paying off? Brands need to understand which marketing approaches work best.
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.
Bringing Luxury Online
November 11, 2014
More shoppers are turning to websites as a way to connect with brands and make purchases, and companies are investing heavily in their online presence to ensure that they are delivering a top-notch experience. While the majority of retailers recognize the power of e-commerce, there remains a specific subset of sellers that are hesitant to hop on the online bandwagon: luxury brands.
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.
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.
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.
Top 5 Ways to Make Money With Software
October 20, 2014
While app developers generally aim to make money off their creations, this goal is often relegated to second-tier status by programmers who but the product first and foremost, as they should. Therefore, in order to minimize the time needed to devote to a monetization strategy, developers generally choose one of the following tried-and-true methods.
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.
Ephemeral Apps May Have a Place in the Enterprise
October 13, 2014
One of the hardest-to-decipher trends of the Internet and app world today is what's known as "ephemeral software." Epitomized by popular apps like Snapchat, Frankly and Confide, ephemeral programs revolve around bite-sized, self-destructing user interactions. Since its inception, ephemeral software has baffled many industries, with marketers struggling to develop cohesive campaigns.
Make Your List and Check It Twice: Preparing for the 2014 Holiday Season
October 8, 2014
With summer behind us, brands and retailers are busy finalizing their plans for the upcoming holiday rush. Like last year, this holiday season will be a short one, with just 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas. With this condensed shopping period and digital commerce on an aggressive upswing, the holiday season is no time for retailers to take chances.
5 Ways Data Denial Hurts Marketing and Sales
October 6, 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.
Give the Gift of Social Customer Service
September 30, 2014
Snow flurries and the smell of pine needles. Eggnog and hot apple cider. Gingerbread men and latkes. Stockings and dreidels. Ornaments and menorahs. Trips to see family, and... visits to the customer service department? The holiday season is upon us, and it isn't complete without a customer service interaction or two. Remember when there was an actual customer service counter in department stores?
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.

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