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How Sales Reps Can Solve 3 Nagging Document Problems
July 18, 2019
Technology has so empowered today's customers that they are totally in control of the sales process. This means that the quality of the customer experience is a determining factor in whether a sales organization succeeds or fails. Consider, for instance, that more than half of customers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn't make an effort to personalize communications with them.
E-Commerce Startup Bolt Snags $68M to Grow Checkout Biz
July 11, 2019
E-commerce checkout platform vendor Bolt has raised $68 million to help it increase its engineering team, invest in additional enterprise functionality, partner with best-in-breed e-commerce platforms, and build and expand advanced features and functionality. Bolt's platform combines checkout, payments and fraud detection to provide a better buying experience and maximize conversions.
Signpost Secures $52M to Expand Its SMB Marketing Reach
July 10, 2019
Cloud marketing company Signpost has raised $52 million in new funding to "increase the scale of our business and invest in our technology," CEO Stuart Wall announced. The company's SaaS platform for SMBs consists of artificial intelligence-based customer relationship management and marketing automation technology powered by automated data collection and cross-channel marketing.
Reality Check: Your Customers Have 'Baggage' Too
June 28, 2019
The definition of "baggage" varies depending on whom you ask. For instance, a travel agent or a road-weary businessperson will describe a container used to carry personal belongings on a trip. A therapist might describe emotions from previous relationships that hamper a person's ability to have a healthy relationship in the future. What will a customer service leader say to describe "baggage?"
Oracle Advances Its Two-Pronged Cloud Strategy
June 26, 2019
Oracle has announced plans to combine its more than 18 related analytics products under a single banner, Oracle Analytics, making it easier for customers to figure out what they need. It's not unusual for a company to innovate a string of offerings before consolidating them into a single product line, and it's reasonable to assume that vendors that have not done so already will follow suit.
Oracle Does OK - Surprised?
June 22, 2019
To all the geniuses who advised selling Oracle shares ahead of this week's earnings call: You might want to recheck your calculations. On your slide rule. The headline on Oracle's statement is all you need to begin the self-recriminations: "Q4 FY19 GAAP EPS UP 36% TO $1.07 and NON-GAAP EPS UP 23% TO $1.16." What were the naysayers thinking? More importantly, what were they thinking with?
Thinking Different at Salesforce Connections
June 18, 2019
Salesforce has a genius way of putting people at ease and opening their minds before any of the company's representatives say a word about product. People who study neuropsychology point to the importance of ensuring that the audience's prefrontal cortexes are wide open and ready to transact ideas. Over the years Salesforce has opened minds by discussing philanthropy and it has worked brilliantly.
The New Era of E-Commerce Personalization
June 17, 2019
A personalized shopping experience gives e-commerce sites an edge, and businesses increasingly have been seeking ways to welcome their customers. "Every business should make their customers feel like they are the most important customer in the world," said Rob Maille, head of strategy and customer experience at CommerceCX. "To do that you need to know and anticipate their wants and needs."
Salesforce and Tableau in Merger
June 10, 2019
Salesforce has announced an all-stock deal to acquire analytics powerhouse Tableau Software. Salesforce will pay 1.103 of its shares for one Tableau share. The deal is expected to finalize by the end of October, about a month before Dreamforce. A number of questions arise from this deal. For instance, why do it at all? Why keep the companies separate, and what will their relationship be like?
Trailhead, Salesforce's Not-So-Secret Weapon
June 4, 2019
Salesforce has used its Trailhead learning system to teach developers how to program on its Lightning platform for more than five years. The company last week completed its fourth highly successful TrailheaDX conference, which attracted 14,000 people to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There are plenty of good reasons for Salesforce to be in the software-coding-education game.
Trailblazing a Path for Blockchain
May 30, 2019
Many of us think of blockchain as the technology that prevents counterfeiting digital currencies like bitcoin. However, the so-called cryptocurrencies have hit the rocks recently, losing value or at least fluctuating wildly, making them look more like the stocks of startups than stores of value. Still, as an independent technology the value of blockchain is only growing.
Getting Chatty With Chatbots
May 28, 2019
Chatbots are an important part of the e-commerce shopping experience. They answer questions, provide information, and help customers along in their buying journey. Though they may never replace human beings entirely, they are central to many e-commerce-related interactions. Because they can be everpresent, chatbots are vital for keeping customers and potential customers engaged with a brand.
AppExchange Partners Get a Lift
May 23, 2019
For many years, one of the big concerns of the cloud software industry has been ensuring that the user experience was as good for enterprise software users as it was for consumers on big websites like Amazon. That has been a good motivator, because today's apps on both desktops and mobile devices have seen major improvements. That applies to today's partner ecosystem as well.
Technology Is Filling a Need in Philanthropy
May 14, 2019
It's surprising that philanthropy as an industry has gotten by for so long without technology. That's changing, however. The cost of technology has dropped at the same time that philanthropic organizations have been discovering an acute need for it. Of the more than 1.5 million charitable organizations in the U.S., it's not a stretch to say that the vast majority of them are small and underfunded.
The Vital Role of Customer Service in the Sharing Economy
May 8, 2019
By 2022, the sharing economy is expected to double, reaching $40 Billion. Pioneers such as Airbnb and Uber are now global titans, taking in billions of dollars per year. From sharing furniture to sharing clothing, every industry seems to be trying to make its way into the lucrative sharing business. With the market becoming more saturated with products, how do companies differentiate themselves?
Einstein Analytics for Financial Services
May 7, 2019
It's not that Salesforce has introduced more artificial intelligence apps for its Einstein analytics tool set -- this time for financial services -- that's important. It's that the clear trend now emerging is that you can't really have an industry market solution-set without analytics tuned to the vertical. There are at least two ways to do analytics.
What Everyone's Getting Wrong About Digital Transformation
May 3, 2019
Digital transformation is all the rage right now, and tech companies are working hard to promote it. You can hardly take an action online or go to a conference without being bombarded by digital transformation messages from every angle. Some companies are even using it to sell items only distantly related to digitally transforming. However, digital transformation should not be the end goal.
The Critical Role of Artificial Intelligence in Payments Tech
May 2, 2019
Long an obsession of science fiction writers, "artificial intelligence" in the modern era of fast-paced technological innovation is a term that is as ubiquitous as it is nebulous. For the payments technology industry, however, the term describes advanced analytical technology that has an outsized potential to improve the payments ecosystem for banks, payments processors, merchants and consumers.
New CRM Research Shows Awareness Gap
May 1, 2019
CRM guru Esteban Kolsky and I did some primary research earlier this year, paid for by Zoho. We wanted to improve our understanding of what buyers of CRM systems were most interested in, and to discover their highest priorities. Our survey population was comprised of more than 200 highly qualified executives and managers in companies with workforces that ranged from 500 to several thousand.
5 Ways to Personalize B2B E-Commerce
April 29, 2019
For B2B sellers, keeping pace with customer expectations is anything but easy. Accustomed to the simplicity and convenience that has become common across B2C transactions, buyers expect more from B2B sellers than ever before. Make the most of a growing B2B e-commerce market by considering the unique needs and preferences of each customer. Avoid funneling customers into a complicated buyer journey.
How a Route Planner Can Streamline E-Commerce Operations
April 27, 2019
With jam-packed delivery schedules, driver shortages, and impatient millennials who refuse to wait three days for their goods, it's clear that running an e-commerce company is not an easy walk in the park. It seems the "Amazon effect" is only growing stronger and stronger. Retail e-commerce sales are projected to surpass $735 billion in 2023. With this growth, naturally, come several challenges.
New Apriva Partnerships Promise Mobile Shopping Innovations
April 24, 2019
Apriva has announced partnerships with AveriGo and Vagabond to offer innovative mobile shopping and payment solutions. Apriva offers an adaptive platform for secure mobile communications and omnichannel payments. Both its new partners are in the vending and F&B service industries. AveriGo offers the Averiware business platform. Vagabond offers technologies for the convenience services industry.
How to Get Smarter About Influencer Marketing
April 22, 2019
Marrying technical rigidity with unrestrained creativity? Due to its ability to transform brand engagement with creators on social media, programmatic influencer marketing is here to stay. Millennials have been abandoning traditional media channels and instead becoming increasingly invested in social media. However, marketers may find that PPC ads may not reach the desired performance levels.
Disruption Plus
April 17, 2019
There's a chicken-and-egg issue with digital disruption. Making decisions based on numbers instead of gut instinct is recognized to be a superior approach in many situations, but before you can get to decision making, people have to be able to use things like AI and ML. Humans are not naturals when it comes to numbers; thinking back to high school algebra is all it takes to convince most of us.
Philanthropy Is Good for Business
April 16, 2019
The other day Salesforce announced that it was integrating its philanthropic arm, the nonprofit Salesforce.org, into the larger organization, Salesforce.com. This makes a round trip for "the org." At its founding, Salesforce built its 1-1-1 model of philanthropy -- donating 1 percent of its equity, product and employee time to communities around the world -- into its core business.
The Rise of Headless Commerce
April 15, 2019
"Headless commerce" has become an e-commerce buzzword lately, but how can brands use it to their advantage? "In its most basic terms, 'headless commerce' refers to the decoupling of a website's presentation layer -- the front end -- from its commerce and business logic/function layer -- the back end," said Meghan Stabler, vice president of product marketing at BigCommerce.
Back to the Old School With Zoho
April 13, 2019
Customer relationship management keeps expanding, and some people might wonder why we never seem to get all the way to some mythical goal of perfection. One of the chief reasons is that the goal posts are moving away from us and always will be. This isn't some plot by the software companies to drive demand. From what I've seen, most companies simply try to keep up with demand with increasingly diverse products that meet real market needs.
SEO: How Important Is It to Make the First Page?
April 12, 2019
In a recent E-Commerce Times poll, only 4.32 percent of respondents said there was always enough information on the first page of search results to meet their needs. By comparison, 14.05 percent said they found the first-page search results were rigged and limited by algorithmic highlights. More than one quarter, 25.41 percent, said even if the first page provided enough, they wanted to see more.
What Sellers Are Missing From CRM
April 11, 2019
As the B2B buyer continues to evolve, B2B sellers have more solutions than ever in their technology stacks. From CRM, sales content and asset management, to sales enablement, LMS and more, these technologies have been adopted in order to stay ahead of the changing behavior of prospects. The adopter of these solutions hopes to drive individual sales while increasing the team's productivity.
Social Media's Next Act
April 9, 2019
A little over 10 years ago, we were toasting social media as the great innovation that would enable CRM to traverse the mythical last mile between vendors and customers. Every analyst had something positive to say about social and its future role in CRM. I wrote a paper forecasting that social networking and analytics would be tightly interwoven into the fabric of the vendor-customer relationship.
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