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Integrating MAP With CRM Can Fuel Your Pipeline
February 14, 2019
Sales teams are tasked with nurturing leads and driving them to a sale. In order to do this, they need to maintain a clear record of communication with each prospect. This is especially important as the customer journey requires several touchpoints. As customers get deeper into the journey, strategic face-to-face meetings must take place to generate real business outcomes.
Spreading CRM's Message
February 12, 2019
I've recently been writing a lot about platforms -- not about any one in particular, but about the importance of platform to the future of what we all do in CRM and beyond. Platform provides a level of abstraction between machines and humans. Inventing the platform was like inventing the power loom or the printing press. It was a way to separate the creative effort from rote production.
OceanX and the E-Commerce Subscription Wave
February 8, 2019
Becoming a subscription provider used to be a big and expensive task. To get into the game, a vendor needed to build a subscription business model right next to its traditional businesses, which typically involved building an e-commerce Web store and member site, organizing an online price list and catalog, and figuring out how to handle subscription business receipts, shipping and returns.
Top CRM Blogs of 2018: Countdown, Part 2
January 18, 2019
The Top 10 blogs on our top 20 list are written by people well known to CRM professionals. There's a reason for that: In order to understand and appreciate the discipline of CRM, you must be a person who values other people, and part of valuing people is being able to communicate with them. As a result, these bloggers bring a unique combination of insight and personality to their posts.
Top CRM Blogs of 2018: Countdown, Part 1
January 10, 2019
After several years of instability on this list, 2018 saw things settle down a bit. In past years, blogs would make the list for a flurry of great posts one year, then fizzle the next. Sometimes, bloggers would change careers and their CRM content would dry up. Once in a while, a great blogger would get hired by a major vendor and see his or her output bent to fit the corporate line.
2019 CRM Wish List
January 3, 2019
I've been writing a forecast column every year at least since W was president. Nothing's wrong with that, lots of people do. However, I often find that my forecast is more of a wish list than a true prognostication, so this time I'll dispense with the fiction of analytical rigor and just say what I think needs to happen. First, the industry is consolidating. The big and successful companies are competing on a different plane than the smaller ones.
Oracle's Customer Transition Challenge
December 19, 2018
Oracle narrowly missed its number last quarter, so it was good to see the company come roaring back -- it made a lot of money. More importantly, many analysts have conceded that Oracle has reached a point in its infrastructure deployment where it can mount a serious challenge to other providers and supply the needed cloud services for its ERP and cloud database businesses.
Wix Launches 20-Product CRM Suite for SMBs
December 13, 2018
Wix has launched Ascend, a CRM suite consisting of 20 products, including tools for site promotion, cross-channel customer interaction management, intuitive search engine optimization, content creation for social media channels, lead capture, and the ability to respond to queries automatically. Its chat-centric interface allows real-time interactions with customers.
Sales Chatbots Tell a Story
December 11, 2018
You can roughly chart a product's lifecycle based on how it is sold, and this may be having a profound effect on CRM. In general, product categories start with disruptions but commoditize over time, and because of this, the economy needs to be refreshed with new disruptions to drive it. Disruption dominates the early phases of category growth, and the best use case is not always apparent.
Salesforce IoT Insights Could Turbocharge Field Service
December 6, 2018
Salesforce has announced the addition of IoT Insights to Field Service Lightning. The new tool permits signals from IoT devices to show up directly on Salesforce Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning mobile app consoles, alongside CRM data. Service organizations can draw on those IoT signals to anticipate and diagnose issues remotely, determine the source of the problem.
One-of-a-Kind CRM
December 5, 2018
The hoopla over vertical market or industry CRM might be eclipsing a similar move that does the same kind of thing but with less fanfare. In the end, we might be discussing two iterations and just a difference of degree. The proliferation of CRM development platforms by companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and especially Salesforce, is changing how we regard core functionality.
Governance: An Overlooked but Critical CX Solution
November 20, 2018
Today's customer feedback world is extremely complex with data coming from a variety of sources. With the growing number of cross-functional teams and silos within an organization, leaders have been finding it increasingly difficult to capture the full 360-degree view of the customer to drive true change within an organization. While it's clear that problems exist, what's less straightforward is why.
Digital Disruption Pathways
November 5, 2018
Digital transformation means a lot of things to different people, but if you do it right it should be virtually unique to your circumstance. The other day I caught up with Rip Gerber, CMO at Vlocity, the Salesforce partner that specializes in vertical industries like telecommunications and insurance. Of digital disruption, Gerber told me, "Nobody changes anything without a strong business case."
How E-Commerce SMBs Can Step Up Sales Engagement
November 1, 2018
"Sales engagement" is not a new concept, but the premise around its application has matured over the last few years. So, what is it? If you want the TL;DR version, it's the process of engaging with new sales opportunities quickly and persistently, with a cadence designed to connect, using multiple channels such as telephone, email, SMS and social media.
Turning a Corner in CRM
October 19, 2018
For the last 20 years, CRM has occupied a preeminent niche in enterprise software. It has been the hip, up-and-coming solution in the front office, brimming with innovation and new approaches to some difficult problems. CRM applied basic database technology to a business' chaotic collection of customer data, streamlining business practices and boosting productivity in sales and service.
The CRM Oligopoly
October 4, 2018
As markets mature, they trend toward oligopoly or even outright monopoly. There isn't much difference, because an oligopoly has several members instead of just one. Examples include electric power generation, an oligopoly made up of vertically integrated monopolies in most areas, and the airline industry -- an oligopoly made up of many airlines that may have monopolies in regional hubs.
Dreamforce 2018
October 1, 2018
Salesforce has been very good at skating to where the puck will be, to paraphrase the great Wayne Gretzky. As a result, the company has a long line of firsts, beginning with its initial disruption and continuing through its early adoption of social media and analytics. So it's no surprise that it is pursuing some very different issues now than it did almost 20 years ago -- or even five.
Silo Buster: Salesforce Attacks the Data Sprawl Problem
September 25, 2018
I have never been a big fan of the term "360-degree view of the customer," mostly because you never can have a complete view of your customers. It's simply impossible. Things happen that you don't capture in the data, as CRM guru Paul Greenberg has pointed out. They get divorced, their dog dies, they get a really nice birthday gift. Those things can affect customers' buying behavior.
Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara: The Beauty of the CRM Beast
September 6, 2018
"The reality of relationships is that people buy from people they like, know and trust," said Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara. "In the old days, before we ever engaged in selling, we made a connection by looking at books, things on the shelves, that kind of thing. Today, we're doing that more and more electronically. Social is the perfect way to know more about somebody, and that's actually your job."
Is Weak Data Integrity Killing Your CRM?
August 29, 2018
American companies spend an enormous amount of money on training. Spending reached more than $90 billion in 2017, an increase of over 32 percent from 2016. It's unlikely that even a small share of the billions spent on training last year were devoted to educating and motivating employees to regularly and accurately input data into a company's CRM. Maybe it should have been.
Dreamforce Considerations
August 28, 2018
The Salesforce people whom I speak with are all heads down and breathing hard in the big push to Dreamforce. In other words, things are normal for this part of the cycle. The big questions for each show are, "What will the vendor emphasize this time?" and "Will that be a tone set for the industry for the year ahead?" Sometimes the announcements set a tone but not always.
Pulling a Thread
August 25, 2018
There's an emerging theme in sales and marketing that I expect could influence some of the messaging associated with upcoming events like Salesforce's Dreamforce and Oracle's OpenWorld. Each company will have lots to say about security, analytics and machine learning, the IoT, and blockchain, but what's under the radar is the practical application of much of this to marketing and sales.
Oracle's Bad Boy Image
August 21, 2018
No one at Oracle will ever be nominated for sainthood, and that's probably OK with them. Over the years the company has developed a bad boy image that in some cases is richly deserved, while in others it has been embellished by events. Much derives from the brash doings of founder and longtime CEO (now CTO) Larry Ellison, who may be a charter member of the "never explain, never complain" club.
Optymyze SVP Arturo Bentin: Give Your Salespeople Options
August 21, 2018
If you want to boost sales performance, "there are a few things to think about," said Optymyze SVP Arturo Bentin. "One is, what behaviors are you trying to drive? When you're talking about sales performance, you're talking about a lot of things. You need to think about the metrics and the tools you can use to drive those specific behaviors in your salesforce."
Sugar's New Shot Clock
August 16, 2018
SugarCRM has agreed to acquisition by Accel-KKR, a leading technology-focused private equity firm. Although the announcement calls the deal "a significant investment," what typically happens when private equity moves in is that venture capital moves out. Private equity likes to own everything and thus have greater control. In basketball terms, Sugar just got a big rebound and a new shot clock.
What Your CRM Data May Not Be Telling You
August 4, 2018
The ability to collect massive amounts of data represented a huge leap forward in customer service and communication when CRM first hit the market as a marketing, sales and data management tool. However, CRMs aren't a holy grail. Data management is one thing. Using data to understand what customers really need -- not just what you think they do -- and how to engage them is another thing entirely.
Wheat and Chaff
July 31, 2018
I fear CRM could be tainted by the failings of social media and the bad actors who exploited social platforms. Today it seems especially important for CRM to separate itself from the worst aspects of social to the extent that we can. There's certainly a lot to say -- from continuing to talk about the care we take of customer data to explicitly renouncing some of the tactics.
New AI-Driven Strategy Aims to Heat Up B2B Sales
July 26, 2018
EverString, a San Mateo, California-based startup that offers artificial intelligence software for business-to-business sales, marketing and operations teams, hasy released FIRE, a four-point strategy to improve sales performance. The FIRE methodology is designed to unite and simplify the goals of sales and marketing teams. "FIRE" stands for Fit, Intent, Recency and Engagement.
Marketing Partnership to Help Fine-Tune Targeting
July 18, 2018
Sonobi and LiveRamp have partnered to help marketers improve targeting. The partnership will let brands and agencies build media packages using the Sonobi JetStream multichannel ad platform and LiveRamp's identity resolution system. "Sonobi has a forecasting and planning engine that understands the visitation patterns of an individual user across the open Web," said CEO Michael Connolly.
A Trade War in the Cloud?
July 14, 2018
So far, the looming trade war is limited to actions and reactions related to durable things that trade throughout the global economy. Will that remain the battleground? Or should we expect greater contentiousness around services -- specifically, SaaS, and CRM in particular? Retaliation for U.S. trade initiatives so far has been aimed at things produced by Trump-leaning industries and states.
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