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Oracle's Drive to Automate
May 13, 2018
Oracle -- or could we say "Autoracle"? -- has introduced more autonomous products, generally in keeping with what I see as a build-out of an information utility. The products include Autonomous Analytics, Autonomous Integrations, Autonomous Builder code generation and free premium service. The autonomous products broadly leverage a variety of analytics and machine learning tools.
AI May Be Secret Weapon to Retain Sales Talent
May 9, 2018
Much of the discussion around sales and artificial intelligence has been outwardly focused. It's exciting to think about using AI to examine leads, sift through data, and help deliver answers that allow salespeople to close more and bigger deals. However, the excitement over using AI to organize customer information overshadows another use of AI that could be equally lucrative.
HubSpot Connects With Shopify, Workplace by Facebook
May 6, 2018
HubSpot has rolled out platform integrations with Shopify and Workplace by Facebook, which are designed to support the marketing and sales efforts of SMBs. The Shopify integration lets e-commerce marketers sync specific merchant sales data from Shopify into HubSpot for use as a marketing signal; segment users based on products, deals and order history; and follow up on abandoned shopping carts.
New Video-Making Tool Targets B2B Sales Pros
May 4, 2018
Consensus, which offers a Software as a Service platform for intelligent video demo automation, this week released Consensus Snap, a Chrome plug-in for business-to-business sales teams. Snap enables sales reps to record, send and track personalized screenshot video demos on the fly. Users can activate the screen recording or webcam features of Consensus Snap to record anything on their screens.
Platform Logic
May 1, 2018
For some time, it has been my impression that in the CRM market, all -- or at least most -- of the good ideas have been taken. It's been a long time since we've seen a new systemic approach to front-office business. It's even been a long time since we've seen a major innovation at the department level. CRM itself was a systemic innovation in the last decade of the last century.
AI-Based Customer Data Platform Supports ABM Operations
April 28, 2018
Lattice Engines, a provider of account-based marketing tools driven by AI, has announced the launch of Lattice Atlas, calling it the first customer data platform for ABM. The new platform synchronizes all customer data across a single, integrated view, making it easier for customers to see their data, no matter the source. Customers often have to view data across multiple tools and workflows.
The Scaling Challenge
April 26, 2018
There is a meme making the rounds and I have no idea how old it is or its origins but I've heard it twice in the last week. It's easier to start a company than it is to scale one. You can't say it's a revolutionary thought, but for the last 20 years the emphasis has been decidedly on founding, so this is something of a departure. Startups don't grow to the moon on average.
SalesHero's Robin Takes On New AI Sales Assistant Job
April 25, 2018
SalesHero has introduced Robin, a new AI-based sales assistant. Built for the sales rep, Robin can learn from a user's actions and automate processes to help improve daily sales productivity. Robin can access data from CRM systems, customer interactions, and SaleHero's own proprietary database of 45 million global company records to carry out the most tedious sales tasks.
Demandbase Debuts ABM Analytics for Optimal Marketing Performance
April 18, 2018
Demandbase officially announced ABM Analytics during its annual ABM Innovation Summit. The new tech, part of the company's account-based marketing platform, leverages its account identification technology to help marketers analyze performance from advertising to pipeline and revenue figures. "AI gives B2B marketers a clear view into the behavior of their target accounts," said CMO Peter Isaacson.
Zuora Takes It to the Big House
April 17, 2018
After nearly a decade of company building, Zuora last week went public, valuing itself on the open market at roughly US$2 billion after gaining 43 percent on its first day of trading. Those outlines don't reveal the importance of Zuora generally, and subscription billing systems in particular, to the rapid evolution of the subscription economy and CRM.
Beyond CRM
April 10, 2018
We should start discussing what's beyond CRM. I chose the word "beyond" advisedly. CRM is far from dead or even in decline, so "after" would be incorrect. However, CRM already has changed so much that it may be time to rethink it. Also, many of the tangential technologies that have turbocharged CRM in the last few years, like social media, have drawn so much attention that some analysis is due.
Customization Tools Let You Have Enterprise Chatbots Your Way
April 7, 2018
Inbenta has released new APIs and SDKs that let enterprises customize chatbots. The company offers an artificial intelligence-powered natural language search and conversational platform. The new APIs and SDKs facilitate a number of chatbot capabilities: intent detection, decision trees, transactional intelligence, Content Digest and seamless escalation.
Digital Disruption
April 4, 2018
Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfesson, who teach at MIT's Sloan School of Management, started writing about the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning almost a decade ago. Their early books provided deep insights into the way the era we live in would unfold. A lot of their ideas were on display last week at TrailHeaDX: The Salesforce Developer Conference in San Francisco.
New Platform Boosts Intelligence in Bot Interactions
April 3, 2018
Jacada has released V. 10.0 of its Jacada Interact platform, which supports its new Autonomous Customer Experience Suite. The CX Suite lets enterprises design and automate assisted-service or self-service business flows, and then use them in multiple channels to standardize and optimize customer service interactions. The Autonomous CX Suite supports five Jacada solutions.
Adobe Hones Target's Personalization Tools
March 29, 2018
Adobe this week introduced three features to its Target application in an effort to improve customer experiences through increased personalization: new Personalization Insights reports; Propensity score model comparisons; and Real-time customization models. These new features give users enhanced transparency and customization of Adobe Sensei-powered AI for personalization in Target.
It's Getting Lonely at Quota Club
March 27, 2018
Sales people and their managers should be celebrating the economic gains of the last few years but for many of them the gains may be illusory. Sixty-three percent of sales reps made quota in 2012, but five years later -- despite an improving economy -- that number dropped to 53 percent, according to CSO Insights' continuing research, which stretches over more than two decades.
Zoho VP Rodrigo Vaca: AI Can Help Salespeople Seize the Moment
March 26, 2018
"The rise of artificial intelligence, for sales teams both internally and externally, is the biggest trend in the industry," observed Rodrigo Vaca, vice president of marketing for CRM at Zoho. If you think of CRM as the centerpiece for your company, and you marry that with the escalating amount of data that each company is gathering each day, ... you can do any sort of analysis on it."
Accent Launches CRM Supercharger Application
March 22, 2018
Accent Technologies has announced the release of its new CRM Supercharger application, which guides selling and sales performance by applying intelligent data analytics to sales and buyer engagement data. Like all of Accent's products, the Supercharger application is based on the Software as a Service model. It targets mid-sized to large business-to-business companies.
Managing in Mature Markets
March 20, 2018
Markets and companies change as industries grow and as a disruptive innovation commoditizes. Generally, prices come down because the innovation becomes commonplace and competitors fight for every scrap causing margin erosion. Eventually markets equilibrate, and a monopoly or small oligopoly sets in. We can see this playing out right now -- mature industries like databases have an oligopoly set up.
Salesforce Offers SMBs a Bunch of Essentials
March 16, 2018
Salesforce has launched Salesforce Essentials, a collection of intelligent apps targeting SMBs. Built on the Salesforce Lightning framework, Essentials offers a consumer-like experience optimized for any device. Relevant information is displayed on one unified console, with drag-and-drop customization. "Essentials is easy to try, set up, use and maintain," said Salesforce SVP Marie Rosecrans.
Healthcare, CRM's New Vertical
March 14, 2018
Healthcare might offer the best example of the potential for vertical market CRM, but most people in CRM may not realize this. Healthcare is, after all, a bit of a stretch from what we do in the enterprise or SMB world, but perhaps it shouldn't be. In both spheres we see a relatively small number of highly paid and overworked people addressing the needs of a vast number of people.
Pega Enlists AI to Coach Sales Teams
March 8, 2018
Pegasystems has launched Pega Sales Coach, an AI-powered addition to Pega Sales Automation. Pega Sales Automation targets business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies. It can benefit firms with 100 employees as well as Fortune 500 enterprises with revenues of US$500 million and up, according to Chris Benedetto, Pega's director of product marketing for sales automation.
Facebook's Vulnerabilities Surface
March 7, 2018
Adam Smith famously referred to "the invisible hand" of the free market in his landmark book The Wealth of Nations, and with that made himself one of the very first political economists. Smith's observation was so on point that most of us assume markets run through the agency of individuals pursuing their enlightened self-interests, which helped drive the evolution of CRM as a tracking tool.
New AI-Powered Voice Tool Aims to Boost Sales
March 3, 2018
Zoho has unveiled Zia Voice, a conversational artificial intelligence chatbot for sales teams that works with Zoho CRM. Zia Voice lets sales teams analyze their Zoho CRM database for information such as new leads created, average deal revenue, or monthly forecasts. It analyzes interaction patterns and the progress of a lead or deal in the pipeline, and suggests the probability of closure.
To Fix Healthcare, Fix IT First
March 1, 2018
We spend a great deal of time and effort trying to make healthcare more affordable and to ensure better outcomes. Too often, the upshot is to reduce all problems and challenges to a singularity in search of a silver bullet. It never works, but it seems like human nature to take that approach. Salesforce has taken a tactic that is bearing fruit, in part because it isn't really trying to fix healthcare.
AdRoll Creates New Division to Target B2B Marketers
February 28, 2018
AdRoll has announced RollWorks, a new division that will provide business-to-business marketers with highly targeted, personalized marketing at scale across multiple channels and devices. The result of a corporate restructuring, RollWorks will focus specifically on B2B marketing, while the AdRoll business unit will focus on the company's legacy products for e-commerce SMBs.
Keeping It Simple
February 22, 2018
Disruptive innovations expose longstanding needs and signal that there's a solution at hand -- one that usually is less expensive than the status quo. The lower-cost aspect makes adoption inevitable and disruptive. Document management is like that. Decades ago, many enterprises found that the cost of capturing documents as electronic images vastly improved on costly file cabinet systems.
Are You Engineering the Customer Experience Out of Your Business?
February 20, 2018
Automation. Robots. Technology taking our jobs. I defy you to pick up a business magazine and avoid this topic -- it will be in there somewhere. Here's another theme you won't be able to avoid: the need to focus on the customer experience. These two trends are in tension much of the time. They don't have to be, but most businesses seem determined to focus on themselves instead of the customer.
Nimble Mobile CRM Gets Desktop Browser Features
February 15, 2018
Nimble has released Nimble Mobile CRM 3.0, its contact and pipeline manager for mobile sales teams and professionals. Nimble Mobile CRM 3.0 unifies contacts from mobile, cloud-based and desktop records into one comprehensive relationship manager that surfaces the histories of conversations and provides social context. It is available for iOS now. An Android version will be released this spring.
Trending in CRM
February 14, 2018
It's uncertain how the CRM market will look in six months, given the stock market, the economy and the tax bill. Initial indications are that more money will be available for various corporate activities, like hiring and rewarding employees and investments in products and business processes. If so, a decent amount of cash might find its way into various CRM company coffers.
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What best describes your attitude toward social networks and politics?
The value of engaging in serious political discourse outweighs the negatives.
Most of the political conversations seem overheated and ignorant.
Social networks provide a lot of very good political information from reliable sources.
Almost every political post I see is skewed or totally fake.
Political interactions on social networks simply mirror those in the real world.
Social networks remove inhibitions, bringing out the worst in people and politics.