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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.
Account Scoring Tool Helps Companies Home In on Best Targets
February 13, 2018
DataFox has launched Account Scoring, a new product to help businesses and financial firms find and prioritize optimum target clients. DataFox offers clients data on more than two million companies to help them prioritize existing prospect accounts, as well as discover new companies to add to their CRM systems as potential high priorities, said CMO Mike Dorsey.
Five9 President Dan Burkland: Leveraging Tech for Great Customer Experiences
February 7, 2018
"We're seeing a digital transformation take place, where companies are moving their contact centers to the cloud," noted Dan Burkland, president of Five9. "There are two key criteria for a contact center -- there's the CRM and the contact center infrastructure, and those two really go hand-in-hand. You bring a call, chat, text or email into the center, and you have to look for an agent who's available and properly skilled to handle such an interaction."
Document Management Revisited
February 5, 2018
The IT industry has been playing whack-a-mole since its inception. We've been applying sophisticated technology to our biggest business problems not once but repeatedly, as each new generation of technology offers and delivers order-of-magnitude improvements to our business processes. In some cases, we're on our fourth or fifth iteration of solutions.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2017: Countdown, Part 2
January 31, 2018
Where does the discipline of CRM begin? We have a good idea where the software fits, but where does its impact end? With a sale? With a customer saying good things about your company to other customers? With a repeat purchase? And does CRM contribute to these events alone, or is there a web of other activities that help drive these relationships -- and do we ever consider these things to be CRM?
Self-Service AI Aims to Grease the Wheels for B2B Sales Teams
January 26, 2018
SalesDirector.ai has released a self-service version of its artificial intelligence sales execution and sales forecasting platform for B2B sales teams. The system provides enterprise-grade AI to sales teams in less than five minutes, according to the company. Like the regular SalesDirector.ai platform, the self-service version is offered as a service.
Salesforce's Triangulation Strategy
January 24, 2018
Partnerships may be playing the role usually reserved for M&A activity in the CRM world right now. Generally a company makes a purchase when it wants to capture the benefits of another business' R&D or established market base. However, at the moment it appears that the desirable targets are too big to swallow, and the result is more partnering between the big guys and the really big guys.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2017: Countdown, Part 1
January 22, 2018
Something very interesting is happening in the world of CRM blogs: CRM is becoming less and less of a subject. Oh, it's in there -- it's just being elbowed to the back of the stage by a whole host of other related disciplines and technologies. Customer experience, customer engagement and content marketing are vying with artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and bots to elbow ahead of CRM.
Infrastructure as an Anchor
January 18, 2018
Oracle's race to the cloud has offered multiple successes to its investors and some disappointment as well. No transition of this magnitude can be expected to run like clockwork, but the difference between revenues for Oracle's Software as a Service apps for last quarter, $1.1 billion, and those for its Infrastructure as a Service apps, at $396 million, should at least get you thinking.
Salesfusion Launches Spiffy New Marketing Automation Tool
January 17, 2018
Salesfusion has launched version 12 of its marketing automation solution. It rebuilt Salesfusion 12 from the ground up to provide an architecture robust enough to support "the easiest-to-use, most modern campaign creation tools available to marketers today," said Greg Vilines, VP of product and engineering. It provides enterprise-grade power and features without the typical price tag, he added.
Demandbase Adds Conversion Solution to ABM Platform
January 15, 2018
Demandbase has launched its Conversion Solution, adding AI-enabled intent data to its ABM platform, which already incorporates targeting and engagement solutions. It sends sales teams relevant and actionable alerts and insights across multiple channels in real time when one of their accounts is in the news, visiting their company's website, or demonstrating interest in their products.
Cloud Training to Boost Competitive Advantage Strategies
January 11, 2018
One of the biggest challenges facing organizations of all sizes trying to move to the cloud is finding and retaining the skilled workers necessary to implement today's rapidly expanding assortment of on-demand services. This skills gap cost companies more than $250 million in lost business opportunities in just one year, according to a recent survey conducted by the London School of Economics.
The Platform Wars of 2018
January 10, 2018
The new battleground in enterprise software is likely to be the software platform. This is not to say that analytics and security are not important, but they are being handled in different ways. Security is being handled in ways that address both hardware and software vulnerabilities, but these things aren't what customers or consumers spend their days thinking about.
CRM in 2018
January 3, 2018
Figuring out the year ahead in CRM is tricky and getting more so. Making predictions has been more challenging for the last several years. We've seen an array of new technologies take root and blossom, but managers have had trouble figuring out how to adopt them. Those innovations have fueled a lot of anxiety in the C-suite about digital disruption, but each company's disruption is different.
2017: CRM in Full Stride
December 23, 2017
There was a lot in customer relationship management to like in 2017. The industry racked up north of $35 billion and the cloud reigned supreme. However, future growth presents a challenge. We're going to need to look beyond selling generic seats to grow the CRM market from here. It's a whole new ball game now that Oracle has credible cloud CRM. Other vendors will need to bring their A-games.
Creeping Decentralization and CRM
December 13, 2017
One of the big stories of next year might be decentralization. Decentralization is what it sounds like: pushing centralized processes and decision-making to the periphery, where it is believed people can be more effective at dealing with whatever is on tap. Western democratic capitalism runs circles around Soviet style centralized command-and-control economics.
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How does the tech industry compare to other industries when it comes to diversity?
Tech firms have been working much harder than others to achieve diversity.
Tech is rife with sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.
The tech industry would be more inclusive if there were more qualified applicants.
Tech firms have made superficial efforts but they're mainly for show.
The push for diversity is a cultural fad, and there is no real problem.
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