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Freshworks Brings New Tech Stack To Power Startups
December 1, 2021
The Freshstack product suite combines Freshworks' products to unify startups' customer support, sales, and marketing teams in an easier-to-use package. The new scalable CRM bundle helps startups personalize marketing to generate pipelines, deliver omnichannel service, and grow faster at a price point that is easy to deploy and manage.
Zoho's Surround Strategy
October 19, 2021
Surround strategy is the antithesis of rip and replace. Rather than replacement, a business can move parts of its workload from some workhorse system, say ERP, to Zoho -- where things like pre-built reports and Zia, an AI-based digital assistant, can help business users interrogate data stored on the mothership.
NICE Platform Answers Call for Hyper-Personal CX Tools
October 12, 2021
When a complex need arises, customers expect to be connected to a well-prepared agent who can quickly resolve the situation. That fix must be applied in a way that leaves both the customer and agent feeling great about the outcome. Fortunately, the technologies now exist that allow contact centers to deliver superior service levels that scale on every channel, noted Chris Bauserman, vice president at NICE CXone.
Dreamforce Observations
October 1, 2021
Dreamforce saw Salesforce continuing to build out a product offering that in some ways defies description. For the CRM rank and file there were plenty of announcements and enhancements -- and for others some tantalizing views of what may be coming in future releases.
This Digital CX Tool Drives Repeat Customers, No Website Required
August 25, 2021
Cultivating repeat customers is a critical necessity in the continuing customer shift to mobile-first interactions for a potential product or service purchase. Digital CX tools help level the playing field by providing SMBs the same advantages put to use by their larger counterparts to solidify the customer experience and create repeat business.
Sales Cycles and the Slacking of Salesforce
August 10, 2021
With the recent completion of the Slack acquisition, Salesforce can look forward to improving the quality of the customer-facing business processes that it supports with more and better collaboration. However, the presence of Slack may now highlight the reality that while vendors operate at the speed of technology, buyers conduct more staid and contemplative buying processes.
Salesforce Season
June 28, 2021
There may be two Salesforce seasons in a year -- the one we're finishing and one that happens just before Dreamforce. Roughly speaking, these seasons happen when the company disgorges a raft of new technologies both to update existing products and to bring forth new ones. This season covers a lot of ground; everything from sustainability to workforce management and vertical industry CRM solutions.
Grinding Data Into Information
June 8, 2021
A lot of time and treasure has already been spent on "going digital" with no clear understanding of what that should mean. But going digital should, at least in part, mean taking full responsibility for turning a business' mountain of customer data into usable information that advances the company mission.
The CRM Systems Training Issue
March 15, 2021
As the CRM solution set continues to grow, it's likely that training systems will be increasingly important. That growth has the effect of converging vendor functionality at roughly the same place, making tertiary product attributes like training systems important differentiators. Taking this into account, the next big thing in CRM might not be a new customer-facing app -- but one that faces employees.
Oracle Launches Version 21c
January 14, 2021
Oracle learned a lot from its customers and plowed its findings back into its core product just as others were getting restless and seeking alternatives. Oracle is now calling its product a "converged database" to help with differentiation by highlighting that many businesses don't often only focus on OLTP or AI, but that their businesses require a bit of everything.
Who Values Value Pricing?
January 4, 2021
The idea that CRM products should be priced according to the utility they deliver sounds good, but it raises a lot of questions too. With value pricing, you might expect the cost of CRM to rise and fall as a business gets more or less use and value from its investment, but who gets to determine the value received and, while we're at it, what is the right measure of value?
Fall Ramp-Up
September 15, 2020
Technology's fall selling season is gearing up for year-end as it always does, coronavirus or not, and the CRM industry follows suit with some mods. The majors like Salesforce and Oracle, as well as fast followers like Zoho, are in hot pursuit of what's new -- and they're betting new in this context means a process orientation, not simply delivering new products, features, or functions.
CRM is Failing: It's Time to Transition to CXM
September 1, 2020
Centralizing all tools and customer-effecting services into one system delivers great efficiencies for businesses. However, enabling customers to have the same experience in real time is the difference between a CRM and CXM. CRM Buyer pursued the potential transition process -- and the impact of both CRM and CXM products -- in a conversation with Thryv VP Ryan Cantor.
It's Still a Young CRM Market
August 20, 2020
The IDC CRM market share numbers are in for 2019. For the seventh consecutive year Salesforce leads the pack, this time with 18.4 percent of the market. Other big vendors trailing the leader include, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and Adobe. After 25 years of competition, the runners-up have a combined share that is still less than that of Salesforce.
Never Complain, Never Explain
August 19, 2020
Oracle continues to be the big software vendor we love to hate. There are any number of reasons for this, starting with the brash prognostications of founding CEO and current CTO Larry Ellison. Last week, another in a long line of incidents cropped up that will likely provide hours of conversations among my fellow analysts at trade conference watering holes, just as soon as such things are again common.
Oracle Marketing
August 10, 2020
The emergency caused by the novel coronavirus is causing deep structural changes to how we do business. We don't sell or market the way we did before the virus, and it may be some time before we return to that model -- if indeed we ever do. Oracle's strategy centers around the CX Unity Customer Intelligence Platform, a data management platform that's central to marketers' activities.
Salesforce Sustainability Cloud
August 7, 2020
Salesforce continues to offer new products in an expanding demonstration of its platform's relevance to business and society at large. Sustainability Cloud is best understood as a carbon accounting solution that enables organizations to more quickly audit their carbon emissions and take action in that area. This covers a lot.
The Trail to the Platform
July 1, 2020
Some years ago, Marc Benioff told me he was not interested in developing back office apps that would compete with SAP and Oracle in the ERP and finance market. Many people, myself included, looked askance at that idea and wondered out loud how the company would continue to grow because, hey, there's front office and back office and nothing else right? Nope.
Verint Automates Management of Return-to-Work Health Practices
June 10, 2020
Verint has announced new capabilities within its workforce management solution that automate compliance with CDC guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection as employees transition back to the workplace. New workflows automatically create a comprehensive schedule that is prescriptive, while including traditional workforce management criteria such as skill level, channels and peak hours.
CRM's K-Wave
May 26, 2020
These are extraordinary times, in case you haven't noticed. One of my contentions these days is that CRM is penetrating society to a point that it is taking on an outsized role -- the "CRMification" of society. In economics we often see a disruptive innovation climb a ladder as it becomes something that society needs, as well as wants, until it becomes essential.
Trying Times for Employee Engagement
March 28, 2020
These days are either the most trying time for encouraging employee engagement or the best we could expect. With so many people working remotely, many businesses need extra ways to communicate with the rank and file, and this might present a prime opportunity to try new things. We make a big deal of engaging the customer, and in most CRM circles engagement outranks simple customer experience.
Building the Salesforce Franchise
March 5, 2020
Franchising is a tried-and-true business model with numerous permutations that benefit all participating parties. For the vendor it's a great model for expanding without all of the downside risk associated with building a business, like finding all the financing and hiring people. The franchisor generally sells licenses to willing partners who agree to uphold the standards of the brand.
Microsoft Injects New AI Features Into Dynamics 365
February 20, 2020
Microsoft has unveiled several new AI capabilities across Dynamics 365 applications and a new solution to help project-centric services organizations transform their operations. The AI enhancements include first- and third-party data connections in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft's customer data platform. The company also unveiled new manual and predictive forecasting capabilities.
3 Ways to Build Positive Relationships with B2B Customers
February 4, 2020
For most businesses, meeting target sales goals and key revenue metrics are top priorities. While building positive relationships with customers is important, it isn't the easiest metric to quantify. For this reason, many companies end up ignoring the work it takes to build relationships with customers, and begin to focus on other, more easily-tracked metrics like deals closed and upsells.
Adobe Offers Experience Manager as Cloud Service
January 15, 2020
Adobe has announced the availability of Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service for B2B and B2C companies of all sizes. The service provides "a globally scalable, agile and secure digital foundation that optimizes marketer and developer workflows across the entire content lifecycle," said Haresh Kumar, director of product marketing for Adobe Experience Manager.
Zoho's Catalyst to Growth
October 21, 2019
Now would be a good time to put Zoho on your radar if for some reason it isn't there already. The Austin-based company just announced Catalyst, a developer environment that helps programmers and others to speed development of apps and microservices with capabilities inherited from Zoho's apps portfolio. Catalyst is based on the company's internal development tools.
Zoho Is Starting to Look Like a Utility
September 12, 2019
It has been my belief for several years that our industry is trending toward the formation of an information utility. I draw this conclusion carefully based on my understanding of how markets develop and commoditize. I consider the beginning of the modern IT era as the early 1970s. You can graph a rising line of performance and a declining one for price -- essentially Moore's Law.
New Insightly Marketing Platform Modernizes Legacy CRM
September 10, 2019
Insightly has announced the availability of Insightly Marketing, which integrates marketing, sales and project management into a single platform to support dynamic customer journeys. The company also released the results of the Insightly Marketing Study it conducted last month probing trends and challenges in customer relationship management marketing.
Turning Research Into Product
July 31, 2019
Oracle just published some commissioned research that gives us insights into both CRM generally and the times we live in. A study of more than 1,100 people across several generations found the following: Almost half of consumers have blacklisted a brand as the result of a bad experience; more than one-third of consumers said they would never shop with a company again after just one bad experience.
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.
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Which most influences your decision to accept a LinkedIn invite from a stranger?
Groups or interests we have in common
Personal message they included with the invitation
Relevance of their industry or experience to my own
Size of their network and/or how many connections we have in common
Thoroughness and credibility of their LinkedIn profile
All of the above -- I am meticulous about whom I allow in my network
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