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Gamification and E-Commerce: Play Your Way to Success
July 23, 2018
Gamification is one of the hottest trends in the business world. Incorporating game elements can be a great way to engage customers and employees alike -- using an activity that has appealed to humankind since its beginnings. "Humans have been playing games for thousands of years. Some argue that games predate culture," said Brandon Marsala, creative director of content and strategy at Mindspace.
3 Smart Ways to Use Video in E-Commerce
July 16, 2018
Video is often how stories get told in the 21st century, so it's a good idea for e-commerce business owners to consider ways they can use this trend to their advantage. "Today we are constantly bombarded by content, and video is one of the best ways to cut through that noise," said Chris Lueck, CEO of FastSpring. "It pays to take the extra time and effort to incorporate video into your strategy."
New B2B Customer Experience Dashboards Promise Better Business Visibility
July 12, 2018
MaritzCX has unveiled preconfigured B2B CX templates that monitor key financial indicators; metrics for customer touchpoints, including NPS and OSAT; business-specific outcomes; and overall account performance. Integrated into the MaritzCX Technology Platform, "the dashboards become a hub that aggregates all of the data being monitored," said Jennifer Rubin, MaritzCX associate practice leader.
Miller Heiman CEO Byron Matthews: Stay Tuned for the CRM 4.0 Revolution
July 11, 2018
"There's a gap in performance across B2B selling, because buyers are innovating faster than sellers are getting better at selling," said Miller Heiman Group CEO Byron Matthews. "Sales enablement's function is to try to close that gap. It's not sales operation ... . It's more strategic, in terms of trying to drive sales performance by getting better content and coaching services for salespeople."
What I Learned at the Conferences
July 7, 2018
The close of Q2 ends the first wave of vendor customer events. Still to come this fall are Salesforce Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld -- and others -- but mercifully, we have the summer to digest all the information absorbed this spring and re-sync with our native time zones.For starters, CRM doesn't appear to be slowing down. As an industry, it's rated at about $35 billion in revenues.
To Drive Change, Let Your Customers Be the Messengers
June 30, 2018
Before I was a parent, I was a youth leader. As individuals, teens had unique personalities, skills and stories, but one thing that was universal was the effect that parental communication had on them. Whether it was a criticism, a suggestion, or merely a bit of helpful information, the teens tended to look down on it, or even become hostile toward the messenger.
7 Keys to Global E-Commerce Success
June 26, 2018
If you operate an e-commerce company, the world is at your fingertips, and global markets offer the enticing promise of increased visibility and sales. "International expansion is a great way to mitigate risk and reliance on a single market for all your sales," noted Chris Vincent, global CEO of Practicology. How to get started may seem murky, though.
Companies Team to Give Hard-Pressed Sales Reps a Boost
June 20, 2018
Mobile sales and business-to-business e-commerce platform Handshake has teamed up with Square to provide easy B2B ordering and payments via an app that enables a seamless workflow between the two companies' products. Using the app, B2B sellers can accept all major credit cards and see their money deposited in their bank accounts in one to two business days.
How B2B Sellers Can Keep Buyers Engaged
June 12, 2018
The gap between B2B buyers and sellers has been growing. More than 70 percent of B2B buyers preferred to wait to engage a seller until the latter demonstrated a clear understanding of its needs, a CSO Insights survey found. Nearly 58 percent of buyers saw little difference among sellers, and more than 10 percent saw no difference at all among sellers.
CRMDialer President Dimitri Akhrin: Raw Data Is No. 1 Thing
June 12, 2018
One of the top current trends in the CRM space is that AI offers "the ability to gain insight, and the most important example is visitor tracking," said Dimitri Ahkrin, president of CRMDialer. "That's a big component -- knowing how in real time to react to something a prospect is doing on a site. It's going to allow prescriptive recommendations about what to do in a particular moment."
There's a New AI-Based Data Service on the CRM Block
May 30, 2018
Cien this week released its AI-based Data Enhancement Services to help companies manage CRM records in Salesforce Sales Cloud implementations. Data Enhancement Services "is an optional standalone Cien offering for companies that aren't ready to start tackling their sales productivity traps and feel a more urgent need to augment their CRM data," noted Cien CEO Rob Käll.
ProsperWorks CEO Jon Lee: You're Going to Need Great Data
May 23, 2018
"There's this notion that software is primarily something you have to work for," said Jon Lee, CEO of ProsperWorks. "There's a lot of data entry, a lot of navigating screens and moving between different windows. Software as it was designed in the 1980s was a database for recording information. The trend you're seeing today is ... what if my software works for me?"
Middle Office or No-Man's Land?
May 20, 2018
It was once common knowledge that Apttus was the next big acquisition target on Salesforce's radar, until Salesforce decided to acquire another CPQ vendor to augment its Sales Cloud. In the two-ish years since, Apttus has nicely pivoted, diversifying its partner base and justifying its existence with a new strategy and nomenclature around what it calls the "middle office."
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.
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.
Honesty Proves Best Policy for Closing B2B Deals: Study
April 23, 2018
Vendors have a better shot at closing deals for large-scale B2B software purchases when they are upfront and honest about the quality of their products, a new study suggests. There is a bit of a trust gap between what is promised in negotiations for these deals and what actually is provided, indicates the poll of more than 650 technology vendors and buyers.
Hybrid Messaging Key to Upselling Success: Report
April 21, 2018
Companies that aim to upsell their existing customers should develop a hybrid message that reinforces their existing relationships while providing an incentive to break the status quo, suggests a new study. Corporate Visions previously has commissioned studies on how to shake prospective customers' status quo bias to persuade them to consider your products or services.
HubSpot Sales Exec Brian Signorelli: Get Your Prospects to Call You
April 15, 2018
A number of trends have taken hold in the CRM space, according toHubSpot Sales Exec Brian Signorelli. "One of the first things that stands out to me is that, ironically, despite all the money that is spent on CRM overall, sales reps aren't spending that much time there," he said. "Instead, reps are using all these tools that are connected in some way to CRM, like email or sales acceleration."
CRM Tops Software Sales Charts Worldwide
April 11, 2018
Worldwide CRM software revenues totaled $39.5 billion in 2017, eclipsing DBMS, the former market leader. DBMS had worldwide revenues of $36.8 billion last year, and it "has been the biggest software segment for years, noted Julian Poulter, research director at Gartner. CRM software will be the fastest-growing software market in 2018, with a growth rate of 16 percent, Gartner predicted.
Palo Alto Networks Sales VP Amy Slater: Be Human
April 11, 2018
"People have a fear that if they show any type of vulnerability, that's a bad thing," said Palo Alto Networks Sales VP Amy Slater. "But I've learned over time that people want to work with and learn from humans. I've modified the way that I was leading, and in doing so I've become more approachable. Instead of being stiff and by-the-book, I started to create my own brand of being human."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Podcast Pluses for E-Commerce SMBs
February 28, 2018
Podcasting is one of the hottest media trends. Almost everyone, it seems, has a podcast these days. Should e-commerce business owners jump on this bandwagon? Can podcasting really boost the bottom line? If you do decide to make a podcast, do your best to make it exceptional. That means having good audio quality, excellent content, a unique voice, and a strong sense of audience and purpose.
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