Archives For Sales

The following is a guest post from Jeremy Cox, Principal Analyst, CRM, Ovum.  ext Jeremy Cox

It is always reassuring  when a firm takes its own medicine and uses some of the same portfolio of products that it recommends to its customers. I refer of course to IBM’s global deployment of Sugar, integrated with many of IBM’s Smarter Commerce applications, to support a 45,000+ strong sales force. IBM’s Smarter Commerce portfolio, provides  customers with the tools to create a fully integrated all-channel,  informed and joined up customer experience.  Sugar works together with the Smarter Commerce portfolio and provides the user-centered  interface into all relevant customer information to provide what Ovum calls smart, connected interactions.

The Smarter Commerce story is relevant to multiple industries, both B2B and B2C or combinations. Irrespective of industry there are several common attributes that have to be orchestrated in a coherent manner if firms are to gain advantage from the Smarter Commerce portfolio including Sugar. Every industry is under intense competitive pressure in the face of rising customer expectations, globalization and the impact of social and mobile on customer behaviors and preferences.  The ability to be persistently relevant to customers by providing them with rewarding experiences across any and all channels through which they want to interact with a firm is a massive challenge facing all industries. Some like retail are particularly exposed to disruption as Amazon extends its reach and capacity, or lower cost competitors reach out to customers with more compelling offerings.

The old certainties and ways of doing business call for much deeper thinking and a more coherent approach to omni-channel commerce.

Ovum has identified 8 attributes successful firms orchestrate to gain this level of coherence. These are:

  1. Visionary leadership that seeks to put the customer at the center and orchestrates the firm’s capabilities and improvement initiatives in a coherent, connected way in support of a common goal – creating value for customers. Without this silos will flourish and impede the customer experience.
  2. Visionary leadership is also responsible for an engaged workforce, the second attribute. A workforce imbued with a set of values that builds trust with customers as well as internally with colleagues and the ecosystem of suppliers and partners is a powerful force for fostering great customer experiences. It is not just front line employees that provide moments of truth, but back office, finance, supply and distribution personnel, etc. All can have an impact. IBM’s Smarter Commerce helps connect people and Sugar’s user interface that puts the individual at the heart of the design supports greater workforce engagement and as a result a great customer experience.
  3. The ability to collaborate across and beyond the organization  in the pursuit of value creation and delivery, for customers. IBM Connections together with Sugar helps leverage this critical attribute.
  4. Acute sensing capabilities that drive real time insight and predictive foresight helps everyone in touch with the customer to have meaningful and relevant interactions. It also helps customers who prefer to serve themselves to find what they are seeking with minimal fuss and maximum convenience. The combination of IBM Cognos ,IBM Interact which provides realtime recommendations, IBM Tealeaf and Sugar ensures the right contextual information reaches the right people at the right time and in an intuitive consumable form, irrespective of the device used.
  5. A seamless and integrated customer experience across any channel with no loss of information  provides the true 360 degree  contextual view of the customer. SugarCRM has long advocated a deeper integration with the organization to deliver this. This contrasts with the typical triumvirate view of CRM being – sales, marketing and service (often in that order). That ‘typical view’ adds little value and belongs to the old command-and-control industrial era of the 20th century.
  6. The ability to innovate continuously and refresh the value that customers receive is the other essential ingredient for persistent customer relevance . Firms which succeed at this draw on ideas well beyond the traditional product development team; from customers, partners and the entire workforce. But innovation is not just about new products. It is also about developing new ways of engaging with customers that add greater value and magic moments that turn them into raging fans.
  7. Lean, simplified and connected processes across the value chain or network. The omni channel experience absolutely requires deeper thinking and a more horizontal view of how value is created and streamed across the organization and its ecosystem of suppliers and partners. Simply grafting on new digital channels will lead to failure and frustrate customers.
  8. An adaptive enterprise architecture that provides a coherent visualization of how the organization works as a system to deliver its customer centric vision and goals, is also an important attribute. Tweaking existing business models is unlikely to be sufficient and old legacy systems and legacy thinking will impede progress.

IBM’s Smarter Commerce with SugarCRM supports these attributes either directly or indirectly.  IBM’s Interactive Experience practice can help firms design and think through the detail required to deliver positive and memorable customer experiences across any and all channels. SugarCRM’s services team works in partnership with IBM to help firms take advantage of the highly elastic capabilities of Sugar.

About the Author

Jeremy Cox is principal analyst in Ovum’s global Customer Engagement Practice. Jeremy joined Ovum in July 2012, and quickly established the broader customer-adaptive enterprise context identifying 8 core attributes that organizations need if they are to be persistently relevant to their customers: leadership, an engaged workforce, collaborative, sensing capabilities to generate insight and foresight, a superior customer experience, continuous innovation, connected and frictionless processes and an adaptive enterprise architecture.

@jeremycoxcrm

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jeremycox/

 

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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will help give you the tools and insight you’ll need to get the most out of your partner programs. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

High-tech vendors rely heavily upon their channel partners, to the tune of approximately $1.5 trillion in annual sales according to ZS Associates.

A direct relationship with a consumer is always the most valuable. In order to get there, though, you need the slingshot and momentum of other well-known partners. Often many more, depending on the business you’re in. (Alex Rampell, CEO TrialPay)

Given that channel enablement is vital in any technology company’s success, enterprises often face challenges in succeeding in their partner programs. Consider the following articles as a toolkit to jumpstart or polish your programs to ensure channel success.

3 Ways to Boost Channel Partner Success
“As demands on business grow, more organizations are using partners and contractors to provide needed support and expertise.” Cindy Mielke outlines three actionable ways you can boost your channel partner programs.

Partner Selling
“Rejection is often a good indicator of the lead generation process’ effectiveness. If too many leads get rejected, it might indicate that they’re too raw going out the door and that better nurturing is needed. However, if an individual partner has a consistently high reject rate, along with a poor win/loss ratio, it might say something about that partner.” – Denis Pombriant

3 Steps To Successful Voice Of Partner Programs
“IT vendor-partner relationships prosper when they both communicate openly with each other,” says Erik Long, Principal at ZS Associates

Alicia Fiorletta helps to share ways on overcoming communication as a challenge for channel enablement.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of our Weekly CRM Roundup. We’ll be taking a brief hiatus from these weekly missives — in the meantime, you can still catch the latest and greatest in CRM industry news on Twitter at @SugarCRM.

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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will revisit the some of the same social selling topics as our previous post but with more useful tips and tricks. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Selling through social channels (a.k.a. social selling) is not only an art, but a science. New social channels are emerging every week, only increasing the surface area of digital touchpoints a customer or prospect may have. Those who know how to leverage their networks and hone the power of social media are able to excel in the ever changing sales landscape.

Sales 2.0

Sales 2.0 – Source: Forbes

Salespeople are more likely to meet or exceed their quotas if they engage on social media.
(Dynamic Signal)

Studies have been done to prove this point and salespeople are missing the boat ride to sales success. The following articles will teach you how to be a social selling specialist in no time.

5 Steps for Creating a Successful Social Selling Strategy
One of the golden rules in social selling is to identify where your prospective customers are spending time online. Being able to recognize who your customer is, where they spend their time, and what they like to do can be the driving factor in what closes a deal. Seth Price writes a simple 5 step process for developing your own successful social selling strategy.
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How to Use Twitter Hashtags as a Prospecting Tool
Let’s face it, Twitter is a loud party and sometimes it is hard to hear through the noise. Beyond the clamor hides some of your most relevant and valuable prospects. Twitter can provide a certain level of audience targeting through their Hashtag functionality in order to reach and engage with your next customer.
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Social Selling Action Plan: Seek A Warm Relationship
Social media is no longer about what someone had for lunch. Your future customers are waiting for you to contact them in the places they spend the most time. Matt Foulger will teach you how to turn cold calls into warm calls, gain a 360-degree view of your prospect, push intelligence from social media into your CRM, as well as various social engagement methods.
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The 10-60-30 Rule of Social Selling
Social Selling is more about the approach rather than the use of a number of tools. Over the course of time, this has evolved into a daily routine. My experience has demonstrated that the different steps and tools must be interwoven with everything you do during the day.” – Mic Adam
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We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of our Weekly CRM Roundup. Go to where your customers are. They’re waiting for your targeted, personalized, and meaningful engagement. Got ideas for other great articles and topics we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup provides a plan of action and offers an understanding of what it takes to be successful in generating leads. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

If you reached this page, chances are you’re looking for insight on how to boost your lead generation success. In today’s day and age, the buying process has changed as marketers struggle to be heard through the noise. As they say, ‘Content is king’ and the handling of that content – both on your site and elsewhere on the web – is critical to your lead generation success.

68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner a new sales lead for future conversion. (MarketingSherpa)

The following articles should serve as easy first steps to help you acquire and retain higher-quality leads by meticulously adjusting semantics, understanding the purpose of lead nurturing, and thinking differently about gated content.

My Leads Have Run Dry: 3 Steps to Obtaining and Retaining Leads
Given that consumers are inundated with marketing messages all throughout the day, getting your message in front of the eyes of your target audience is becoming harder than ever. Once they’ve reached your website after being referred through a marketing channel (email, social media, webinar, etc.), there is still work to be done. This article outlines 3 steps on how to optimize your strategies to generate the quality leads you’re looking for.
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Social Media Lead Generation: Opening the Gate for Gated Content
Anqi Cong explores the pros and cons of gating and not-gating your content. She does a comparison on the effect of gating and its implication on social sharing and “virility”. It is estimated that gating content reduces downloads to 2-5% of what they could’ve been, but for a trade off of higher quality leads.
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Lead, Nurture, Or Get Out Of The Way
This article takes you through the steps of launching a successful lead nurturing campaign by first, locating and identifying your best prospects, and then by implementing the process itself.

“No matter how simple or complex the B2B environment, understanding how your product or service fits in with your prospect’s organization is the holy grail of long term success.” – Robert Minskoff
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Lead Generation: The Power of Copy
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind,” – Rudyard Kipling

The way words are received is directly correlated to the way they are spoken. John Tackett shows a simple way on how to see an increase in form conversion by tweaking one or a few words.
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We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of our Weekly CRM Roundup. Go forth — tackle these easy lead generation actions and continue to create exceptional customer experiences. Got ideas for other great articles and topics we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: The Sapient Salesman began as a series of internally-focused sales coaching pieces written by SugarCRM team member Erin Fetsko. While initially focused on “selling Sugar,” Erin’s advice and wisdom have proven useful to Sugar partners, and well, anyone in the business of sales. Thus, we are happy to add her insight to the Sugar corporate blog. You can read all of Erin’s musings at The Sapient Salesman.

I arrived in Mexico to do a training last week and checked into the hotel just before sundown. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem, but it appeared that all but two of the light bulbs in my room were burnt out, and neither of the functioning fixtures resided in the bathroom. Having severely underestimated the English fluency of Mexico City, instead of trying to invent a gesticulation for light bulb, I attempted to resolve this myself. Luckily for me no one nailed down the desk lamp, and, much to my delight, the outlet in the bathroom produced power. I deemed this solution “good enough” for three days and went to dinner. Following some sarcastic remark on my part, the new guy, of all people, admitted he thought his lights were broken too, but he called the front desk who clued him into this secret magic slot in which you place your key to release the power to the lights. This particularly amused me because I sized up this mysterious 80s car pullout ashtray looking slot thing for a solid two minutes, and dismissed it after I determined it wasn’t going to budge and was most certainly not a button!

This “damn I’m a stubborn idiot” moment made me wonder how many customer have a similar experience when trialing software. You see, my lamp relocation initiative did illuminate the important spaces in my room, and while a little unconventional, it got the job done. But if I wasn’t one of those people that snarkily remarks about random things all the time, I would have left this trip with an unjustified negative opinion on my accommodations. Considering the different approaches in play: asking for help vs. figuring it out yourself, where both parties would answer “yes” when asked if they can see in their room, how do you decipher the truly successful from the apathetic achievers?

In my experience people will deliver the polite response the first two times you inquire. Unveiling the truth requires you look past this empathy driven auto-reply and dig into the three levels of “really?”. No one wants to burden you with their baggage, but if you poke hard enough that phrase at the tip of their tongue will slip out. It might go something like:

How’s your room? “Fine”

So, everything okay? “Yup”

What do you think of the hotel? “Well I think they should seriously consider investing in light bulbs!!”

… and voila, an adaptation of the three levels of “why?” proves useful once again.

So this week, try to identify flailing customers before they drown. Use pointed questions to help better understand how they use the application today; not only will you then improve your appreciation for their needs and how Sugar may address them, but you’ll poise yourself to politely snatch away the shovel before they dig themselves an inescapable ditch.

Editor’s Note: The Sapient Salesman began as a series of internally-focused sales coaching pieces written by SugarCRM team member Erin Fetsko. While initially focused on “selling Sugar,” Erin’s advice and wisdom have proven useful to Sugar partners, and well, anyone in the business of sales. Thus, we are happy to add her insight to the Sugar corporate blog. You can read all of Erin’s musings at The Sapient Salesman.

It wasn’t until college that I realized I, in fact, had an accent. Turns out, like most Chicagoans, I tend to pronounce my A’s as in the word “at” even when the preferred pronunciation called for a softer a-sound. Listening to all the different dialects of the English language really made me realize how much I took some Midwestern-isms for granted. How confusing it must have been for all the international folks trying to discern why I kept dangling prepositions when I’d ask if they “want to come with?” During my recent trip to Jamaica, however, I got a taste of what it’s like on the receiving end of grammatically questionable verbiage. Patois is an English-lexified creole language with West African influences spoken primarily in Jamaica. If you aren’t familiar, patios sounds like what would happen if the micro-machine man read your kids text messages word for word… with a Jamaican accent; it’s certainly English, yet remarkably difficult to understand.

All this variety in English vernacular left me pondering: Is there more value in a language pack than we might give credit? And for that matter, how often do companies with international markets run into roadblocks with their software because it can’t support the necessary character sets?

Most of us sell primarily in one or two languages, to companies with offices using a single linguistic footprint, but how often do those same offices employ some foreign staffers? Would allowing employees to navigate Sugar in their native language save them money on training and increase the overall productivity of their staff? I’d say so!

Now I’m not suggesting you further complicate your discovery process with a deep inquiry into the heritage of each of the prospective users, but with 6.1 entering the spotlight it might be time to give language packs another look. So this week if you have cause to believe Sugar’s teed up for use in a bilingual office point out the value added by our internationalization efforts.

We’ve all received an email or document from someone that contained characters, or encoding, or some other bizarre excuse Windows assigned to why we couldn’t open it properly, and these kinds of road blocks throw a wrench in your productivity. Even if your prospects don’t see the need today, they can certainly relate to the time-suck that accompanies restrictive regional software. Remind them that should their business one day expand internationally or even inter-culturally, Sugar will accommodate their CRM needs and grow with them every step of the way.