Archives For CRM industry

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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will focus on the most important aspect of your business: the customer, and how to create and maintain a culture that puts them at the center of your business. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Businesses are beginning to understand that becoming customer-centric can enable their employees to deliver an exceptional and consistent customer experience. In today’s ever-changing landscape of technology, consumers have nearly an infinite amount of channels they can use to reach you for service and support.

Customers are increasingly frustrated with the level of services they experience: 91% because they have to contact a company multiple times for the same reason, 90% by being put on hold for a long time, and 89% by having to repeat their issue to multiple representatives. (Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey)

Do you have a plan in place to make this transformation? The following articles offer a starting point to jumpstart your journey to becoming a customer-centric organization.

Source: Forrester

Source: Forrester

5 Steps To Create And Sustain Customer-Centric Culture
Forrester’s Sam Stern outlines in 5 steps how to create and sustain a customer-centric culture from securing executive buy-in to embedding customer-centric principles throughout the organization. This is an abridged version of Stern’s full report on how companies can transform their cultures to be customer-centric.
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Six Ways to Become Competitively Customer-Centric in 2014
As today’s marketplace continues to evolve, business owners are conscious of the newfound expectations customers have set out for them. “Companies that are able to place the customer at the center of their strategies will undoubtedly beat out the competition.” – Greg Lloyd
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The Evolution of Customer Service: Adapt and Adopt or be Left Behind
Customer service expert and SugarCon Keynote Speaker Shep Hyken takes you through the evolutional journey of customer service and support from his own experience. Catch him at this year’s SugarCon!
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We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of our Weekly CRM Roundup. You’re equipped to ignite your organization to extraordinary 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!

Leading organizations are increasing their use of digital mechanisms for the business processes of buying, marketing, selling, and servicing. To do this, many organizations are turning to IBM’s Smarter Commerce and IBM Enterprise Marketing Management. Marketing automation tools like IBM Campaign and Interact, along with Silverpop, are great for defining multi touch campaigns, cross-channel marketing across digital channels, and real time personalizations for customers on electronic store fronts.

But what happens when a customer – who may have received an offer driven from IBM Campaign – calls into a customer service center? Does the customer service agent who answers the phone – let’s say it’s John –  have a history of that customer’s past interactions, and have the right information to answer that customer’s questions? Even better, can the customer service agent reinforce an offer that may have already been presented to the customer via IBM marketing automation offerings?

What happens if a sales person – let’s say it’s Sally – is about to call on that customer? Sally could be an inside sales rep, or an insurance agent, or a personal shopper in retail. Does Sally know everything about her customer including the fact that that customer might have received an offer through email that was generated by a campaign management tool? To take that a step further – if a campaign management tool generates 1000 leads, does Sally know that seven of those leads are her customers, and does she know exactly what to do with those seven leads?

We know that IBM Campaign can precisely target a specific set of customers. But imagine if Sally, upon signing in for her work day, sees seven specific new leads that are assigned to her from that campaign, along with specific actionable information for those leads. Imagine if John, our customer service agent, was able to pull up a complete view of the customer as he was helping resolve that customer’s issues; and could even upsell the customer based on a real-time offer appearing in his customer service dashboard.

SugarCRM, an IBM Global Alliance partner, can help. Sugar is an innovative CRM system designed for every individual who engages with customers: sellers, marketers, customer support agents, receptionists, and executives.

r4_smarter_commerce.jpgSugar has integrations into IBM Campaign to surface campaign information into sellers’ daily tools, whether that be Sugar itself or IBM Notes or Connections. Sugar also has integrations to IBM Interact to present real-time offers to sellers and customer service agents. Sugar is the first major CRM solution to be validated for the IBM Ready for Smarter Commerce mark. DiGi Telecommunications is one customer using IBM Campaign integrated to SugarCRM to provide consistency across digital marketing programs and human sales and service representatives.

Organizations that integrate SugarCRM and IBM experience faster campaign-to-cash times,  more efficient marketing and sales processes, and higher customer satisfaction and value.

For more information, see sugarcrm.com/ibm, or come visit us at SugarCon, April 28-May 1 in San Francisco, or the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2014 in Tampa, Florida May 12-15.

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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will dive into the different ways you can leverage CRM from a marketing perspective. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

CRM can be an indispensable tool for marketers that wraps together many solutions, including prospect and customer targeting, multi-channel and multi-touch campaigns, as well as lead tracking and management. Here are some statistics on marketing functions that can be executed through a CRM system:

Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Source: Gartner Research)

89% of marketers said email was their primary channel for lead generation. (Source: Forrester Research)

Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. (Source: Jupiter Research)

And here’s our latest collection of articles on how marketers can leverage CRM and improve their marketing campaigns across the board.

Empowering the Individual CRM User with Intelligent Data
Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and SugarCRM have teamed up to announce their latest service offering with integrated business data. With D&B for Sugar, you will be able to better profile your prospects before you contact them as well as see growth potential inside new and existing customers. Segmentation and targeting just got a lot easier for your integrated marketing campaigns.
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The State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014 [Infographic]
“More and more companies understand that to remain competitive, marketing automation is necessary.” – Dayna Rothman

What do people search for when surveying the technology landscape for marketing automation vendors? The people over at Marketo and Software Advice have put together an infographic titled The State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014 that highlights what drives organizations to purchase these systems.
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How to Integrate Email Campaigns With the Rest of Your Marketing
This article emphasizes that email as a singular marketing tool will never be as effective as an integrated email campaign. Tying in social media, blogging efforts, mobile, and analytical data into your marketing campaigns can help effectively boost your reach while increasing your click-through and conversion rates.
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What are you waiting for? Work smarter not harder. I hope you enjoyed this week’s roundup with its focus on CRM with a marketing lens. Got ideas for other great articles 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 will focus on mobile and its impact on the customer experience. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Leveraging Mobile to Increase Customer Engagement
“Even when well-planned email campaigns are structured around richly sourced CRM intelligence, they can only achieve limited customer engagement if they’re carried out as conventional one-way interactions.” – Jose Santa Ana

Jose puts into perspective the current state of CRM and highlights how many CRM systems in place today were created for the customer of 10 years ago. He offers some food for thought when considering mobile and fostering two-way conversations when interacting with your customers.
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Mobile: The New Heart Of Digital Customer Experience
Michael Hinshaw introduces the four initial and critical steps to follow when considering the mobile customer journey.

“The question isn’t whether or not mobile is important; it’s how ready you are to deliver the mobile experiences your customers demand.” – Michael Hinshaw
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Digital Ad Spend Quickly Shifting To Mobile: Are You Ready
By 2014, mobile internet usage should overtake desktop internet usage (source). eMarketer reports the opportunity of advertising to the global smartphone audience as its surpassed the 1.75 billion user mark in 2014. “The opportunity for tapping into this vast, highly-engaged consumer base is so huge it’s impossible to ignore.” – Lionel White
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Got ideas for other great articles 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 is dedicated to all things data related! We’ll be hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Does Your Company Need a Chief Data Officer?
In the era of big data, the one-title-fits-all technology roles are slowly diminishing. The need for a Chief Data Officer (CDO) is a quickly emerging topic being discussed particularly within the enterprise. A CDO would not own the data in and of itself, although they would be responsible for governing enterprise data and leveraging customer data as an asset. Does your company need a CDO? The answer may be, yes.
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Turn Big Data into Smart Data: You’ll Have Happier Customers
Big data has no value. At least according to predictive analytics expert Ingo Mierswa, “To extract value from it, you have to employ advanced analytics. You can only unlock the true power of big data when you learn how to transform it into smart data, data that helps you understand why the world works as we know it.”
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Completeness Is the New Black
How complete is your data, and are you collecting enough? Perhaps, the correct question to ask is: Are you collecting the right data? Denis Pombriant, managing principal of the Beagle Research Group explains, “We should all be aware that the bar is being raised for this next level of data collection, and we must understand the importance of completeness and relevance. It’s a competitive world, and getting to completeness before your competition might be the new black.”
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Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

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Welcome to our weekly roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve brought together articles that get to the “heart” of CRM in one convenient post.

Gartner Says CRM Will Be at the Heart of Digital Initiatives for Years to Come
Analysts at Gartner summarize how organizations are leveraging CRM technologies as a major part of their digital initiatives to enhance the customer experience. They delve into what they believe are the main drivers behind the hot topics of CRM including the Internet of Things, where sensors connecting things to the Internet create new services previously not thought of.
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Looking for Customer Love in All the Right Places
Christopher J. Bucholtz iterates the importance of service in its correlation to customer loyalty. Bucholtz believes, “even with CRM providing the so-called 360-degree view of the customer, businesses continue to operate with significant blind spots.” He offers five broad categories to consider when developing metrics around your customer-facing operations.
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Avoiding a Brand Breakup This Valentine’s Day
“73% of consumers want to have a long-term relationship with brands that reward them for being a loyal customer.” according to Responsys, a marketing cloud and services provider that commissioned a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, to take a look at how brand-customer relationships are built, and why they “break up.”
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Got ideas for other great articles 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. We’ll be hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Opportunities in the Democratization of CRM
“If you don’t use it, you don’t pay for it. But, since we all want to be successful, those that build a competitive capability here will pay more, and the consultants who introduce this capability will share in those successes.” – Mike Boysen

Mike Boysen further iterates the concept of “democratizing” or unbundling of CRM from a ‘pay-for-what-you-want’ viewpoint. His sentiment is that as certain components of CRM become commodities, we will be likely to see new services built on top of them that were previously only available through high-paid consulting engagements prior.
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Digital Disruption Replaces Brand Relationship With Digital Customer Relationship
Customers are looking to build deep digital relationships with brands, bringing them closer to the content they want, with a more efficient way to consume it. James McQuivey makes it clear that if you’re not working on building that “digital bridge” between you and your customer, somebody else out there is replacing you in creating the “ultimate customer relationship”.

“If you continue to focus on building a wonderful brand relationship with your customer, you will one day awake to find that someone else has taken your place in your customer’s life. Not with a more compelling brand relationship, but with a more compelling digital customer relationship.” – James McQuivey, Ph.D.
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To Win Against Increasing Competition, Equip your Salespeople with a Deeper Understanding of your Buyers
“Your only true differentiation comes from how your reps interact with your buyers” – Mark Lindwall, Senior Analyst at Forrester

Mark Lindwall drives the point home that in order to gain a competitive advantage in the sales environment, you must equip your salespeople to have a deep understanding of the buyer — a concept Forrester calls “buyer empathy”.
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Registration for SugarCon 2014 is Now Open!
SugarCon is the premier event for SugarCRM customers, users, and partners to experience a rare glimpse of CRM’s future while witnessing the intersection of innovation and technology with a renewed customer experience.
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Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

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Welcome to our all-new roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. We’ll be hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Your IT Group is at The Center of Your Customer Experience (and Your Business)
“Inside companies of all sizes, the issue of ‘silos’ – where walls have been erected between groups, divisions and departments – are both a common pain point and a significant cause of unmet customer expectations.” – Michael Hinshaw

As digital touch points increase and become more intelligent, the socially-savvy consumer will have an increased expectation of communication in these channels. This article proposes a shift in thinking, suggesting that IT as an organization needs to look at a business from the outside-in.
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Developing a Response Model in 5 Easy Steps
In an evolving digital landscape, the number of channels where customers interact with a brand continue to increase. How quickly do you respond in these channels? Do you have a response model? Every channel has its own audience — define that audience, and then find your voice there.
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The many benefits of integrating customer support into CRM
“While many organizations run some sort of customer help-desk or advice line, it’s surprising how often this function is supported by standalone technology rather than being part of the main CRM application.” – Richard Boardman

Implementing a system that spans sales, marketing, and support embraces a more open flow of information between all customer-facing employees.
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This is “How i CRM” – Redglaze Group 
Employees at Redglaze Group share their story about how they align teams across eight different companies to run seamlessly as a cohesive organization.

Aligning eight businesses is not for the faint-of-heart. By encouraging adoption to 74% of employees across CRM-deployed companies, Redglaze increases efficiency in all departments, streamlines resource-sharing, and increases consistency in all customer interactions across the company.
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Got other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments!

This week’s Dreamforce event saw a lot of announcements – everything from an on-premise storage option for critical data to a development tool to allow customizations for Salesforce.com applications to work on touch-screen smart phones to a move toward ERP in the cloud. Unfortunately, the narrative doesn’t completely hang together, which is a shame; if Salesforce is great at anything, it’s telling a story, but at this point the story is so sprawling and so interconnected that it’s becoming hard to articulate the answer to the question “why.” Part of this is a result of Salesforce.com’s attempt to become an all-things-to-many-people platform, which is difficult at best, but part of it is a matter of “vision” outstripping concrete development efforts. Vision is great, but it’s no match for vision matched with results.

Before Dreamforce, we pondered the idea of questions we’d like to put to Marc Benioff in an ideal one-on-one situation. While getting that opportunity –and getting truly candid answers – is unlikely, a look at Dreamforce this year did provide answers to many of them:

1. Which of the CRM companies today would you say are giving you a run for your money?

Based on the new features introduced this year, Salesforce sees the market the way many do – as a battle between themselves, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SugarCRM. Things like Data Residency Option (DRO) – a feature that offers the ability to store sensitive data on premises and off of Salesforce’s datacenter – replicate the model that already exists for SugarCRM (although its flexible deployment models come without the management burden that DRO suggests) and is in the offing from Microsoft. In a Q&A with media and analysts, Benioff said that DRO was intended “only for specific large customers to withhold specific information,” and gave the example of large financial institutions.

2. What are the top three innovations of Salesforce.com this year, and how are they reflected in costs charged to customers?

This year’s major push was on the “social enterprise,” and several modifications were added to Chatter to allow the tool to be a little more sociable (like social analytics the ability to invite selected customers to conversations). No news was released around additional charges to Chatter. DRO was also announced without pricing. The third major announcement was Thursday’s unveiling of a marketing automation and ERP partnership with Infor and a manufacturing partnership with Kenandy. Again, no pricing information was made available.

3. Why do you penalize customers for being successful?

This question remains unanswered or unaddressed.  The crux of this question is this: as a customer grows, the amount charged by Salesforce increases disproportionately. It actually becomes more expensive to use when it succeeds. This is an unfortunate paradox that perhaps suggests a billing approach lost in time; it may have made sense when Salesforce was a champion of small businesses but it’s now obsolete – and it’s costing customers money.

4. When it comes to features, Salesforce offers an abundance. But why are the most valuable CRM features reserved for the more expensive editions?

Salesforce presents this costly billing issue as a matter of choice for their customers – if you can’t afford these features, you simply don’t have to pay for them. However, to paraphrase Orwell, some animals are more equal than others; at the show, Benioff introduced a “Social Enterprise License Agreement,” which includes access to Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Chatter, Radian6, Force.com, Heroku and Database.com for the entire enterprise. Benioff characterized this arrangement as  “the only way” that a company as large as Coca Cola could have become a Salesforce customer. Landing Coke was a big deal, but tacitly admitting that the Salesforce ecosystem of tools and applications was becoming prohibitively expensive was also a big deal.

5. You’ve said that enterprise software should be like Facebook. Can you provide examples of how Salesforce has been translating that into business results?

To their credit, Salesforce did illustrate how some major companies had implemented more social-like CRM approaches. These certainly paid off handsomely for Salesforce, but it was not clear what return Burberry’s three-week-old implementation or Toyota’s “friend your car” programs had yet delivered.

6. Salesforce.com is consistently one of the overvalued equities in the market. Are you contributing to the new bubble?

Perhaps. During the keynote, Benioff crowed about GroupOn as an example of a star Salesforce customer. GroupOn is the poster child of bubble companies: with an unsustainable 22,000 percent revenue growth last year, it currently owes its customers more money than it takes in annually, and its refusal of a $6 billion buy-out by Google earlier in the year may go down as one of the century’s worst business decisions. Not to be outdone, with costs rising and a second-quarter loss even as it raked in revenue at a $2 billion run rate, Salesforce itself looks poised to be a great Wall Street heartbreaker.

7. According to the Financial Times, you are one of the true masters of the art of sales pitching. Sell me on the higher cost of doing business with Salesforce.

We’re just going to imagine the answer to this one: no comment.

8. If social CRM is about customers, why is Chatter locked up behind the firewall?

In a fascinating response to the question of whether Chatter was social CRM or not, Benioff quite honestly responded that it was an “enterprise social network.” Although it has now added the much-needed ability to invite outsiders into Chatter conversations, these still take place within the firewall. This may appeal to businesses whose leaders fear losing control of discussions, but it’s still not true social CRM since it seeks to control customers and their participation in a manner dictated by the company.

9. What is preventing Salesforce from allowing a customer free access to its own data when it hosts their CRM solution with Salesforce.com?

Data access is still a sore spot with Salesforce. When Benioff was asked about “open data” today, he eluded questions around Salesforce’s obligation to its customers and instead chose to talk about how many potential Salesforce users were afraid of the idea of open data. This is unfortunate; although Salesforce has an impressive retention rate, customers often mention the obstacles placed between them and a useful, easily-migrated version of their data. Should Salesforce develop a more open means of providing customers with their data, they could develop a true measurement of the loyalty of their customers.

10.  How did Yammer inspire Chatter?

There was little discussion of this at the show – possibly because Yammer opted to capitalize on the earlier controversy with a campaign describing the two products as “friends with benefits.” Salesforce frequently pays the greatest form of flattery to its forerunners in other fields – Chatter also strongly resembles Facebook, for instance – and this is in keeping with the company’s remarkable effectiveness at taking concepts pioneered by others, adding them to its ecosystem with a Salesforce flavor and linking them with other tools to increase their usefulness. They may not always be original, but they often are the first to reach customers with new ideas.