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Crm News & Analysis

'We Rule B2B Marketing Automation, We're Salesforce'

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Salesforce officials are confident about their marketing technology.

"The thing that distinguishes us most is that we're Salesforce," said Adam Blitzer, senior vice president and general manager for Salesforce Pardot.

When you work on the massive CRM platform that is Salesforce, it's OK to be a little confident.

Salesforce integrates its CRM technology with its Pardot marketing automation. It acquired that technology with its $2.5 billion ExactTarget package.

The San Francisco-based provider today released what it calls "the next generation of Sales Cloud B2B marketing automation."

The Intelligent Engagement Studio and Sales Cloud Engage will deliver adaptive lead nurturing, visualized campaign testing and mobile marketing tools, the company boasted.

How to Teach Your CRM to Think - and Learn from Big Data

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The problem with big data is, well, it’s big.

Even with the best CRM to record and organize every interaction with your customer, if you don’t know how to leverage that data, you could risk damaging the customer experience, and leaving money on the table.

But what if your CRM could take all of that data, extract exactly the information you need, and make recommendations to not only give the best possible solution to a service question, but empower sales staff to upsell and cross-sell with confidence? In short: What if your CRM could think?

Sounds like a tall order, but Guy Mounier, CEO of CustomerMatrix, says his company’s new enterprise cognitive system, Cognitive Intelligence Engine for CRM, does just that.

Can You Engage Customers Earlier in the Sales Cycle?

It's been a few years since Forrester Research came out with the eye-popping statistic that "buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through their purchase journey before they reach out to the vendor."

What's more, for many product categories, "buyers put off talking with salespeople until they are ready for price quotes."

But it wasn't until the last year or so that the customer relationship management (CRM) industry really took note of this trend and started making changes to its product sets and functionality. There were some exceptions, of course – and it's in this group that Demandbase chief product officer Avanish Sahai includes himself and his company.

"The question we are continually asking ourselves is how to raise the marketing funnel, " he tells CMSWire. "How can we better engage with the prospect in that part of the cycle, when buyers are so aggressively seeking out information but bypassing sales."

3 Tech Giants Lead a Bloated CRM Market, Forrester Claims

The customer relationship management (CRM) market is bloated, Forrester reports — surprising no one. And this big, bulky market is led by three tech giants: Salesforce, SAP CRM and Oracle Siebel, with two more, Microsoft and Pegasystems, snapping at their heels.

The one thing that stands out in Forrester's recently published Wave for CRM Suites for Large Organizations in the first quarter of 2015 is that nothing much is new: we've seen most of these trends in the space before.

Can You Accelerate Sales with a Communications Platform?

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The phrase “sales acceleration” with respect to software should trigger a modicum of healthy skepticism. 

Since the 1980s, software that purported to automate sales processes by attaching fixed procedures to them ended up funneling sales through a narrow tunnel, like turnstiles at an amusement park.

You could control sales by making them regular from month to month, but frankly, that’s not what you really want.

A company called Intelliverse is now in the business of delivering a sales acceleration service, which it began integrating with Microsoft Dynamics CRM in mid-March.

Understanding Our E-Commerce Obsession [Infographic]

Customers worldwide are moving faster than ever before, hopping from device to device, buying anywhere.

That's creating opportunities for digitally savvy retailers. But it is also creating challenges for those who fail to adapt to changing realities, according to new research from Demandware, a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) e-commerce solutions.

The Burlington, Mass.-based company just released its inaugural Shopping Index, which measures digital commerce growth and identifies the trends driving that growth.

Heads-Up Salesforce, SugarCRM Just Raised Its Data and Mobile Game

Maybe it’s out of respect for Salesforce’s 16th anniversary that the executives at SugarCRM kept their lips zipped over the weekend. But today they’re talking.

This morning the CRM startup officially announced that it has acquired mobile app maker Stitch.

It's the thinking behind the acquisition, rather than the acquisition itself, that should make Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff think hard.

New Salesforce Tool Can Help You Get Personal With 1M People

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Big data presents a big challenge for marketers: How can you personalize your email, mobile and web messages when you're reaching out to a million potential customers — or 10 million?

It's hard to get personal in a crowd like that.

Several marketing technology vendors have tackled that challenge. But it's hard to create a tool with real time customer profile updates that marketers can use without the help from a data scientist or someone from the IT staff.

Secrets to Success in the Attention Economy

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Tasks crowd our working days. And as the pace of work accelerates, managers' expectations grow year after year. It's no wonder that people joke that the ultimate business technology would be a time machine.

While time travel would be neat and maybe even a little scary (as any science fiction fan would tell you), we’ve had time machines for years. They come in the form of the technologies that make us more productive and thus add time we can spend doing other things.

Complete the Digital Marketing Puzzle, One Integration Step at a Time

2015-12-February-Crossword.jpgBeing a marketer today can be a challenging task, particularly because today’s savvy customers have already completed about 80 percent of their purchase research by the time they even contact you. This shortened sales cycle means that if your data isn’t organized across systems to make your customers’ history and preferences easily accessible, lost sales opportunities and lower customer satisfaction will inevitably result.

Addressing the Gap Between Marketing Automation and CRM

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In this era of economic growth, the Sales Enablement Trends 2015 Report (registration required) by Qvidian was sobering. While B2B companies continue to grow at any cost, sales teams still struggle with quota attainment and can’t ramp up fast enough. Companies are trying to fix this by automating virtually every marketing process, sales process and touch point.

The result? We’re drowning in data and analyses.  Big data and predictive analytics are providing a lot of information, but scant meaningful insights that can be acted on with consistent successful results. The problem is data is siloed and analyzed as such. Even when broader data is analyzed, it’s never all of it. Some gets left out because it’s outside the organization’s four walls or it wasn’t considered relevant. That creates a condition of being directionally correct but precisely wrong.

The problem persists because companies don’t really know their buyers -- a fact that they are finally coming to terms with.

Is Your Business Capitalizing On This $1T E-Commerce Market?

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With a population of about 1.3 billion and an emerging middle class, China is the largest market in the world.

In the past few decades, it has emerged as a global economic powerhouse. In fact, its population may be the very reason why China alone will exceed $1 trillion in retail e-commerce sales in 2018. By comparison, global e-commerce sales in 2014 totaled about $1.3 trillion — and by 2018, United States retail e-commerce sales will only be around $500 billion.

Although Internet access in China is reported as widely censored and monitored by the state, 645 million people in China regularly access the Internet. The US has approximately 253 million users, India has 215.6 million and Brazil has 107.7 million, making China far and away also the largest e-commerce market in the world.

So what is your business doing about it?

Janrain's Portal Gets Inside the (Social) Minds of Customers

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Janrain releases technology today that can reportedly help customer care agents get inside the minds of customers.

Well, not literally, but at least it allows them to get a more "social" data profile of the customer including their "likes" and interests, the company claims.

The Portland, Ore.-based customer identity management provider launched the technology today. It's called a Customer Care Portal, which officials said helps customer care agents acquire "psychographic characteristics of their customers" by accessing their social profile data.

"Customers want to be able to access their own accounts, and self-serve," Jamie Beckland, vice president of marketing at Janrain, told CMSWire. "It's good for them, and also good for customer care teams. But sometimes, a customer just needs to talk to a person. In that case, customer care teams can now manage customer accounts directly, using the same data as the customer themselves."

Salesforce Makes Another Bet on E-Commerce

Hoping to extend its presence in e-commerce, Salesforce has invested millions of dollars in SteelBrick — the cloud software giant's second bet on the fast-growing Configure Price Quote (CPQ) market this week.

SteelBrick said today San Francisco-based Salesforce joined its $18 million Series B funding round, which was led by Shasta VenturesEmergence Capital and company managers also participated in the round.

SteelBrick CEO Godard Abel told CMSWire the investment shows that Salesforce is moving beyond its traditional customer relationship management (CRM) functions.

2015 M&A Surges, Set to Break 2014 Records

It's fitting that 451 Research released a study on merger and acquisitions (M&A) on the same day CMSWire shared the news of yet another tech industry merger.

The new research shows that M&A will continue this year — even faster and more furious than in record-setting 2014.

Last year, about $439 billion was spent on tech acquisitions, the most since 2000. The two biggest deals: Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner for almost $70 billion to top the list in February and AT&T purchase of DirecTV Group for “only” $67.1 billion in May.

There were also a number of large M&As involving less well-known brands:  Medical device giant Medtronic acquired Ireland-based Covidien plc in June, and Swiss-based building materials company Holcim bought French cement, construction and concrete supplier Lafarge.

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