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Crm News & Analysis

CRM Is Mature and Growing Nicely, Gartner Claims

The customer relationship management (CRM) market is well-established, mature and growing at a healthy clip. That's Gartner's headline finding in its latest global analysis of this software category.

Specifically, it found that worldwide CRM software investments grew to $23.2 billion in 2014, up 13.3 percent from 20.4 billion in 2013.

And it was the best kind of growth of all: organic expansion into new markets. "Large vendors leveraged their acquisitions to extend their position in new markets and to enrich the depth of their current feature sets in 2014," said Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner. 

HubSpot to Partners: Take Our Cash, Hire Awesome People

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It's a good time to be a partner of HubSpot.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing automation and CRM provider went public last fall. In last year's third quarter, HubSpot's first quarter as a public company, the company grew revenue 51 percent year over year and increased its customer base to more than 12,000 companies worldwide. 

Now they've started giving cash to partners.

HubSpot and CEO Brian Halligan (below, right) at its partner day this week in Cambridge announced it will give up to $300,000 in loans to qualifying partners to hire talent. The $3 million loan program -- The HubSpot Agency Growth Fund -- is available to Diamond- and Platinum-tiered agencies of the HubSpot Partner Program. It includes interest-free loans.

"We have all this cash sitting on a balance sheet, so why not put to it to work with the partners that have helped us grow," Mike Volpe, chief marketing officer for HubSpot, told CMSWire in an interview at HubSpot's headquarters Tuesday. "Let’s help them grow because that helps us grow."

Video In Salesforce? Panopto Can Do That

If you're frustrated with the video management capabilities of Salesforce, Panopto may have a solution. It just upgraded its platform to cover video capture, management and sharing in Salesforce.

The Seattle-based company claims the upgrade also makes it possible to describe and share video from any media source.

While Salesforce facilitates information sharing, sales communication, email prospective and managing other customer relationship tasks, it is more difficult is do these tasks this through video, an increasingly important marketing tool.

A New Frontier for CRM: The Internet of Things

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Isn’t Customer Relationship Management technology supposed to be dead? 

Apparently it’s getting a lifeline from the Internet of Things.

Gartner predicts “CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years as enterprises look to create more targeted interactions in a multichannel environment.” The research firm has now added IoT as the fifth dimension of its Nexus of Forces. And, while estimates vary, we’ve all heard the numerous predictions that anywhere from 26 to 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

The bottom line is that IoT is a big paradigm shift that is not only affecting the way people interact with objects and things but also the way customers interact with brands. The advent of connected technology continues to extend people’s expectations, increasing the level of sophistication that is now required to serve the new digitally savvy customer.

Is Microsoft Still Relevant?

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If Microsoft has the tenacity to hold the technology press in suspense for more than a week, with back-to-back conferences (Build this week in San Francisco, Ignite next week in Chicago) — and overflow sessions extending well into Sunday — then you’d think the company should have something very important to say for itself.

“We’re sorry for Windows 8” would be nice enough, but that would take no more than three seconds.

At the time Microsoft adopted its new “four-square” logo in 2012, executives said each color represented one of the company’s “pillars.” Exactly which color stood for what pillar depended upon who you asked, and maybe whether they were forced to hold conference sessions on a Sunday.

Email Marketing Is Dead? Long Live Email Marketing?

As a stand-alone application, email marketing is all but dead.

As an integral part of a robust CRM system, email marketing is not only alive but also thriving.

For the past five years or more, email marketing has been in a state of flux, with applications 1) adding new features to better compete with social media; 2) being acquired by CRM vendors to bolster their suite of customer service and marketing menu offerings; 3) falling prey to the forces of consolidation; or 4) some combination of all four.

So it goes with Bronto, a well-known email-marketing vendor that was snapped up by the mid-market software provider NetSuite last week for $200 million.

SugarCRM Jumps on Customer Journey Bandwagon

Halfway through the first day of SugarCRM's SugarCon conference, the company announced a new iteration of its platform, Sugar 7.6.

Features that seem have impressed the crowd (hat tip to Jeremy Cox, Mitch Lieberman and Brent Leary among many others) include the customer journey mapping and advanced workflow.

'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.

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