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Crm News & Analysis

Here's Why You Should Take Good Care of Your Customers

2014-9-July-hot-air-balloon.jpgNew research confirms what many marketers have already suspected: It’s harder than ever to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Competition for customers is heating up — or as London-based Ovum, a global research firm, puts it, "hotting-up." Colloquialisms aside, the fight for customers appears to be kicking into high gear.

And the reason is clear. Customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce will be the fastest growing enterprise applications through 2018. According to the global analyst firm’s newly launched software forecasts, customer-engagement systems will be the fastest growing enterprise application between 2013 and 2018.

Mobile, Social, Big Data Create 'Perfect CRM Storm'

customer experience, Mobile, Social, Big Data Create 'Perfect CRM Storm'

CRM is red-hot, Gartner claims. Or, shall we say, green-hot. 

Gartner officials said last year customer relationship management (CRM) will be worth $36.5 billion.

"Without a doubt, the CRM industry has never been more exciting than it is now," said Clint Oram, SugarCRM co-founder and CTO. "Companies are driving CRM projects like I have never seen before. All of the major technology shifts of the past ten years, from cloud to mobile to social to big data, have all converged to create today's 'perfect CRM storm.'"

CRM provider SugarCRM celebrated 10 years of CRM this year. CMSWire caught up with Oram about the state of the industry.

Note to Marketers: We're Not Waiting Any More

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The other evening, I found myself impatiently waiting on the supermarket checkout line. Although I waited just a few minutes while the clerk rang up the customers ahead of me, those minutes seemed to last much longer. Why?

Other customers seemed irritated, too, shifting from side to side, peering around one another, and making small noises when one woman pulled out her wallet after the clerk told her the total. How dare she waste five seconds? Didn't she know she'd have to pay?

It all made me realize that patience is wearing thin -- not just mine, but the patience of billions of Internet-empowered consumers who have grown used to instantaneous responses to such critical questions as "When will Earth be sucked into the sun?" or "What is Beyonce's shoe size?"

NetSuite Mixes CRM With ERP

The term customer relationship management (CRM) isn’t always viewed properly, according to Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, a provider of cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. 

At the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decision Conference in late May, Nelson said most people see CRM simply as a sales force automation tool used for prospect management.  With a CRM solution, salespeople have the opportunity to generate forecasts based on leads in the pipeline.

But Nelson believes the big problem with most CRM solutions these days is they don’t include customer records. And in order to do CRM really well, Nelson argues there must be customer orders, which just happen to sit in the ERP system.

In fact, ERP systems contain a lot of important data on customers—such as where they bought, what they bought, when the item(s) shipped and if returns were made. By offering a single system to connect the front and back offices, Nelson says NetSuite is seeing more and more customers deploying its solutions in conjunction with e-commerce.

Content Marketing Fuels Pipeline Growth

Marketing automation has changed business as we know it. In the last decade, it has elevated the role of the CMO, helping marketing to be more productive and measurable through email and nurturing programs, scoring and reporting. Your marketing team more effectively manages all of your company’s contacts so they turn into customers more efficiently.

But how do you more efficiently engage new buyers? Turns out marketing automation has improved marketing, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of marketing optimization. There’s still a massive group of potential buyers who are not addressed by marketing automation alone -- those who have no idea your company or product exists.

Salesforce Promises 'Amazing' Customer Service with Desk.com

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Using customer service platform Desk.com is like being adopted into a large family. The adopters happen to be Salesforce.com.

Salesforce has updated its acquired platform with a new intelligent agent console and a mobile app and reporting engine among other enhancements for all-in-one automated customer service. 

"The No. 1 wow factor is that we can grow with you," said Leyla Seka, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce Desk.com. "You can start on Desk.com and grow any which way you want to grow."

Seka described Desk.com as "awesome" and "amazing."

And then there's this -- a lot of point solutions, Seka added, do not have the speed and power of Salesforce behind it.

Are Best-Of-Breed Customer Experiences Really Best?

2014-6-17 e-spirit.jpgAt the end of May, e-Spirit upgraded its web CMS offering to make it easier for content creators to provide personalized content. It followed hot on the heels of the v5.1 release which aimed to significantly boost companies online time to market and improve the overall customer experience.

Both announcements form part of a wider strategy to offer users a best-of-breed web CMS. E-Spirit has from the start pursued the best-of-breed approach as opposed to creating an enterprise suite. But why best-of-breed?

We asked Oliver Jaeger, vice president for global marketing and communications at e-Spirit why his company has consistently taken this approach and where this strategy will take the company in the future.

Here are the 4 Steps to Customer Success

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The hottest job title in marketing right now may be "Customer Success Officer," though there remains some debate about exactly what that means.

For example, it's fair to ask: Is customer success management  different from customer support or  customer relationship management?

Obligingly, Forrester's consulting arm  issued a paper entitled "How to Get Started with Customer Success Management." It should serve as a handy primer for those who want a state-of-the-art interpretation of this emerging marketing strategy.

The paper, sponsored by Gainsight -- a big fish in this still-small pond -- even provides a nifty, four-step process for building a customer success program that will be a revenue-generation operation instead of an extension to existing cost centers.

Watch Out! Microsoft Released Dynamics Marketing Today

customer experience, Watch Out! Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Released Today

Hey Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe and other big marketing software providers who feel they should be mentioned in this sentence:

Microsoft's here. Today. Consider the space shaken up.

Living up to its promise to deliver on the new Microsoft Dynamics marketing platform by this quarter, Microsoft announced today new capabilities in marketing, customer care and social listening. It comes as part of the Redmond, Wash., giant's Microsoft Dynamics CRM spring wave of updates in 54 markets and 42 languages.

This new releases are integrated with Microsoft Office 365, Yammer, Lync, Skype, SharePoint and Power BI for Office 365. 

Microsoft Ups Mobile, Cloud Play with Capptain Buy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with your ears plugged for the past three months, you’ve heard Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella preaching the gospel of Mobile and Cloud, Mobility in the Cloud and so on.

Today his wallet did the talking.

This morning Microsoft announced that it has purchased Capptain, a Paris-based mobile, push analytics startup that provides marketers and customer relationship managers with the tools they need to react to user behavior in milliseconds and to then deliver the right message at the right time, creating engagement and the feeling of being cared for.

Cloud Disruption in the Call Center

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The $22-billion call center market — dominated by legacy solutions from Avaya, Cisco Systems and Genesys — is ripe for disruption. Of the estimated 14.5 million call center agents worldwide, 95 percent of them still sign into on-premise offerings.

However, thanks to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) total cost of ownership (TCO) savings of as much as 40 percent and relatively easy implementations, the transition to the cloud has already begun: It’s estimated that within two years the cloud penetration rate in call centers will reach 13 percent.

At this month’s JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Mike Burkland, CEO of Five9, an emerging provider of on-demand software for contact centers, explained that the migration to the cloud is tied to the refresh cycle for on-premise solutions. Instead of spending big bucks to upgrade to the latest legacy offerings, the refresh often acts as a trigger opportunity to bring call centers to the cloud.

E-Spirit CMS Promises to Improve User Experience

Content is still king. With the version 5.1 release of its FirstSpirit Content Management System (CMS), e-Spirit re-affirms its commitment to that principle.

Good content means good customer experiences, and good customer experiences helps to retain customers, the company maintains.

New Alliance Wants to Make Customers 'Zealots' #PulseConf2014

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Collecting big data without creating ways for employees to use it is like saving big money without having anyplace to spend it -- impressive, perhaps, but useless.

Gainsight appears to have drawn the same conclusion. It just announced an alliance with five data services that is designed to empower employees and transform customers into zealots.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based customer success company today unveiled Gainsight Connect at Pulse2014, a trade show in San Francisco that it cosponsors with Salesforce, Hoopla, Zuora, Infer, Service Rocket, Fliptop, the Customer Success Association and others.

Taking CRM to the Next Level with the Internet of Things

With all of the talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s easy to get lost in the possibilities of the future. But right now, as you’re reading this article, you should already be devising a plan to integrate connected devices into your business processes.

Demandbase Invests in B2B Marketers with Cloud Release

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The difference between B2B and B2C marketing is simple: all web traffic amounts to potential customers in B2C, and B2B relies on targeted audiences even down to a particular department within a company.

That’s how B2B digital marketing provider Demandbase sees it. Today, it releases its B2B Marketing Cloud, which it calls the first subscription-based marketing platform that helps marketers target accounts, plan ad spending and tie acquisition costs for target accounts to revenue.

In the new offering, Demandbase pulled together several solutions and introduced Performance Manager, a dashboard that brings ad impressions, website activity and CRM data into one unified view. 

“We plug into CRM marketing solutions you already have in place to make them more B2B enabled,” Chris Golec, CEO of San Francisco-based Demandbase, told CMSWire.

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