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Crm News & Analysis

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.

CRM Is More than Cool: It's Profitable

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Last month, Gartner said it right out loud: "Customer Relationship Management is Cool." This month it's following that up with data that shows the global CRM market is worth $20.4 billion.

The research also shows Salesforce is the single biggest player in the space.

However, there is also good news for SAP -- which remains the second biggest player, as well as Microsoft. While Microsoft only accounts for around 7 percent of the market, it grew a staggering 22.8 percent year-over-year and is heading toward a much, much bigger piece of the pie.

Microsoft Dynamics Will 'Capture Marketers Imaginations'

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So the Big Guy is coming to marketing sometime this quarter.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. A 35-country launch. Ten languages. Scared yet?

“We’re really going to capture marketers’ imaginations around our customer and marketing analytics,” said Jamie Fiorda, director of Worldwide Product Marketing at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

“Every marketer is trying to prove his value and prove his investments are making an impact. What we can do with Microsoft Excel through Power BI is truly beautiful, amazing and simple.”

Will an industry drowned in marketing software bite on Bill Gates’ old stomping grounds? Has Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, IBM had their heyday, and will Dynamics Marketing have the SharePoint effect?

Reporting for Duty at Bloomfire: New CEO Bob Zukis

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Want to watch someone walk their talk? Then keep your eyes on Bob Zukis.

Zukis is the author of Social Inc., a book that claims Business is the next social opportunity — and it's worth trillions of dollars.

Beginning this morning, he’ll have a chance to prove it when he takes the helm at Bloomfire, a start-up that aims to revolutionize the Enterprise through its knowledge sharing and social collaboration platform.

For those who aren’t yet familiar with Bloomfire, it was launched nearly two years ago at SXSW in Austin, Texas, where the company also happens to be based.

Gartner Names 5 Vendors That Make CRM Cool

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If you still have doubts whether customer relationship management (CRM) is trendy, hip and cool, put your mind at rest. Gartner just released a list of "cool" CRM vendors.

But notions of coolness aside, what's equally as interesting is the evidence of specialization among CRM vendors and the signals that point to their potential growth.  

Lithium has Klout, Wants to be #SeriousAboutCustomers

Lithium Technologies today confirmed what everyone seemed to know already — and acknowledged it has bought Klout. Lithium is reportedly paying almost $200 million in cash and private stock for the social media ranking influencer — twice as much as speculated during the past month.

Speaking at a late-to-start press conference — Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of the social customer service company, declined to confirm the value of the deal. However, he noted, "If Lithium is paying $200 million for Klout, then it is a very valuable company and I'm happy about that."

Tarkoff described the acquisition as a significant extension to its platform that will offer consumers and brands better ways to engage online. "We're adding the relationship piece into the CRM world," he said. "Together, we could be something incredibly disruptive to CRM."

Lithium is also adding Joe Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Klout, to the leadership team. He will become general manager and senior vice president of Lithium's Klout business, Tarkoff said.

Learning from Loss: Forensic Files for Lost Sales

Learning from Loss: Using Data from Deals that Fall Through to Make Your Sales Organization BetterAnyone involved in sales has experienced the near miss. That’s when you’re in what you think is the home stretch of a big sale, with your contact at the company assuring you that only one or two big shots have to sign off on the deal. As you’re icing the champagne, you get a call: the deal’s gone to your competitor.

4 Secrets to Successful Customer Engagement

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We're still very much living in the age of the customer. So what can businesses do to increase engagement between employees and customers? Here are some suggestions from Gartner.

Engaged customers are generally better brand advocates. They are more loyal and spend more on that brand. In a report titled "The Four Attributes of Customer Engagement," Gartner researchers stress that it is important to understand the foundation of customer engagement. It defines that as "attracting and influencing of customers" to hold their attention and induce them to participate in a long-term relationship.

Yep, It's Still the Age of the Customer

Still need evidence that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology is hot? Then take a quick look at recent research from Gartner, which shows CRM spending in Europe remains strong despite continuing economic problems.

Half of the 102 businesses surveyed in 30 countries and 20 industries in the fourth quarter last year plan to increase spending an average of 2.5 percent on CRM projects this year.

Demandware Moves E-Commerce Applications to the Cloud

demandwareDemandware likes to boast that it enables the world’s premier retailers to move faster and grow faster in the changing face of retail. But in the past 12 months, the company's stock has grown just as furiously.

Shares of Demandware — a provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions used by retailers and brands — nearly tripled in the past year. Recently trading at $75.30, the stock earlier this month hit a new all-time high at $82.23 after getting a bump from a strong fourth quarter earnings report, with subscription revenue advancing 46 percent.

Contact Centers Drive the Social CRM Revolution

With more than 2 million Twitter accounts established every day, social media presents a host of new challenges and opportunities in the realm of customer relationship management (CRM). People are tweeting not only about their customer service needs but also the good, bad and ugly of the experience that they receive from companies.

According to evolve24, 70 percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored -- and the damage can be significant. Gartner estimates that failure to respond via social channels can lead to an up to 15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers.

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