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Customer Relationship Management News & Analysis

RelateIQ Buy Could Patch Salesforce's Analytics Gap

customer experience, Will Salesforce's RelateIQ Acquisition Patch its Data Analytics Gap?

Salesforce's $390 million acquisition of RelateIQ this week strengthens the CRM giant's customer data analytics offerings and could boost its marketing suite, industry analysts told CMSWire.

Salesforce Founder and CEO Marc Benioff (left) on Monday gobbled up the Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider that claims it's known for driving "relationship intelligence," rather than "relationship management."

"Salesforce needed to deepen its analytics offerings significantly, and this acquisition will do that," Michael Fauscette, group vice president of SBS for IDC, told CMSWire this week. "In particular, marketers/companies are looking for insight on prospects and customers to better market, sale and service those relationships."

Salesforce Acquires CRM Startup RelateIQ for $390 Million

Salesforce acquired today a smaller CRM provider in a deal that could be worth up to $390 million, according to a filing with the United States Security and Exchange Commission

The CRM giant scooped up RelateIQ, a Palo Alto-based provider that claims it's known for driving "relationship intelligence" rather than "relationship management."

"We believe this offers our customers the best of both worlds," RelateIQ co-founder Steve Loughlin blogged today. "Salesforce.com pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing, redefining modern CRM as we know it. ... RelateIQ is pioneering the next generation of intelligent computing through data science and machine learning. Looking ahead, salesforce.com’s acquisition of RelateIQ will extend the value of salesforce.com’s No. 1 CRM apps and platform with a new level of intelligence across sales, service and marketing."

Microsoft Offers Feds Secured Dynamics CRM #WPC14

It always happens this time of year. Microsoft, which spends most of the time locked tighter than a clam, suddenly opens up and starts giving out news bites like a leaky cauldron. It’s the prologue to the Worldwide Partner Conference and Microsoft can’t seem to stop giving.

Yesterday it announced a whole bunch of productivity and synching releases for the private sector. It also announced a bunch of public sector releases that nearly slipped under the radar, including the fact that as of the beginning of next year, Dynamics CRM Online will be available as a separate instance for US federal, state and local governments.

The new Dynamics CRM instances will also comply with the FedRAMP standard. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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