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Dreamforce NYC Was Un-CRM-Like and That's Okay
January 12, 2022
Salesforce held its Dreamforce NYC on schedule in early December, which you might have missed because of other news like Omicron and the looming chaos of the holidays. But there it was -- trying to get back to some kind of normal even if by absorbing efforts at mitigating the pandemic into its product line. What is so interesting was how un-CRM-like it was.
This Year in CRM
January 4, 2022
It's okay to give ourselves kudos for CRM's resiliency over the course of the pandemic. We did a heck of a job keeping most of the balls in the air. Oracle, Salesforce, and many other CRM vendors continued innovating for the pandemic, but they also began innovating systems for what happens afterward.
The Great Sales Methodology Debate, Solved
November 9, 2021
Sales managers and their managers have had to make peace with the reality that they might not be able to get reps to use technology. But methodology alone or with technology is a more-or-less lost cause. Fortunately, the technology has improved consistently over the last two decades. Even more fortunately, the leading SFA company was founded by a sales guy.
The Dilithium Crystals Might Be Melting
November 2, 2021
For those born after the mini-computer era (co-terminus with the original Star Trek), dilithium is the fuel used to power a warp core propulsion system needed for interstellar travel. Dilithium is both naturally occurring and rare, and when it melts, from overuse of the warp core, the starship is basically kaput. This metaphor makes sense if you keep reading.
Zoho's Surround Strategy
October 19, 2021
Surround strategy is the antithesis of rip and replace. Rather than replacement, a business can move parts of its workload from some workhorse system, say ERP, to Zoho -- where things like pre-built reports and Zia, an AI-based digital assistant, can help business users interrogate data stored on the mothership.
Fixing Customer Service Will Require Better Tech
October 18, 2021
This is not good. A new report commissioned by Replicant tells a story of customers frustrated when service fails or is way too slow. That's not new -- and Replicant is not the only vendor to ring the alarm. For many years Oracle has reminded vendors that one bad service encounter is enough to make customers switch. But poor service seems to be a festering wound.
The Global Information Network
October 15, 2021
Let's start a new meme/hashtag/acronym: Global Information Network, or GIN. I know there's double entendre here, but we're entitled to have a modicum of fun in life, no? I've been writing about the coming of an information utility for a while, but even my visions don't match what we're watching unfold.
CRM's Levels of Abstraction
October 7, 2021
There are three levels of abstraction that we can study to derive benefit, and this is abundantly clear in CRM. First there's the object, a material product or service that is the thing we trade money for. Then there's the experience, see where I'm going? Lastly there's the concept.
Dreamforce Observations
October 1, 2021
Dreamforce saw Salesforce continuing to build out a product offering that in some ways defies description. For the CRM rank and file there were plenty of announcements and enhancements -- and for others some tantalizing views of what may be coming in future releases.
Salesforce Is No Longer Just a CRM Company
September 20, 2021
Dreamforce happens this week, emanating from San Francisco and reaching out to the world via the global cloud computing network Salesforce helped to create. With that, this may be the last time to say with all sincerity that Salesforce is a CRM company. Truth be told, the transition has been ongoing, and the call could have been made at any time in the last few years, so now is as good a time as any to make it.
Where Does Oracle Go From Here?
September 16, 2021
If you follow a market long enough and if it's a successful marketplace, you notice that some of the companies in it go through a succession of moves; first in new products and then in finance. The confusion comes when a company like Oracle lives through multiple up and down cycles. When you look at Oracle today, what do you see?
Making Sales Safe for Process
September 2, 2021
A sales process is a set of protocols that an organization uses to conduct selling. One's process needs not be complex, many organizations settle on processes that have around seven steps. But a sales process that everyone in the organization adheres to is fundamental to that organization's success. The reasons are not complicated.
Next Normal, Too Soon?
August 18, 2021
It isn't just the pandemic that's shifting society; other macro events add an important dimension and all of it influences the direction of CRM for the foreseeable future. But a key question looms: Are we still too close to these events to be able to make sensible predictions about how and where we will work, buy, and sell in the years ahead?
Sales Cycles and the Slacking of Salesforce
August 10, 2021
With the recent completion of the Slack acquisition, Salesforce can look forward to improving the quality of the customer-facing business processes that it supports with more and better collaboration. However, the presence of Slack may now highlight the reality that while vendors operate at the speed of technology, buyers conduct more staid and contemplative buying processes.
CRM's Virtuous Circle
July 6, 2021
First, cloud-based CRM democratized business information, then it erased the distance between customers and vendors. Now it is poised to expand into other areas with similar democratizing opportunities. I am speaking about how we work -- at least those of us in the knowledge economy -- but there's a good chance that CRM's reach will also influence the economy of essential workers too.
Salesforce Season
June 28, 2021
There may be two Salesforce seasons in a year -- the one we're finishing and one that happens just before Dreamforce. Roughly speaking, these seasons happen when the company disgorges a raft of new technologies both to update existing products and to bring forth new ones. This season covers a lot of ground; everything from sustainability to workforce management and vertical industry CRM solutions.
Working From Wherever
June 17, 2021
It seems the digital disruption is being disrupted. If the original disruption was about leveraging company data to better understand customers and to meet them where they are, the new disruption depends on all that plus supporting worker efforts wherever their lifestyles take them.
Grinding Data Into Information
June 8, 2021
A lot of time and treasure has already been spent on "going digital" with no clear understanding of what that should mean. But going digital should, at least in part, mean taking full responsibility for turning a business' mountain of customer data into usable information that advances the company mission.
Next Step in the Birth of an IT Utility
May 28, 2021
IT has not been simply about data processing for a long time. Recent data breaches show the increasing importance of things like encryption, automated database management, and taking security measures to safeguard vital data. All of that is necessary overhead that must be supported by CPU cycles. The cheaper and faster those cycles, and the lower their energy demands, the better.
Have Consumers Changed Character for Keeps? Not So Fast
May 17, 2021
Various CRM vendors have been issuing interesting survey results from the pandemic that purport to show the "new normal" in full flower. Salesforce did so recently, and now Oracle is getting into the act. While the data generated from these and many other surveys is interesting, and drives much discussion, the information content we intuit may not be everything it appears to be.
A Raft of New Information Muddles CRM's Future
May 10, 2021
The big questions about reopening the global economy and what new moves portend are coming in for analysis. It's not yet clear what the new normal is -- and there are more than a few straws in the wind that suggest that fixing one problem might cause another. This entire discussion before us isn't really about the new normal. Instead, it's about trying to ask the right questions that will get us there.
Three-Part Evolution
April 30, 2021
I've been writing about the importance of platform as a tool and as a strategy for a while -- and not only with regard to Salesforce. I'd say most CRM vendors have a platform story; others like Oracle and Zoho come up as examples all the time. The difference with Salesforce is that it's looking beyond the platform to what it does, not only for its customers but also for the company's own positioning.
Newslettering vs. Blogging
April 16, 2021
Newsletters have become popular over the last few years; and especially over the past year during you-know-what when in-person meetings were taboo. Many companies are trying to figure out how to best leverage them, and new software platforms make it increasingly easy to produce one or more. What interests me about the newsletter format is how blog-like it is.
Transitioning to Hybrid Commerce
April 9, 2021
Certainly, the pandemic has caused some upheavals in American business -- and it's true that the record of progress in economics is littered with creative destruction. But the absolutist prognostications about the future of digital commerce taking over the world made me think "here we go again." Trees don't grow to the moon, retrenchment is common.
CRM's New Normal: It's Complicated
March 29, 2021
As we slowly climb out of the Covid anis horribilis, advocates of the new normal (whatever that is) may wish to temper their prognostications about working from home or working from anywhere. While those are good ideas, and the new crop of CRM apps that support such hybrid work lives are genuinely cool, they might only demonstrate the deep functionality of CRM companies' platforms and not a social movement.
Implementing Iterative ROI
March 22, 2021
In the old days you could identify weak spots in your business and purchase software systems designed to eliminate or at least to significantly reduce those liabilities. Performing an ROI analysis usually consisted of two parts: a before study to determine the business' steady state; and a post implementation analysis to determine improvement. Good as that sounds, such studies left out a lot.
The CRM Systems Training Issue
March 15, 2021
As the CRM solution set continues to grow, it's likely that training systems will be increasingly important. That growth has the effect of converging vendor functionality at roughly the same place, making tertiary product attributes like training systems important differentiators. Taking this into account, the next big thing in CRM might not be a new customer-facing app -- but one that faces employees.
Mirror Image Solutions
March 8, 2021
Two CRM vendors made news recently. Zoho had an analyst conference that reminded us that many businesses don't benefit enough from verticalized suites; and Microsoft introduced several vertical industry systems, including one for nonprofits. One could say that Zoho and Microsoft displayed mirror image solutions in some ways. Let's take closer look.
Get Your CRM Ready for Some Good News
March 1, 2021
There is budding optimism about the future. COVID-19 cases and deaths are in decline, financial indicators are decent and trending up, and forecasters are predicting a booming economy. This involves a lot of buying and selling at both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer ends of the spectrum. So now might be a very good time to take inventory on plant, equipment and employees through the lens of CRM.
Normalized
February 19, 2021
Salesforce has made it official, coming back to the office will be a fluid thing -- and why not? The company has arguably done more in the last year to build systems such as Salesforce Anywhere and Work.com that enable workers -- at least a kind of knowledge worker -- to work from anywhere. Think of what this means.
See More Articles in Denis Pombriant Archive Section >>
How does the quality of customer service delivered by government compare to that of the private sector?
Government customer service is far superior.
Government customer service is slightly better.
Government and private sector customer service are about the same.
Private sector customer service is slightly better.
Private sector customer service is far superior.