There are three things certain in life. We all know the two cited by Benjamin Franklin, but there's a third certainty that we all face regularly and have to cope with constantly.That's the certainty that we'll make mistakes. Everyone makes them; if it hasn't happened to your business, you haven't been in business long.Mistakes affecting customers can be embarrassing, painful, costly -- and, in the era of social media, broadcast to millions of people. How do you deal with them?The suggested steps for dealing with problems are well-known -- or at least easily available: Take problems seriously; be sincere in your response; apologize; ask questions; and take whatever reasonable steps you can take to rectify the situation.Beyond the obvious steps is the advice of Paul Gillin: Be empathetic."People want empathy more than they want an apology," he has said in speeches.The common wisdom is that you can't affect how the customer responds -- only how you respond. This is where I think the … [Read more...] about OPINION When Your Business Goofs, CRM Can Be Your Best Friend
What does crm stand for
June marks the five-year anniversary of WebSphere,IBM's e-business application development environment.Many large companies were early adopters of this software; in fact, it is implemented in 93 of the top Fortune 100 companies.However, IBM now is reaching out to small businesses witha scaled-down version of its product called WebSphere Express. These companies' first question is likely to be, "What is WebSphere, anyway, and what can it do for me?"WebSphere is middleware, which means its roots can be traced to the mid-1990s and the Javaprogramming language, which was cross-platform at a time when everyone else was still tooting their own proprietary horn. With Java's emergence, the idea of middleware was born. As IBM's James Russell, director of emerging technologies and integration, explained it, middleware "is the goo that helped companies get out of the porting game."Russell told CRM Buyer that although today's companies have moved beyond Java, the concept of middleware remains, … [Read more...] about What WebSphere Means for Your Business
In a nutshell, here's a look back at the CRM industry's last few years:2001 was the year Siebel reigned supreme;2002 was the year the recession took hold and companies held off on new CRM and other IT investments;2004 was the year of mergers and acquisitions -- a few hostile and some not -- among the biggest vendors in the industry; and2005 was the year those firms that remained standing milked their "safe" status for all that it was worth.How would one characterize 2006 for CRM vendors and buyers? More importantly, what does it mean for the industry going forward?Trends have a way of reversing themselves, often with little notice. For instance, while the largest vendors may have seemed surprisingly unstable after Oracle's hostile bid for PeopleSoft, that perception is largely gone.Companies that were capitalizing on that -- especially SAP -- are shifting gears to position themselves, once again, according to their functions and features.Other trends, however, have greater staying … [Read more...] about 2006: A Look Back at CRM, Part 1
Sage offers companies a choice of CRM options for sales automation, including Sage ACT, Sage CRM, and SalesLogix. The company currently has about 3.6 million users and serves about 80,000 businesses."Sage has a portfolio of CRM solutions," Joe Bergera, executive vice president and general manager of Sage, told CRM Buyer. "We have mobile solutions for all our CRM products."People should consider the entire portfolio of products when choosing an application, he advised.With powerful and easy integration, Sage offers the ability to communicate across the application and with third-party apps, Bergera noted, adding that customers can rely on Sage because the company does what it says it will do."It's a strong product," Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research Group, told CRM Buyer. "They've competed well."Sage ACT has evolved into sales automation for small businesses, while Sage CRM targets the mid-market, Bergera said.Although Sage CRM is available as a stand-alone … [Read more...] about PRODUCT PROFILE SalesLogix: The Papa Bear of Sage’s CRM Portfolio
The field of CRM bloggers is like the start of a marathon: There may be thousands of entrants, but there are only a few elite runners. Identifying them from the rest of the pack is not always easy -- especially as their enthusiasm for blogging waxes and wanes, or as they move into other formats, like becoming regular columnists in publications. However, there are a few things that identify the elite.First, they're consistent. The criteria for making this list is at least five posts a year. This year, we've added number of posts to the listings, and you'll notice that the best are frequent posters. You'll also notice a relative lack of new names this year -- few of last year's winning bloggers burned out, turned their attention to other applications, or simply disappeared. Consistency wins.Second, they're passionate. You have to be to write about CRM for any amount of time, since themes (and, often, the factors for success and failure) remain largely the same. Without passion, you can't … [Read more...] about OPINION The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 1
It's time to leave behind the hype of each new application release and get fundamental about what you are doing with your CRM strategies in the first place. Here's the bottom line: You will only be able to reach your goals if the processes that feed your CRM applications with verifiable, reliable, real data are functioning.It's amazing how many companies have blind faith in the processes that capture and record data in multiple, often conflicting systems of record that all feed CRM applications. If you're using or considering purchasing a CRM system, be sure to stop and think seriously about the processes that will feed data into the system. Think beyond the adapters, application servers and technology to the business processes that generate the data in the first place.Here are some of the processes that will cause your CRM system to be populated with data that doesn't scale over the long term.Many manufacturing and service companies reward the most prolific contributors to their CRM … [Read more...] about INDUSTRY ANALYSIS Can You Trust Your CRM Data?
"Who is the customer?" It's a great question, one that my managers liked to ask when I was a young sales representative. Like all great questions, it got to the meat of the matter with an economy of words that were as impressive as much for their brevity as for their meaning.The customer's identity is often far from obvious, and it's why professional sales and marketing people obsess over it. The customer is frequently not the user, technician or curious tire-kicker, though these types can influence the decision. The customer is, and can only be, the person who pays the bill -- not the person in finance who cuts checks all day long, but the person with the budget (and P&L responsibility) who says in effect: I will bet my job on this purchase.To be sure, that is a business-to-business scenario, but the same thing plays out on the consumer side. The customer is not the screaming kid in the shopping cart demanding some sugar-laden treat. It is the parent pushing the card and saying in … [Read more...] about INSIGHTS Subscriptions, Social and CRM
CRM has gained significant attention and adoption among businesses eager to enhance their processes for building and maintaining customer relationships, thanks to industry visionaries such as Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft. The central features of CRM include keeping track of customers' information and determining their readiness to buy; however, there's a major element of effective sales strategy that CRM systems neglect to address: collaboration.It's not that the current offerings in the CRM market don't allow sales professionals to collaborate with each other. It's not even that marketing can't join in the process to use sales and customer data to create more effective campaigns. What's missing from the landscape isn't support for multiple people working together. There are tools that allow users to share CRM data easily, but true collaboration requires more than data. The essence of collaboration is agreeing on objectives and working together to achieve them. This can happen only … [Read more...] about EXPERT ADVICE CRM’s Collaboration Conundrum
There was no end to the enterprise interest in mobile CRM in 2013. From apps to innovative text marketing campaigns to self-service tablet applications for B2B industries, companies were gleefully trying out new pilots and experimenting with new technologies.Why? Simply this: Computing has reached an inflection point. Desktops are just one vehicle offering access to the Internet -- and one with shrinking market share, at that. Tablets and smartphones are about to outnumber PCs' installed base, according to IDC figures, both at home and in the office.An IDC survey of IT managers, for example, found that 30 percent of employees are expected to be using their own tablets at work in 2014.So the question isn't whether CRM users will be enthusiastic about mobile or willing to invest in the necessary technologies and infrastructure -- that has been answered in triplicate.Rather, the question for the industry now, with the holiday period over and serious work beginning anew, is this: Is 2014 … [Read more...] about Will 2014 Be the Year Mobile CRM Goes Omni-Channel?
Because of power tools like marketing automation, marketers are able to contribute to revenue in a very measurable way. Expectations are high because of this capability -- like salespeople, marketers are now accountable for making a direct revenue contribution to the top line. They are being asked to show exactly how that contribution has occurred and will occur In the future.Frankly, this new level of responsibility is uncomfortable for many CMOs, given their lack of experience and training in this new area. On the positive side, while the responsibility may be higher, marketers are empowered to contribute to the financial success of their company. And like sales, that monetary contribution comes with rewards.Consider these two very different types of CMOs:CMO No. 1 has dug her heels deeply into the traditional sands of marketing or is pretending this shift is not occurring. This CMO is motivated by negatives and specifically by this question: "What are we getting for all of this … [Read more...] about EXPERT ADVICE Great Expectations: New Revenue Metrics for Today’s CMO