CRM is 30 and Salespersons still hate it

CRM is 30 and Salespersons still hate it

We are now almost fourty years after the first CRM tools were introduced, initially as helpers for the sales force, but then with an ever increasing scope. We have seen ‘CRM’ systems start as point solutions that morphed into suites – and back to what is called ‘best-of-breed’ to witness the rebirth of the suite. We have seen CRM as a strategy, as a tool. There has been social CRM, and more recently we have seen customer engagement management (CEM), even customer experience management (CXM). Regardless of the name and scope, the goal has always been to help businesses and their representatives on one side and customers on the other side to build lasting and profitable relationships. Amazingly, many users, especially salespersons, still hate CRM. Why? And how can this be overcome? A little history of CRM In the early days we have seen activity management tools, contact management tools, and account management tools, the latter as a kind of shared electronic rolodex. One of the important tools at this time was Goldmine, that successfully combined activity-, account- and contact management for teams, as a first of a kind. Amazingly, founded in 1989, Goldmine is still around. Salespersons used some of these tools and hated the fact that they weren’t integrated. They had to use and live with many different tools, which improved some aspects of their lives – or not. As a consequence we have seen the emergence of sales force automation (SFA) tools that targeted at integrating and streamlining sales processes from lead to order and to establish a common repository of data that could get used...
Salesforce Customer Service Solution becomes Botty

Salesforce Customer Service Solution becomes Botty

The News On June 17, 1019, Salesforce announced an enhancement of its customer service abilities by adding further channels for customer service and adding chatbot capabilities to these channels. This has the goal of offering the ability to create a more seamless service experience by offering engagements on the channels that consumers use. For your easier reference here comes the announcement. Expanding our Digital Customer Service Capabilities with New Channels and Bot Innovations Author: Meredith Flynn-Ripley, VP of Digital Engagement, Service Cloud   Disconnected customer service experiences are still far too common. Almost everyone has had to repeat basic information during routine interactions with companies, or found themselves unable to get answers to fairly simple questions on the channel of their choice. In fact, only 16% of consumers say companies excel at delivering connected experiences. I am happy to report times are changing, for two reasons. First, companies are realizing service can be their main competitive differentiator, and second, today’s empowered and vocal consumers refuse to tolerate bad service. 57% of customers will stop buying from a company not because they don’t like their product, but because a competitor provides better service. Today’s customer demands service on their terms, uses an average of 10 different channels to connect with companies — including messaging, chat, social, email and phone — and expects a personalized and consistent experience across all of them, every single time. Salesforce empowers companies to deliver on these expectations, with a complete customer service platform that powers connected customer experiences across channels from one central console. And today I’m excited to announce new innovations in Service Cloud...
From Personalization to Customer Experience

From Personalization to Customer Experience

As it is the case for most of my colleagues I regularly get pitched by businesses about customer experience news that they want to talk about and that normally are pretty interesting. So, also a few days ago, when I got pitched by AR relations of a major European bank that wanted to talk about a new partnership and “what personalisation tech can offer in terms of a way to side-step legacy tech barriers to provide meaningful customer engagement that goes far beyond “Dear Joe” but that provides customers with what they need, when they need it”. The backdrop of this story is, of course, the advent and rise of fintechs like Revolut, N26, or Monzo. These are the ones that got named in the pitch and that are representatives of many more fintech companies that are disrupting traditional banking. We could add some more like Weltsparen, Transferwise, and other services that target at disrupting one or the other part of banking. And banking is surely an interesting sector of B2C as well as B2B business that is highly regulated, often very conservative, and burdened with legacy IT systems, to name but a few challenges facing banks. All these topics are making them an interesting target for nimble companies that, amongst others, are engaging with their customers in a highly personalised manner. This is very much in line with the research report by Epsilon that got quoted in the pitch. Consequently, personalisation is a very good start. However, there is more. The model of the quoted fintechs is not only to provide a high degree of personalisation.  They are...
Nimble Goes Blue

Nimble Goes Blue

The future of Nimble is blue – Azure blue. The News This is not about the colour of hope (which is blue, at least, if you are a German, like me), but about the long pending final migration of Nimble to Azure. The company announced on May 22 that it has successfully migrated its leading SaaS Social Sales application from Amazon Web Services to Azure. According to the press release this migration was accomplished in less than four weeks without impact on Nimble customers or, as the press release stated “without a hitch”. With this move Nimble can now “tap into Microsoft’s world-class Azure platform and partner ecosystem to scale”. According to the press release the company reports that, Microsoft being “a global Nimble reseller, and promoting it as the simple CRM for Office 365, demand for the easy-to-use CRM for small workgroups is surging”. Then there are two further interesting pieces covered in the press release. For one: with this move Nimble also “accelerates the delivery of its upcoming 5.0 release using the Azure Platfrom as a Servce (…) and by integrating Common Data Services, Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow”. Nimble 5.0 shall deliver a “company wide team relationship manager that unifies contacts from siloed departments in sales, marketing, customer service, and accounting for Office 365 and G Suite users”. The release of Nimble 5.0 is targeted for June 2019. Second, Nimble emphasizes on the power of ecosystems by putting a spotlight on Nimble being the only ISV on Microsoft’s CSP Cloud Solution Provider marketplace that uses CSP to build a global distribution channel. Nimble does this by...
CRM evolution 2019 – A Recap

CRM evolution 2019 – A Recap

CRM evolution 2019 just ended. It has again been a highly interesting two and a half days filled with interesting presentations and discussions. A big thank you go to the organizers and the chairs. It has also been the first time that the venerable Brent Leary chaired it, stepping into the big footprint that Paul Greenberg has left. Unsurprisingly, Brent did very well. Of course, Paul, being Paul, was still there as a speaker with an engaging presentation, concentrating on what he calls the commonwealth of self-interest, on how to be highly successful because of applying an outside-in view. CRM evolution is part of a group event of related conferences that all happen at the same time. This year, in addition to Smart Customer Service and Speechtek, there was a dedicated event focusing on DigitalExperience. This acknowledges how important this topic, that actually touches all the other topics, has become in the past years. It also raises the question again why these four events are marketed as different events. With the possible exception of Speechtek all topics are related enough to be warranted as facets of the same. And they are, in my eyes. I do not know, how the chairs do it, but they continue to attract a number of high caliber speakers, starting off with Jarno Duursma as the main keynoter of day one, followed by a very knowledgeable Barton Goldenberg on day two. While Jarno focused on AI, which is arguably the most exciting topic these days, Barton showcased how to actually get CX profitably done using a community scenario. This breadth explains a good part...
How to Thrive in the Age of the Customer

How to Thrive in the Age of the Customer

Returning from an interesting SAP Now event in Berlin with a strong attendee focus on customer experience is the perfect opportunity to start thinking about how to thrive as a company in the age of the customer. Being busy with and at our own valantic booth and an exciting IoT-Chatbot showcase I sincerely could not attend as many presentations as I wanted to. First let’s establish what the age of the customer means. What is the age of the customer? A few years ago the term ‚the customer is in control’ was coined. This was back in the first hype around social media, around the same time the term ‚social CRM’ got created. Some companies, for example Microsoft, are still using it. In the beginning ‚the customer is in control’ referred to the idea that social media put customers in a far more powerful position vs. businesses, because the higher reach that social media offered, changed the balance of powers between customers and vendors. Or so vendors of enterprise software argued. The ‚customer being in control’ is certainly one way to describe an age of the customer, even a very strong one. Forrester Research is somewhat more balanced. Forrester describes the age of the customer as the combination of a shift of power from institutions to customers and the disruptive forces of digitalization. This combination would “alter market fundamentals and force companies to change strategic direction and rethink operating models”. As part of the vivid discussion following my post Ten Questions you always wanted to ask about CX on CustomerThink, Harley Manning, VP and Research Director covering customer experience...