thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Ecosystems, how to play for small players

Ecosystems, how to play for small players

Lately, we have talked a lot about ecosystems, in particular business ecosystems. Normally, business ecosystems follow a hub and spoke model rather than a network approach; one major player sets it up, and then adds customers and partners like independent software vendors, systems integrators, analysts, consultants, suppliers, or other similar entities. Good examples of successful ecosystems are the ones around the big four enterprise software vendors: Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and SAP. Sure, there are other ones, but these are easy reference examples. In theory, ecosystems shall provide more value to customers, better serving their needs by making it easier for them to get access to information, knowledge, skills and productized enhancements to the core solution that they chose to implement. They also get a broader choice of possible enhancements, provided by different vendors in the ecosystem. Of course, this also benefits the other participating stakeholders. Customers are, of course, an important group of every ecosystem. Treating them as partners helps the platform company to create a transparent prioritization process for delivering requested new functionalities that extend the own solution in an optimal way. Not all customers provide the necessary input, though. For the platform provider, the ecosystem creates stickiness. Still, this company cannot develop and provide all the functionality that is ever needed by its customers. Nor can it provide sufficient implementation services. And it does not want to, either. So, it needs ISVs and SIs as members of its ecosystem to provide this functionality, either as products, or as consulting solutions. What these companies deliver on top of the core solution also increases the attractiveness of the ecosystem. ...
How to avoid the looming CRM crisis

How to avoid the looming CRM crisis

A short while ago the CRMKonvos team had the opportunity to invite Frank Tjaben of SugarCRM into our living rooms or home offices for a lively discussion about whether businesses are facing a crisis of customer relationship management and if so, why. To use some slightly clichéd terminology, Frank has been both a hunter and a farmer throughout his career, putting him in a unique place to talk about exactly this topic. He has seen it from both sides—as a user and seller of CRM software. He started his career as a call center agent, and then held various sales and sales management positions, including customer advisory roles for both enterprise organisations and SMBs. He says that a sales person’s main objective is to get into an as good as possible dialogue with the customer, regardless of one’s actual role. At the end of the day it is about solving a customer’s problem. He firmly believes that those who understand the customer best are the ones who close the deal. This is where the value of CRM systems begins. These systems are good for managing to-dos and activities, which is important in sales. It is important to be reliable. “It might sound conservative, but then sales is a conservative craft,” Frank says. “If you make an appointment for next week, then this is what is meant, an appointment.” He maintains that this, although important, is only a part of it. It only looks at the basics. The business evolves. Therefore, customers need to also know that the vendor’s product vision matches their future needs. The big question is: What...
Platform play – How everybody wants to rule the world

Platform play – How everybody wants to rule the world

The CRMKonvos gang had the pleasure to host a show with R “Ray” Wang, one of the most renowned analysts of topics Digitalisation to Digital Transformation around. Ray is the CEO of Silicon Valley based Constellation Research Inc. He co-hosts DisrupTV, a weekly enterprise tech and leadership webcast that averages 50,000 views per episode and blogs at www.raywang.org. His ground-breaking best selling book on digital transformation, Disrupting Digital Business, was published by Harvard Business Review Press in 2015. Ray’s new book about Digital Giants and the future of business titled Everybody Wants to Rule The World will be released July 2021. Ray is well quoted, one of the most regarded analysts around and frequently interviewed in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Cheddar, and Bloomberg. And now he participates in a CRMKonvo. With his new book about to be released, what better time is it to talk about what it takes to rule the world. Platform? Ecosystem? Guts? or just plain luck? Well, as you can expect, Ray has some very distinct answers that he presents in his usual very convincing and vivid way. The digital giants rule, unless the playing field gets changed. How does it need to get changed? Well, listen to our CRMKonvo – and later read his...
How to avoid the CRM crisis

How to avoid the CRM crisis

Customer relationships are on the cusp of a crisis, are they? And if this observation is correct, what can we do to avoid the crisis, or even get out of it in case we happen to have taken the step over the precipice? In this CRMKonvo – sponsored by SugarCRM – amongst other things, we talk about the results of the 2021 CRM and sales impact report. Core questions are what has a positive, or negative, impact on sales performance or customer loyalty. The report covers insight gained by 1,000 sales pros.  We are discussing with Frank Tjaben, who moved on to sales after having gained considerable experience in various different roles in call centers and other types of organizations. Frank now uses his experience on the other side of the force and has a lot of interesting stories to tell about how a CRM helps or does not help, depending on its implementation. This CRMKonvo is in German language (the report is available in German and English language and definitely worthwhile having a look at)....
How to make CRM users happy

How to make CRM users happy

In this very vivid CRMKonvo we talked with Martin Schneider, head of corporate strategy at SugarCRM about why CRM systems still do not make their users happy. I mean, from its very beginnings, it is almost 40 years into the history of CRM. And. CRM. Systems. still. do. not. make. their. users. happy. What are the culprits? What are possible remedies? Listen to some CRM dinosaurs who discuss their learnings through the years and how market and demands have changed since the early days. As a bonus: Learn what custom motorcycles have to do with customer experience....

Rising to Swift Challenges in App Development

You may have heard about The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, or the idea of an MVP (minimum viable product). These methodologies say only build what subscribers ask—and will pay— for. Business app development isn’t a one-way street; sometimes a customer will come to you with an idea for a product you wouldn’t otherwise have had in your cycle. When that happens, a responsive company with a close relationship to its customers will be able to deliver something new. Such was the case when financial advisory firm White Glove came to Fastcall with a request regarding Einstein Conversation Insights.Salesforce recently introduced Einstein Conversation Insights. ECI transcribes a recorded conversation, identifies keywords and records metrics (such as talk time per recipient) from phone calls, and provides recording shortcuts to quickly review the calls. Rob Lyons, head of technology for White Glove, identified a natural fit for ECI with his company’s existing use of Fastcall. “I saw this feature was available to us as HVS users,” Lyons says. “I wanted to see if this AI could give me insight into our sales calls beyond standard activity logging.”Such requests are part of the job for Fastcall founder Rich Rosen, and they often spring from curiosity. “Subscribers ask us for stuff they do not really plan to implement,” Rosen says. “We do the work, it does not get used, but is available for the next subscriber.” Even so, this is where innovation is born. “It was worth doing as this is a differentiator,” Rosen says. “Not many other CTI apps have the integration. And it gave us a chance to reach out to...