Salesforce Sales Cloud Supercharged – Einstein’s next Move

Salesforce Sales Cloud Supercharged – Einstein’s next Move

The News A few days ago Salesforce announced an update to its sales cloud that features Einstein powered predictions, insights, and productivity. The press release is linked above or alternatively you can read it below, along with some comments of mine. Salesforce is (again) addressing the three main issues that plague CRM implementations since Tom Siebel coined this term. Let me paraphrase them> Salespeople do not find the time to do their job, which is selling. Instead they are spending an inordinate amount of time entering data that supposedly only helps their management controlling them a little more. Sales managers do not have enough visibility into what is going on in their area of responsibility, what their team is doing (and why), whether they are doing the right thing. The same problem, of course, applies to the Head of Sales, just at a bigger scale. Sales operations is charged with creating meaningful reports that tell the one single truth. This they need to do using data that resides somewhere, data that is distributed, instead of some central consolidated place. Data that is essentially not fully trustworthy. Salesforce is doing this using a triple of features: The Salesforce resident AI: Einstein to help sales persons identify the most promising opportunities to work upon The Salesforce Inbox that increases productivity by attributing emails to the right accounts as well as connecting to the calendar Sales Analytics to help salespeople and their management to visualize, interpret, and use the available data   The Press Release Ask any rep what their favorite part of the day is, and chances are that their answers...
Sharing Economy – A Rant

Sharing Economy – A Rant

In the past weeks I have been to some events. Their main topic has been ‘digital transformation’, which is a term that currently gets used all over the place. The good news is that people mostly seem to have understood that digital transformation most of all is a business transformation, with IT being an enabler, not a driver. However, and that’s the bad news, one term popped up everywhere like a bad charm. Sharing Economy And the usual suspect companies are cited as the trailblazers of this sharing economy: Airbnb is apparently the biggest hotel chain. But it does now own a single hotel, rather than a bed Uber, the biggest taxi corporation. It does not own a single taxi I even heard Amazon and Alibaba being mentioned in this context. And then there are plenty more companies that one could mention, like TaskRabbit, Lyft, Zaarly, you name them. There are few terms that make me flinch like this one, maybe ‘democratization of <take your pick of technology>. Why? Because the term does not describe the concept behind the model. Instead it creates a cozy feeling of perhaps doing something good by sharing one’s possessions with someone else. The Oxford Dictionary defines the verb share as ‘have a portion of (something) with another or others’. Sharing in its original context is about jointly using or enjoying something, in a wider sense it is about giving someone else access to something. In any case it has some altruistic touch to it. What the above mentioned companies are about is, positively speaking, helping me to give access to something that I...
Nimble Mobile CRM 3.0 – A Quantum Leap?

Nimble Mobile CRM 3.0 – A Quantum Leap?

The News On February 14, 2018 Nimble announced the launch of Nimble Mobile CRM 3.0, their new powerful mobile contact, relationship and pipeline manager for Office 365 and G-Suite. The company also announced a bundling of PieSync’s B2B cloud integration platform to become an end-to-end social relationship management platform for all company contact records, regardless of where those records are stored. The new mobile app “unifies contacts from siloed mobile, cloud based and desktop records into a comprehensive relationship manager. It delivers the history of conversations and social context for everyone you meet, and it enables you to easily follow up and follow through on opportunities …” Besides introducing important features like business card scanning, the ability to send templated and tracked emails, and a mobile pipeline manager for tracking follow-through, Nimble Mobile 3.0 provides easy access to all company contact records, including social enrichment and history of email and Twitter interactions. In addition, the software introduces the ability to research new contacts on the fly via a deep integration with the iOS share menu. The latter enables users to stay within one app instead of toggling between them, which is a drag on mobile productivity. The ability to research new contacts on the fly gives teams and professionals valuable sales intelligence by using the iOS Share menu to “Nimble” a person, i.e. discover their social profiles, areas of influence, company, work description, etc. In other words, it is possible to build a Nimble record for contacts in your email, calendar and contacts apps, on the Internet or for a variety of other apps, in real time. The application...
CPQ delivered in Customer Experience Fashion

CPQ delivered in Customer Experience Fashion

In all likelihood you know that CPQ stands for Configure, Price, Quote. CPQ software helps mainly B2B companies to more efficiently sell highly configurable products. As the name suggests, the software helps sales people during the three steps of configuring the product, getting and agreeing a price for it, and finally initiating the quotation process. The more variables, or parts, a final product has the more advantage a CPQ tool offers to both, sellers and buyers. It is geared for streamlining and accelerating the sales process while reducing errors. A CPQ system typically ties into CRM- and ERP systems and, apart from being made available to channel partners, is often also exposed through an e-commerce system (have you ever configured your car online?). CPQ currently being a hot topic (and not only since the planned acquisition of CallidusCloud by SAP) there is a good number of companies offering this functionality. But in many scenarios CPQ also needs a CLM. Now I hear you asking: what is CLM? After all there are many possible long terms for this abbreviation. Why does it connect to CPQ? And why does this combination make an appearance in a blog that distinctly focuses on CRM, customer engagement and ultimately an improved customer experience? Starting from the end: CPQ, and by extension CLM, is more and more becoming a link between the front office and the back office and therefore has considerable impact on the customer engagement process, and hence influences the customer experience. So, what is CLM? CLM is an abbreviation for Contract Lifecycle Management. As such it deals with the creation of contracts,...
Customer Experience is a Platform Play – Always Was

Customer Experience is a Platform Play – Always Was

The most important tool that enterprise software vendors have in their respective arsenals is their platform. While Vinnie Mirchandani rightfully states that Enterprise Software Platforms have so far underwhelmed, Denis Pombriant proclaims them the new battleground. In my opinion it is not that new a battleground but as part of the Clash of Titans it is becoming more evident as a battleground. An enterprise software platform was always part of the battle for dominance in the customer engagement – or putting it into (marketing) industry lingo – customer experience market. It is actually an integral part of it. This is largely because of the ongoing commoditization of transactional business applications. But it was sexier to talk about shiny topics like engagement and experience than to talk about the grease and the machinery behind that drives and enables the technical delivery of engagements – note, that there are systems of engagement, but there is nothing like a system of experience. And now topics like chatbots, machine learning, AI, ambient computing, IoT, to name a few, made the machinery – the platform – the new black. A – perhaps not so – brief history When looking at the broad topic of CRM, customer engagement or customer experience, we have seen a lot of change happening since the early days of Sales Force Automation, SFA. Back in the early 90s one of the first topics has been SFA, with a focus on making a distributed sales force more effective and efficient. Contact management came even earlier, call center software and field service quickly followed. The emerging industry was dominated by little players...
SAP acquires CallidusCloud – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

SAP acquires CallidusCloud – A Snap Analysis from Down Under

The News On January 30, 2018 SAP announced that its subsidiary SAP America, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Callidus Software Inc., a leader in sales performance management and CPQ software. With a price tag of around $2.4 bn this is the most expensive acquisition SAP has announced in quite a time. With this acquisition SAP gets closer to the target of assembling the “most complete and differentiated portfolio to manage today’s customer experience” and claims that the combination of the CallidusCloud Lead to Money suite in combination with its own (Hybris) customer engagement suite creates a “leading solution portfolio”. SAP intends to consolidate the CallidusCloud solution set into its Hybris portfolio, with the sales cloud being the technical integration point of the software. As usual, the existing management team will stay on board. The Bigger Picture According to the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrants for Sales Performance Management (dated 15 January, 2018) and Configure, Price, and Quote Application Suites (dated 29 January, 2018) SAP catapulted itself into the leadership position of Sales Performance Management and into a visionary position in the CPQ market. Forrester Research already in their Forrester Wave: Configure-Price-Quote Solutions, Q1 2017 placed CallidusCloud into the leader section of their wave. With SAP’s Hybris solutions, including Gigya, SAP already has a powerful customer engagement suite, albeit with some gaps, a significant of which got plugged with this acquisition. While SAP CPQ is fairly capable on the C and P there is some deficiency on the Q. And it bases on grandfather IPC – not a bad engine, but one that is getting tired. Friend...