Why You Need Marketing Automation Software
Nearly 9 out of 10 B2B buyers now begin their purchase process online. They initiate their buy cycle journey using search to find independent product reviews, asking friends in social networks who they recommend and reading customer forums to see what existing customers have to say. Research shows that B2B buyers educate themselves with online content and complete about three-quarters of their buy cycle before they ever engage a vendor. In fact, they’ve usually reached a vendor short-list by the time they interact with those vendors. Unfortunately for vendors, if they’re not found in the online discovery process, they’re excluded from the sale opportunity.
Marketers are keenly aware that the vendor led sales cycle has been replaced with an online buyer driven buy cycle, and in response are shifting their marketing budgets toward digital marketing campaigns. Inbound marketing, content marketing, email marketing, paid marketing and social (media) marketing are increasingly becoming the favored methods for attracting and engaging online buyers. Marketing Software ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 4/29/2013 Permalink Comments (0) Posted in Marketing
The Business Mandate For Customer Experience (CX) Management
There’s a threefold challenge impacting your ability to keep your customers. Customer expectations are rising, customers are readily sharing their bad experiences publicly and customers are switching their suppliers at a dramatically increased pace.
The rise of social media and social customers now rewards those brands that engage customers through social channels and deliver a consistent and rewarding customer experience (CX). Or on the flip side, suppliers who do not deliver rewarding customer experiences are being called out publicly in forums and social networks that reach thousands or millions of potential or existing customers and have a duration of months or years. If a company’s products are chastised by existing customers, new prospects will clearly steer elsewhere and existing customers will take note, thereby increasing their likelihood of churn.
Buyers are more connected and have more knowledge and options that at any time prior. Vendors are a click away so customers can get want they want in more places. Access to more suppliers delivering more and better online information about their solutions, and verified by independent references within the buyers' social circles, has decreased barriers to switching vendors.
A 2013 Customer Experience research study released by O’Keeffe found that 49% of executives believe customers will switch brands due to a poor customer experience, while 89% of customers say they have switched brands because of a poor customer experience. Recognize these customers did not report that they may or would switch brands based on a poor CX, but they actually did. Customers are clearly beyond idle threats and demonstrating a propensity for implementing change at an increased pace.
The problem is real, the business impact is large and business leaders are taking note. A Bloomberg Businessweek research survey found that 80% of companies rate CX as a top strategic objective. The O’Keeffe CX research found that 93% of business leaders say that improving their customers' experience is one of their top three priorities for the next two years and 97% state that CX is critical to their business success. They also understand the cost of failure is large—estimated at 20% of revenues. Customer Experience ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 4/22/2013 Permalink Comments (0) Posted in CX
The CMOs Top Three Objectives
Unlike many C-level executives, Chief Marketing Officers are without commonly accepted strategies and routine measures. This may be in part why CMO’s so often don’t have a seat at the executive table and incur such high churn. So what’s a CMO to do? Here’s the three most important stakeholders and strategies for CMOs to deliver the greatest contribution to the company, and get that seat at the executive table. CMO objectives ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 4/10/2013 Permalink Comments (0) Posted in Marketing
The Business Case For An Integrated Revenue Cycle
When companies move beyond just a sales cycle and get to a complete lead to customer revenue cycle, they more effectively advance those leads through the pipe, increase sales wins, grow customer acquisitions and earn more revenues. But getting there isn't easy. Here we share the business case, along with a proven framework, to achieve an integrated revenue cycle. Revenue cycle ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 4/5/2013 Permalink Comments (11) Posted in SFA
CRM Winners and Losers
During the first quarter of 2013 we saw some changes in the continuous jockeying for CRM software market share leadership. Or more specifically, according to CRM buyers, we saw some publishers increase their presence and more importantly increase the messaging and alignment with what CRM buyers say is most important to them. Here's this quarters CRM Winners and Losers results. CRM winners and losers ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 4/1/2013 Permalink Comments (6) Posted in CRM Software
The Business Case for Big Data
I’ve been fortunate to complete some big data projects in conjunction with ERP deployments that have achieved remarkable ROI. Interestingly, my results with Big Data make it all the more frustrating when I see business leaders sit on the sidelines and somehow wait for this opportunity to make itself happen. In many talks with many smart folks, it’s apparent that most everybody gets that fact that better information leads to better decisions, and that alone can and will grow businesses. But it’s also become apparent that these business leaders need more information support before they can consider such a move, and compare it to other projects vying for their attention. To that end, I’ve put together sort of an executive’s guide to making the business case for Big Data.
The transformation of business data into business intelligence is a costly and technical process, and consequently limited in scope and beneficiaries. In almost all businesses, data is stored in many data siloes, and getting it through the ETL (Extract Transform Load) process and into data visualization tools is slow, costly and limited to few decision makers in the company.
An IBM research survey found that over half of businesses leaders say they don’t have access to the insights they need to do their jobs. Clearly, this problem isn’t a lack of data availability, but an inability to transform data into the intelligence and insights needed by decision makers.
The challenge is further exacerbated as data increasingly no longer resides in nicely formatted relational databases on company servers. Now to outperform competitors and to achieve the intelligence needed to meet revenue, customer affinity and other business goals, business leaders and line staff must tap into data that resides outside the company and in unstructured mediums, such as online social media, email, audio, video, images, streaming data and more. Data is further being multiplied by machine automation such as sensors, RFID, cameras, programs, phones and other smart devices.
Consider these data facts.
- 80 percent of the world’s information is unstructured.
- Unstructured data is growing 15 times faster than structured data.
- Raw computational power is growing so rapidly that a person with a PC has the power of a supercomputer from about a decade ago—and when combined with the new democratization of freely available data this power is available to anybody that chooses to leverage it for business or other opportunities.
The increasing rate of data volumes, velocities and varieties have defined the concept of Big Data, and more importantly a new opportunity to better transform data from raw form into business intelligence. More Big Data ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 3/5/2013 Permalink Comments (18) Posted in Big Data
Customer Experience Research Results and Actionable Take-aways
Oracle today released an interesting Customer Experience (CX) research report performed by O’Keeffe & Company. The study interviewed 1,342 senior executives, with the single largest participant being CEOs, across 18 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The research results deliver some findings and take-away points that are likely to be helpful for those business leaders evaluating, planning or deploying CX strategies.
The study results first point to an "execution chasm". For the most part, business leaders now understand that customers are plugged in 24/7, demand instant access to information and transactional capabilities, are increasingly purchase savvy, and incur fewer barriers and more willingness to replace suppliers that no longer meet their expectations. To this end, 93% of business leaders in the survey say that improving CX is one of the top three priorities for the next two years and 97% state that CX is critical to their business success. They also understand the cost of failure is large—estimated at 20% of their annual revenues.
Despite this recognition of the CX imperative, most executives fail in the execution. While 91% of businesses want to be a CX leader, only 37% are getting started with a formal CX initiative. Interestingly, this survey result is almost identical to a CX survey by IBM about 2 years ago, which further suggests businesses get the vision, but incur great difficulty is creating and executing the plan. And because customer expectations are exceeding their supplier capabilities, and social media will only further exacerbate this trend, both the ROI and cost of failure will continue to grow significantly.
There’s also a Customer Experience perception chasm. The research found that 49% of executives believe customers will switch brands due to a poor CX, while 89% of customers say they have switched brands because of a poor CX. Recognize these customers did not report that they may or would switch brands based on a poor CX, but they actually did. Customers are clearly beyond idle threats and have more options that at any time prior.
Beyond just keeping your customers, the survey data also points to a significant Customer Experience upside. 44% of executives believe customers are willing to pay for great CX—while 86% of customers say they are already paying a premium for great CX, and are willing to continue to do so. More CX research results ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 2/4/2013 Permalink Comments (0) Posted in CX
Getting The Most Out of Your CRM Software Demonstrations
Ask a few executives after watching CRM software demonstrations which is their favorite solution? Many will advise “the last one”, as almost all the applications impress when left to demonstrating what they do well, and the last one is top of mind.
The challenge of course is understanding what the CRM systems don’t do so well, what’s being omitted from the demo and how that may impact achieving your business goals.
CRM software demo scripts can mitigate unforeseen problems, including a poor user experience, an absence of process automation, missing CRM software functionality, inability to get information out of the system or just a lack of needed reporting. Clearly these undetected gaps will impact user adoption, business process automation, information insights and getting an ROI on your CRM software investment.
Here’s the top 10 things you can do to identify CRM software shortcomings before making a purchase, and incurring the not so pleasant surprises once you’re already in implementation.
Start with a Demo Script
Begin with a Demonstration Script designed to deliver a guided tour that emphasizes the CRM feature sets most aligned with your top business objectives. CRM software demonstrations are tools used to clearly see and understand how the application software solves or responds to the company's specific opportunities and challenges. To achieve this, CRM buyers should bypass the traditional dog and pony show demonstrations, and instead insist upon a custom demo that speaks directly to the company's issues and requirements.
Forget the generic demos and insist upon using scripted demos which apply directly to your most prioritized objectives. I’ve been giving, receiving, evaluating and scoring CRM software demos for 24 years and have yet to have a CRM vendor suggest a custom demo pursuant to the customers top business objectives. The onus is clearly on the customer to provide those objectives and application requirements to the vendor and assure that the demo clearly illustrates how the application will aid and enable those business objectives to be realized. More CRM Demos ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 1/21/2013 Permalink Comments (1) Posted in CRM Selection
The Biggest CRM Industry Events of 2012
2012 was a notable year for the Customer Relationship Management industry, and in many ways outpaced the innovation, change and progress as compared to prior years.
Social CRM continues to evolve in ways few predict. Social CRM barely made up 1% of the total CRM software market just a few years ago, but is now growing at over 50% year over year, will reach just about $1 billion this year and now makes up about 8% of the total CRM software market. Social now has its own Magic Quadrant, and Gartner predicts that social CRM will grow to about 10% of the total CRM technology spend in just a few more years.
From an adoption perspective, analyst Denis Pombriant notes a clear social CRM evolution, “If you imagine a social stack as I do then at the bottom you have communications, the next level up captures data and analyzes it, the next level might act on the information that the data analysis generates. This year we see many more companies innovating around the concept of doing something with the data and doing something with social that is more than simply opening a line of communication. This is important because the communication level makes social little more than an interesting curiosity. The next levels up provide practical business value.”
While I continue to believe social CRM solutions will ultimately get gobbled up by the larger CRM software vendors, and social CRM and CRM will morph and thereby revert back to the moniker of just “CRM”, it’s clear social CRM isn’t done innovating, growing or maintaining its own identity just yet.
Cloud CRM continued its rise. In 2012, Gartner reported that 36% of CRM software purchases were SaaS, and the analyst firm predicts this figure will reach 40% in 2013 and cross the 50% mark in 2016. When drilling down into more specific CRM market sectors, Sales Force Automation (SFA) and marketing automation have already crossed the 50% SaaS threshold.
On-premise CRM software isn’t dead by a long shot, but Gartner also reports that cloud CRM will grow three times faster than on-premises applications. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the total CRM software market is forecast to be 9.1% from 2012 through 2016, and 15.4% for cloud CRM during the same period. More ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 12/20/2012 Permalink Comments (3) Posted in CRM
CRM Idol Lessons for Emerging Growth Companies
CRM Idol offers a classic business lesson in what the most successful emerging growth technology companies do differently than their peers. CRM Idol is an unmatched and unbridled competition where smaller CRM software companies present their stuff in front of the most die-hard and diligent analysts bar none. Make no mistake, the analysts are super nice people, but that doesn’t impact their job to cut through public facades and identify those emerging growth technology companies that have the muster to rise to the next level in business performance and corporate growth.
To find out what the most impressive CRM Idol candidates had in common, I reached out to the primary judges, and the founder of CRM Idol, Paul Greenberg in this CRM Idol conversation. Here are four critical success factors for entrepreneurs and business leaders to keep in mind if they aspire to achieve a market leading position. More ...
By Chuck Schaeffer 12/8/2012 Permalink Comments (3) Posted in CRM