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Showing posts from May, 2021

Platform Partners: A Question of Trust

The enterprise software world is one where few, if any, companies can stand alone. Cloud computing has greatly increased the availability and usability of business applications. However, no vendor can claim to supply a complete homegrown solution. The SaaS world is one of partnerships. Partnerships are best when all the partners are trustworthy. Business software customers still need to pick a brand and stick with it for a while. That brand—the platform—represents a serious investment of time and trust. Sure, you own your data, and changing platforms is supposed to be easy. But ask anybody who’s done it whether they would want to do so again next year. Platform customers have to weigh more than just the price and features of each platform provider. They must also consider what the future holds for that platform and its partners. None of the big platforms are likely to disappear or merge anytime soon, but their fates and fortunes are not constant. They also have histories and reputation

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 c

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 clich├ęd 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 t

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 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 t

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

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. Enjoy

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 featu

What's hot and important in Customer Service

The Covid crisis had a profound impact on customer service centers, on sales and marketing processes. Personnel needed to be sent to home offices with infrastructure for this not being really in place. Coordination became more difficult, especially in environments that did not base on trust already before. Morale was affected, too. What did companies do to address the challenges that came up? With what success? Did leadership behaviour change? We talked to one of the foremost analysts who cover the customer service and customer engagement arena: Kate Leggett of Forrester Research. Lots of ground to cover in a mere hour. But Kate knows her stuff. Be informed and listen to what she has to say. It is worth the time.