Category Archives: CRM

3 Things About Machine Learning Every Marketer Needs to Know

20180117 bnr data nodes shop 351x200 3 Things About Machine Learning Every Marketer Needs to Know

TL;DR: Machine Learning 101: 3 Things Marketers Need to Know

Got data?

I bet you do.

Mountains of data, in fact. Terabytes of data. Libraries worth of data. With more streaming in every hour of every day.

We marketers love our data, but, let’s face it … we probably only use a fraction of the data we collect.

It’s not that we don’t want to use more of it. We do.

It would be fantastic, for example, to follow each and every customer around, to see everything they read, how long they read it for, where they clicked next. You might even want to drop a cookie on their computer and see all the other websites they went to. You could survey them, too, and send them personal messages on social media. Test when is the best time to send them messages, and which channel they respond to best.

Then, with all that wonderful knowledge, you could hole up in your office and design a complete soup-to-nuts marketing strategy just for them.

I’m not talking about something like account-based marketing, where your work is for one big target company. I’m talking about a totally personalized, hand-crafted marketing strategy and execution for every single possible prospect your company could have.

Just think of it: thousands of completely personalized marketing plans. Tens of thousands of personalized messages. Hundreds of thousands of hours poring over the data, studying exactly how each and every single prospect behaves.

That’d be great, right?

Well, if you had unlimited time and unlimited resources, maybe. If you never had to sleep, and had no family and no life … and the assurance that you’d live to be at least 312.

Otherwise … forget it.

Being able to focus that closely and to process every little bit of data we have about our prospects and customers is laughable. Delusional.

We are not machines.

At the most, we only have enough resources to segment our audiences. We have to create personas and buyers journeys based on our best guesses (informed by the data, of course).

But what if machines could do all that?

What if a well-trained algorithm could follow each one of your prospects around and could recommend the perfect piece of content and send it to them at the perfect time, in the channel they’d be most likely to respond to it in? And what if the algorithm could even predict the perfect time for your ace salesperson to finally give them a call?

That’s what machine learning can do.

Here’s what you need to know about it (at least for starters).

Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence.

At its simplest definition, machine learning is nothing more than “using data to answer questions.” Hat tip to thank Google’s superb video series on machine learning for that definition.

It’s a specific type ‒ or discipline, if you will ‒ of artificial intelligence. One of its strengths is that a machine learning algorithm’s accuracy can improve over time. It can “learn.” So. while a program that can play chess might be considered artificial intelligence, a program that can learn to play chess, and ping pong, and any other game, would be an example of machine learning.

More complicated machine learning systems are often called “deep learning.” So, for the game example, deep learning systems are set up to use multiple levels – called “neural nets” ‒ to do their processing.

Here’s a Venn diagram to help understand:

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Infrastructure as an Anchor

Oracle’s race to the cloud has offered multiple successes to its investors and some disappointment as well. No transition of this magnitude can be expected to run like clockwork, but the difference between revenues for Oracle’s Software as a Service apps for last quarter, US$ 1.1 billion, and those for its Infrastructure as a Service apps, at $ 396 million, should at least get you thinking.

There’s a good explanation for this, and it’s surprising that the company hasn’t done more to provide guidance to its financial analysts — but then again, the purpose of reporting your finances is just that. There’s no room for anything that can look like an excuse. That’s too bad, because it can lead people to wrong conclusions.

I spent a day at Oracle last week receiving a briefing on the company’s road map for the year ahead. While some of the information was presented under nondisclosure, I can say that the briefing ran the gamut and went into areas that I am not expert at, such as serverless apps, bare metal servers and the new autonomous database — but I am coming up to speed as fast as I can.

Information Utility

The company’s cloud architecture and IaaS offering gave me one surprise: Oracle intends to roll out 13 distinct regions for IaaS connected by a very high-speed backbone. Each region is highly modularized with triple redundancy and easily can scale as demand increases. All of this is very important, I believe, because this is not simply about cloud computing but about another disruptive innovation we all will face in the next few years.

The disruption is the formation of an information utility, and it’s all but certain that no single corporate entity will own all of it. As big as Oracle’s plans are, Salesforce has similar ideas, and so do Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Amazon, and hosting services too numerous to mention. Yes, there will be consolidation, and those too-numerous vendors likely will be scooped up first.

But back to Oracle — $ 396 million is a lot of money but small change compared to its SaaS number and small compared with the company’s aspirations. The logical conclusion that many finance people have drawn from that number is that Oracle has a “problem,” or that it’s not executing well in PaaS and IaaS, but really? Not exactly.

Only three of the 13 regions have been deployed so far, according to Oracle President of Product Development Thomas Kurian, who led off the analyst briefing. More will hit their markets this year — but the rollout takes time, and we’ll still be talking about it next year.

Not having the regions up and running means that in some strategic places, the company doesn’t have IaaS to sell. So the $ 396 million is a look into a still very much expanding world.

Just for fun, you could say that three of 13 is just under a quarter of the deployment. If the other regions were running as well as the three in place, the IaaS and PaaS numbers easily might be four times the reported revenue number. It’s unclear if that’s good or not since we don’t know a lot, such as capacity and utilization of the existing regions, but still…

So for now, the revenue picture remains lumpy, but now we have more explanation and color for the results. Hopefully this also gives financial analysts something to consider as they try to figure out what the numbers mean to investors. The rest of the market seems to expect a bright future for Oracle as its stock continues to do well despite the lumpy earnings.

More Co-opetition Ahead

There’s also discussion about renewed competition in the database market circulating after
a story in The Information suggested that companies like Amazon and Salesforce were building competitive database products and would depart Oracle in the near future.

I don’t agree. If for nothing else, building a database is a big effort and one that detracts mightily from a company’s primary business interests. It is dilutive of effort and cannibalistic of resources. For these reasons, it should be taken on only as a last resort. That’s the way any business should look at any effort to self-source rather than go to the marketplace for needed resources.

On top of that, I recently spoke with Parker Harris, CTO and cofounder of Salesforce, and when asked about the story he said, “We have a good relationship with Oracle and we use a ton of it. We are not getting rid of the Oracle database. We are working on technologies that add capabilities around the edges, like sandboxes. We will have SQL Server and Oracle for a long time.”

No surprises there. It’s been true for a long time that in these big markets, sometimes we compete and sometimes we cooperate. In the era of the information utility, I expect a lot more co-opetition.
end enn Infrastructure as an Anchor


Denis%20Pombriant Infrastructure as an AnchorDenis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry researcher, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. He can be reached at
denis.pombriant@beagleresearch.com.

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Top Ten CRM Posts for 2017

Another year has wrapped up, and 2017 was a busy one here at the CRM Software Blog. There were so many changes with the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) that undoubtedly clients and prospects had questions. Our expert partners have been successfully answering, explaining and assisting. Here are the top ten Dynamics CRM/Dynamics 365 related posts for 2017. Check them out if you missed any and thanks to our partners for keeping us all up to date.

  1. Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM July 2017 Update

June 22, 2017 by StravaTechGroup

  1. Dynamic Values for Email Templates – Part 2

January 25, 2017 by Mark Rockwell, Rockton Software

  1. Dynamics 365 Version 9.0 is here!

October 3, 2017 by ACE Microtechnology

  1. Top 10 Fabulous New Features of Microsoft Dynamics 365: Deep Dive Series, Part 2

January 26, 2017 by AKA Enterprise Solutions

  1. Dynamics 365 Business Edition Canceled Before it Ever Saw the Light of Day

September 20, 2017 by StravaTechGroup

  1. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Portal – Strengths and Weaknesses Review

July 11, 2017 by Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath

  1. Dynamics 365 Business Edition Canceled Before it Ever Saw the Light of Day

September 20, 2017 by StravaTechGroup

  1. Digital Transformation with Microsoft Dynamics 365

March 6, 2017 by AKA Enterprise Solutions

  1. 10 Things To Like About The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

February 15, 2017 by Preact CRM – Microsoft Dynamics UK Gold Partner

  1. Upgrade to Dynamics 365 – Part 1

January 9, 2017 by Beringer Technology Group

 Bookmark www.crmsoftwareblog.com to read the best articles in 2018 about Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM)

Find a Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM Partner

By CRM Software Blog, www.crmsoftwareblog.com

 

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

What Is a CRM Quick Quote and How Can I Get One?

CRM Blog What Is a CRM Quick Quote and How Can I Get One?

In order to remain competitive, modern businesses need more than ever to keep track of their assets, from customers and their preferences to leads, inventory, employee information: really anything that goes on in your organization. If you don’t keep track of your data, you can’t use it to your advantage. That’s why most businesses today see the benefit of having a robust CRM solution.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) is one of the best solutions available.

But, how much does Microsoft Dynamics 365 cost? To budget the total price of a Dynamics 365 project you need to know the license cost and maintenance fees plus the estimated implementation and services costs. Go to any page on crmsoftwareblog.com and click on the orange bar on the right that says, “Request Instant Quote Dynamics 365/CRM.” Fill in some brief information on the form that appears, and you will receive an instant, automated Dynamics 365 Quick Quote outlining software, maintenance, and estimated services costs for an entire project. For either Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online.

In addition to the Quick Quote estimate sent to your email, your contact information will be given to just one of our expert CRM partners in your area who will gladly answer any questions you have and will work with you on the implementation if that’s what you choose.  Both the estimate and the referral are non-binding and are provided as a service to our readers.

The Quick Quote tool is free and easy. Why not try it today and see if Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a good match for your business.

By CRM Software Blog,  crmsoftwareblog.com

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

aaronback Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

Dynamics 365 offers multiple ways to access the data for specific teams, departments, or groups within your company. However, Microsoft introduced additional options through what they call Hubs. There are multiple Hubs that are available, but it depends on the subscription you purchased for your company. The available Hubs are the Customer Service Hub, previously known as the Interactive Service Hub, the Sales Hub, the Project Resource Hub, and the Field Service Hub.

Accessing the Hubs

There are a few ways to access the Dynamics 365 Hubs. First, you can access the Hubs from the Dynamics 365 Home Screen (https://home.dynamics.com/).
Hub Access Home Page 625x496 Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

Second, you can access the Hubs from the Dynamics 365 Menu.
Hub Access Dynamics 365 Menu Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

Third, you can access the Hubs from the Dynamics 365 Mobile App.
Hub Access Dynamics 365 Mobile App 332x625 Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

Unified Interface

Dynamics 365 Version 9.0 introduce the new Unified Interface. This Unified Interface provides a more focused interface and layout to specific areas of the system. For example, the Customer Service Hub is focused on just the Customer Service areas of the system. This provides customer service teams with access areas they need, but without “clutter” of areas they don’t need.

The Dashboards shown below area provides a cleaner look and feel.
Customer Service Hub Home Screen 625x318 Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

The side menu shown below is easier to navigate and access the areas needed.
Customer Service Hub Side Menu Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

The Views shown below are cleaner and look more simplistic.
Customer Service Hub Accounts View 625x306 Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

The form shown below provides a streamlined look. Additionally, it contains a new Timeline feature in regards to the Activities.
Customer Service Hub Account Record 625x310 Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

Hub Security

In order for your users to access the various Hubs within Dynamics 365, you need to make sure they have the correct security access. First, you will need to navigate to the Security area of Dynamics 365. Next, you will need to select a user, Finally, you will need to select “Manage Roles”. Once the “Manage User Roles” window appears, scroll down and put a check-mark next to the Hub you want to provide access to.

In the below example, the “Customer Service App Access” option needs to be selected.
Hub Access Security Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

Create a Custom Hub

You may find the the out-of-the-box Hubs do not offer the options you are looking for. Well, you are in luck. Dynamics 365 provides a way to create your own Custom Hub to meet your specific needs. You can follow the steps I provided in my previous article “Designing a Custom App for Dynamics 365“. The only difference would be to select “Unified Interface” on the first screen in the App Designer.

Custom Hub App Designer Unified Interface 625x492 Understanding Dynamics 365 Hubs

Final Thoughts

Hubs can provide an alternative option to access information within Dynamics 365. However, be sure to have an action plan in place to introduce the Hubs to your users. Introducing something new like this can either push people away, create confusion, or spark interest in trying something new. But, people can surprise you and the person you thought would be most resistant could turn into your greatest ally.


Aaron Back is Microsoft Certified Professional with many years experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM). He is actively involved with the Microsoft Dynamics CRMUG (User Group) Community. His involvement includes: Serving as Chapter Leader for his local CRMUG Chapter, serving on the CRMUG Board of Advisors, and speaking at the annual CRMUG Summit conference.


For more information or assistance with Dynamics 365 (CRM) contact ACE!

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Optimize Conference Networking and Content-Creation Opportunities

2017 AO RethinkMktgPodcast Featured Orendorff Networking Optimize Conference Networking and Content Creation Opportunities

Nathan Isaacs: Welcome to the Rethink Marketing podcast. I’m here today with Aaron Orendorff. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and iconiContent?

Aaron Orendorff: Absolutely. I’m excited to be here, Nathan. Thanks for inviting me on. I am proud to say I’m an Oregonian, just like Nathan, down here in the middle of nowhere, Klamath Falls, Oregon, instead of the beautiful Portland. I’ve been in the content marketing game for about four years now, coming up on five pretty soon. Still feel like very much a newcomer. iconiContent is a company I started on my own four years ago. And since then I’ve had the distinct privilege and delight of writing for a whole host of online outlets and publishers, as well as some fantastic clients. Namely, I’ve gotta give props to Shopify Plus, which is my main gig these days.

‘Let’s Get Rejected’

Nathan: To the subject of our podcast today, you and your collaborator Nadya Khoja put together a mini-campaign around the topic of best advice for conference networking, which we’ll link to in the show notes. Can you tell me the background behind it?

Aaron: My catchphrase, and this is gonna be 100 percent right in line with this story, is ‘Let’s get rejected.’ And I’ve even hashtagged it. It’s because when I started out in content marketing and I started to go after the big publications, I didn’t have a name, I didn’t really have any connections, I had no track record. And so every time that I would submit something and try to punch above my weight, I would tell myself, ‘Let’s get rejected.’ I did the same thing when I would up my rates, when I would email new clients, or send off pitches.

And I say that because Nadya and I were both rejected from speaking at Content Marketing World two years ago. What we didn’t do was take our rejection lying down. We’re in a couple of Slack groups together. And so she floated the idea of: What if we tried to create some on the ground content for Content Marketing World that we could do beforehand, during, and after?

Connect and Create Content

Nathan: And the conference networking idea itself was what?

Aaron: The idea was: How can we connect with as many of the keynoters and conference attendees as possible, create as much content as possible in various forms, with the least amount of effort on our part? So it was one half ‘Let’s leverage the influencers we know,’ and one half ‘Let’s show a ton of love to the people that are actually there on the ground at the conference as well.’ So we started by launching a piece on Venngage, where Nadya is the chief marketing officer. They’re an infographic and poster-maker SaaS. We started by creating an infographic and reaching out to what ended up being 25 or 26 of the headliners at CM World that year. And we asked them one question: How do you approach a keynoter at an event without being weird or bothersome?

And we asked that question because we thought this is precisely what a lot of us do when we go to conferences. We have all these stars in our eyes over the people that we look up to, and we’re just not sure how to approach them. So it was a really practical question that gave the keynoters a chance to weigh in on what they liked and didn’t like, as well as practical advice for people who were showing up to the conference on exactly how to do this difficult awkward thing.

We asked that question of all these different presenters and keynoters. We put that together into an infographic. And then when the conference actually came, we launched it a couple of days beforehand and tagged all of the influencers that were out there on social media. I sent out custom-made gift thank yous via social media to every single one of them as well. And then we pushed it on a couple of hubs like inbound.org and growthhackers.com, to try to get as much critical mass as we could around this initial post.

Then on the ground in the conference, we took over a Snapchat, ‘cause neither one of us really have a big Snapchat following. Foundr Magazine, which is run by Nathan Chan ‒ just a brilliant guy, fantastic publication ‒ let us take over his Snapchat. And we asked one question of all the keynoters and attendees we could find there, which was simply: What’s your best networking tip at a conference? We had a ton of fun, and we got Joe Pulizzi to record his first Snap ever. We recorded all of these, compiled all those into another article, that then turned into an infographic, went up on Content Marketing Institute in the wake of the conference itself, celebrated both speakers as well as attendees. And then I got to put together another giant piece of content on my own site that basically walked everybody through this entire behind-the-scenes process of how these big pieces of content were put together.

So having an assignment ‒ going to the conference with a piece of content we were creating on the spot ‒ gave me a reason to walk up to people and start talking to them, speakers and attendees alike. And that’s the biggest lesson I learned from this for myself and that I’ve taken elsewhere. And it’s such a fantastic two-for-one because it opens the door, gives me a reason to actually talk to other humans, so I’m not as nervous. I’ve got a go-to question, I’ve got a reason [to approach people], that sort of thing. But then also it means I’m not wasting any of the time and money or time away from work that I spend at conferences. I’m actually building a piece of sharable, useful, practical content right there and then.

Keep the Conference Networking Momentum Going

Nathan: How do you convert that from being a one-off conference networking event where you just ask some question, to being able to reach out to somebody a year from now?

Aaron: Every piece of content I create, I have two basic rules that I follow. The first is: ‘never one and done.’ The second is: Content is not a single player sport.

I never want to hit ‘publish’ on something and then be done with it. Ever. I’m always coming back to it. And, at the very least, if all you do is make yourself a little note, just set yourself an appointment reminder for a month to go back and brainstorm about what to do with this next. Just do that with everything that you publish or post.

The other part is that content is not a single-player sport. So, two things. One, I start with the people that I already know. I get their buy-in to that one question. I set up a really simple, easy Google form in those cases if it’s not a live event. Name, preferred link, job title, one question. And then I can share that with a whole bunch of different people very easily and compile all of their answers for a post. On the back end, when someone says yes, I then follow up with another single question. You’ll notice a pattern here. One ask, for one question, for one Google form. And then once they’ve done that, there’s one follow up question which is: Hey, do you know so and so, and could you maybe connect them for this piece?

So I’m broadening with each step. But I’m only doing it a step at a time. And it’s this whole idea that I learned from writing landing pages, and really sales of any kind, which is all I can ask the audience to do is one next thing. Once they take that step, then what’s the next step? I’m constantly rolling it into one thing after another.

Nathan: So you’ve created the content and you’re wanting to promote it. What are your tips about that?

Aaron: I’ve collected the information ‒ it’s a really short composition ‒ and it’s that ‘one thing’ again. I’m not like: Here’s the article … OK, do something with it. No, no. Here’s a click to tweet link, here’s the social share that I’ve already put up, and here’s a customized image that we made for you. And the response is brilliant. It’s just gangbusters.

Conquering Nerves by Asking a Key Question

Nathan: What about for those folks who attend an event and may have had a conference networking plan, but then they’re in a crowd of 1,000 people and they chicken out. Any advice to those guys, when your nerves get the best of you, how to make the best of that?

Aaron: I could say some practical things like: I feel your pain, breathe deep, leave for an entire session or two if you need to, or if you don’t want to be around during meal times, which is one of the times I get most nervous. The times I get most nervous are the stupid after parties. Those freak me out. I hate that, but I force myself to do it most times.

The best piece of advice I ever got on this front was stop asking yourself: ‘What can I get?’I had a friend who said, ‘Man, you gotta get out of your head. What’s stressing you out is you’re like: Am I gonna sit next to the right person? Am I gonna make myself look silly? Am I gonna open with the right words? What are they gonna think of me?’ He’s like, ‘Forget all that. Instead, the next time you talk to somebody, just say to yourself: How can I help this person, how can I serve them?’

And maybe it sounds silly and cliché and trite, but it absolutely like revolutionized the rest of my experience at that conference and every conference I’ve been to since. And if it’s easier to have that opener with a question, that’s a real sneaky trick from myself. But everybody is just as freaked out as you, for the most part. They really are. They’re just as sweaty and uncomfortable and scared.

Nathan: It seems like with those sort of inspirational comments, I think that’s a good place to wrap up. How can folks learn more about you moving forward?

Aaron: I’m sure you’ll include some show notes to iconiContent, to the how-to-attend-a- conference-and-take-it-over article. I’d love to have you check out some of my stuff on Shopify Plus.

Nathan: Excellent. Hey, I appreciate your time today.

Aaron: I had a blast being here. I’m so glad you asked to talk about this particular subject. Thank you.

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It’s Time to Schedule Your Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update

It has been a long time coming for existing Dynamics 365 customers, but at long last, you can schedule your update to Dynamics 365 July 2017 update (Yes JULY 2017 Update!). Scheduling your update is quick and easy and will give you some much requested new features including

  • Multi-Select Option Sets
  • A clean fresh user interface
  • Updated Outlook Client
  • Virtual Entities for integration with other data sources
  • Improved Activity Timeline
  • Business Process Flow enhancements

Scheduling your update can be initiated by any user with a Dynamics Administrator Role or greater.

Here is a short video we created to outline the process of scheduling your update.

Scheduling Your Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update

Simply go to the Office 365 Administrator Portal, select Dynamics 365 from the left-hand navigation. You will see a list of all of your Dynamics 365 Instances.. Switch to the UPDATES tab and select the instance that you wish to update.

365 update 1 It’s Time to Schedule Your Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update

The next screen allows you to choose the update date as well as an alternative date, at least 14 days later. This update must be in high demand as – as of this writing, you can only schedule updates for the last week in February.

365 update 3 1024x823 It’s Time to Schedule Your Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update

The final screen allows you to approve the dates that you have selected.

365 update 4 1024x748 It’s Time to Schedule Your Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update

You are finished once you have approved the update . You should receive an email from Microsoft confirming the update. As the date of your update approaches, you will continue to receive reminders. Finally the day of your update, access to Dynamics 365 will be restricted for about 15 – 30 minutes while the update is applied.

If you have questions about scheduling your Dynamics 365 July 2017 update enCloud9 is available to help you out. Contact us at 1- 844- 264-0729 for a complimentary analysis of your Dynamics 365 system.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

UK Private Equity Specialists Provide Words of Wisdom for Scale-ups

Posted by Mark Woodhams, Oracle NetSuite EMEA Vice President

PE%206%20lessons UK Private Equity Specialists Provide Words of Wisdom for Scale upsOne of the most enriching events NetSuite has held this year was an evening of owner and investor matchmaking with private equity specialists and owners and founders of start-ups and scale-ups in London.

Coming out of that event, I couldn’t help but think of the incredible knowledge that was shared, and how so many scale-ups could benefit from it. Here is a list of what I call “words of wisdom” from UK private equity specialists.

Volatility is something you have to price in… 

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union means volatility has become the new normal. Asked how Brexit should inform investment decisions, Rob Foreman, chief investment officer at Primary Capital Partners put it like this: “Our job is to invest capital over the next five years. And we need to do that irrespective of what is happening with Brexit. So, of course, we’re wary about those things that will be affected, like currency, but at the same time our job is to take measured risks and find investments.” Because foreign exchange is changing so quickly, the valuation of businesses becomes more difficult to ascertain. “That can be quite challenging,” Foreman said, noting that a weak pound can be a positive too. “If the world was totally set and not volatile our jobs would be very boring,” added Jack Alcock, investment director at Permira. “Volatility is something you have to price in.”

Location really does matter. UK investment is as good as any.

Should start-ups and scale-ups go across the Atlantic for funding or stay closer to home? “It’s something we fight against a lot,” noted Lewis Bantin, partner at ECI Partners. “We win some battles on that front and lose them. Where we’ve lost them it’s because the founder felt that ultimately the exit was going to be in the United States. Rationally that can be quite a hard battle to fight but equally they are choosing a partner for four or five years. Where we’ve won battles it’s because founders want to work with someone who is here, where they can get decisions taken quickly rather than refer to Washington or New York.” Thomas Studd, partner at Vitruvian Partners agreed. “We compete against US funds all the time and a very powerful selling point, particularly for entrepreneurs in the south east [of England], is that I’m just a 20-minute drive away. I can be over this afternoon rather than conference calls and slow decision making. That’s a massive, massive difference.”

Technology can help drive value creation.

As we’ve explored in a previous post , technology has a central role in the evolution of entrepreneurial businesses. Deploying IT platforms fosters efficiency, enables faster and more effective decision making, and demonstrates business maturity. And make no mistake: investors consider it a pre-requisite for accelerated growth. That’s why a business management system is an essential part of the tool kit to measure and track your business’s key performance indicators (KPIs).

Prepare with data. Difficult questions are coming.

Speaking of KPIs, it also pays to come to investment meetings armed with data. “Companies are often surprised that people like me really ask difficult questions and want to see the data,” said Vitruvian Partners’ Thomas Studd. By way of example, he’ll expect to see individual transaction data as well as cohort data. “Preparation is extraordinarily important. And it’s not just important to make the investor happy – it’s really important data to help you run the business.” In a previous post we identified the key measures and metrics PE specialists look for in a start-up or scale-up business.

‘Chemistry is more important than money.’

“It’s easy to think that our industry is just about providing money to people,” said Jack Alcock, investment director at Permira, “but ultimately if someone is investing in your business, they become your partner and they are the people who are going to speak to you for the next four, five years. The chemistry is ultimately much more important than the money itself. There’s a huge amount of money floating about. There’s a much more limited number of nice, interesting people you actually want to work with.”

Efficiency matters. But growth is the key word.

Investors will be looking for evidence of a well-run business and an indication that at least one eye is on the bottom line. But ultimately, private equity partners want to invest in a business that demonstrates growth potential. “The nice thing about being in a venture capital/private equity scenario,” said Jack Alcock at Permira, “is we are people who take a five-year view on where the business is going. If that means you have to invest today for revenue that will come in three, four, five years’ time, that’s absolutely fine with us because that’s how we think about things, too.”

Learn more about how NetSuite is helping private equity firms with its Private Equity Services Practice.

Posted on Wed, January 17, 2018
by NetSuite filed under

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Different CRM Integrations to Implement

crm growth pipeline management Different CRM Integrations to Implement

Making sure that you are getting the most out of your purchased software, no matter the kind, is essential for many reasons. Utilizing every aspect of it, may lead you to finding features that can be essential to the growth of your business. With customer relationship management software, there are many benefits to using this software as we have covered in this blog before. However, there may be things that you and your business may not know about CRM, such as the different forms of integration that can be added to your software. In today’s blog post, we will discuss what integration is, the different types of integrations and how they can add to your already beneficial software.

What is CRM Integration?

Rather than just using your current software to store customer information and build customer/business relationships, integration allows for a business to build your website and CRM system together function in a seamless form. Essentially, it is bringing together different, smaller elements to perform as one single system.

Integration #1: QuickBooks Integration

QuickBooks is one of today’s most popular accounting solutions, used by both small and mid-sized businesses. The software allows you to manage bills, send invoices and make payments as well as paying your employees. With this integration, businesses are able to eliminate double data entry as well as viewing customer information and financial data. This can all be done without leaving the application.

This integration helps businesses save time through synchronizing customer and production information, which eliminates entering data twice which can be an incredibly time consuming task. Information that beings in your customer relationship management system can be exported to your QuickBooks application and all information in QuickBooks can also be exported to your customer relationship management software. Using this integration is ideal for ecommerce businesses because it stores all financial information.

Integration #2: Quotient Quote Generator

The Quotient app makes it easier for clients to read business quotes, so they will sign on the dotted line. With the app, you can deliver quotes directly to the inboxes of prospective clients. Once the quote is sent, the app lets you know when your lead has opened the quote, when your next follow up should take place and whether your quote has been accepted or not.

With the help of CRM software, keeping up with clients and quotes is made to be easier and consistently remains up to date with this integration.

Integration #3: Google Drive

Whether it is for personal, every day usage or for business of different industries, Google Drive has become a convenient and reliable tool for many. Drive is popular because it is easy to share, use and collaborate on documents/projects. It is an upgrade from your traditional spreadsheets, which can truly only be shared through servers (if your business uses it) and emailing, which can become tedious especially if work is time sensitive. The gift of Drive is that all of your information is stored in the cloud, which reduces the chance of loses information. Integrating Google Drive with your software allows for all of your important information, which could be about your clients, to be stored in a system without having to use multiple tabs to find what you are looking for. Convenience is important, especially when you’re a busy employee.

These are just some of the different types of integrations that can be placed within your CRM system. Researching information on your consultant/implementer will also allow you to know the different features that can be integrated into your system.

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Demandbase Adds Conversion Solution to ABM Platform

Demandbase on Thursday launched its Conversion Solution, adding artificial intelligence-enabled intent data to its account-based marketing platform, which already incorporates targeting and engagement solutions.

abm Demandbase Adds Conversion Solution to ABM Platform

The Conversion Solution sends sales teams relevant and actionable alerts and insights across multiple channels in real time when one of their accounts is in the news, visiting their company’s website, or demonstrating interest in their products.

It leverages 3 billion monthly visits across the Demandbase customer network, crawls 400 T-bytes of Web pages, and analyzes 50 billion impressions on the platform’s advertising stream.

The Conversion Solution lets users create multiple profiles to better align customers with the products they’re interested in.

“B2B marketing performance is commonly judged on increased sales activity, including leads, pipeline and revenue,” said Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase.

“The Conversion Solution is designed specifically to increase sales activity for ABM programs to increase the ROI in marketing,” he told CRM Buyer.

The Conversion Solution has “an easy-to-use UI, and implementation takes less than a week,” Golec noted. “There is no learning curve, as insights are delivered in the channels sales teams already use.”

Playing Well With Others

The Conversion Solution currently integrates with Salesforce Sales Cloud, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and the Slack productivity tool.

“It’s not surprising that Demandbase has started with Sales Cloud and LinkedIn Navigator, given the market share and potential of Salesforce and Microsoft in sales force automation,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

Integration with other solutions is “in the works,” Demandbase’s Golec said. “Our ABM solutions integrate with all the major marketing clouds, including Adobe, Oracle, SAP and others.”

The partner ecosystem could expand “to include other SFA platforms like the Oracle Sales Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics and the Infor Sales Cloud,” suggested Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Conversion Solution Benefits

“Integrating ABM more closely with sales solves a real challenge for marketers in making qualified leads more actionable for sales people,” Nucleus Research’s Wettemann told CRM Buyer.

Many Demandbase users already integrate the company’s platform “in some way with their broader marketing and SFA technologies,” she said. The Conversion Solution “will accelerate time to value and reduce ongoing integration management costs for those who take advantage of it.”

It “will help with sales productivity by automating account prioritization and enabling sellers to have more meaningful engagements based on the prospect’s areas of interest,” Constellation’s Zhou told CRM Buyer.

“ABM is a key strategy for B2B companies, which would benefit from the Conversion Solution,” she said.

Leveraging AI

The Conversion Solution has an AI layer built in, which “is largely invisible to users, so marketers can focus on the results,” Demandbase’s Golec said.

“2017 was the year AI moved from concept to implementation, with real use cases in sales and marketing,” Zhou said.

“AI is already revolutionizing marketing by helping marketers target the right audience with relevant offers based on their areas of interest,” she noted. Adoption is “still in the early stages, but the productivity gains have been dramatic.”

The Conversion Solution “will help with sales productivity by automating account prioritization and enabling sellers to have more meaningful engagements based on the prospect’s areas of interest,” Zhou added.

AI’s Limitations

Having an AI capability is not a panacea; that capability must be used properly if its potential is to be realized.

Bringing more intelligence into the mix with AI “will accelerate the sales cycle and likely drive greater deal size when used effectively,” Wettemann observed.

“AI is only as good as the data quality feeding those insights,” Zhou pointed out. “This is a caveat for all ABM solutions.”
end enn Demandbase Adds Conversion Solution to ABM Platform


Richard%20Adhikari Demandbase Adds Conversion Solution to ABM PlatformRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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