Category Archives: CRM

Salesforce Connects With Marketing

A good way to understand what Salesforce articulated at Connections 2018 is to recall the direction it set a few years ago, when CEO Marc Benioff said the company would develop most apps for the small screen first. Translated, that was a concession that handheld devices — phones and tablets — would become the primary devices we’d all use in business. Lots of software vendors took the same position, though arguably few did it as fast.

So far that’s been a good bet, because while this piece is being written on a conventional laptop, it’s highly likely that people will read it on a variety of devices and in a plethora of locations tethered to the Internet through WiFi.

Fast-forward and the device is the primary computing platform, and the next big hurdle to overcome — in the front office at least — is delivering a consistent customer experience across the platforms, including relevant and timely offers and experiences.

Some might have thought the job was done when apps crossed hardware boundaries, but when that happened a new set of expectations from customers — that they could cross boundaries and that their vendors would keep up with them — came into focus. Supply creates its own demand, they say.

Billions of Transactions

It turns out that’s not easy, because along with multiple devices to account for, there’s also the issue of many apps contributing to sussing out just what the customer wants and how to deliver it. The problem is like figuring out the next-best offer, plus understanding who the customer is, and what the customer has done previously with a vendor, and then some.

It’s “real-time personalization at scale for every customer at every vendor site,” Salesforce President Bret Taylor explained in a keynote. In other words, don’t forget this is cloud computing, so the system is using the cloud platform to do all this not just for a single vendor but for all vendors and their customers.

Today, that literally means billions of transactions. In a day, the system processes 2 billion Einstein predictions, sends 15 billion emails, logs 2 million leads, and much more, according to one Connections presentation.

You also could look at it as solving Rubik’s Cube or, more likely, solving simultaneous equations. Essentially this means solving everything at once rather than holding everything constant and solving for one variable at a time the way we do in a classical science experiment.

If you think I am perseverating, think again. This is a measure of where the technology world is today. We’ve done the easy stuff to capture and retrieve data. We’ve figured out how to extract significant information from all of it, too. Now we are trying to attack a pool of data that makes and informs other data in real time.

News From the Stage

That’s why I think Connections 2018 was important. Here are some of the announcements that support my thinking:

  • Commerce Cloud enhancements give B2B customers consumer-like shopping experiences. This is in line with the idea of giving people the same kinds of experiences at work that they have in their personal lives.
  • Marketing Cloud Interaction Studio might be the trickiest thing to get right, and in some ways may be the key to the whole show. Marketing Cloud helps employees to analyze and manage customer experiences with context (who is the customer, what’s unique about the customer, what can we recommend?) across a brand’s owned online and offline channels.
  • Service for Commerce, or adding a service element to a commerce interaction when needed. The demo showed a customer buying shoes and then going back into the event to change the delivery address. It was all mediated by a bot too.
  • Salesforce next month will deliver to beta an integration with Google Analytics 360 that will enable marketers to create audiences in Analytics 360 and then activate those audiences for engagement within Marketing Cloud.
  • Finally, Commerce Journeys will empower marketers and merchandisers to trigger transactional and behavioral journeys based on customer actions, like abandoning a shopping cart, confirming an account or making a purchase.

My Two Bits

Marketing is arguably the last frontier in CRM, because sales and service apps have been well articulated by now. Nonetheless, we should add that the marketing announcements coming out of Chicago this week blur the lines between the stovepipes very nicely. Those lines — and other lines, like those between front and back office and B2B and B2C processes — are evaporating.

Supporting the move is a Swiss Army knife technology stack that delivers analytics and machine learning to business processes that take us well beyond simple next-best offer approaches. Bots have not replaced people yet, but they are being creatively inserted into niches that are too low-volume or too expensive to insert people. The result is a far better customer experience.

A few years ago I wrote a book, Solve for the Customer,” after examining early online apps for self-service and commerce, and finding their processes woefully inadequate, precisely because there was little or no intelligence built into them. Customers were assumed to be able to use those systems because they were “intuitive,” which only meant that they were available on handheld devices, unfortunately.

Customers were so enraged by those systems that some of them took to the Internet to build blogs and sites castigating vendors. Those sites are still out there, and you can find them by searching a vendor’s name and adding the word “sucks.”

Many of those sites haven’t been maintained in years, though, and there’s no better proof for the efficacy of the revolution in commerce and marketing that is effectively and efficiently leveraging data than that.
end enn Salesforce Connects With Marketing

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.


Denis%20Pombriant Salesforce Connects With Marketing
Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, 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.
Email Denis.

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Duplicated Entity Names when Creating Business Process Flows in Dynamics 365

CRM Blog Duplicated Entity Names when Creating Business Process Flows in Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics introduced Business Process Flows (BPFs) in their 2013 version and they have been improving them ever since. They are an easily configurable feature that can seamlessly guide your users through YOUR business processes. Our own CRM Nerd wrote a great blog recently that outlines how awesome BPFs are, especially for end user adoption.

The out-of-box solution is delivered with several BPF that meet a lot of customers’ needs with little or no additional configuration. However, one of the best features of Dynamics is that you can easily add new entities to meet your business needs and create BPFs that use these new entities.

Congrats!  Twins!

If you find the need to do this for your organization, you will quickly realize that Dynamics creates an additional entity with the same Display Name as your custom entity. This is standard functionality and it’s what helps make BPFs so powerful and able to track the time in and between phases, among other things.

Entities with the same display name can cause your end users confusion, for example, when they use Advanced Find, they will see the same entity listed twice. Let’s say that you have a custom entity called “Projects”.  When you turn on and create a BPF for this entity, you will see it listed twice – once as Project and then as Projects.  Which one is your custom entity and which one is the BPF entity?

If you’re familiar with configuring Dynamics, you’ll quickly realize that you are not able to change the Display Name of the entity that was created. When you go into your Default Solution and find the entity in the list, you’ll see that the Display Name field is grayed out. I suspect that Microsoft may change this one day and allow you to edit the display name, but until then, there is an easy way to update this field.

Quick and Easy Fix

This is a supported change as it used Translations to update the Display Name. All you have to do is create a solution and add the entity that was created from the BPF. You don’t need to add any assets or add required components. Once you have the entity in your solution, use the option to Export Translations. This will export a zip file.

Upzip the exported file and open the file called CrmTranslation.xml. You can open and easily edit this file using Excel without having any xml knowledge. Once you open the file, you’ll see a tab called “Localized Labels”. In the Object Column Name column, towards the top of the list, you will see LocalizedCollectionName and LocalizedName. To the right of these fields, in the 1033 column, you will see the current Display Name. Change both of these to the Display Name that you would like. Just to note, 1033 represents the code used for the English language. If you’re default language is not English or if you use multiple languages you may have a different column heading or even multiple columns. You will have to update all of the columns accordingly.

Once you make the change, save the Excel xml file. Rezip the two files that were exported. Go back to your Solutions and use the option to Import Translations. It is recommended that you use Publish All Customizations after importing your translations. If you are not able to do this, you should be able to adopt the change by simply publishing just the entity.

Once the translations are imported and you’ve published, refresh your solution and view the entity to make sure that the Display Name changed. You may have to use Ctrl+F5 to refresh if you do not see the change. You can also open an Advanced Find window and look at the Entity drop-down list to confirm the entity name change.

Bonus Side Note

When you exported the Translations, you may have noticed that it included all of the entity components such as the views. If you’ve ever changed the name of a system entity, such as Cases, then you’ll appreciate the process to change the names of all of the system views. You can easily do that through Translations as well.

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing and Unified Communication Solutions.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Companies Team to Give Hard-Pressed Sales Reps a Boost

Mobile sales and business-to-business e-commerce platform
Handshake has teamed up with
Square to provide easy B2B ordering and payments via an app that enables a seamless workflow between the two companies’ products.

The app, which is available now on the Square App Marketplace, offers the following capabilities:

  • B2B sellers can accept all major credit cards and see their money deposited in their bank accounts in one to two business days;
  • Businesses can capture sales rep and customer orders electronically; and
  • Manufacturers and distributors can customize each customer’s e-commerce checkout experience to require payments by credit cards only, to pre-authorize and capture funds later, or to capture funds from the customer immediately.

“The opportunity here for B2B manufacturers and distributors is delivering greater speed in the sales process,” said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Many manufacturers and distributors participate in trade events, and the ability to conduct sales immediately through Square increases their order-to-cash velocity,” she told CRM Buyer.

The app provides sales reps with access to real-time data about their customers; accurate product, pricing and inventory information; and order histories.

“It will be important for sales teams to make sure that they have relevant and effective content to share with customers and prospects so that buyers are confident in their purchases and so that sales reps can further prove their value,” Avionos President Scott Webb told CRM Buyer.

Areas of Focus

Handshake’s offerings include the following:

  • Handshake Rep, a mobile sales rep productivity and order writing app for manufacturers and distributors;
  • Handshake Direct, a family of B2B e-commerce offerings designed to enable easy ordering for buyers, which has both mobile and Web components; and
  • Handshake Hub, a customer service offering.

Handshake Rep works on iPads and the iPhone. Pricing is US$ 40-$ 80 per user per month, billed annually, for the core and professional versions. Pricing for the enterprise version is not publicly listed on the company’s website.

Square — a financial services and merchant services aggregator and mobile payment company — lets users accept offline debit and credit cards on their iOS or Android devices. It recently has been making aggressive moves, such as launching a restaurant app. It also has acquired a New York state cryptocurrency license, which sent its share prices surging on Monday.

Sales reps can use Handshake Rep with Square to accept credit cards at trade shows and customer appointments.

Smoother Sales Processes

“The integration of Handshake and Square should streamline the payment process and give companies using Handshake another way to accept payments,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“As we continue to see automation cutting into B2B sales, this gives sales an advantage,” she told CRM Buyer, “as they can close credit cards deals in person rather than directing a customer to a site to pay — and potentially cutting themselves out altogether.”

The number of B2B customers purchasing online has grown over the past year, according to the 2018 Avionos Procurement Officer Report.

Being able to make purchases online and the consumerization of retail have changed buyer expectations, diminishing the role of sales reps.

“The consumerization of the buying process is blurring the lines between B2B and B2C,” Constellation’s Zhou observed. “The B2B buyer is the same person that shops online and uses their mobile device to research vendors and solutions.”

Serious Competition

Square faces strong competition in mobile credit card payment acceptance from both established and new companies, including PayPal Here, Intuit GoPayment and Wells Fargo’s PayAnywhere.

Meanwhile, Handshake faces competition in the B2B e-commerce platform field.

“We’re seeing more vendors cut into this space,” Wettemann said, citing Salesforce’s CloudCraze acquisition earlier this year as an example.

The Handshake-Square teamup also will be challenged, Wettemann suggested. “I expect we’ll see more integration partnerships and consolidation in this space.”
end enn Companies Team to Give Hard Pressed Sales Reps a Boost


Richard%20Adhikari Companies Team to Give Hard Pressed Sales Reps a Boost
Richard 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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NetSuite Names New EMEA Lead

GettyImages 951695624 NetSuite Names New EMEA Lead

NetSuite Names New EMEA Lead

Posted by David Turner, Senior Marketing Director, EMEA, Oracle NetSuite

NetSuite is in a unique position. With our continued global growth, new product features and vertical offerings, we are ready to take our presence in EMEA to the next level.

NTozer NetSuite Names New EMEA LeadWith more growth ahead, I am pleased to welcome Nicky Tozer to her new role as Vice President of EMEA, Oracle NetSuite. Starting on 1st July, Nicky will lead the NetSuite business forward in EMEA and will be responsible for driving sales strategy and operations.

Prior to this new role, Nicky led NetSuite’s Northern Europe growth, establishing our presence across Benelux and the Nordics, and led the charge for further expansion in the UK and Ireland. Prior to joining NetSuite in 2012, she spent five years working within the Oracle Applications business in the manufacturing, retail and distribution industries. With over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, Nicky has worked across a number of disciplines in the field of ERP, CRM, EPM and Business Intelligence.

This is an exciting time for NetSuite. We recently expanded native localisations and customer support for EMEA businesses, including those recently announced for Germany and France, and we are excited to continue to help businesses across EMEA grow, scale and adapt to change as we expand into new markets.

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The NetSuite Blog

June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Biz Apps PowerBI 300x225 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Since the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 version 9.0, we have needed to continue using the 8.x OData endpoint rather than the 9.0.

For example, we have been using:
https://ORGNAME.api.crm.dynamics.com/api/data/v8.2

Rather than:
https://ORGNAME.api.crm.dynamics.com/api/data/v9.0/

With the June 2018 Power BI desktop update, this is now possible! An additional benefit is it is also much faster. If you have attempted to use the 9.0 endpoint in the last several months, you most likely received a message such as this:

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef1 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

First, you need to ensure you have the latest desktop update. If you have installed the Windows 10 App, you should be good to go. If you are updating manually each month you will need to download the June update.

Confirm your version by clicking: File > Help >About

If your version shows May 2018 or older, navigate to the Power BI desktop download to get the latest version.

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef2 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

After downloading and installing, confirm you now have the June 2018 version:

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef3 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Next, get your data:

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef4 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Enter your Web API URL: (replace ORGNAME with your actual organization’s name! J)

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef5 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Now then – in terms of the error, the Navigator successfully loads your list of entities!

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef6 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Additionally, the June Updates features list includes OData V4 connector enhancements.

In our testing, we found a nice improvement in refresh time. Our sample data set was not large (six entities and a few thousand records) but enough to measure.

Refresh time:

  • 8.2 Endpoint – 45 secs
  • 9.0 Endpoint – 20 secs

If you have existing reports you can simply edit the query and change to 9.0.

1. Open your *.pbix file

2. Click to ‘Edit Query

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef7 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

3. Click the settings wheel on the ‘Source‘ step of your query(ies) and paste or modify the API URL

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef8 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

4. Close Apply to confirm

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef9 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Now you should be good to go with the 9.0 OData endpoint!

Power BI is a great tool within Microsoft’s suite of business applications. If you’re interested in learning how Power BI can integrate with other powerful Microsoft apps, join us at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit on July 22-24 in Seattle. Register with code HCL100dc to receive $ 100 discount.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing and Power BI’ing

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Biz Apps PowerBI 300x225 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Since the release of Microsoft Dynamics 365 version 9.0, we have needed to continue using the 8.x OData endpoint rather than the 9.0.

For example, we have been using:
https://ORGNAME.api.crm.dynamics.com/api/data/v8.2

Rather than:
https://ORGNAME.api.crm.dynamics.com/api/data/v9.0/

With the June 2018 Power BI desktop update, this is now possible! An additional benefit is it is also much faster. If you have attempted to use the 9.0 endpoint in the last several months, you most likely received a message such as this:

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef1 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

First, you need to ensure you have the latest desktop update. If you have installed the Windows 10 App, you should be good to go. If you are updating manually each month you will need to download the June update.

Confirm your version by clicking: File > Help >About

If your version shows May 2018 or older, navigate to the Power BI desktop download to get the latest version.

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef2 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

After downloading and installing, confirm you now have the June 2018 version:

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef3 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Next, get your data:

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef4 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Enter your Web API URL: (replace ORGNAME with your actual organization’s name! J)

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef5 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Now then – in terms of the error, the Navigator successfully loads your list of entities!

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef6 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Additionally, the June Updates features list includes OData V4 connector enhancements.

In our testing, we found a nice improvement in refresh time. Our sample data set was not large (six entities and a few thousand records) but enough to measure.

Refresh time:

  • 8.2 Endpoint – 45 secs
  • 9.0 Endpoint – 20 secs

If you have existing reports you can simply edit the query and change to 9.0.

1. Open your *.pbix file

2. Click to ‘Edit Query

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef7 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

3. Click the settings wheel on the ‘Source‘ step of your query(ies) and paste or modify the API URL

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef8 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

4. Close Apply to confirm

061918 1634 JuneUpdatef9 June Power BI Desktop Update: Dynamics 365 9.0 OData Endpoint

Now you should be good to go with the 9.0 OData endpoint!

Power BI is a great tool within Microsoft’s suite of business applications. If you’re interested in learning how Power BI can integrate with other powerful Microsoft apps, join us at the Microsoft Business Applications Summit on July 22-24 in Seattle. Register with code HCL100dc to receive $ 100 discount.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing and Power BI’ing

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Why Going Global (with ERP) Doesn’t Need to be Scary

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director

Expanding globally is an imperative for any business with serious ambitions for growth. Yet, the corresponding challenges that come with that growth – from managing new currencies, languages and taxation rules to gaining a comprehensive view of operations – can hold many organizations back.

At the recent SuiteWorld18 event in Las Vegas, three NetSuite customers shared their experiences expanding globally and rolling out a global ERP system that helped them manage operations. The panel session included Mark Hearn, Global Program Director of PageGroup, a professional recruitment specialist with 130 offices in 36 countries; Carlos Arce, IT Specialist with Movile, a Brazilian mobile application and online ticketing company with 10 subsidiaries across four countries in Latin America; and Norman Duce, Executive Manager at Australia-based REA Group, a digital property advertising company with worldwide operations, listing more than 4 million properties per month.

All three shared their experience implementing NetSuite OneWorld globally and what a difference a global ERP system can make.

“Simply just being able to get to the numbers quickly and know that they’re correct should not be underestimated,” Hearn said. “If we don’t take the time now to do the reset it just becomes harder and harder.”

Here’s some of their key takeaways:

Allocate more time than you think you need for change management 

“We put in estimates on what it would take to train and train and train again,” Duce said. “We could have doubled them.”

The NetSuite way may be better

“Changing internal processes to align with NetSuite looks like the hard road, but it’s actually the easy road,” Hearn said.

The Page Group was determined to adapt its methods to NetSuite rather than vice versa and it paid off in easing the implementation and improving some processes.

…but you may have to sell the process

There’s always a natural exercise to say “we’re different, we’re different,” Hearn added. For the Page Group, each country wanted “a faster horse” and not a new way of doing things.

“We talked less about the system and how we were really doing things [to help the business],” Hearn said.

You can still go agile implementing ERP

“We’re a tech company,” said Duce. “Putting in an ERP system in an agile way does work with some traditional touches. We found a blended approach worked very well.”

Don’t try to be perfect

“Perfection is the enemy of good,” Hearn said. “If you insist on perfection you’ll never deliver anything. One of my challenges was to get really good people to just do things well.”

Cloud ERP has helped to reveal some of the change activities, he added.

“When it took years to do the technology, everyone thought it was the technology,” Hearn said. “But when you can roll it out quickly you see the gaps.”

If You’ve Got a Big Project, Go Big

Page Group is deploying one instance of NetSuite OneWorld across 36 countries.

“If I do one a year, I’m going to get fired,” Hearn said. “Big companies have limited patience. It’s like ripping off the band aid.”

So, the Page Group is rolling out NetSuite in chunks.

“It’s easier to roll out multiple companies at the same time, rather than run legacy system,” Hearn said. “For us, five Asia sites will go live on the same day.”

Consider the impact on other systems

“Think about the whole end-to-end journey and the downstream systems,” Duce said. “It was beneficial to think about what we were doing with CRM to account for quote-to-cash.”

Test the government APIs (a lot)

Not all government tax integrations are the same, particularly in Brazil. Across city, state and federal tax rules, each entity can apply a different tax for services, that can mean about 3 million possibilities in taxation, according to Arce.

Move fast in unstable geographies

“In Brazil and Latin America there’s been some economic and political instability,” Arce said. “If you have an exchange rate for local work forces, you need to take that into account. It can vary 5 percent in one day. Last year’s plan is now totally different. If you take too much time your budget will only disappear.”

See the NetSuite OneWorld Data Sheet for more on global ERP.

Posted on Mon, June 18, 2018
by NetSuite filed under

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SAP pivots as the customer turns 2018

bill mcdermott sapphire 2018 SAP pivots as the customer turns 2018

SAP CEO Bill McDermott: “We will not waver or bend until we have taken over the CRM market.”

In the interests of disclosure, I was writing this SAP piece as a brief part of a “Random Thoughts” post that would kind of mirror the format of my upcoming podcast – which will begin with the official launch of my website – the56group.com – in a month or two.

And then it — as “it” often does — spiraled out of control. Or into a long cycle of control, depending on how mad you think I am. (Mad as in crazy, not angry.) So, I split this into two parts. Random thoughts will be coming, but first: SAP’s pivot, with a perspective of what it means to the industry and to SAP as a company — not as a different version of their tech stack.

Here goes:

Industry News: SAP announces pivot to the front office – a formerly brief perspective

Ever since SAP announced their pivoting to CRM at SAPPHIRE a few weeks or so ago, the headlines have been rife with SAP positioning itself against Salesforce; SAP recognizing the value of the CRM market and its continued dynamic growth; and SAP’s determination to dominate the currently $ 40 billion CRM market. Bill McDermott, SAP’s long time CEO, in very dramatic terms is quoted as saying:

“We will not waver or bend until we have taken over the CRM (customer relationship management) market…”

and

“SAP was the last to accept the status quo of CRM and is now the first to change it,” “The legacy CRM systems are all about sales; SAP C/4 HANA is all about the consumer.”

That was then…

All nice, dramatic and warrior like – but performance art isn’t what makes this interesting nor is “we will not waver or bend” suited to anything less than assaulting a beach during World War II, not a software company announcement. Nor are these statements what was very important about what SAP did. But before I get too far into why this was the right move for SAP, let me frame this a little with history and corrections of history.

SAP was not the last to accept the status quo, it was the last of the big four to have a functional CRM suite, which it got when Bob Stutz, Jujhar Singh and company built SAP 2007, a highly competitive CRM suite in its day. That suite was the status quo, which was, at that time, what they (and the market) needed – actually a marginally more advanced version of the status quo. It did what CRM was supposed to do in 2007 – a sales, marketing, and customer service three pillars set of somewhat integrated solutions with a single data store.

What made it a bit more advanced – again for 2007 – was that it had one of the first “Google-like” user interfaces. It was what the world needed then and SAP, to their credit, were able to provide it. It made them at least a player in the CRM market, when prior to that they were an ERP company pretender in the market, providing what was mostly well known to be shelfware. That 2007 edition catapulted them into contention – a company to take seriously. Now, obviously, the stakes are higher and the needs greater. Think ecosystems and platforms.

This current pivot and the announcement associated with it has been three years in the making. It isn’t new. In fact, they made this announcement on September 15, 2015 with somewhat different but not all that different wording. To wit:

New York — September 15, 2015: SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced future integrated digital enterprise technologies that are intended to transform the relationships companies have with their customers.

SAP plans to unleash a powerful portfolio of SAP® hybris® tools that are envisioned to enable in-the-moment customer profiling, digital commerce and community development, empowering an organization’s front office to stay connected with the frequently shifting needs of its customers and prospects and enabling companies to go beyond customer relationship management (CRM) into a new era of digital connectedness, customer service and support.

“Companies can no longer rely on the costly, siloed systems of yesterday to engage with their customers, who are savvy, multidevice digital natives. They want their needs understood and met — right now and every time,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP SE. “Legacy cloud-based CRM technologies create business complexity because their foundations predate the rise of social media and mobility. Companies today need innovative, integrated solutions that simplify the front office, making them easy to do business with and fostering greater customer engagement.”

In today’s digital world, businesses need to connect the front office and back office in real time — linking people, inventory, supply chain, pricing and customers together. This means that the new front office must go beyond the traditional marketing, sales and service automation functions and include integrated, real-time personalization, Web and mobile commerce, social customer service and more. Planned tools from SAP are envisioned to simplify the front office, helping businesses get a single, contextual view of their customers while giving each customer a consistent, personalized experience across all channels.”

Nothing really came of this, in part because it was made during Dreamforce and nobody read it; in part because the SAP Hybris group was transitioning into the company still at that point and there wasn’t a cohesive product suite that was ready to go to market to make this happen and in part because they were attempting to make ecommerce a fourth pillar of CRM — which it wasn’t and isn’t.

To be crystal clear: CRM is the operational core of a customer engaged business; ecommerce is the transactional core of that same customer engaged business. All in all, they weren’t quite ready to make the announcement that they did make – and made it again in a three-years-more-contemporary form this year – but they are ready now.

This is now….

I wasn’t at SAPPHIRE this year, I will be at Barcelona if they are willing to invite me. (I would have come but I was at PegaWorld with two speaking engagements.) However, I have digested enough of what was presented thanks to SAP’s good-hearted and highly capable analyst relations staff, to give you a brief first take on what I do think.

First, please, understand, I have been and continue to be a fan of SAP. They have been a company I have covered and one that I have been an engaged adviser to for more than a decade. I admire many of their senior staff, their innovation (you should see what’s coming out of the Palo Alto Labs – and I can say that anytime and be completely blown away by the innovation I see). I admire their thinking about community and their actual community in practice- SCN – one of the world’s largest and best run tech communities. I love their willingness (and their success) in co-creating with their customers. I admire their acquisitions. I think their M&A strategy over the years – at least when it comes to their major acquisitions has been minimally on point and borderline brilliant. I think it isn’t a coincidence they are one of the world’s most successful companies at least in the back office.

If you saw their interactions with their customers on a regular basis, which I do, you’d be surprised and, given their public image, amazed. They are among the most continually underestimated companies in the world – and, while I won’t cover it in this post except indirectly – there is a reason for that – and its on them.

Pivot = Pirouette?

When SAP announced this move, within literally minutes there were headlines about “analysts sour on SAP announcement.” One tweet, from MGI Research, a company I never heard of and know nothing about, had that comment and linked it to an article in Reuters quoting Gartner analyst, Ed Thompson, one of the best in the world. There wasn’t a single word in the article that was indicative of analysts souring. Here’s a screencap of the tweet. Then read the article.

 SAP pivots as the customer turns 2018

In fact, if you look at the analyst community, it’s somewhat split on the move – though leans to positive with concerns.

Here are some who lean favorable but not wholly that.

  1. John Bruno, Senior Analyst, Forrester
  2. Vinnie Mirchandani, dealarchitect
  3. Phil Wainwright, Diginomica

One or two lean negative but not wholly that:

  1. Esteban Kolsky (but this is a fair article, because it has what he likes too.)

Finally, one or two are mixed:

  1. Denis Pombriant

Headlines like MGI Research’s tweet are misleading and are showing animosity from the headline provider not those quoted in the post. Not sure what their beef is, but I didn’t like what they wrote. Our job as analysts isn’t to twist reality. Our job isn’t to “show the vendors their baby is ugly.” Our job is to say “if you raise baby’s right face cheek up this much and lower the left one this much, they will be more beautiful.” Point out the flaws when necessary and the strengths for two reasons – one so that those we should be serving, the public, have a clear picture of what they are looking at and possibly for. And two, so that we help the companies be better – if our opinion means anything to anyone at all that is.

The venom that gets spit at vendors from some of the folks in my world is ridiculous. It often seems more personal (e.g. they won’t talk to me so therefore…). Companies, especially large enterprises like SAP, are complex and complicated. There isn’t all good or all bad about any of them. SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft etc. all have strengths and weaknesses and while they compete and thus have a lot in common – if they didn’t they wouldn’t be in competition – each of them carries enough differences – ranging from their tech stack, to their culture, to their partners, to their customer success programs etc. to their R&D investments, to their relationship as a trusted advisor, ad infinitum, to give potential customers a choice in deciding what they want.

If I might pontificate for a moment, as analysts we have a responsibility not only to report but to opine — and to do that fairly with an understanding that none of these companies fall into the black or white part of the universe. What works, what doesn’t work, what might the company do to fix what doesn’t — and doing that without rancor but with regard for those who read what we write and listen to what we say is what analysts who are being fair should be doing. Its fine to be critical, just not fine to be venomous and misleading and let some personal slight be the determinant of the attitude one takes to the company.

Where I stand…

Let me be firm on where I come in here. I am squarely in the camp that this was the right move for SAP and — all drama aside — is what can propel SAP forward provided they are willing to address the market directly rather than address it through the lens of Salesforce – and providing they can produce what they need to make this the real deal.

This is the time to do it. It’s not just a matter of taking advantage of the opportunity available in the now largest business software segment – CRM – which Gartner said hit $ 40 billion in 2017 (and will hit $ 66 billion by 2021). It is also because, to effect digital transformation which as Esteban Kolsky so often rightly points out isn’t really “digital” transformation but business transformation – companies need to become more customer engaged than they currently are. The technology needed is the technology that operationalizes the customer facing efforts that the company has to make. That allows the company to design the strategies and implement the programs that both create and sustain the customer’s commitments to that company. But to be that, one way or the other, involves the entirety of a company, not just the technology, not just the design and execution of the strategy and programs, not just the culture, not just the actual interactions between the company and the customer – but ALL OF IT.

As a technology company, what SAP brings to the table, is that they offer enterprises, and even much of the mid-market an end-to-end technology matrix and are, for the most part – though with a major flaw (PRIMITIVE PLATFORM) (more later) – organized to provide it that way. Arguably, Oracle has that too, but their current way of organizing their technology offerings doesn’t support the idea of an end to end matrix or ecosystem. This can be a market advantage for SAP but there is a lot to do to make this happen.

So, let me start with what I like about the SAP move – and then what I don’t or am concerned about.

The name of the game is I like it like that…

  1. I like the pivot of the company itself. This is an area that SAP has been preparing to focus on for three years – and, especially given my worldview when it comes to CRM, customer engagement, and customer experience – can be an area that they potentially can excel in. The commitment to the customer facing market is genuine and the resources are going to be made available throughout the company to make sure that what has to be done is done. I have no doubt about that commitment.
  2. I like their global positioning around the Intelligent Enterprise – a lot. Its one that they can arguably make the case for – and can be a true differentiator for them – and that they can show to be more than marketing hype by their offerings in the front office, the back office and the supply chain including their very advanced customer-facing work in digital supply chain (done by the amazing Hala Zeine). This is SO much better than the rightfully maligned “SAP Runs Simple” messaging of the last few years since it decidedly does not. Intelligent Enterprise is one that while they are not uniquely suited for – Infor can make the claim, Oracle, stretching it could, but regardless, for SAP, it just works.
  3. I like Alex Atzberger as the leader of SAP Customer Experience Cloud (more later on the name itself). He is universally well regarded, likeable, intelligent and respected throughout SAP and for those who know him outside of SAP, all that outside of SAP, too. His story, which I won’t repeat here, is well worth hearing. A great choice to run the this now most important effort at SAP. He is also making himself readily available which is something that was NOT at all an SAP Hybris leadership hallmark. He is a fast learner. Big thumbs up here.
  4. I like that SAP Hybris is no longer SAP Hybris and that Hybris itself is now the Commerce Cloud. Absorbing the Hybris brand into SAP, regardless of all the very positive changes due to Hybris’ impact (there were many) is the right move. It’s been overdue. SAP acquired Hybris, not the other way around.
  5. The SAP acquisition strategy led to two of the best acquisitions I’ve seen in many years – Gigya and Callidus Cloud. Both of these companies — which I had much more than a passing acquaintance with — were brilliant acquisitions. Gigya, the leader in customer identity management, not only provides SAP with 1.2 billion verified customer identities (almost 17% of the planet, people), but SAP has already used it to generate three GPDR-compliant products with proactive GDPR-readiness tools, SAP Identity, SAP Consent, SAP Profile. Callidus Cloud, a company that I advised for four years right up to the acquisition, provides SAP with the sales (and some marketing) enhancements for SAP’s more traditionally focused Sales and Marketing capabilities. For example, the Callidus Cloud sales onboarding application, built on the Callidus Cloud Litmos Learning Management System (LMS) is arguably the best I’ve ever seen and, from what I understand, not only will be sold by the SAP Customer Experience Cloud teams, but will become SAP’s internal sales onboarding system. Callidus Cloud is a perfect fit for SAP (or honestly, would have been for literally all the major vendors) and their unique blend of services and solutions will go a long way to differentiating C/4 HANA from the pack. Its arguably the linchpin for SAP’s customer experience cloud offerings.
  6. SAP placing a bet on microservices is something I like – a lot. They have a microservices platform YaaS. While I can’t tell you how great it is or how bad it since I haven’t seen it in any depth other than a few demos, I can tell you that SAP has a strong commitment to making it a core piece of their current customer-facing thrust. I am a firm believer that microservices are one of the pillars of the future when it comes to engaging customers and when it comes to crafting customer experiences. I think Esteban Kolsky, in a white paper he wrote, sponsored by SAP Hybris in 2017, lays out the case really well. Here is an excerpt: “Microservices will dramatically redefine the future of customer interactions, evolving service from large, complex applications to multiple independent function. Enter microservices: the Swiss army knife of the cloud computing age. This cloud-plus-apps approach lets you rewrite the rules by letting customers create the experience they need, in a time and place that works for them.” I couldn’t say it any more clearly. An example of its great success is WeChat, the ubiquitous-in-China mobile platform. Their “appstore” is actually a microservices store where there are millions of “apps” that actually allow you to craft a series of services such as making airline, hotel, or whatever reservations, transferring money, etc. that can be done via shortcode and mobile messaging. SAP’s commitment is notable and important, and provided that YaaS is a) a true platform, and b) more than a series of demos, can give them a market leading position.
  7. I like that they have revamped the offering and kind of categorized it into industry standard names e.g. Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and Commerce Cloud. I can’t say I like the rebranding of Gigya around the Customer Data Cloud. Customer data sits “horizontally” in an offering, Clouds are solutions or applications i.e. vertical. Nothing horizontal is a cloud. This isn’t just endemic to SAP – all their competitors do the same thing. A layer is named a cloud. Not wise. That said, the other four – might as well make them Sales, Service, Marketing, and Commerce Clouds. There are usually two options – a highly creative name that reflects what the products or platform layers do (e.g. PROS Monet, Salesforce Einstein), or, if not that, then the name that can be googled and you will come out in the search (as will your competitors). So the four clouds that SAP Customer Experience provides – are the same exact names as everyone else’s and that’s just fine. That puts them in the mix when research for a solution is going on.

What I don’t like….

  1. Positioning their move as one to “take over” the CRM market from Salesforce is unwise and not only one that they won’t win but one that doesn’t do them, their customers, future customers or anyone else any good because it has no value in highlighting what SAP has to offer. It only does what does what all the other players in the industry do, which is to position Salesforce as the alpha – which helps Salesforce, not SAP (or Oracle, or Microsoft or any competitor of Salesforce for that matter.) They would be much wiser to work with their strengths.
  2. Calling their overall CRM related or what they call their customer experience suite C/4 HANA First, it’s time to stop putting in HANA as part of an overarching product name. HANA, which for those of you who don’t know is SAP’s in memory data processing and management engine. It’s a vital part of what they do but by putting it in the name of their back-office suite S/4 HANA and now their “front office” suite, C/4 HANA they limit their world view and they make it seem that the suite itself is limited to working with HANA. I know they are in part trying to stop encroachment on their customer base by Salesforce et al but this name doesn’t help them stop it. C/4HANA is a very poor name because:
    1. It is limiting with its inclusion of HANA in the name and implies no way to integrate with something outside SAP which in this day and age is deadly.
    2. It is a colorless name and tells you very little except that you probably can assume that C means customer. Big deal.
    3. Apparently the “4” means 4th generation of CRM, not “for” though of course, in the infinite cleverness of vendor naming conventions it means that too since I imagine in S/4HANA, the 4 isn’t for the 4th generation of “S” – whatever that is. Just doesn’t work for me.
    4. I have no idea what the 4th generation of CRM is. I read a piece on it by SAP and still have no idea. That name means they’d better be ready to explain that – now.
    5. C4 is a plastic explosive. Not something you want to be associated with – ever.
  3. Talking about how we are undergoing a customer revolution as if this is a new revelation. It is not, it is over 10 years old and it is a fact of life at this point. Transformation of the customer’s needs, wants, demands, and control occurred due to the communications revolution that began more than 15 years ago. It is continuous as the technology evolves, the customers mature and the world changes, but its not a new revelation, it’s something that we all have been not just writing about but have been living for the last decade plus. Calling this customer revolution something new is like saying that mobile is a “trend.” They are how we live.
  4. This is a company that can provide end-to-end (and back to front) technology. While on the front end I’ve seen them rename their offerings, I haven’t seen any indication of how they intend to knit the offering into a unified matrix that provides enterprise customers – theirs or otherwise – with the ecosystem they require from SAP. Meaning they haven’t proven to me or anyone that their products can do what they are claiming they can. Because they aren’t showing the products, just the messages. They need to move on this fast. Or their efforts will come to bupkis (literally beans in Yiddish. Colloquially meaning “nothing of value”).

What I’d like to see more of or more about

  1. Moving from SAP Hybris to SAP Customer Experience is something that requires a lot more than just a name change. As I outlined in part one of my post on Adobe a few weeks ago, customer experience means a lot of things to a lot of people and a lot of things to just me too. Here are some of the differences in the use of customer experience where I distinguish between the overarching (my favorite word these days) customer experience, consumable experiences and brand experience – all of which are used in the service of customer experience by a lot more than just me. I need to see how SAP is thinking about this. They have gone from SAP CRM to SAP Customer Engagement to SAP Hybris Customer Engagement and Commerce to now, SAP Customer Experience. I thought when SAP went to Customer Engagement (not CEC) that they had nailed the market and aligned with it where it was as CRM morphed from its purer form to the operational core of a larger engagement protoplasm. I’m not as thrilled as I was then but I’m willing to listen. But SAP has to explain it. (More below on this too)
  2. SAP is without a doubt a master of vertical markets. I’ve seen their industry process maps and their templates and their knowledgebase by industry and they are by far the best of any vendor’s I’ve seen. By far. They are dominant in the back office of many markets for many years, oil and gas being one of the paradigmatic examples of a 30 year (give or take) cycle of dominant market position. But they have given little indication of their vertical strategy re: the pivot. The implications of going at verticals in the front office are gigantic (I don’t use huge anymore. Guess why). First, Oracle CX is well positioned in many verticals, including public sector – a big SAP focus. Second, Salesforce partners are taking up the cudgel for that and you have companies like Veeva and Vlocity moving fast and doing a great job in encroaching on vertical territories. Microsoft has an enormous reach in verticals ranging from sports (though it is declining there) to healthcare and government also – even construction. But SAP still has the trust of many of those specific markets, so they have a leg up on a lot of the vendors. But I wouldn’t waste any time developing a vertical strategy and specific vertical market targets if I were SAP. So far, there is no indication they have done that.
  3. Ecosystems and Platforms are the future and the present. All of SAP’s competitors have been moving in this direction. Oracle still has a way to go in both ecosystems planning and platform development – or at least the public announcement of that. Microsoft, with the release of PowerApps has the tool that all the other companies should envy and that with Azure et al cements them as a possible leader in platforms if they are smart enough to follow through. As far as ecosystems go, Microsoft’s partnership with Adobe is an indication of their understanding of ecosystems as a strategic GTM (go to market) effort, not a partner-in-a-marketplace tactical effort.t Salesforce has been focused on building the Customer Success Platform and its previous incarnations since 2002 and is learning quickly how to harness their organic ecosystem – the largest one I’ve ever seen in a business – strategically, rather than let is roil, roll and dissipate into slots in the AppExchange. So SAP needs to get on the ball now with that. SAP has always imperfectly but still better than most, understood ecosystems. While they seem to have the pieces for a platform (YaaS etc) I don’t see any indication that they are thinking that directly about it. If I were them, I’d publicize the platform and I’d run through an ecosystem building exercise to see what the end to end intelligent enterprise actually requires. But that’s just me.
  4. Thought leadership is going to need a revamp. That said, I want to be clear that its not due to deficiencies in that area either in the back office or the front office. In the front office, their thought leadership site The Future of Customer Engagement & Commerce, aside from a ponderous name that I presume will be rebranded anyway, was the best in the industry. But they are pivoting the entire company around the Intelligent Enterprise and Customer Experience and that has decidedly NOT been their thought leadership focus for the last several years so they are going to have to build a substantial refresh of the content. Both internally and with the support of external specialists. There isn’t much there to support their new initiative. Plus, even though The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce is clearly the site focused on the customer-facing efforts of the company, it can’t ignore the Intelligent Enterprise in all its thinking. Now that the company has decided to go after the emotional market that CRM and CX and CE represent, they are going to have to change a lot of things about the way they do their business – thought leadership, again, respecting the quality of their past material, needs a serious upgrade.
  5. Follow through is the last one and the one that I’m most concerned about. I don’t doubt the seriousness of SAP’s commitment to take on this new direction. But, I’ve been waiting to see this more than three years now. Its now been announced. Been announced though isn’t the same as execution or transformation. The company has a lot of changing to do and actions to take which I am hopeful they will.

Sooooo…..

Let me kind of sum this up. Honestly, I could have written a lot more about the company, having been their adviser for more than a decade and having covered them even longer than that – and having been someone, who both marvels at their innovation and scope and marvels at their historic inability to tell that story.

At the highest level, I like this move by SAP – its one I thought was long overdue. But I’m not complaining. They made the move and for that they should be applauded. I think that this benefits them, the industry, the market, and their current and future customers – if they actually stay consistent and execute well against their pronouncement. However, I am concerned for all the reasons stated above, but optimistic because of the positives that are already there and their new leadership. Its good to see this happen. I’ve been in the CRM industry for the last 25 years or so and have a pretty damned good knowledge of what it was, is, and will be – and what customer engagement and experience were, are, and will be. SAP is hitting many of the right buttons, because a. they are market aware and b. they smell the money when it comes to the CRM market. And I say, good for them. I hope it works but I am waiting to see and they still have a lot to do. But I am hopeful they can and all will benefit if they do.

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Want CRM Success? Serve the Servants First!

want crm success serve the servants first 625x352 Want CRM Success? Serve the Servants First!

Imagine this:

You’re the owner or manager of a small business. You’re facing mounting competitive pressures and shrinking margins. Differentiation has become harder and harder because your competitors are one click away on the Internet.

You need to create consistent, high-quality experiences to keep prospects and customers coming back for more.

What do you do?

You’re in luck! CRM was built for exactly this need, and many CRM vendors make it really easy to sign up.

So just give them your credit card and let the good times roll, right?

Not so fast!

CRM success is never guaranteed. The harsh reality is that most CRM projects are doomed to failure.

What does “failure” mean? It means money and time spent implementing software (or a “web application,” if you prefer) that falls into disuse six to eighteen months after implementation. It means using email and spreadsheets and accounting software to track sales sub-optimally. It means eliminating any chance at a decent understanding of how your business is doing. It means leaving you exposed to missed opportunities.

It means stranding you and your team back where you started.

In many ways, the biggest cost of a failed CRM rollout is the lost time—the six to eighteen months that you will never get back.

Time your competition used to build and advance. Time you could have used to accelerate your business…if only you had properly adopted CRM.

I’ve helped hundreds of small businesses successfully adopt CRM over the last (yikes!) twenty years, and I’ve learned a few tricks to CRM success the hard way. One of the most fundamental of these is a simple philosophy that we preach: managers buy, but salespeople use.

Yes, it’s a bit simplistic. Of course managers will be using CRM as well as salespeople. In fact, they had better be using CRM if you want your implementation to be successful!

But the truth is, if your focus is on reaching management goals—typically things like better visibility and tracking, greater efficiency and effectiveness, higher customer retention, and the like—you will spin your wheels and get nowhere very quickly.

As much as we all like to think everyone is in it for the good of the company, it just isn’t so. Telling people to use the CRM to meet management goals is a recipe for failure.

But all is not lost! Management goals are a byproduct of good management. Good management involves a ton of different elements, but in the context of successful CRM implementations, it means you need to make life easier for your people on the front lines.

These days, salespeople and customer service representatives are being asked to do more and more with their days. They juggle more prospects and accounts, learn new sales skills for the Internet-era, provide better follow-ups and touchpoints, and much, much more.

Your focus with CRM should be to make life easier for your team.

Do that, and all of a sudden, the CRM isn’t an enemy for your team to struggle with. It’s not a tool for Big Brother to watch over their shoulders,

Nope! It’s a friend that makes their lives better. It’s there to help serve prospects and customers. It’s there to help manage follow ups. It’s there to remind your team of the hundreds of things they need to do to be successful salespeople and customer service reps.

Bottom line: a well-implemented CRM puts more commission in your salespeople’s pockets.

Done right, CRM acts like an invisible personal assistant that helps your team deliver that consistent, high-quality experience that keeps prospects and customers coming back for more.

And if you can do that, you will meet your management goals as a natural result of good CRM usage.

By Peter Wolf
President, QuantaCRM

Follow me on Twitter @CRMWolf

About QuantaCRM

QuantaCRM is a Microsoft Gold partner out of Chicago, IL with nearly two decades of experience helping small and medium-sized businesses implement and succeed with CRM.

Our OnTrack CRM Success System enables CRM success from implementation to adoption and beyond, and our ever-expanding suite of Dynamics 365 add-ons and solutions ensures you get the most from your CRM.

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You Connected Your CRM and Your Marketing Automation Platform…Now What?

Congratulations! You’ve successfully joined the ranks of marketers who have an integrated CRM and marketing automation platform. Things are going to be awesome—just as soon as you figure out what you’re supposed to do now…

If you’re in that boat, you’re not alone. In fact, the number one challenge for B2B marketing automation users is understanding the data integration between their systems—more than half consider this to be a major challenge, and creating a successful strategy for marketing automation isn’t that far behind.

As marketers, we’re up against the challenges of data entry, understanding integration points, and defining sales triggers. Often we don’t know what to ask for on the CRM side to execute the campaigns we want to build on the marketing automation side, which makes understanding how to architect our integrations hard and implementing strategy even harder.

A Successful Integration Starts with a Plan

To make the most of your integration, start by thinking about your overall marketing goals (engage cold leads, cross-sell to existing customers, get a notification when a nurtured lead is ready for a sales call), followed by individual campaigns you’ll need to support those goals (nurture campaign for leads gone cold in the last 90 days, people who bought this also liked X), followed finally by how you’re going to gather and organize the information you need to run those campaigns (your CRM).

Let’s start with goals and work backwards. There are some marketing automation tasks that CRMs are perfect for supporting, like:

  • Lead Nurture
  • Re-engagement of Cold Leads
  • Creating Custom Audiences for Remarketing Campaigns
  • Cross-sell and Upsell Campaigns
  • Customer Retention
  • Review Strategies

Once you know what goals you want to achieve (e.g., run a lead nurture campaign or create a review campaign for existing customers), you can set up a path for the data you need to gather, like so:

Let’s look at a few goals and sample campaigns you can build based on this model.

Preparing to Nurture Your CRM Leads

There are two types of lead nurturing you should be thinking about with your integration: what’s in your CRM, and what’s in your marketing automation platform. To nurture what’s already in your CRM (say, existing Leads that aren’t in the act of being converted), think about what you want to target and a build a Marketing List based on a specific Field or action. Avoid broad generalizations, like “All Open Leads,” and look for specifics you can build a personalized campaign around. You might want to target a field that captures what the Lead is interested in, completed phone calls, timestamps, or custom fields. Consider, too, if you want to run this campaign one time or have it running dynamically.

Once your Marketing List is built, create a campaign in your marketing automation platform with a strong call to action that’s directly related to the field you targeted in CRM. For example, if you targeted Leads gone cold 90 days prior, you could create an offer that entices those Leads to re-engage. If you’re dealing with timestamps, you could add new Leads into a Learn More nurture. Once your campaign is ready, use your integration to map that list to your marketing automation platform.

Preparing to Nurture Your Marketing Automation Platform Leads (Early Funnel)

These are your inbound leads, which may or may not be ready to enter in your CRM. Ideally, you should have control over what inbound leads get entered into as CRM Leads. For example, someone who is downloading content is not at the same place in the sales funnel as someone who has filled out the contact us form. Let’s focus on early funnel leads—people who have converted in your marketing automation platform but who have not filled out a form that asks you to contact them.

These early funnel leads are prime for nurturing. Use messaging on your landing pages that tells your would-be downloaders you won’t call them right away, as that will help you get more conversions. Next, build an automated email campaign with helpful information related to what they downloaded—say, a follow up download that adds context to what they have, a link to reviews, a case study in their industry, etc. When they contact you, tag their CRM source campaign back to your original download campaign—this helps you prove the value of inbound.

Don’t forget to use Lead Scoring on the marketing automation side to autopopulate a list of sales-ready nurture leads in your CRM!

Re-engage Cold Lists

As much as a quarter of your email list goes cold each year, either through job turnover or role change. But you won’t know who’s still interested and who has moved on if you don’t ask. To make this work, build a Marketing List around last activity date, modified on, opportunity close date (as lost), or created on date. Then create compelling content, like a how-to guide or an event invitation, and using your integration, send a series of emails to that list.

A few tips: put a query in place on your marketing automation side that takes out people who have engaged at each step along the way, and let them know what value you will provide to them if they subscribe to your emails in the future. Remember, this is what value you are providing to them—not what value they are providing to you!

Don’t Forget About Your Contacts

Marketing has a role to play in customer retention, and your integration can be a huge help here. In CRM, create triggered Marketing Lists targeted at Contacts based on a cross-sell, upsell, or post-sale campaign objective. You might want to create a List around Opportunity = Closed as Won, or a Contract Renewal Date, or a satisfaction score from customer service.

Using this Marketing List and your integration, you can automate campaigns around “You might also like…” suggestion emails, product use cases for recent buyers, ready to renew contract reminders, or review us campaigns for happy customers.

Regardless of where you are in the process of understanding and strategizing your marketing automation platform and CRM integration, the key to success is planning. Before you ever build a campaign, know what data you want to collect, why you want to collect it, how you plan to use it, and perhaps most importantly, where you’re going to get it. Having an effective strategy for using a marketing automation platform is often the biggest barrier to success, and knowing what you hope to achieve from the outset can help you be successful quicker.

Natalie Jackson is the marketing director for the emfluence Marketing Platform–learn more about her here.

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