August 10th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

Password manager Dashlane recently released its 2017 Password Power Rankings, which present the results of examining the password practices of more than 40 consumer and enterprise websites. The study, which was conducted by Dashlane researchers in July 2017, found that 46 percent of consumer sites and 36 percent of enterprise sites failed to implement the most basic password security requirements.

Companies were ranked on a zero-to-five scale, with zero being the worst and five being the best. Just one consumer site—GoDaddy—received a five-out-of-five score, while popular services such as Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, and Uber all received zero-out-of-five scores. On the enterprise side, Stripe and QuickBooks both had scores of five-out-of-five, and while no companies scored a zero, Amazon Web Services and Freshbooks both received one-out-of-fives.

“We created the Password Power Rankings to make everyone aware that many sites they regularly use do not have policies in place to enforce secure password measures. It’s our job as users to be especially vigilant about our cybersecurity, and that starts with having strong and unique passwords for every account,” Emmanuel Schalit, CEO at Dashlane, said in a statement. “However, companies are responsible for their users, and should guide them toward better password practices.”

August 9th, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

Though much ink has been spilled surrounding the wonders of CRM technologies, sales leaders often still face an often-ignored challenge: getting sales reps to use the tools they’re given. In The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver, author Suzanne M. Paling offers sales managers a set of tips on how to get reps to cooperate when it comes to using CRM software. Last week, I chatted with Paling to learn more about her new book, and how leaders can encourage their reps to share information that will benefit them and their team members.

CRM magazine: So this isn’t your first book, correct? Can you tell me a bit about the first book?

Suzanne M. Paling: My first book came out in 2010, and it’s called The Accidental Sales Manager.  It’s from my work as a sales management consultant. And [in it] I talk about the problems that occur when a company’s president, CEO, or owner–who sometimes has little or no sales experience–gets tasked with managing the sales effort. I offer guidance on how to prepare for, orient, and then successfully manage sales people.

CRM: Why did you decide to release a follow up last year with The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver?

Paling: Every year, I see really strong sales people get promoted to a sales leadership position, receive little or no training and just be expected to do their job. They put in long hours trying to figure out what to do; often they just don’t know how to go about solving some of the most common sales staff problems. And as they progress in their career, especially if they work  for smaller companies, they don’t get any training, they don’t have any type of mentor. They need guidance on handling tricky issues. I always say I hope the book is like a toll free number to call for a sales management hotline. I hope it provides some of that help, assistance, coaching, and mentoring.

CRM: In the book you outline 15 common problems that sales managers encounter. Is there one that you would say is more important that they focus on solving than the others? If so, why?

Paling: I’d say there are a couple of them that people seem to resonate with the most. I would say it’s inconsistent sales reps, selling only to existing customers, social media paralysis, and the unqualified vice president of sales.

CRM: Naturally you caught my attention with chapter 6, which is called “CRM Non-Compliance.” What are some of the most common difficulties you tend to see in this particular area?

Paling: The reps just don’t put notes into the system or use it adequately; they don’t do what they’re asked to do. In the chapter, I talk about what happens when the reps don’t populate the CRM system–especially the notes section–and how it really affects absolutely everyone in the company. And I talk about talking to the rep, explaining why it’s important, and also I talk about getting other people in the company involved in talking to the reps about CRM participation. That it matters to the president; it matters to marketing; it matters to product management, it matters to all kinds of people, and that when you bring someone on board, during orientation, they should talk to the various parties and learn a little about how the CRM system is used by them, and how the information benefits them.

And then I give tips for working with the rep who is just CRM noncompliant. One of the tips that I use in the book is that [CRM] should be made part of a rep’s bonus. They are judged on certain criteria to get their bonus, and take a small section and talk about their CRM compliance and if they don’t use the CRM systems correctly, you might hold some of that money back. And also make sure it’s part of their monthly, quarterly, annual review.

CRM: What are some common mistakes leaders tend to make when trying to address CRM Noncompliance? What steps should they be taking instead?

Paling: One of biggest things they don’t do is make part of the interview process or new hire orientation. They should–during the interview process, long before they’ve hired the rep–they should ask them about their CRM usage, how they feel about it, and I would go so far as to ask the rep–and I talk about this in the chapter–to bring in some examples of notes they’ve left in the CRM system and/or reports that they’re responsible for populating. Have them mark over any private information that shouldn’t be seen by anyone else but someone in the company, and show their work. Talk about CRM usage and make it part of the interview process.

And then, as I said earlier, make it part of new hire orientation as well, and have various people in the company talk about how it helps when the reps look at information in the CRM system; how it helps them do their jobs. But mostly, if the rep is not CRM compliant, call them on it really quickly. Don’t let a lot of time go by.

August 3rd, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

Phone customers convert faster, spend more, and churn less, according to a survey of 213 U.S.-based marketing decision makers conducted by Forrester on behalf of mobile advertising analytics company Marchex.

The study yielded a number of findings that suggest that phone calls—particularly customer-initiated ones—are a powerful tool for marketers. 60 percent of marketers say that customers who initiate a call in the course of the customer journey convert an average of 30 percent faster; 60 percent of marketers say that customers who initiate an inbound call spend an average of 28 percent more; and 54 percent of marketers say that customers who initiate a call have a 28 percent higher retention rate. The study also suggests that ads prompting customers to initiate a phone call have higher engagement.

The study also suggests that marketers prioritize customers who dial into their call centers or directly to their business, and should take advantage of the data that can be tracked from those phone calls. With this in mind, the study identifies three advantages. The first is optimizing marketing campaigns: data from phone calls can assist marketers in understanding how keywords are semantically related and how specific offers drive phone calls. This information should be utilized in existing marketing campaigns to test and optimize advertising programs. The second is understanding the potential of voice search: marketers should familiarize themselves with the questions customers ask over the phone and use those questions to shape content strategy and improve intelligent agents. The third is shaping business strategy: the study suggests that marketers need to be “human, helpful, and handy,” and that they should incorporate those qualities in to their phone interactions with customers.

August 1st, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

The holidays are just beyond the horizon, but it’s never too early for marketers to start planning out their seasonal campaigns. To help businesses prepare for what is undoubtedly a competitive, but lucrative, couple of months, Yes Lifecycle Marketing recently sought to uncover tips for breaking through to customers on one of their most challenging (but important) digital channels–email.

After analyzing the 8 billion messages that companies sent over its Yesmail360i marketing and analytics platform during the last quarter of 2016, the software vendor found that clicks were not everything. Sure, someone might open an email, but if they’re not following through with a purchase, it might not have made its intended impact. 

Yes Lifecycle marketing found that, while holiday-themed emails tend to produce lower open rates than their standard–or “business as usual”– email counterparts, messages that highlighted holiday events generated higher conversions than those that didn’t. And though holiday emails that include specific offers in their subject lines were the most likely to catch a consumer’s attention, those that included a clear incentive (such as free shipping, or a percent off the dollar amount of a purchase) were more likely to get them to open their wallets.

Worth paying attention to, also, is the fact that, though utilized by only 6 percent of companies, messages associated with the sales day identified as “Green Monday,”–the second Monday of December–yielded 50% higher conversion rates than standard emails. Now,  if you’re like me, you might not have even known that Green Monday was a thing. But, considering that last year the day generated a total of $1.62 in sales, it might be a good time to mark it on the calendar.

July 24th, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

Customer service isn’t, has never been, and never will be, an easy profession. Day in and day out, service agents interact with irritated customers who are likely to take out their anger and frustrations on anyone who will listen (or, more likely, read, considering that an increasing number of people now file their complaints via chat, social media, or email).

In an interesting experiment, chat platform provider LivePerson  set out to see just which customers are most likely to swear at service agents. By analyzing the language used in 38 million customer service chats, gathered from more than 500 companies, the vendor uncovered some fascinating facts regarding the regions and industries that are most susceptible to bad words.

According to the findings, men revert to dirty language 16.5 percent more frequently than women do when interacting with support agents. They’re also more likely to use crass words, such as the one that starts with “c”.  Women, on the other hand, tend to use softer, euphemistic words, like “gosh,” “goodness,” and “poop,” for example.

LivePerson also found that customers located in Virginia, Alaska, Iowa, Utah, and New Mexico swore the most, which is surprising to me, as someone who’s lived both in Los Angeles and New York City–cities that don’t have the greatest reputations for service interactions. Those who cursed the least were located in Hawaii, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Louisiana.

Another surprise is that the industries most likely to be confronted with verbal abuse include charities, nonprofits, and hospitality. The most polite customer interactions occur in the pharmaceutical, consulting, banking, energy, and financial services industries.

The rest of the results are available here. LivePerson’s post gets into details I’d rather avoid listing here, because I’d like to keep my job for now.


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