February 23rd, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

More than 40 percent of marketers incorrectly believe that they have already adopted AI-powered marketing, according to research conducted by Forrester on behalf of Adgorithms, creators of AI marketing platform Albert.

The study also revealed several other trends around marketers’ perceptions of AI-powered marketing. 94 percent said that a tool that provides continuous, autonomous, cross-channel optimization would be appealing to them, while 91 percent said that a tool that allows them to review, analyze, and act upon data in a continuous, real-time manner would be valuable. Moreover, 88 percent expressed an interest in reducing time spent on preparing reports and analysis.

However, marketers expressed reluctance to adopting AI-powered capabilities for a variety of reasons. 48 percent believe that it would be too expensive, 35 percent reported difficulty in finding a vendor that fits their needs, 35 percent cited a lack of knowledge, and 29 percent assumed difficulty in integration with their current processes.

“We believe the results of this study confirm many of the trends we’re witnessing in the marketplace, but we were surprised by the root causes of common marketing challenges,” Amy Inlow, CMO of Albert, said in a statement. “The common denominators driving these challenges were marketers’ willful lack of knowledge about the tools they’re working with and the tools available to them. As a result, they continue to be plagued by technological complexities, unreliable insights, and a lack of control.”

February 16th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

More than 75 percent of respondents from companies utilizing sales enablement tools reported that their sales increased over the past 12 months, according to research from Highspot and Heinz Marketing. Moreover, 40 percent of respondents noted sales growth of more than 25 percent.

“As this year’s report points out, sales enablement is helping reps hit their revenue goals faster,” Robert Wahbe, CEO of Highspot, said in a statement. “It is transforming sales productivity and allowing companies to scale best practices, from training to content management and analytics.”

The study also found that using sales enablement tools can boost sales conversion rates, with 23 percent of respondents reporting conversion rate increases of at least 20 percent. Additionally, 27 percent of respondents from large sales teams saw conversion rate increases of more than 30 percent.

“2017 is the year that sales enablement becomes table stakes for successful B2B companies.  If you aren’t investing in sales enablement to make your marketing AND sales teams more successful, you’re literally leaving money on the table (and putting it directly in your competitor’s pocket),” Matt Heinz, Founder and President of Heinz Marketing, said in a statement.

February 13th, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

Mobile wallet programs see increased customer adoption when they incorporate loyalty programs, finds new research conducted by Ovum on behalf of Amdocs, a provider of customer experience solutions.

The survey, which solicited responses from 1,800 mobile financial service solution (MFS) users and 42 service providers, found that suppliers are not offering some of the convenience shoppers want the most.

While 80% of mobile buyers said that it was important that they are able to manage multiple loyalty cards in a single handheld, digital wallet, less than a third of providers indicated they are able to support the necessary integrations for it. And, though nearly half of those surveyed said they’d like to have the freedom to share their loyalty credits with friends or family members, only 29% of MFS providers felt that was an important option to have in place.

There’s a big opportunity to increase revenue through mobile wallets. The research found that 51% of customers would use an MFS is they were rewarded for doing so. 100% of respondents said that a tiered loyalty program is an incentive for using these services more, and again, only 28% said they didn’t even know if they offered a tiered program.

February 9th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

Nearly 70 percent of smartphone owners in the United States play games on their mobile devices, according to a study from Tapjoy. Nevertheless, marketers have neglected to incorporate mobile games into their strategies due to misconceptions about the people who play them, focusing on channels such as messaging and social media apps instead.

Mobile gamers are a diverse group. According to the report, 63 percent are female and 37 percent are male. When examined by age, consumers 55 or older are the largest segment at 23 percent, with 25- to 34-year-olds and 35- 44-year-olds rounding out the top three age groups at 21 percent and 19 percent respectively. These results indicate that marketers may be able to engage with new demographics by incorporating mobile games into their strategies.

The study also presents a number of conclusions that suggest that consumers may be more open to marketing efforts while playing mobile games. Users favor non-violent, intellectually stimulating games to relax and have fun, and generally feel more positive emotions while playing these games than they do while using social media apps. For these reasons, the report suggests that consumers are “in a better mindset to receive an ad and connect with a brand,” while playing mobile games than they are while using other mobile apps.

February 6th, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

One proven way to get better at selling–or pretty much any activity, for that matter–is to review past performances and learn from recorded successes and failures. With modern technology, sales teams can easily tape their phone calls and play them back for reference, which can be especially convenient for managing purposes. Unless those organizations are dealing with great volume, in which case, it can become too much to handle.

Unfortunately, this is the reality for many organizations, which is why Palo Alto-based startup Gong.io set out to tackle this business problem when it formed in 2015.

“We figured that sales leaders, in a perfect world, would love to be on every single sales call that one of their team members makes,” says Udi Ledergor, Gong’s vice president of marketing. The best way to coach reps, he says, is “to see what’s happening, to hear how the customer responds to the salesperson’s pitch, which competitors are mentioned, what kind of objections are received and how they’re handled by the salesperson. And then, of course, that information could be used to coach that specific sales person on his team, to ramp them up if they’re new, or just improve them if they’re not as good as the top performers.”

Gong’s technology–released last June–acts “as if the sales leader is sitting in on every call,” as it can record conversations, transcribe them, and analyze them for patterns and trends, Ledergor explains. Using the software, a manager can get a granular look at the elements that make up each phone-based interaction with a customer. Rather than requiring a sales coach to manually find the portion during which the speaker discussed prices or specific features, the tool can pick them out and label them by leveraging AI and machine learning. Then, “when the calls are over, [managers] can listen to highlights, because the player allows them to jump to where different topics were mentioned,” Ledergor explains.

According to Ledergor, users can get the gist of an hour-long call in about three minutes, and have reported 20% cuts in new-hire ramp-up time.

A major benefit to sales people is that it can reveal what percentage of each call they have spent listening compared to the amount of time they spend talking. Which is important, because, according to Ledergor, the ideal “pitch-to-listen ratio” is 33% to 67%.

“Ideally, if you talk about half the time your customer is talking to you, you have a much higher likelihood of advancing that sales opportunity,” Ledergor says. “If you’re listening to the client more than you’re talking, you’re going to get more information regarding what they’re looking to do with your product. That alone helps you, in the short amount of time that you are talking, show them the exact benefits related to the features of your product that they’re looking for.”

So far, companies who stand to benefit most from Gong are B2B technology firms who have upwards of 10-15 employees. These organizations, Ledergor says, tend to detect patterns because they have more call data to work with. While Gong won’t be branching out to target other markets anytime soon, it has seen some interest from business and financial services as well.

Gong’s technology integrates with popular web conferencing solutions such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, Join.me, Cisco’s WebEx, and with Salesforce.com’s CRM system. Ledergor says that the company will introduce integrations with other CRM systems, connections to telephony systems such as 8×8, and digital calendar synchronizations.



 
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