October 6th, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

The world in-car infotainment market is expected to reach $33.8 billion by 2022—exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of 13.3 percent between 2016 and 2022—according to a report by Allied Market Research. As automobiles become equipped with more devices, businesses should be looking to tap into the wealth of customer information these systems can offer.

The proliferation of smartphones has been the most important factor in the growth of the in-car infotainment market, according to the report. Smartphones can serve as a bridge between in-car infotainment systems and the end user, and integration between the two can reduce product cost by leveraging the existing connectivity and capabilities of the mobile device.

Growing demand for in-car infotainment systems is one example of the rise of the Internet of Things. The report indicates that the demand for hardware will account for the larger share of market growth for in-car infotainment, with more than 60 percent revenue share during the forecast period. Additionally, the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing over the forecast period, due to increasing automotive production and sales as well as a rise in disposable income.

October 3rd, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

Sales organizations are being hindered by the technologies that are supposed to be boosting their productivity, finds a report from Accenture Strategy and CSO Insights, a division of MHI Global.

The report, ‘Selling in the Age of Distraction,’ took a look at data CSO Insights gathered in 2016, from 500 sales executives of organizations in various industries, and whose annual revenues exceed $1 billion, to uncover their greatest challenges, as well as what they should do to overcome them.

According to the findings, 59% of respondents indicated they were overwhelmed by the amount of tools and data they had to work with to get their jobs done. More than half (55%) of the organizations felt their sales tools were an “obstacle” to the act of selling, and a “distraction” that is ultimately preventing 56% from meeting annual forecasts.

The goal of sales enablement is to boost revenues, but the data also suggests that the programs are costing companies more money, and leading to minimal payoffs. The report finds that sales productivity has dropped 6% in the past five years, from 41% to 36%. Sales reps are spending less time generating leads and selling, and consequently, 58% of executives are concerned about reaching their annual targets.

To accelerate performances, companies must move towards “outcome selling,” emphasized Jason Angelos, managing director of advanced customer strategy at Accenture Strategy, in a statement. “Pivoting from productivity to ‘outcome selling’–which helps sellers to hone in on the insights and actions that matter most–can help them regain focus and deliver the tailored solutions and experiences customers expect,” Angelos stated.

Accenture outlined three steps to move this process along. The first is to break down departmental barriers, and connect sales professionals to customer insights gleaned from various touch points including call centers, social media sites, and store kiosks.

The firm also recommends embracing predictive insights, and building out an execution model that enables sales pros to leverage intelligent recommendations for catering to customers. This means making investments in data collection and analytics that can provide technology users with sound guidance during their sales processes.

The third guideline to sales leaders is to place the spotlight on top performers, so that lesser performers may learn by example, and ultimately get up to speed to meet their targets. Accenture holds that sales leaders who implement these tips see their sellers perform 10% better than the average peer organizations.

September 30th, 2016 by Leonard Klie

Customers’ emotional states when they call in have a profound impact on call center costs, according to a research report by Mattersight’s Personality Labs and Temkin Group. The analysis also identified a direct connection between the way a customer feels during a contact center conversation and several of the outcomes by which that conversation’s success is measured, including call time, call transfers, and Net Promoter Score (NPS.)

Key findings include:

  • very-angry-emojiAnger and Sadness are NPS killers. These two emotions — unfortunately all too prevalent on service calls — result in the lowest NPS: 19 percent and 18 percent lower than the company average, respectively.


  • Fear is expensive. Calls on which people express fear last longer and drive costs up.


  • Anger doesn’t have to be fatal. In addition to driving the lowest NPS, angry calls are also 40 percent longer and twice as likely to be transferred. However, customers who start out angry on a call often express joy near the end of the conversation, suggesting that training agents to recognize and respond to anger early can rescue calls.

“We named 2016 the Year of Emotion,” said Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, in a statement, “because despite being one of the largest drivers of both customer loyalty and brand promotion, emotions are almost entirely ignored by companies. To remedy this oversight, we’ve dedicated a significant portion of our research to help organizations understand and tap into the power of emotions. It’s great to see Mattersight Personality Labs open up its rich data to help us shine a light on this critical area.”

To draft the report, Temkin and Personality Labs analyzed a data set of 118,116 de-identified contact center conversations culled from 11 enterprises to ascertain the impact of joy, anger, fear, and sadness on specific loyalty metrics.

“In a decade-long analysis of over 1 billion consumer conversations, our data science team has amassed an incredible quantity and depth of unique insight into human behavior and interpersonal relationships and pioneered a groundbreaking analytical process not replicated anywhere else,” said Mattersight vice president Marcel Korst, director of Personality Labs. “Personality Labs is a forum that allows us to share the output of this insight and capability with the wider world of researchers and scholars. We’re thrilled to launch this new endeavor with research as solid and relevant as what Temkin Group has produced, and we look forward to seeing how a deeper, more scientific understanding of personality impacts ever-greater numbers of individuals and organizations.”

September 29th, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

Mobile video ads that are embedded in the app experience, opt-in, and contextually relevant yield higher engagement rates than full-page interstitials, according to a study by mobile ad specialist MediaBrix. The study presented users with ads featuring the same creative, but utilizing two different delivery formats—opt-in ads that were contextualized and reward attention, and standard interstitial ads. The research found that the opt-in ads yielded eight times more mental engagement and more than three times the amount of time spent with the brand—as well as higher brand recall and positive sentiment—than the standard interstitials.

The study yielded several other findings that indicate that opt-in ads perform better than interstitials. Not only did the opt-in ads yield higher engagement rates than the interstitials, but the interstitials produced negative responses for users, including triggering fight-or-flight responses at a rate twice that of the opt-in ads. Furthermore, users exposed to the interstitials spent 22 percent of their viewing time looking for the X button, and just 25 percent watched the full 30-second video, compared to 90 percent of those exposed to the opt-in ads.

“We believe mobile is the most powerful advertising medium of our day, but the industry as a whole lacks research and real innovation to capitalize on it.” Ari Brandt, CEO and co-founder of MediaBrix, said in a statement. “This research allows marketers to understand the opportunities that lie in mobile and the implications of how we approach consumers there. We’re excited to expand upon these findings and analyze more formats in our mission to build meaningful, coveted one-to-one connections between brands and consumers.”

September 26th, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

Bluewolf, a consulting agency now owned by IBM, today released its fifth annual State of Salesforce report, finding that the majority of Salesforce.com users feel there’s more they can get out of their CRM systems.

Though 96% of the survey’s 1,700 global respondents–Salesforce customers from businesses of all sizes–see “innovation potential” in the platform, 77% believe they could be getting better results from their CRM investments.

“To thrive in today’s digital economy, where disruptors come quickly and unexpectedly, businesses must make customer and employee engagement their top priority,” said Eric Berridge, CEO of Bluewolf, in a statement. “This year’s The State of Salesforce Report shows that technology matters less than how you’re using it. Elevating processes with intelligence, intuitive UX, and actionable insights will help companies get closer to their customers and get to their future now.”

Among the highlights of the study are the following:

Intelligent applications are going to be big

According to Bluewolf, there is a strong correlation between how likely a company is to use intelligent applications–applications that leverage data to surface best recommended actions for employees and customers–and how likely they are to succeed.

At the moment, the study finds, many firms are being held back by inadequate integrations, bad data, and outdated processes. However, 63% of respondents will increase their CRM budgets next year, and 65% are investing to make their analytics more actionable.

Employee experience is essential to customer experience

Bluewolf stresses that a key to improving customer experience is improving the user experiences employees are subjected to on a daily basis. That means, for instance, making it easier for sales professionals to do their jobs on their smartphones. Companies whose work forces felt CRM systems were more accessible to them were almost three times more likely to see reductions in cost, and twice as likely to enjoy revenue increases attributable to their CRM systems.

Perfect data isn’t everything

While there is certainly a degree to which data should be cleansed and prepared before being used, Bluewolf finds that nearly half of the companies it surveyed (46%) found the quality of their data to be less than perfect. This suggests that data quality doesn’t have to limit companies, and that they should start to leverage the data they have to see benefits. 



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