5 Business Factors That Can Make or Break CRM - E-Commerce Times 5 Business Factors That Can Make or Break CRM - E-Commerce Times

Monday, May 28, 2012

5 Business Factors That Can Make or Break CRM - E-Commerce Times

5 Business Factors That Can Make or Break CRM - E-Commerce Times

This story was originally published on Feb. 23, 2012, and is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT News series.

I have a lot of fun writing about CRM -- the ideas, the tools and how they're brought together as a coherent strategy Get Whitepaper: Simple Strategies for Enhancing eCommerce Profitability. CRM is a foundation on which to build relationships, layer on additional sales Learn how 3D interactive characters fundamentally change the way users interact with a site. and support tools, and create a customer-centric business.

But this foundation needs a foundation. After all, businesses thrived even before CRM technology Discover Proven Strategies to Improve the Security of Your Products. Free Whitepaper. was invented, and they flourished long before the acronym was coined. While we in the CRM space like to say that you need a solid CRM foundation in place before you can grow to the next level (which, these days, is most often defined as social CRM), we tend to forget that CRM itself needs to rest on a solid foundation.

What is that foundation built on? A bunch of things that are, in general, never considered when we talk about CRM, but which can heavily influence CRM's effectiveness for good and for ill, based on how well the business executes on them.

There are many foundational things that every business should strive to master even before they have a CRM application in place, but here are five that serve as underpinnings for successful businesses, and thus as underpinnings of successful CRM efforts.

Services and Products

Businesses exist to create customers, wrote Peter Drucker, but customers exist because they have needs. The bottom-line question for your customers is this: Do the things I buy from this business satisfy my needs?

The real issues here are quality and value. If your products are faulty or second-rate compared to the competitors, or if they're priced wrong, it doesn't matter what kind of CRM magic you work -- your sales funnel will be more like a conveyor belt, with prospects proceeding down the pipeline to customers and then, rapidly, to ex-customers. And over time, quality and pricing issues (and their unpleasant cousin, delivery issues) will erode your customer base and create poor word of mouth. Unless you remedy this issue, your business is doomed to failure.

The Honesty Factor

Even with a good product or a well-delivered service, issues happen. A smart business understands this and has a plan in place to deal with these exceptions, and to do so in a way that assumes that customers are intelligent and, within reason, understanding.

Excuses that sound phony or inauthentic multiply the negative impact of a problem. Explanations that are sincere and candid, however, can have the exact opposite effect. For example, a very small business run by a friend took a serious delivery and production hit when its one employee was stricken by a nasty stomach flu just as a new product was supposed to ship. Rather than ignore the problem, he dragged himself to email and social media and explained the problem honestly. This brought a few angry customers but many more who sympathized and were understanding -- and, when he was able to return to work, almost no complaints about the delay.

Honesty as an underlying value of a business is not just morally laudable -- it's also key for forging better customer relationships and maintaining employee morale. Which brings us to ...

Employees' Attitude

I like to say that a CRM strategy should start with hiring. Employees with a customer-focused attitude are an asset whether or not you've invested in CRM software. Conversely, employees who lack that attitude can take a CRM investment of any amount and effectively reduce its value to zero.

Your management takes the data you collect in CRM and translates it into directives for actions and interactions that mean something to the customers; your employees carry out those directives. Without the proper focus on the customer, management and employees are unlikely to connect the dots between data and dealings with the people who keep your business in business.

Respect for Process

CRM also helps automate many of the sales, marketing and support tasks that dominate most customer relationships. That allows your business to scale in terms of the number of customers each employee can care for. To do that, however, means that all employees who need to interface with CRM do so. That starts with the sales team and carries through to the rest of the organization; adhering to the process of using CRM is as important as adhering to any other company process.

There is an exception to this, however: When an employee sees an area where process is preventing customer satisfaction, he or she should be able to take action to override or modify the policy. Process and productivity mean nothing to individual customers, and employees need to be empowered to step out of process when necessary.

Your Commitment to Support

Too many businesses stop paying attention to their customers after the sale closes and only begin paying attention again when it's time to sell again. Smart businesses know that an ongoing relationship is the best route to ongoing sales, and a natural place for contact in that relationship comes in customer support.

Companies that have a commitment to support do a good job of meeting customers' needs regardless of whether they are a one-person shop with a single telephone line or a large corporation with several call centers -- the technology simply lets bigger businesses scale up more effectively. Sadly, when the emphasis is all on sales, support is seen as a cost center and doesn't get the care and feeding it deserves. That's why so many service calls leave customers more agitated at the end of the call than they were at the beginning, even if the problem that triggered the call is resolved.

When a business fails in any of these areas, the customer relationships that were the goal of its CRM investments are ruined -- which raises the question: Why did you invest in CRM if you weren't willing to build a foundation on which it could rest?

Business News: Coventry Telegraph's B2B Expo hailed huge success - Coventry Telegraph.net

Best financial advisers are motivated by helping you - Des Moines Register

Youve probably heard and read a lot of tips and advice about what makes a good financial adviser. Training, education, technical skills, experience and many other factors usually are mentioned, and these things are important. However, Im convinced that the most crucial attribute for a top-notch adviser is passion for working with clients and helping them reach their dreams.

I might not feel as strongly about this and I might not even be a financial adviser today were it not for the tremendous service I received from my first financial planner.

I started out in the corporate world, and although I didnt see my long-term future there, I liked my job. I had started working with a financial planner right after college, and he knew me well. He was focused on my future and had suggested that I pursue a financial planning career. I trusted him, and I decided to get an MBA and take investment and financial planning courses at night while working at my corporate job during the day.

Then I was offered a promotion that required me to relocate, and I discovered that it collided directly with my core values about family. I didnt want to leave Des Moines and move our family farther from my parents farm in southern Minnesota. Although I didnt see myself staying in the corporate world very long, this was a difficult decision.

A conversation with my financial planner gave me the courage to make the decision that started me on my current path. He asked: Jim, how many 35-year-olds do you know that have three years of income saved in their personal investment accounts? I know one you. Jim, you can leave corporate America, and even if you dont make any money for three years, you have enough to live on. After three years, you can always go back to corporate America.

I decided to leave my job and follow my calling, and it was the second-best decision of my life. The best decision was to marry my wife.

I have been in the financial planning profession for 18 years, and I love it as much as I did the day I started. In part because of the difference that my financial planner made in my life, I want to help make that same difference in the lives of other people. Seeing the results of my efforts in clients lives is my greatest reward.

How do you find an adviser who has the passion that I am talking about? Ultimately, you should feel financial peace of mind by working with that person. You should feel confident that he or she will protect the security of your retirement. Numbers and quantitative analysis certainly are important, but the advisers ability to communicate and give you a sense of confidence is just as important. Do you feel you can get along with and trust this person? You always should feel that you are in control. Ultimately, its your money, and you make the decisions.

The moral of my story: Passion for helping others ought to be the reason why people are in the financial planning profession not passion for helping themselves.

Emerging Stocks Rise for Third Day as Greek Exit Concerns Ease - Businessweek

Emerging-market stocks rose for a third day as opinion polls of Greek voters eased concern the country will exit the euro area and speculation mounted that China will take steps to boost its economy.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) rose 0.7 percent to 908.28 as of 10:24 a.m. in London. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong climbed 1.1 percent. Anhui Conch Cement Co. (914) climbed 3.9 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG said China’s government is accelerating investment approvals. The Micex Index jumped 1.2 percent in Moscow and the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index (JALSH) gained 0.8 percent as oil and metal prices advanced.

China is speeding up investment approvals to support growth, with the size of stimulus estimated at between 1 trillion yuan ($157.7 billion) and 2 trillion yuan, Dong Tao, an economist at Credit Suisse, wrote in a note today. Greece’s New Democracy, which supports the European Union’s bailout plan, was placed first in all six opinion polls published on May 26 as campaigning continued for a general election next month.

“The mood seems to be improving today, perhaps reflecting the latest Greek polls that seem to favor the bail-out supporters,” Benoit Anne, head of emerging-markets strategy at Societe Generale SA in London, wrote in an e-mail to clients. “We remain quite cautious towards emerging markets in the near term, however.”

The MSCI gauge has fallen 11 percent in May, poised for the biggest monthly drop since September, as concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis will worsen and China’s economic slowdown will deepen.

Lukoil Earnings

OAO Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, added 2 percent after first-quarter profit increased 7.7 percent. OAO Mobile TeleSystems, the country’s biggest mobile operator, rose 2.3 percent as its weighting was lifted in the MSCI Russia 10/40 Index, according to Troika Dialog.

The ISE National 100 Index (XU100) slipped 0.2 percent in Istanbul. Akbank TAS (AKBNK) dropped 1.5 percent, falling for a sixth day after Citigroup Inc. reduced its stake by more than half last week.

The WIG20 Index (WIG20) jumped 0.8 percent in Warsaw, led by a 1.4 percent rise in KGHM Polska Miedz SA (KGH), the copper producer with the biggest European mine output.

The rand appreciated 1 percent against the dollar and the ruble gained 0.3 percent. The zloty strengthened 0.5 percent against the euro.

Russia’s dollar Eurobond due in 2022 rose for the first day in four, cutting the yield four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 4.27 percent. Turkey’s 2022 dollar yield fell five basis points to 5.26 percent.

Esprit Gains

Esprit Holdings Ltd. (330), a clothier that counts Europe as its biggest market, advanced 2 percent in Hong Kong. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (2317) and Simplo Technology Co. (6121) gained in Taipei, leading technology stocks higher after Deutsche Bank AG said the two companies may deliver “healthy” earnings growth in the second half of the year.

Simplo jumped 4 percent. The maker of battery packs for laptops is a preferred component stock and is expected to outperform its peers because of tablet computer demand, analysts at Deutsche Bank wrote in a note dated May 25. Hon Hai, which gained 1.6 percent, is among the bank’s top picks in the post- personal computer era, according to the report.

Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd. (493), China’s second- biggest electronics retailer, sank 4.6 percent in Hong Kong after the company reported an 88 percent slump in first-quarter profit.

Chinese industrial companies’ profits declined 2.2 percent from a year earlier in April, the statistics bureau reported yesterday. That compared with a 4.5 percent gain in March.

The BSE India Sensitive Index (SENSEX), or Sensex, rose 1 percent. South Korean markets were closed for a holiday.

The extra yield investors demand to own emerging-market debt over U.S. Treasuries was unchanged at 410 basis points, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Index.

The Markit iTraxx SovX CEEMEA Index of eastern European, Middle East and Africa credit-default swaps fell three basis points to 337.

To contact the reporters on this story: Weiyi Lim in Singapore at wlim26@bloomberg.net; Jason Webb in London at jwebb25@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

European Stocks Rise After Greek Opinion Polls; Rio Gains - Bloomberg
Enlarge image European Stocks Rise on Greek Opinion Polls

European Stocks Rise on Greek Opinion Polls

European Stocks Rise on Greek Opinion Polls

Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

Rio Tinto, the third-biggest mining company, gained 4 percent to 2,907 pence.

Rio Tinto, the third-biggest mining company, gained 4 percent to 2,907 pence. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

European stocks gained for a third day, the longest winning streak this month, as Greek opinion polls showed growing support for parties backing austerity and eased concern the country will leave the euro.

Rio Tinto Group and Antofagasta Plc (ANTO) rallied more than 3 percent as copper climbed amid dwindling stockpiles in China. Aveva Group Plc (AVV) led technology companies higher after reporting sales that topped analysts’ estimates. Bankia SA (BKIA) sank 14 percent after the lender said it will seek 19 billion euros ($24 billion) of state funds.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.5 percent to 243.59 at 1:20 p.m. in London. Markets Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, Austria, Norway and Switzerland are closed for a public holiday today and U.S. exchanges are shut for Memorial Day.

“It seems like there is slowly a shift taking place within part of the Greek electorate,” said Markus Huber, head of German sales trading at ETX Capital in London. “Frustrations over endless austerity measures are being replaced by the notion that rejecting austerity measures, followed by a potential exit out of the euro, will bring even more hardship.”

European stocks posted their first weekly gain of the month last week as China pledged to bolster growth and a three-week selloff left the Stoxx 600 (SXXP) at its cheapest valuation since January. The gauge has still slumped 10 percent from this year’s high on March 16 amid concern Greece will fail to implement the measures required to stay in the euro.

Greek Opinion Polls

Greece’s New Democracy, which supports the spending cuts and tax increases imposed by the European Union, came first in all six opinion polls published on May 26 as campaigning continued for the general election on June 17.

Party leader Antonis Samaras portrayed the consequences of a euro exit, saying Greek incomes, bank deposits and property values would lose at least half their value within days, while food prices would rise by a quarter.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde upbraided Greek taxpayers and Juergen Fitschen, the incoming co-chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank AG, referred to the country as a “failed state.”

In Ireland, supporters of the EU’s fiscal treaty held their lead as voting began in some parts of the country on whether to back the accord. Four polls over the weekend gave the “yes” campaign an average lead of 17.5 percentage points, when undecideds are excluded. The referendum will be held May 31 for all voters.

Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton

Rio Tinto, the world’s third-biggest mining company, gained 3.1 percent to 2,881.5 pence, Antofagasta Plc increased 3.2 percent to 1,049 pence and BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the largest mining company, rose 1.9 percent to 1,735 pence.

A gauge of mining shares increased 2.3 percent for the biggest advance of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 as copper climbed for a third day in London.

Inventories of the metal monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange slumped for a seventh week, the longest losing streak in a year, data from the bourse showed.

Aveva led a gauge of technology shares higher, surging 12 percent to 1,664 pence. The maker of engineering software products reported full-year revenue of 195.9 million pounds ($308 million), topping the average analyst estimate of 192.2 million pounds. Chief Executive Officer Richard Longdon said, “We are confident about the prospects for 2012-13.”

Technicolor SA advanced 7.4 percent to 1.50 euros in Paris after investor Vector Capital Corp. offered to back a 186 million-euro capital increase and boost its holding in the producer of film-making technology to nearly 30 percent.

Bankia Shares Tumble

Bankia, the lender that Spain nationalized this month, tumbled 14 percent to 1.35 euros after the group said it will seek state funds as it set aside provisions for residential mortgages and lending to companies.

The group took provisions of 5.5 billion euros for non-real estate lending after stress-testing the loans, Director General Jose Sevilla told reporters in Madrid on May 26. It also reclassified 300 million euros of lending, that it had booked as loans to small- and medium-sized companies, as lending to property developers, Chairman Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said.

S&P cut the credit ratings of Bankia, Banco Popular Espanol SA (POP) and Bankinter SA (BKT) to junk on May 25, citing Spain’s weakening economy. The rating company downgraded 11 Spanish banks on April 30.

Banco Popular retreated 7.5 percent to 1.72 euros and Bankinter dropped 3.8 percent to 2.83 euros.

Separately, the Sunday Times reported that the EU is working on plans to create a rescue fund for ailing banks, capitalized by levies imposed on them. The newspaper did not say where it got the information.

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) slipped 1 percent to 139.5 pence amid concern that Bankia, its largest shareholder, may sell a stake in the company. Bankia’s Goirigolzarri said on May 26 that the bank will give details on any share sales when it presents its strategic plan in June.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

Business back on track to a bright future: survey - Adelaidenow

BankSA managing director Jane Kittel says businesses are "continuing to adjust to a tougher operating environment". Source: AdelaideNow

CONFIDENCE among business owners has bounced back from record lows, a statewide survey by BankSA has found.

A lift in the number of businesses intending to invest in major purchases and in those who feel positive about their own future has created a glimmer of hope, the survey found.

"Businesses are continuing to adjust to a tougher operating environment and while they are still very cautious, they are navigating their way through these difficult conditions," BankSA managing director Jane Kittel said.

The findings are published today in BankSA's State Monitor report, a survey series conducted three times a year. Various business indicators have improved since the previous survey, in February.

Now, 31 per cent of businesses expect to make a major purchase in the next year, up 10 percentage points, 23 per cent have hired new staff in the past three months - up 2 percentage points - and 70 per cent are positive about their own future, up 11 percentage points.

The survey reflected the bank's own impression, with more business customers talking to the bank about expanding.

However, in a sign of the volatile economic environment, fear has driven consumer confidence to levels worse than the during the global financial crisis.

Consumer confidence WAs at its lowest point since the series began in 1997, Ms Kittel said.

"People are concerned about Europe," she said.

"Then, for consumers in SA, the cost-of-living pressures are a real issue - higher electricity, gas and water bills and high prices of petrol are hurting. On top of that, there's uncertainty about federal political leadership."

For the survey, researchers questioned 300 consumers and 300 businesses about 10 factors, creating an index reading of positive or negative sentiment where 100 is neutral.

The survey found consumer sentiment fell by 2.6 index points to 102.4, considerably below the 109.8 reading in the GFC.

But business confidence increased by 8.9 points to 101.9.

Ms Kittel cautioned that the survey was conducted in early May - before the latest bout of jitters from Europe - and she would not be surprised if business sentiment had slipped again.



World stocks rise as Greek fears ease - Financial Post

LONDON — European stocks rose for a third straight session on Monday and the euro edged up, as Greek polls showed growing support for pro-bailout parties, yet Spain’s debt yields hit a record high as the government worked on plan to fund troubled lender Bankia.

Global share markets, commodities and the euro were all recovering from sharp falls last week, when investors fled to the safety of the U.S. dollar on mounting concerns about Greece, Spain’s banking sector, and a lack of immediate policy responses from European leaders.

“Anything that allays fears over Greece is a positive. People are just looking for a bit of respite,” said Bastion Capital’s head of equities Adrian Slack.

The five Greek polls published in weekend press showed the conservative New Democracy party, which supports the bailout, with a lead of between 0.5 and 5.7 points over the anti-bailout leftist SYRIZA party, with analysts saying the race was still too close to call.

The FTSE Eurofirst index of top European shares extended its gains of last week, rising 0.6% to 990.84 points, but was still on track for its biggest monthly loss since the August selloff last year.

The easing speculation of disorderly exit by Greece from the eurozone also helped the MSCI world equity index gain 0.4% to 301.43.

The euro edged up just 0.1% to $1.2580, pulling away from Friday’s level of $1.2495, its lowest since July 2010 and is on track for its worst month since last September.

However, any recovery in the single currency looked vulnerable with traders in the foreign exchange markets bolstering their euro bearish bets to record highs in the week ended May 22, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

“Heading into the Greek elections we’ll fluctuate a lot. Because the market is very, very short euro, reactions to any positive news may be bigger than those to negative news,” said Mitul Kotecha of Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank.


Just as speculation rose that Greece can stay part of the single currency zone, Spain’s prospects of getting to grips with its ailing banking sector took a dive.

A government source told Reuters on Sunday Spain may recapitalise its fourth-largest lender Bankia, which last week asked for rescue funding of 19 billion euros ($24 billion), using new government bonds in return for shares.

The report sent the premium investors require to hold Spanish government bonds over their German counterparts up 8 basis points on Monday to 505 bp, the highest since the euro was launched.

Spanish 10-year government bond yields also jumped 16 bp to 6.5%, their highest since November, while equivalent Italian government bond yields followed suit, gaining 6.7 bp to 5.87%.

The highly unorthodox plan to recapitalise Bankia without having to raise money on capital markets by issuing debt – that the stricken lender could the use as collateral to get cash from the European Central Bank – has served to highlight the challenges facing Spain as it trys to fix its banking system.

“We’re not just talking about Bankia here, we’re also talking about a widespread recapitalisation of some of the Spanish banks” said Josh Raymond, market strategist of City Index. “And we also don’t know the ECB’s attitude to getting back involved.”

Bankia shares fell 26.8% as trading resumed after being suspended on Friday, before the bank asked for a 23.5 billion euros bailout.

Commodity markets were also generally firmer on prospcts pro-bailout parties may succeed in the June 17 Greek elections, and the resultant easier tone in the U.S. dollar.

Brent crude edged above $107 per barrel, although prospects of supply constraints stemming from a lack of progress in talks over Iran’s nuclear programme also buoyed prices.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,580.42 per ounce, its highest level in nearly a week, in tandem with other risk assets.

But trading volumes should remain muted on Monday, with U.S. markets closed for Memorial Day, while markets in a number of European countries, including Switzerland, were closed for a bank holiday. Monday is also a bank holiday in France and Germany, although their equity markets were open.

Investors were also looking ahead to major economic data due from the United States this week which includes consumer confidence, gross domestic product and, on Friday, the May non-farm payrolls report, which could provide clues on whether the economy is running out of steam or has simply hit a soft patch.

“Data this week will reveal further contrasts between the U.S. and eurozone,” said Mitul Kotecha of Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank.

© Thomson Reuters 2012

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