Staples Advantage Helps Customers To Buy However, Whenever and Wherever They Want

Peter O'Neill

I was talking last week with Neil Ringel, Executive Vice President at Staples Advantage as we continue to prepare for the Sales Enablement Forum in March where Neil is one of the industry keynote speakers.  Staples Advantage, a division of  Staples, is the world’s largest office products delivery business, serving everyone from the twenty-person office up to and including the Fortune 500 and the B2B sales team works with clients to develop customized programs with specialized pricing, dedicated account management, and a complete assortment of products and services at the lowest total delivered cost while ordering and fulfillment is a mixture of these direct meetings and eBusiness transactions.  Although they are called sales, they are actually more responsible for delivering the company’s brand promise: “We make buying office products easy.”   Here is our discussion.

            

Peter: Do you think that you will need less, more, and/or different salespeople in 5 years time?

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Which Private Cloud Solution Provider In China Suits You Best?

Frank Liu

Chinese organizations should leverage the benefits of private cloud to address emerging requirements such as more agile technology services to improve customer engagement. However, determining which private cloud solution your company should choose is not a matter of size or market share. What’s most important is fit for purpose — your purpose. And that’s exactly what our The Forrester Wave: Private Cloud Solutions In China, Q1 2015 report helps you determine.

Charlie Dai and I spent the past six months identifying and evaluating the leading vendors in the private cloud space in China by scoring them against 24 criteria, grouped into three high-level buckets:

  • Current offering. A vendor’s position on the vertical axis of the Forrester Wave graphic indicates the strength of its current product offering. The key current offering criteria are cloud management and self-service access, service management and creation, automation capabilities, heterogeneity, contract terms and support, and cost.
  • Strategy. A vendor’s position on the horizontal axis indicates the strength of its go-to-market strategy. Forrester evaluates strategy with planned enhancements, strategic vision, third-party ecosystem, partnerships, and customer experience.
  • Market presence. The size of a vendor’s bubble on the chart indicates its market presence in China. Forrester evaluates market size via installed base and revenue.
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Forrester's Top CRM Trends For 2015

Kate Leggett

CRM is the foundational building block that allows empowered consumers and connected employees to do business in ways we could not imagine just a few years ago. Historically, CRM strategies have focused around operational efficiency gains like reduced marketing costs, increased revenues from salespeople, shorter sales cycles, or better customer service productivity. Its no wonder that CRM is widely deployed in all companies – both big and small.

 

Today CRM is evolving, and companies are using it to support their customers in their end-to-end journeys. This customer obsession delivers business results that far exceed productivity and efficiency measures.CRM, used the right way, delivers higher levels of revenue and company profitability through winning, serving, and retaining customers.

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My Top Ten And What It Means For Getting Your Own Metrics Right

Nigel Fenwick

Every so often I check my blog stats to see what you, the reader, find most interesting - my goal is to continue to bring you great content in both my blog and my research. While I was looking back over my blog stats I thought you might like to see the top ten blog posts in case you missed any of them. But just how should I assess the top ten? Like all outcome metrics, this one is open to interpretation. 

I could take the simple route and just count which posts have the most reads (Table 1a). But that would fail to take into account how many days it has been since the blog was published - it stands to reason that older blog posts might garner more reads. So a ranking based on the number of reads divided by the number of days the post has been online would yield a more accurate result in terms of most read post (See Table 1b - Top ten most read posts)*.

Table 1a - Top Ten Most read Posts


1 Unleash Your Digital Business
2 The Secret Of Successful Social Communities: 4 Social Needs
3 Why Customer Experience Will Become The #1 CIO Priority
4
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Contribute To New Research On VoC Vendors In China By My Colleague Sam Jaddou

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

My colleague, Samantha Jaddou, who’s an analyst on the CX team covering the China market, is working on a report about the customer feedback management (CFM) vendor landscape in China. This report will better help Forrester clients, particularly companies that operate in China, understand to whom they should turn to satisfy CFM needs. She is in the middle of fielding a survey, which will be the research foundation for this report.

If your firm is interested in being included in this study to show your product and service capabilities in China in the CFM space, please consider one or both of the following:

1. Fill out the survey prior to February 13th.

2. Schedule a briefing with Sam with regard to your CFM capabilities in China by contacting Forrester’s briefing team to make arrangements.

As a thank you for your time and participation, you will receive a complimentary copy of the published report resulting from this research.

The Data Digest: Behaviors Beyond The Gifts

Anjali Lai

The holiday season is one month behind us, and while the celebratory spirit has faded, the effects live on through the gifts we’ve exchanged. If you think the shiny new object you presented to your loved one had its greatest impact when she unwrapped its box, think again. Apart from the occasional toy tossed to the back of a closet, gifts may have a stronger influence on our long-term behavior and lifestyle than we might think —particularly when it comes to consumer electronics.

For example, according to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, consumers who have received a tablet computer as a gift end up using traditional devices like laptops, desktops, and digital cameras less often. Qualitative insight from our ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community reveals that sentiments of surprise and delight characterize the experience of these tablet recipients; regardless of their initial technology attitudes, most community members find the devices exceed their expectations and inadvertently change their lifestyle:  

According to the National Retail Federation, consumer electronics stores saw more than $23.4 million in holiday sales in 2013 and even more by the close of 2014. However, the more interesting story is unfolding now, as consumers who have leapfrogged the purchase experience begin experimenting with —and embracing —their new devices.

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Five Myths About Mobile Apps

Thomas Husson

Time spent on mobile is skyrocketing. Since about 80% of that time is spent on apps, many marketing leaders have quickly jumped to the conclusion that the only way to reach and engage their customers is through their own branded apps. Wrong! Here are five — often ignored — good reasons for marketing leaders to broaden their mobile approach beyond their own apps:

1.   Branded apps are relevant. Yes, some of them (Starbucks, Nike, and many others) are success stories. But more often than not, branded apps don’t deliver real mobile benefits and engage only a small subset of customers. It's about time marketers connect their apps to their marketing and CRM systems to personalize and contextualize the brand experience. Marketers should launch fewer but smarter apps.

2.   Apps offer real engagement opportunities. Yes, but only for a minority of apps, according to Forrester’s App Engagement Index. Several of the most engaging apps — Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and WhatsApp — either don’t have or only recently introduced mobile advertising offerings. Marketers must identify the overlap between the most engaging apps and the most popular apps among their brand’s customer base. Then they have to mix content and context to tell a story that is relevant to customers in their mobile moments. It will not be about ads but about sparking a conversation instead of broadcasting a marketing message. Marketers should select the most promising partners evolving their apps as marketing platforms.

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You Must Solve Two People-Shaped Content Problems

Ryan Skinner

The problems of content marketing apply to you as a marketer whether you’re actually practicing “content marketing” or not.

In any enterprise, there’s a New York Times-scale amount of content getting produced.[i] And your customers are hoovering up content (from a brand or otherwise, in many channels, interchangably) and making decisions based upon it.[ii]

That means you’re in the content business. And the more customers control the purchase path, the more marketers find themselves in the content marketing business.

Which means you will be dealing with the problems content marketing creates. Two of these problems are particular to marketing teams and governance. These are best explained with analogies:

The Menu Problem – How content gets conceived and planned

The Sausage Problem – How content gets made and delivered

The Menu Problem
Marketers don’t have much experience running editorial organizations. This is best reflected in the low percentage of marketers who report that they follow a content marketing strategy.[iii]

A strategy is necessary.[iv] And no one is taking the responsibility to make one.

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Rethinking Analytics Infrastructure

Richard Fichera

Last year I published a reasonably well-received research document on Hadoop infrastructure, “Building the Foundations for Customer Insight: Hadoop Infrastructure Architecture”. Now, less than a year later it’s looking obsolete, not so much because it was wrong for traditional (and yes, it does seem funny to use a word like “traditional” to describe a technology that itself is still rapidly evolving and only in mainstream use for a handful of years) Hadoop, but because the universe of analytics technology and tools has been evolving at light-speed.

If your analytics are anchored by Hadoop and its underlying map reduce processing, then the mainstream architecture described in the document, that of clusters of servers each with their own compute and storage, may still be appropriate. On the other hand, if, like many enterprises, you are adding additional analysis tools such as NoSQL databases, SQL on Hadoop (Impala, Stinger, Vertica) and particularly Spark, an in-memory-based analytics technology that is well suited for real-time and streaming data, it may be necessary to begin reassessing the supporting infrastructure in order to build something that can continue to support Hadoop as well as cater to the differing access patterns of other tools sets. This need to rethink the underlying analytics plumbing was brought home by a recent demonstration by HP of a reference architecture for analytics, publicly referred to as the HP Big Data Reference Architecture.

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More On New Video Consumption Behaviors

Jim Nail

The press coverage of my report "Making Sense of New Video Consumption Behaviors" -- and especially the number they highlighted that 46% of the "core" TV audience watches linear TV in a typical month -- raised a lot of questions (and skepticism!) on the Research Wonks list serve. I figure if they had those questions, others might, too, so here is the response I posted there:

"The media always looks for the headline-grabbing, shocking, number and the 46% watch linear certainly qualifies. I used this number in passing to set up the report so before I address the methodology questions, let me share the core conclusion of the report: consumer video consumption behaviors are different enough across generations that planners need to break out of past planning routines and account for these different behaviors. Toward the end of the report I say:

A goal of 100 gross rating points (GRPs) against an 18-to-49 audience is merely an average across this entire audience; if the placements are skewed to linear TV, it will likely deliver too many ads to the 35-to-49 segment and not deliver enough to the 18-to-34 group.

The 46% number doesn't comment on the number of hours, and the data we capture is very broad here, but even it shows that linear is still the larger number of hours.

In the report I say that linear is the “main dish” that must be complemented with “side dishes” like streamed sources and addressable plus “desserts” like professional short-form video to present a balanced video ad diet. (Yes, I really tortured that metaphor!)

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