This is what you missed at the Sales Enablement Forum

Peter O'Neill

Wow! It may have taken place eight days ago, but I am still exhausted — and also exhilarated. In all modesty, we held a great Sales Enablement Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona last week. Nearly 350 attendees enjoyed presentations from 34 different speakers, including many industry practitioners, as well the opportunity to meet 21 sponsoring companies. For those of you who did not make it, here is a short recap of what we covered in the two days.

Day One: Challenge Thinking

Rowena Track from TE Connectivity kicked off our presentations on the main stage, discussing how to establish an infrastructure to help sales be successful. She focused on how customers were already well on their way to digital self-sufficiency, which means that the buyer’s journey starts well before your sales team is aware of them.

Forrester analyst Andy Hoar took the stage next and presented a wealth of data that revealed customers’ growing preference for engaging via self-serve eCommerce portals; this data led to him to predict that this will displace 1 million B2B salespeople over the next five years. Andy’s prediction and analysis resonated with attendees throughout the Forum.

 

Joanne Moretti from Jabil joined us next to talk about the evolution of sales enablement over the years, including her own experience creating HP’s Sales University, integrating Dell’s various software businesses, and in her current role at Jabil.

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Full-Service eCommerce Solutions Are No Longer An All-Or-Nothing Long-Term Commitment

Lily Varon

eBusiness leaders are under tremendous pressure to deliver in the face of aggressive business growth plans, competitive threats and digitally-empowered consumer demands. When you add evolving sales and services channels and ever-more global markets on the road map to the mix, even eBusiness leaders with hefty budgets and a do-it-yourself attitude acknowledge they could use a little help. 

Some retailers, CPGs and branded manufacturers are outsourcing all or parts of their eCommerce operations to full-service eCommerce solution providers. However, the days of 10-year contracts and one-size fits all solutions are long gone. Full-service commerce providers have undergone quite a few iterations as the eCommerce market has matured. Today, these solutions are:

  • Becoming more modular. They are unbundling their full stack offerings into modules so firms can pick and choose elements of their eCommerce operations to outsource or keep in house. 
  • Being more transparent with pricing. They have evolved away from obfuscated revenue share models to à la carte, transparent pricing per service, with usage- or per-transaction-based pricing models commonly replacing or acting in tandem with revenue share.
  • Opening technologies up for flexible integrations. As these providers unbundle their offerings, they’re also making their technologies easier to integrate with through flexible APIs.
  • Focusing on omnichannel. These providers are developing their technologies to enable better data transfers, consistent user experiences, and enhanced fulfillment flexibility for their clients to keep up with the pace of change in the marketplace.
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Key Takeaways From Mobile World Congress 2015

Thomas Husson

This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona brought together 90,000 attendees, including 4,500 CEOs and a growing number of CMOs and marketing leaders. Let’s face it: MWC, unlike SXSW, Cannes Lions, ad:tech, or dmexco, is not a leading marketing and advertising event. However, because mobile is a catalyst for business transformation, MWC is progressively morphing from a business-to-business (B2B) telecom trade show to an event that affects all industries, from automotive to payments. 

I think MWC 2015 was still too technology focused. Too many announcements and headlines at MWC 2015 focused on the launch of new hardware devices, from the new Galaxy S6 to virtual reality headsets; centered on telecom technologies, such as 5G; or focused on the technology OS wars, which will be irrelevant for marketers this year. However, marketers could get a glimpse of what it means to deliver contextual experiences. By cutting through the hype and taking a look at innovative, specialized mobile marketing and ad tech companies at MWC, marketers can get a better sense of how they can act on data to deliver more-contextualized and more-personalized experiences across new connected devices and objects.

My colleague Dan Bieler put together his observations of what MWC means for CIOs in his blog post. Together, we will host a free Webinar tomorrow (Thursday, March 12) at 4pm CET / 3pm GMT / 10am ET, you can still register here.

For clients willing to know more about this, you can access my new report.

Chinese Enterprises Should Revamp Their Loyalty Programs

Gene Cao

Firms in China focus on improving customers’ awareness of their brand and increasing their market share. Most of the Chinese marketers I spoke with for my latest customer loyalty research have built frequent-buyer programs that dish out lots of points and coupons but don’t do nearly enough to positively affect customer retention. Such fixed, one-dimensional frequent-buyer programs do not create deep connections between the brand and its target customers. Chinese enterprises must revamp their loyalty programs and use digital to introduce more experimental rewards throughout the customer life cycle. To raise the maturity level of loyalty programs in the digital era, Chinese enterprises should:

  • Integrate customer loyalty into digital strategies. Most Chinese firms lack the ability to analyze digital data and apply it to loyalty programs or campaigns. A top Chinese bank has launched a digital strategy to move frequent users from branch offices to online channels. However, its loyalty programs are not yet able to analyze digital customer data and integrate it into marketing campaigns. Inconsistent campaigns in different channels can confuse regular users.
  • Combine customer data management from digital channels. Chinese social media platforms like Sina Weibo and WeChat are opening more application programming interfaces to allow organizations to access data about customer location and behavior, but firms do not manage this data well. A Chinese airline has created public WeChat accounts to serve customers, but does not integrate the data collected from WeChat into its internal database.
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High Score! Candy Crush Saga Cracks The Top 10 On Our App Engagement Index

Nicole Dvorak

Gaming apps entertain users for an impressive amount of time — on average users spend 1.5x longer using gaming apps than the average app. In addition to time engagement, popular gaming apps have a fiercely loyal user base. Take Candy Crush Saga, the most popular gaming app on smartphones. It attracts almost twice the share of weekly users, and they spend close to 3X longer using the app than what we’re seeing for the average app (evaluated by the App Engagement Index). That’s why it places ninth across all the apps that the App Engagement Index ranks, and earns the first spot among gaming apps evaluated during Q4 2014.

While Candy Crush Saga is the clear winner when it comes to engaging a large audience, other gaming apps earn their high scores for different reasons. Take Words With Friends for example. Although this gaming app has even more of a loyal user base than Candy Crush Saga, it attracts just 2/3rds of Candy Crush Saga’s audience size, and earns a 307 in Q4 2014.

 

 

 

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Looking For New Ways To Connect With Your Customers?

Erna Alfred Liousas
People are always curious to know what's new with social. What new content types are there? What new sites should I pay the most attention to these days? Listen, the real question isn't about what's new, but rather what has evolved and how that evolution ties into what we do everyday. Video is part of that evolution. It is now available in multiple sizes, including microvideo, short-form, and long-form video, across social channels. Just take a quick look at these updates:
 
  • Facebook recently cited more than 3 billion daily video views within its site.
  • Standalone mobile apps such as Instagram and Vine have taken audiences by storm, making it effortless to take and share videos.
  • Even Twitter has a native video player now, making it easier to create and share video within its app. 
Video has the ability to emotionally connect and pull an audience into a story in as little as a few seconds. My report "Connect with the Power of Microvideo" introduces marketers to the concept of microvideo. Marketers will learn how the use of Instagram and Vine enables brands to create emotionally responsive content. In addition, I highlight the nuances between both channels and provide a few tips on how to using these channels. Read my report and share your thoughts and questions.

CMOs: It’s Time To Rally Your Employees Around Brand Building

Sheryl Pattek

Fred Rogers touched the hearts of millions of children through his work in creating and hosting one of the most beloved educational television programs — Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Throughout its run, the show built a strong brand that was recognized as a leader in educating millions of young children. When public funds for the program became scarce, Mister Rogers stood before the US Senate Subcommittee on Communications to passionately defend the educational mission of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The goose-bumps-producing testimony compelled one of the most impatient subcommittee chairmen to approve $20 million in funding for the show.

Mister Rogers was able to accomplish this inspiring feat by building a strong brand for his show and using that brand to accomplish a seemingly impossible task — creating a community of devoted fans that Congress was compelled to keep alive and growing.

As our friendly neighbor Mister Rogers showed us, it’s possible to build a strong lasting brand by charming a community of involved supporters.

CMOs, it’s time for you to take a lesson from Mister Rogers by rallying and engaging your entire organization to reach the full potential of your brand.

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Why Performance-Based Agency Compensation Doesn't Work

Sarah Sikowitz

I embarked on the topic of performance-based agency compensation because I was getting A LOT of questions about it. Mostly, folks wanted to understand how to structure it. 

As I set out to answer that question, I uncovered a topic that is probably one of the most hotly debated topics in the industry. People are passionate – on the agency side, on the finance side, on the procurement side, and on the marketer side. Everyone has an opinion.

So, instead of doing a straightforward report on how to structure performance-based compensation, I took a step back to dive into whether performance-based compensation is actually achieving the desired results – which is better performance from agencies.

I found that:

  • Performance-based compensation, as it is most commonly structured and applied, is being used as a stand-in solution for a much larger issue – the fact that CMOs are having a very hard time measuring and explaining the impact of their agencies' work on ultimate business outcomes.
  • Adding financial incentives to agency contracts gives organizations a way to measure the impact of agency work and assign that impact a monetary value.
  • These organizations are not getting better work from agencies because of this. And by using performance-based compensation as a motivator, they are missing an opportunity to truly motivate their agencies.
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Four Questions Aspiring Global eCommerce Brands Ask Of Technology Partners

Zia Daniell Wigder

A growing number of digital business leaders are being tasked with global expansion. Their technology partners play a critical role: eBusiness professionals rely on partners not only to help build new digital offerings, but also to provide strategic advice on how to effectively penetrate new markets. Some of the key questions solution providers can anticipate from clients and prospects include:

How quickly can I get up and running?  A common scenario looks like this: After years of discussing the need to go global, senior leaders within an organization finally decide to pull the trigger. A frenzy ensues. Digital business leaders are given just a few months to propose which markets to prioritize and how to enter those markets. Given how quickly the new international expansion must happen, business leaders seek out technology partners that promise rapid turnaround on new global initiatives. Solution providers that talk about launching new initiatives in years rather than months are often sidelined in favor of those that can execute more rapidly to fulfill the corporate mandate. 

What will going global cost? Few leaders have access to an endless stream of cash when it comes to launching new global eCommerce offerings. To the contrary: It’s more typical to see businesses pouring a small fraction of what they invested in the domestic business into their international initiatives. Cost is therefore front and center when it comes to evaluating new technologies. Solution providers that can help businesses launch across multiple countries in a cost-effective manner are well positioned to capture new business, even when the prospect may be only ready to enter one or two new markets at the time of vendor selection. The exception? When a market is large or strategic enough to merit selecting partners with solutions that cater specifically to that market (think China).

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The Rise Of Federal Chief Customer Officers

Rick Parrish

Hundreds if not thousands of leading corporations have created chief customer officer (CCO) positions in recent years to help them become more customer-centric. Now US federal government agencies are toying with the idea of adding CCO positions and four have already taken the plunge. In my first Forrester podcast, I spoke with hosts Sam Stern and Deanna Laufer about how federal CCOs can help achieve their agencies' missions and dispeled common objections to creating federal CCO positions. For more of my federal CCO research, check out my Executive Q&A: Federal Chief Customer Officers report on forrester.com or my blog post on the subjectRead more