Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

The Business Continuity Imperative: The Product Experience for Buyer and Customer Delight in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on May 31, 2020 3:00:00 AM

Products and services are the foundation of every organization, regardless of its industry or size. Products are essential to an organization’s overall business health because they generate revenue and engage buyers and customers. In a black-swan event, demand for a product may spike or dip, so in these situations it’s of the essence that products get the attention they deserve as they are marketed, sold, serviced and enhanced with innovations. In challenging times, a “customer-first” mentality tends to take hold — this is not unreasonable but in a rush to satisfy customers, business leaders too often forget that the product experience is essential to fulfilling on the customer experience and satisfying customers and buyers. An organization’s agility and ability to invest adequate time and resources into products is essential for its sustainability and operational effectiveness.

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Topics: Sales, Customer Experience, Marketing, Office of Finance, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Data, Product Information Management, Digital Technology, Operations & Supply Chain, Conversational Computing

The Potential of Marketing in 2020: Ventana Research Agenda

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 27, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2020 research agenda for marketing, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes. Chief Marketing Officers are under pressure to spearhead technology investments that help better align marketing experiences with their brand and to optimize consumer demand for products and services. This challenge is frequently heightened by a lack of centralized data related to customers and products that can help an organization meet operational and analytics needs. Organizations need a marketing data platform that connects applications and services; however, a lack of data science skills has hampered the marketing organization’s full potential.

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Topics: Marketing, Voice of the Customer, Product Information Management, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, intelligent marketing

The Ventana Research Operations and the Supply Chain Agenda in 2020

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 26, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2020 research agenda for operations and the supply chain, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations across industries derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes. Organizations must shift their focus on technology investments to include not just operational productivity but the efficiency of the processes that impact customers’ and workers’ experiences.

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Topics: Continuous Planning, Product Information Management, Price and Revenue Management, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, continuous supply chain

The Revolution in Sales in 2020: Ventana Research Agenda

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 25, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2020 research agenda for sales, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations derive optimal value from business technology and improve outcomes. Chief sales and revenue officers face an imperative to manage the sales organization but they don’t always have the guidance they need to embrace technology and gain the best possible outcomes. As we look forward to 2020 we’re focusing on the selling experience and the applications that simplify processes and tasks across the sales organization.

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Topics: Sales, Analytics, Internet of Things, Data, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Conversational Computing

Gaining Dynamic Insights on Sales Planning

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 15, 2019 7:00:00 AM

Managing sales processes and resources without careful planning is a recipe for failure. Effectiveness in sales starts with planning that involves the full range of stakeholders. This planning should involve a systematic process, incorporate all relevant information and be supported by capable software designed for this purpose. Furthermore, everyone who participates in sales-related activities, including those dealing with quotas, territories and resources, should be providing input for the planning. Without broad participation the likelihood of less-than-optimal planning increases and anyone who is excluded may not fully buy into the plan and its execution.

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Topics: Sales, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Digital Commerce, subscription management, intelligent sales

Beyond Digital Transformation: Effective Technology Innovation in 2018

Posted by Mark Smith on May 7, 2018 12:55:31 AM

Advancing the potential of any business requires continuous improvement in the processes and technology that support it. Many companies have embraced attempts at a digital transformation, and it’s become a goal to which organizational resources and budgets have been dedicated around the globe.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Science, Mobile, Sales, Customer Analytics, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, Machine Learning, Marketing, Marketing Performance Management, Mobile Technology, Office of Finance, Wearable Computing, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer Service, Data Governance, Data Integration, Data Preparation, Internet of Things, Contact Center, Information Optimization, Product Information Management, Digital Technology, Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce, Operations & Supply Chain, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Pricing and Promotion Management, Cybersecurity, Billing and Recurring Revenue, Workforce Optimization, collaboration for business

Salesforce Fails Again in Customer Experience

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 14, 2017 2:02:52 AM

More than a year ago I wrote from personal experience about the challenges our firm encountered with Salesforce’s cloud computing systems and customer service and if we can trust them for business in the cloud. That perspective covered a range of issues that the behemoth cloud computing applications and platform company is facing regarding its service and technology. While Salesforce has shifted its customers like us and others to a different cloud computing environment, as it did in moving us off its #NA14 cloud computing instance, core challenges of its customer experience and billing processes persist. After the last customer experience incident, I contacted its executives about the need for operational improvement; it was clear in the dialogue that they saw some but not all of our experience as issues important to improving its customer processes. It was good to get some immediate attention, but my hope was to speak for all SMB companies in pointing out the importance of effective communications and escalating notifications and interactions when those customer moments go sour, so the customer isn’t forced to turn to social media to be heard. This was an area where Salesforce had significant room for improvement in customer engagement, reflecting a pattern we see in our benchmark research, which finds the most common challenges in almost half of organizations are integration of channels of engagement and managing activities as silos.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Office of Finance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Digital Commerce, Sales and Operations Planning, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Sales Enablement and Execution, Machine Learning Digital Technology, Sales Planning and Analytics

Supercharge Sales Analytics with Digital Technologies

Posted by Mark Smith on May 12, 2017 8:44:14 AM

Our firm regularly explores the impacts of new technologies on business. Analytics is foremost among recently emerging technologies, which our benchmark research consistently confirms. In our research on next-generation sales analytics, fourth-fifths (82%) of participating organizations cited analytics as the most important technology trend for sales; however, several other technologies also are adding power and flexibility to the use of sales analytics.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Mobile Technology, Office of Finance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Digital Commerce, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Sales Enablement and Execution, Machine Learning Digital Technology, Sales Planning and Analytics

Prepare and Wrangle Data for Sales Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on May 5, 2017 8:28:39 AM

The importance of analytics for sales organizations is clear and, as I pointed out in my recent analyst perspective on the next generation of sales analytics, these capabilities optimize revenue potential. However, utilizing sales analytics requires a set of data skills that most organizations still find challenging and are thus not fully prepared to support. The efficient access and preparation of data underlies any analytics processes, which must meet demanding needs that are not always automated. Our research into next generation sales analytics has found many impediments that must be addressed and is a critical part of our expertise agenda for sales organizations.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Machine Learning, Office of Finance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Digital Technology, Digital Commerce, Sales and Operations Planning, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Sales Enablement and Execution, Sales Planning and Analytics

New Generation of Sales Analytics Can Optimize Revenue Potential

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 27, 2017 11:22:59 AM

I have been following advances in sales analytics since the 1990s. Over the last five years, however, I have seen evolution, not innovation. In most cases the information that analytics provides is too complicated and not contextualized enough for sales people who are not analytics experts to understand, let alone take action on. As I pointed out in my 2017 research agenda on sales, analytics is essential for planning that improves the impacts of sales efforts and meets the goals of the organization.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Office of Finance, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management, Digital Commerce, Sales and Operations Planning, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing, Sales Enablement and Execution, Machine Learning Digital Technology, Sales Planning and Analytics