ACT CRM Most Popular Forecasting Tool, ROI Widely Untracked, Open Solutions For People's Fed, Cherrypicking CRM 2008 Predictions, CRM Is Not…

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ACT CRM Most Popular Forecasting Tool, ROI Widely Untracked, Open Solutions For People's Fed, Cherrypicking CRM 2008 Predictions, CRM Is Not…

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is good ole Mississippi John Hurt singing about that lovin' spoonful. As in Maxwell House Coffee, good to the last drop. Uh-huh, John, sure.

Mark Friedman, executive vice president of the Sales Lead Management Association, has announced what First Coffee considers to be fairly disheartening results of the 2007 Second Annual Sales Lead Management Study conducted by the Velos Group and the Association.

Staggeringly, nearly 83 percent still do not track ROI. The survey also found that 69 percent of companies do not qualify sales inquires before they distribute inquires to their sales channel. That one's not so surprising, but eight out of ten companies don't bother to try to determine what kind of return they're getting on their sales investment? Ye gods.

"The 2007 survey's results suggest that a large percentage of companies continue to struggle with this fundamental business issue today," company officials say, underlining the issue by adding that 52 percent of firms don't have formal forecasting processes.

Of those who do forecast, the most popular tool is Microsoft Excel, used by 21.7 percent of the companies. The most often mentioned SFA/CRM software used is ACT!. The study group consisted of 140 small companies, mostly in southern California, surveyed over 18 months. The online study was conducted using Zoomerang.

People's Federal Savings Bank has selected Open Solutions's The Complete Banking Solution, a relational core data processing platform, to address its enterprise-wide data processing needs. Open Solutions sells customer relationship and other technologies for financial service providers.

Based in Auburn, Indiana, People's Federal Savings Bank has approximately $490 million in assets, 65,000 customers and 15 branches. The bank is migrating from Open Solutions' TotalPlus outsourced core data processing platform to The Complete Banking Solution, which the bank will operate in-house.

"We are a two-bank holding company and in May 2008, we will merge into one system," said John D. Haggarty II, vice president People's Federal Savings Bank, in explaining the move. "We are ultimately consolidating two systems into one application… we will now have the ability to link customer relationships, giving every employee at the bank a more holistic view of our commercial and retail account holders."

The CBS uses an Oracle relational database designed to be an open architecture application. People's officials say it should help the bank streamline both front and back office processes and creates a centralized view of customers, employees and business partners.

In addition to The Complete Banking Solution data processing platform, People's Federal Savings Bank is implementing Open Solutions' digital document product (electronic document management), cView for CRM/business intelligence and e-Commerce Banker, as well as Open Solutions' data warehouse and ATM services.

Louis Hernandez, Jr., chairman and CEO of Open Solutions, said the analyst community has predicted an increased focus on core processing technologies in 2008. "As the industry emerges from the sub-prime challenges in 2007, banks are getting back to basics by refocusing their products and services to better meet the needs of their customers," he said, and hopefully he's right. A return to customer service would be a welcome departure for banks, wouldn’t it? has announced that Polly Sumner has joined the company as President, Platform, Alliances, and Services. She'll report to CEO Marc Benioff and oversee the technology and marketing for the company's platform, alliances with global independent software vendors and service partners, and's professional services organization.

Benioff said he's known Sumner for more than 20 years.

Sumner has served in a number of positions in the technology industry, most recently as President of Global Services for Telcordia. Sumner also held several different positions at Oracle from 1987 to 1999, where she worked with Benioff and Chief Financial Officer Designate Graham Smith.

Hey, here's another CRM our CRM is not, along with not being aviation's Crew Resource Management, the Clean Room Model or Cardiac Rhythm Management, or even the Centre de Recerca Matemàtica:

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, has announced the release of 59 new Pioneer brand corn hybrids, available to growers across North America for the 2008 planting season. This includes 23 new genetic families matched with technology from the Herculex family of insect protection traits and the Roundup Ready Corn 2 trait.

The Herculex I gene protects the corn plant against European and southwestern corn borer, western bean cutworm, black cutworm, fall armyworm, corn earworm, sugarcane borer, southern cornstalk borer and lesser cornstalk borer, while the Herculex RW trait protects against western, northern and Mexican corn rootworms.

"The maturity for these new hybrids range from 75, or very early, to 118 CRM," says Bob Heimbaugh, North American director of corn product management for Pioneer. That's… great.

First Coffee likes Louis Columbus's "very scientific approach" to defining his own CRM predictions: "Putting Post-It notes of all predictions on the dartboard in the garage and sharing dart throws with my daughter at each." Seriously, Columbus has lots of good stuff, here's his #1:

"Trusted social networking on steroids begins an ascent to credibility. There's so much being written about social networking yet so little on quantifying trust and validating person's identities on these sites that 2008 will most likely be a year there will most likely be an intense focus on validating identities and affiliations. The Beacon fiasco scared the wits out of even progressive-thinking chief information officers; before social networking goes prime time the issue of trust and authenticity will have to be addressed."

Speaking of steroids and throwing, highly readable New York Yankees fan Paul Greenberg has his own list of CRM prophecies, and his Magic Crystal 8-Ball spits out the following #1: "CRM 2.0 will be nearly ubiquitous in 2008 and omnipresent in 2009."

As Greenberg explains: "It's clear with the moves being made by the market makers like salesforce, Oracle, SAP and to a lesser extent Microsoft with the integration of social technologies into their offerings -- and the understanding that customers want cool looking stuff too, that CRM 2.0 is finally reaching the place it should and by 2008 will be there technologically through platforms, partnerships and tools."

The issue that will remain, Greenberg thinks, "will be the culture of the practitioners to take this into the core of their strategy. Its actually a lot harder to 'get' the fact that the customers are in command and that they demand transparency, authenticity and more than anything engagement/collaboration as part of their RFP to those that they will do business with. Don't meet that cultural and strategic set of requirements, the technologies you adopt won't be much use for long."

The dashing -- if that picture's anything to go by -- Denis Pombriant acknowledges social networking in his CRM resolutions for 2008, resolving to "learn more concretely about what social networking concepts apply to marketing, sales and CRM generally. Social networking has an unfortunate association with dating, job seeking and Kevin Bacon, but there's more to it than that. It's worth making sure you have a working knowledge of it so that you can apply those parts that make sense to your business."

First Coffee's #1 CRM prediction for 2008? Let's see… how about "Customers still won't want to have their relationships managed?"

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1 Comment

Most companies are still using ACT! You bet 'ya. Around 10m users compared to 1m for the largest hosted online CRM.

Migrating from ACT to any online service it tough.

There is normally a lot of data left on the cutting room floor. If you've been using ACT to run your business, that's a lot of client relationship information that you'd have to leave behind.

If user adoption is the biggest challenge, then changing to a new system, losing all that data and re-training users who are comfortable with ACT is a tall order.

So all those millions of people who have used ACT for years and years are basically stuck waiting for the perpetual ACT upgrades that continue to disappoint...

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