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Welcome to episode 17 of VB Engage, the VentureBeat podcast where we dissect mobile and marketing in a brutally honest way.

This week, we take a look at the world of customer relationship management (CRM). Before you hit the snooze button, there’s a lot brewing in the world of mobile sales engagement, predictive selling, and social sales that makes this an interesting sphere.

Plus we get to chat with the Godfather of CRM, Jon Ferrara. He literally — not figuratively — invented GoldMine, one of the very first CRM solutions, over 25 years ago.


Last week, Stewart and Travis talked with Roland Smart, the VP of social and community at Oracle and author of the book The Agile Marketer. If you missed it, it’s a must-read, especially if you’re a modern marketer.

But since we have a CRM pioneer with us today, let’s talk about sales technology and where it is going in a mobile-only world.

Clari launched a new sales predictive analytics tool this week called Clari Connect. It is a product that really helps the salesperson on the go by taking full advantage of the smartphone. A focus on the salesperson doesn’t mean it isn’t good for sales managers and executives, too. They get to see accurate sales projections, instead of the hyped numbers “Connecticut Charlie” claims he’ll close. We also discuss Crystal, Spiro, and other mobile sales enablement tools that are changing the game.

This is also the episode in which Stewart feigns surprise as Travis reveals that he has been a stand-up comic since 1995. Deep down, Stewart knows that Travis is the funniest martech guy he has ever met, second only to our esteemed guest.

Jon Ferrara thinks that “sales” has become a four-letter word, or worse still, that CRM is so far from “customer relationship management” now that many salespeople think the acronym stands for “customer reporting management.” Traditional CRM is great for the sales manager, which is why many salespeople shun the system.

In the old days, we gave everyone a desk, a phone, and a computer. Today it’s a ‘bring your own app to work’ economy. Sales guys are finding their own tools. I believe that the mobile app economy is crucial for successful salespeople today. – Jon Ferrara

Jon says that relationships are key, and Travis agrees. He has been able to connect with people and build his career from Kansas City due — in no small part — to social media (specifically, Twitter.)

And Jon thinks that relationships are fluid. They may start on Twitter, where you can find areas of commonality, then switch over to LinkedIn, before moving to email, and ultimately to the calendar for an appointment or video call. If you’re doing it right, your relationship grows deeper, and you connect on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Through these fluid connections, prospects and customers get to know you — not just your business persona — which is key, because sales is still driven by emotional connections.

That transcends business and moves into the what Jon calls “the Five Fs”: Family. Friends, Food, Fun, and Frolicking. This is where the relationship really solidifies. The only way to maintain a real relationship with someone today is to stay top-of-mind, and you can’t do that with a monthly newsletter. You do that by adding value to their journey to become their trusted advisor. They will not only pick up the phone, they will bring their friends with them.

And that’s why Jon says relationships are personal. It doesn’t matter if you are connecting on mobile, social, or desktop. The touchpoints are personal. And they don’t stay with the company these days, either. Everyone has a golden Rolodex (kids — you can Google Rolodex). In many cases, you take those relationships with you when you’re hired elsewhere. Mobile technologies can really help you accelerate a relationship, deepen it, and maintain it.

Lastly, we do some future-gazing with Jon and talk about getting a computer spinal tap to be able to know everything in an instant — a dream of Stewart’s, in fact. Jon’s mission is to help people become better, faster, and smarter. That’s kind of what his company, Nimble, does. Jon loves to power people, and we love Jon. Oh, and Jon consistently forgets that visual jokes don’t translate well on an audio podcast, but we love him all the more for it.

Tune in next week for Jonathan Abrams. He is the founder of the content curation tool, Nuzzel. He is also the former CEO of Friendster. Listen. Subscribe. Listen Again. Listen Again. Review the podcast. Thanks!


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