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Small Business Trends One on One Interviews

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Christi Olson of Microsoft: Cortana, Office 365, Bing, LinkedIn Connect Personal and Professional

While there are over 150 million phone devices with digital assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, and quickly growing smart speaker devices with Amazon’s Alexa on board, there’s another device that dwarfs these numbers in comparison. While they are considered voice-first devices, there are over a half billion Windows 10 devices (including Xboxes) with Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, on board listening out for your questions and requests. And throw in pieces like Office 365,...

Duration: 00:17:35

Eric Bisceglia of Voysis: 2018 the year retailers should invest in voice tech

I focused a few of the last conversations on the growing importance of voice-first technologies that have us swiping/typing less and talking more to our devices. And as consumer adoption of devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home, among others, takes off, companies need to get serious about how this will impact customer engagement. And next year is the year to start figuring it out, according to Eric Bisceglia, VP of Go-to-Market for Voysis, a voice AI platform that enables voice driven...

Duration: 00:22:52

Suhas Uliyar of Oracle: AI, Immersive Tech and Conversational Interfaces Converge at CX

One of my favorite conferences of the year this week with Oracle Openworld, mainly because Oracle is a company that competes in a variety of business application categories. And they do have apps for the higher end of the SMB space. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this year, but very fortunate to speak with Suhas Uliyar, Oracle’s VP of Bots, AI and Mobile Strategy. With artificial intelligence, bots and voice-first devices being three of the hottest topics today, I was glad Suhas took...

Duration: 00:18:13

Des Traynor of Intercom: Churn and retention are the new conversion and should be treated as such

It’s been almost four years since I spoke with Adobe’s Kevin Lindsay about how companies focus the overwhelming majority of their marketing resources on customer acquisition activities vs. customer retention. And during this week’s Inbound Conference put on by HubSpot, it appears that this is still the case, according to Des Traynor, cofounder and Chief Strategy Officer of Intercom, a messaging platform that helps businesses connect with customers. Traynor’s session at Inbound on the...

Duration: 00:08:53

John Lawson of Watching Amazon: Non-stop News from Amazon Provides Non-stop Lessons for SMBs

There is so much going on with Amazon these days I find myself watching them constantly and looking for lessons to take away from all the moves they’re making, from a customer engagement perspective. And I not alone in my non-stop watching, as my friend and ecommerce thought leader John Lawson is a big time Amazon watcher as well. So it was only natural for us to take are watching to a new level and do it together, which is what our video podcast Watching Amazon is all about.

Duration: 00:08:54

Dave Isbitski of Amazon: We believe voice will fundamentally change how we interact with technology

According to a recent NPR/Edison Research study of smart speaker owners, 42% of people surveyed say it has become essential to their everyday lives, 47% say they use it more now than they did when they first got it, and 65% say they wouldn’t go back to life without them. And of all the folks who took this survey, 76% own the Amazon Echo. Although I didn’t take the survey, you can count me in all these numbers, as ever since I bought my first Amazon Echo almost three years ago I’ve been...

Duration: 00:26:52

Jon Ferrara of Nimble: Social as a word is going away, we're just gonna get back to doing business

I was really glad that Jon Ferrara, founder of Nimble (and before that GoldMine), was able to join me for this week’s conversation. Because it was Jon who was my very first guest in this series those seven years ago. We cover a lot of ground as we reminisce about the past, dig into what’s changed over the past seven years in the CRM space, and eventually look at what is coming down the pike. So this is a bit longer than usual. But hey, it’s not every day you hit a pretty cool milestone...

Duration: 00:19:42

Justin MacDonald on African Leadership University: Using Marketing Automation to Change a Narrative

Justin shares how ALU is using marketing automation to scale their marketing efforts to reach their goal of creating three million entrepreneurs by 2060 by building 25 campuses throughout the continent. And by doing so changing a narrative of the continent to better represent the innovativeness and talent of the African youth.

Duration: 00:12:09

Rajan Krishnan of Oracle: AI should take us from Hindsight, to Insight, to Ultimately Foresight

Earlier this spring I had the absolute pleasure to moderate an all star panel on how artificial intelligence (AI) is and will impact customer engagement. The panel consisted of executives at some of the leading vendors in the CRM industry, including: Marco Casalaina, vice president of products at’s Einstein division Volker Hildebrand, Global Vice President at SAP Hybris Rajan Krishnan, Group Vice President of Applications Product Development at Oracle Michael Wu, Chief...

Duration: 00:46:42

Morgan Cornelius of Instagram: Over 50% of Businesses on Instagram have Used Stories in Last Month

Morgan Cornelius, Instagram’s community programs lead for SMBs, shared with me why businesses are turning to Instagram Stories, how they are using it to engage their audiences, and how they are able to measure the impact Stories is having on their engagement efforts.

Duration: 00:13:20

Jeremy Epstein of NSM: Blockchain Will Disrupt Marketing, Customer Experience and Trust

Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing and blockchain expert, just published a really great free ebook on blockchain, titled The CMO Primer for the Block Chain World: How this Trust Machine Impacts Branding, Customer Experience, Advertising and Much More. Jeremy shared with me the crux of what blockchain is, why it’s important beyond bitcoin, and how it might change the way marketers operate and disrupt how businesses create effective customer experiences going forward.

Duration: 00:19:18

Rohan Gilkes of Wet Shave Club: Successful Subscription Businesses are Data-driven

Small Business Trends Publisher Anita Campbell led a great conversation on the benefits and challenges of running a subscription based business, from both a B2C and B2B perspective. Rohan Gilkes, owner of Wet Shave Club, and Sangram Vajre, cofounder and CMO of account-based marketing platform Terminus, share their experiences in growing subscription businesses. And together they cover a lot ground and provide some great insights that can help those considering this business model...

Duration: 00:23:49

Tee Rowe of America’s SBDC: Women Entrepreneurs More Risk Averse than Men, More Focused on Planning

Last month we posted a conversation with The Center for Generational Kinetics CEO Jason Dorsey discussing the research study they did with America’s SBDC, titled America’s Voice on Small Business. To get additional perspective on the results and what they mean, I also spoke with Tee Rowe, CEO of America’s SBDC. Tee discusses how millennial entrepreneurs are different than their predecessors, and how those differences drive changes in the way organizations like America’s SBDC assist in...

Duration: 00:07:47

Austin Rohr of FinancialForce: PSA with CRM a Winning Combo in New Services Economy

FinancialForce, a leading provider of cloud-based apps like ERP, financial management, and professional services automation (PSA) built entirely on the Salesforce platform, recently held their annual user conference – Community Live. And a theme resonated throughout the three days I attended the event – speed is the currency in the new Services Economy. One of the ways discussed at the conference for speeding up your company’s ability to deliver consistenly good experiences throughout...

Duration: 00:05:59

Benedict of Oracle Team USA: How Sensors, Data, Drones and Video Shape Chase for America’s Cup

Benedict, a member of Oracle Team USA, took a few minutes away from the race to share how the team is using an unbelievable amount of data they are able to collect during the race, along with video and pictures captured, to help change strategies in realtime to move the team forward. And while this is fascinating to see how modern tech is changing the race for The Cup, there are definite business lessons to take away. Plus, I get to bust out my cabana wear for the first time in a while. So...

Duration: 00:05:32

Art Papas of Bullhorn: 65 percent of Millennials Rather Talk to Chatbots than Humans, so Let Them

I had the pleasure of speaking with Bullhorn founder and CEO Art Papas during the conference, where he shared his thoughts on why he feels all the AI talk is just that – talk, for now. He also shares why AI and voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa will play a major role in CRM in the not-too-distant future.

Duration: 00:11:57

Jason Dorsey of 61% of Millennials View Entrepreneurship as More Stable than Employment

Last month America’s SBDC teamed up with research firm The Center for Generational Kinetics on an interesting study – America’s Voice on Small Business. You can check out infographics and download a copy of this free report here (no registration required). Jason Dorsey, co-founder of the Center for Generational Kinetics and leading expert on researching millennials, shared with us some of the key findings of the survey, including what’s driving millennials into entrepreneurship, and how...

Duration: 00:10:54

Katherine Kostereva of bpm’online: 80% of Businesses Don’t Automate Processes; AI will Change That

Bpm’online CEO and Founder Katherine Kostereva shared a few thoughts with me on why she believes stats like the ones above are still happening in 2017. And why artificial intelligence will be a catalyst for more companies to begin automating important processes in their businesses in order to compete today and into the future.

Duration: 00:12:08

Cynthia Hester of Salesforce: Sharing Your Trailblazing Story Could Earn a Free Trip to Dreamforce

I attended my first Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual user conference, in 2004 where the attendance was right around 2,500 people. Last year’s Dreamforce over 150,000 registered to attend. It’s gone past a traditional user conference to one of the biggest business events of the year. And this year the company is launching their first annual Customer Trailblazer Awards, where winners not only get to attend Dreamforce for free, but they also will have the power of Salesforce’s marketing might...

Duration: 00:10:18

John Oeschle of Swiftpage: How Act! Transformed After 30 Years to Help Serve SMBs For 30 More

John Oeschle, CEO of Swiftpage, shares how they transformed Act! from an off the shelf software app bought in stores, to a subscription-based cloud offering customers pay to use by the month; increasing it’s subscription customers by 140% and annual recurring revenue by 131% over the past year. And how that transformation has changed the way the company interacts with customers today, and how they’ll interact with them tomorrow.

Duration: 00:18:20

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