Tech Bytes & Insights

Is Your Business Ready for the AI Apocalypse?

Posted by Samuel Yeung on Mon, May 02, 2016

You’ve read it in the news. You’ve seen it on TV. Every other week, artificial intelligence (AI) triumphs over feeble human intellect. The latest and most publicized victim is Lee Sedol, the former world champion of the ancient Chinese board game Go, who was trounced in a best-of-three competition by Google’s AlphaGo AI. With a magnitude of more abstract variations and subtleties than chess, Go was supposed to be beyond the grasp of machines for the foreseeable future, which reassured us that we could all rest easy at night, safe in the knowledge that our robot overlords are still quite a ways from gaining sentience and plugging us into the Matrix. This calls for a more serious look at a future in which the little computer in our pockets not only has surpassed us at every board game ever invented, but also could potentially do most of our work for us.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, artificial intelligence, computing, machines, Samuel Yeung, AI, apps

Why Customer Experience Matters to Your Bottom Line (Part Two)

Posted by Leon Wei on Fri, Apr 29, 2016

Customer expectations continue to rise, and the power that a single customer’s experience can have on others makes it more important than ever to understand the value of improving customer experience. In a previous post, we talked about how frustrating a poor customer experience can be and how we can measure the value of a good or bad customer experience. In this post, we’ll dive a bit deeper into how and why it’s worth your while to develop actionable Net Promoter Score (NPS) insights.

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Topics: Leon Wei, customer loyalty, customer experience, customer insights, ZS Associates, ZS, NPS, Measurement, CX, NPS financial impact study

Striking Gold Like a 49er: Five Steps for Realizing Your Potential

Posted by Kyle Heller on Wed, Apr 20, 2016

In 1849, hundreds of thousands of people saw an opportunity to strike it rich and rushed to California in search of gold. While these 49ers, as they were called, had the right idea, the methods that they used to find and capture their riches were crude—at least by today’s standards. I can almost hear the banjo playing in the background as I picture it: a bearded man in a wide-brimmed hat, kneeling over a stream, panning for gold for hours, working incredibly hard but not smart—and thus typically for little return.

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Topics: Kyle Heller, ZS Associates, ZS, High Tech, sales team, gold rush, san francisco 49ers

Lead the Charge in the Social Sales Revolution

Posted by Ashish Vazirani on Mon, Apr 18, 2016

This is the final post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

For those of you who have teenage kids, you may relate when I tell you that it drives me a bit nuts to hear them qualify their responses with “kind of” and “sort of.” When I ask them what they mean, I get a blank stare, and I then have to point out that “kind of” or “sort of” is neither here nor there—it’s noncommittal.

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Topics: Ashish Vazirani, social selling, Social Listening, social branding, selling journey, social organization, six building blocks, social collaboration, social KPIs

Why Customer Experience Matters to Your Bottom Line

Posted by Leon Wei on Fri, Apr 15, 2016

Do you remember the last time that you had such a frustrating customer experience that you wanted to immediately sign into Yelp and leave a scathing negative review? I do. It happened last week.

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Topics: Leon Wei, customer experience, ZS Associates, ZS, NPS, CX, bottom line, referral behavior

Social Seller Journey: Engaging Today’s Digital B-to-B Buyer

Posted by Brandon Mills on Mon, Apr 11, 2016

This is the seventh post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

As has been well documented through recent research, social media is changing the way that B-to-B customers buy: 75% of B-to-B buyers are influenced by social media, according to Frost & Sullivan; 74% of B-to-B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before buying, Forrester Research has reported; and 57% of the purchase decision-making process is completed before a customer engages a sales rep, according to CEB.

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Topics: social selling, ZS Associates, ZS, Brandon Mills, building blocks, social seller journey, sales enablement, customer focus

Social KPIs: Tracking Progress and Proving Impact

Posted by Alec Goldfield on Thu, Apr 07, 2016

This is the sixth post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

While the four aspects of social selling that we’ve covered in our “Six Building Blocks of Social Selling” series all sound like good ideas in theory, it will be difficult to gain traction and prove their worth without a way to track the impact on your business and your team’s progress. This is where social key performance indicators come into play. By tracking measurable performance metrics, sales teams are able to drive and reward desired social selling behaviors. Social KPIs can be related to social selling training (the number of unique logins to a training site, or time spent on educational content), social selling adoption (the number of new connections, or LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index score), and, especially, social selling impact (the number of qualified leads generated, or the number of content shares by customers).

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Topics: social selling, ZS Associates, ZS, Alec Goldfield, key performance indicators, building blocks, social KPIs, tracking progress, proving impact

How Your 5th-Grade Geography Quiz Informs Sales Force Design

Posted by Ryan Madsen on Fri, Mar 25, 2016

I recently helped a high-tech client revamp its North American sales territories. At the start of the project, while looking at a map of the United States, I recalled a quiz from 5th grade for which I had to memorize all 50 states and write their names on a blank map. Then it clicked: Geography matters. Even in an increasingly digital ecosystem, the geography of a sales territory influences the effectiveness of the sales rep assigned to it, regardless of the rep’s individual capability.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, High Tech, sales force design, Ryan Madsen, sales territory planning, geography

Social Collaboration: Impact Through Teamwork

Posted by Alec Goldfield on Wed, Mar 23, 2016

This is the fifth post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

Social collaboration refers to boosting internal best-practice sharing, deal collaboration and the dissemination of content through digital channels. It’s an integral part of working as a team in today’s workplace and can be used to augment other social selling practices, which my colleagues and I have written about in our series, “Six Building Blocks of Social Selling.”

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Topics: social selling, sales, ZS Associates, ZS, Alec Goldfield, B-to-B, building blocks, social collaboration

Social Organization: Using Social Networks to Build a More Effective Sales Team

Posted by Brandon Mills on Tue, Mar 08, 2016

This is the fourth post in a series based on a ZS social selling survey of 125 sales leaders.

My colleagues and I have recently shared some insights on social branding and social listening—two of our “Six Building Blocks of Social Selling”—based on our recent survey of 125 sales leaders across various industries. Unlike those previous building blocks, which typically are the first that we think of in connection with social selling, social organization isn’t at the center of the social selling conversation. This third building block refers to a set of internal practices that make use of social networks to help build more effective sales teams.

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Topics: social selling, sales, ZS Associates, ZS, High Tech, Brandon Mills, B-to-B, telecom, building blocks, social organization, social insights

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