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The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2017: Countdown, Part 1

Something very interesting is happening in the world of CRM blogs: CRM becomes less and less a subject . Oh, he's here – he's just cranked to the back of the stage by a host of other disciplines and related technologies.

The customer experience, customer engagement and content marketing rival artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and bots to sew the CRM at the back of the scene. The CRM is always there, and it's the CRM that brings together these disparate trends and market forces.

So, instead of creating lists of the top five customer experience blogs or the seven best customer technology blogs, we'll stick to the list of the top 20 – for now, at least.

Some of those at the top have been here for a very long time. Some down and middle are on the list for the very first time. They all share the same commitment to consistency, quality and attitude that makes readers come back, making them important voices for anyone working in the field of CRM.

The criteria are simple: you may not be a supplier (even if there are good provider blogs), and if you work for one, your blog must be vendor independent. You must publish at least seven times in the last calendar year, and your main goal must be CRM, or at least be what the Brent Leary CRM analyst describes as "CRM-ish."

That being established, let's take a look at the list, starting with number 20.

20. Lynn Hunsaker

Sometimes you just need the facts. Lynn Hunsaker, writing for
CustomerThink, exposes the facts of the customer experience in each publication. There's usually an introduction, which can touch a metaphor of the blog's lesson – and you'd better catch your breath now, because when you get into the flesh of your messages, there's a lot to digest.

Established in an organized, almost scientific manner, Hunsaker's blogs provide lists of best practices that are deep and comprehensive, perfect for organizations that want to revise their clients' efforts or build measurement systems that are not to be missed their success.

She also brings the numbers: In an article about customer service and customer loyalty, she says you have to immerse all employees at all levels in the reality of customers, which is easy to assert. Then, she drops the bomb: A company that did this – and in the process has reduced its time to solve problems by 89 percent, has seen a 288 percent increase in customer lifetime value.

Most of his messages use this tactic: Make an assertion, give advice based on it, and then use statistics to show how strong the initial assertion is. Customer experience, marketing operations and how to evaluate success and failure effectively and economically are among the most frequently discussed topics.

Contributions in 2017: 20

Favorite message:
Prevention of customer experience process silos: 4 prerequisites

19. Kerry Bodine & Co.

The former Forrester analyst, Kerry Bodine, brings his expertise on managing the business aspects of delivering customer experiences
Kerry Bodine & Co.'s Blog While it's clear that she likes to talk about the process of mapping trips and measuring the feelings of customers about their experiences, there are some very human things that she and her casual associate Amelia Sizemore have to keep coming back.

Technology will never keep a promise made to a customer – only a human can do it. Technology can never think of weird things that can go wrong for a customer and prepare for these events in advance to make sure the customer's problem turns into a positive experience – but people can do it.

Bodine describes herself as a creator, but the systems she talks about designing are neither digital nor analog – they are a synthesis of technology and human activities, reflecting the real world.

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Too many people who talk about customer experience are so delicate that companies can never put their ideas to work; others become so obsessed with technology that their advice loses its humanity and therefore has little impact on the clients it is supposed to influence.

Bodine does an excellent job of bridging the gap, presenting feasible ways to create better experiences for buyers, outlining smart strategies for evaluating how you are doing, and prioritizing both.

Blog posts in 2017: 42

Favorite message:
Why you need to measure trips – not just points of contact

18. Natalie Petouhoff

Natalie Petouhoff, Ph.D., may be Vice President of Salesforce (and Program Manager at the Center for Innovation and Transformation, to be exact), but
her blog is completely independent of the seller, and she assiduously follows a purely educational tone.

About half of the posts come from guest bloggers, but this blog is at its best when Petouhoff puts a virtual pen on electronic paper. For example, its history of a program to boost employee development highlights three things: the value of talking to customers (in this case, the company's employees); the need to respond to the emotional needs of the people you are trying to influence; and the value of setting a return on investment number, especially when you try something new that may seem "hot and unclear" to a leader who controls the purse strings.

The blog is sprinkled with these kinds of articles – which, in a small number of words, touch a collection of bigger, interrelated points.

You will need to read with your brain shot at 11 to pick up all the little lessons mixed up in the larger customer experience, the business and CRM discussions – what is it? c & # 39; was? a paragraph about the dangers of group-thinking in a piece about digital transformation? — But it's worth it. Petouhoff's blogs are fun to read, stuffed with ideas and saved with data.

Contributions in 2017: 25

Favorite message:
What is the number one thing that today's CEOs have to do? Make the OODA loop faster and more innovative

17. Tech CRM Toolbox Blog

Toolbox Tech, the former InsideCRM blog, has been streamlined and cleaned, resulting in a nifty product that has delivered a message for every business day in 2017.

The quality of the messages is still quite varied, but it is much more stable, thanks to writers like Rick Cook, Henry Kaiser and Lewis Robinson – people who have gone around the block to see the story of technology to repeat itself. ]

Until recently, the byline was almost always an enigmatic "CRM desk", as if a piece of furniture was producing this prolific blog, but writers now have the credit – as they deserve it.

There are no rewrite press releases from last year, either – all this is fresh, and it is written at a level that will be beneficial to all CRM practitioners except the most worn. Your humble reporter started this blog, but it's not sentimental – the team working there today raised it to a new level in 2017.

Total publications 2017: about 270

Favorite message:
Win the battle of clean data

16. Customer Experience Matrix

David Raab is a bit enigmatic
Customer Experience Matrix (his name comes from a tool he's developed to visualize marketing and operational interactions) is the guide to automating marketing, changing marketing approaches and various other tools technologies that are attracted into the orbit of marketing.

That's a pretty wide range of things, and Raab negotiates it with an apparently amused attitude – he can be a serious authority on this stuff, but he does not take himself seriously.

The evidence came in an article entitled "Retrospective 2017: Things I Did not Predict", a bit at the opposite of an article on predictions, in which it describes eight trends that surprised him.

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Sometimes in the technical details, sometimes at the level where the strategy is discussed, this blog becomes more and more readable with the time, while becoming more and more essential to guide the confused world of MarTech.

Total Publications of 2017: 45

Favorite message:
Amazon buys whole foods. This is not a question of groceries

15. B2B Lead Blog

In the era of customer experience, the pendulum has evolved strongly towards the customer. The advice is always to be "customer centric", or to put "the customer at the center of everything you do". But your business is still a business, and it needs to do things to survive and thrive. How do you get a balance?

B2B Lead Blog, written by Brian Carroll and others, perfectly explains how to meet the conflicting needs of businesses and customers without seeing them as a zero-sum game.

Yes, you should be extremely empathetic, offer great value and build your processes around customers – but only after being rigorous about marketing activities, like deciding which customers will pay the best for you and focus on their . These realistic tips are complemented by long-term interviews with marketing managers with similar perspectives.

Total Publications of 2017: 16

Favorite message:
How to attract B2B customers with amazing content

14. The epokonic blog

Perplexed about the possible ramifications of an acquisition in the CRM space? Hit the
Epikonic blog, written by Thomas Wieberneit. There is probably already thought about it, applied his experience as a consultant on the subject, and turned around a 1000 word message on this blog that provides multiple shots on the subject.

This is not the true strength of this blog, however. Wieberneit is perhaps the most enthusiastic opinion leader I've ever met. It also delivers treatises on ambient computing, artificial intelligence and customer service (its comparison of a modern call center with a football team). a "coach", and mark the goal of customer satisfaction, for example) demonstrates the narrative ability with a goal in mind.

What's frustrating him? Disconnected and fragmented systems that make it impossible to offer a high quality experience to customers. The answer: back away and understand that trust, human connection and autonomous people are required on both sides of the buying and selling interaction.

These things, Wieberneit notes, do not require any technology to deliver, and this is part of the blog's point. An excellent customer experience is the goal. all the technology that offers is simply a set of tools to achieve the real goal.

Messages in 2017: (54)

Favorite message:
Customer Service – How to turn a bad experience into a positive experience

13. CX Journey

In 2017, Annette Franz passed from an opinion leader working for someone else to the CEO of her own CX consulting company. You might think that the extra time needed to perform the show would have undermined his energy for the
CX Journey blog – and if so, you would be wrong.

Yes, she included guest messages here and there, but they were not there to buy her time. Instead, they added to the conversations she had already started. Since CRM (discipline, not software) begins with engaged employees, its frequent advice on how to engage, educate and excite workers is especially helpful.

Franz's efforts to shed light on topics such as corporate culture, change management and leadership reinforce his view that engaged clients are the result of the efforts of committed employees.

If you think that all of the tips here are inward-looking, there are many activities aimed at making the organization more customer-centric: better mapping of customer journeys, more effective programs for customers and customer communities. example.

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Instead of offering a lot of small one-off solutions ("collect data on IT!") As some blogs do, this one aims to create a healthier organization that leads to healthier customer relationships.

Total publications in 2017: 68

Favorite message:
How to engage employees in your customer experience strategy

12. Duct Tape Marketing Blog

Not everyone is an ideal target for John Jantsch long and prolific
Duct Tape Marketing blog: It is aimed squarely at the small business. This means that you do not have a lot of content on CRM technology or discussions about the relationships and the organization of the service. Instead, you have a lot of messages about doing things – something that small businesses need to do to survive, but also something that the rest of us can understand.

There are a lot of mixed podcasts here (and even some articles on how small businesses can create their own podcasts!) And John has a lot of help from guest writers and from topics of interviews with beautiful prospects.

I particularly like Jay Baer's advice to look for negative reviews online, as they are a great way to discover ways to make your business better.

We focus a lot on the customer experience, but also on other things that have an impact on customer relationships – content, public relations, website experience etc. There is also a good dose of advice on back-to-basics sales processes like lead generation, funnel management and techniques for generating return sales.

There is a lot to digest here – so the blog has a menu of 15 categories at the bottom, which can help you focus on the messages relevant to the business problems that weigh most heavily on you today. # 39; hui. The basics are important – and this blog continues to cover them very well.

Blog posts in 2017: many (the format makes impossible the exact count)

Favorite message:
Why the customer experience is the key to an amazing business

11. Nick Baggott's CRM and Digital Marketing Blog

Writing short is difficult. Writing on complex topics like SEO, content marketing and customer loyalty is really difficult. So, a nod to Baggott for having managed to get as much valuable advice in his posts, which goes straight to the point and gives you plenty of time to think about how to apply his ideas.

Some are quite sensible – content marketing and SEO go hand in hand! – but need reinforcement. Others, like his article on negative comments on social media, are much more detailed and address topics that are of concern to many small businesses, but for which there is little practical and practical advice.

He also mixes essays on topics like marketing in developing countries, which gives him an opportunity to get back to the basics – even without a ton of technology, the ideas are the same. Baggott is a helpful voice that provides a useful foundation for professionals who are moving away from the marketing side of the CRM equation.

Contributions in 2017: 17

Favorite message:
How to improve your marketing influence

Stay tuned: Top 20 CRM Blogs 2017, Part 2

Chris Bucholtz is a columnist at ECT News Network since 2009. He focuses on CRM, sales and marketing software, and the interface between people and technology. A noted speaker and author, Chris has covered the CRM space for 10 years.
Email Chris.