The 2004 Influential Leaders

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MARC BENIOFF Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com CRM's Bad Boy Is a Good Influence Benioff, known for his marketing bravado, has once again brought a great deal of attention to the CRM industry. Salesforce.com's successful IPO helps both to validate the importance of CRM and to pave the way for such companies as RightNow Technologies, SalesNet, and FrontRange to realize their own planned IPOs. Not that these companies needed the boost--they're all having their share of success. However, Benioff's Barnumlike knack for publicity not only made for the loudest quiet period ever, but also put CRM squarely in the front of executives' minds. Many criticize the company for its "imbalance" of marketing versus R&D spending, but Benioff ensured that his brainchild delivered quarterly upgrades, as well as such major releases as sforce, an on-demand application server. And while he may not always be charitable to competitors, Benioff's efforts to promote human welfare led him to coauthor
Compassionate Capitalism, a guide to corporate philanthropy. DAVID GARNER President and CEO, ClientLogic Helping Businesses Find the Right Shore As the debate about the virtues and evils of offshore outsourcing rages, Garner is educating business leaders on the realities of rightshoring. Garner's powerful message is simple and sensible: Don't rush offshore to join the latest trend just because competitors might be doing it--determine what's best for your company, and then follow that path. What's best, according to Garner, may very well be to keep contact center operations in-house. It may be a mix of in-house and outsourcing. Or it may be a mix of onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing facilities. Whatever the choice may be, the goal is to balance an organization's objectives with the locations that best serve the needs of its end customers. JAMES MITCHELL Senior Vice President and CTO, Concerto Software Creating a Culture of Compliance Recent legislation like Do Not Call (DNC) has made marketing and telesales even more of a challenge than it had been in the past. Much of the industry was in a state of panic after the launch of DNC, but Mitchell's was a calming voice. Through the trade press and national media, white papers, conferences, and at customer sites, Mitchell served as a resource of information on DNC--not just for Concerto's customers, but for the industry in general. He made strategic recommendations on how companies can create cultures of compliance and how to benefit from doing so. And he urged companies to update their business processes and retrain agents to keep pace with this new reality. Mitchell's message is that DNC will lead to greater efficiency, and that efficiency will allow companies to sell and market to a more receptive, better-targeted audience. MICHAEL THOMAS and BRENT LEARY Copartners and Cofounders, CRM Essentials Evangelizing the Good News Thomas and Leary, veterans of such firms as PeopleSoft, Oracle, and PwC, recognized a void in the CRM market and sought to fill it. What they saw was that CRM vendors and consultants were missing the opportunity to educate minority businesses on the benefits of CRM. The partners began a mission to direct the attention of the CRM industry to this valuable business segment. So far, so good: Thomas and Leary are working with the Georgia Minority Business Development Center and Microsoft to create a model for educating SMBs in major metropolitan areas throughout the country on CRM. They are in talks with the federal government's Minority Business Development Agency on how CRM Essentials and the agency can work together to educate minority communities on CRM. And, they will run the CRM track at this month's "Moving Your Business Forward in 2005" conference, an event hosted by The Atlanta Tribune. Thomas and Leary serve as vice presidents of technology for the CRM Association, and are members of the founding committee of MTech, a special interest group within the Technology Association of Georgia focusing on technology in the minority business community. Additionally, they write a monthly column on CRM in the Atlanta Tribune, spotlighting companies that have successfully implemented CRM. Influential Leaders: Customers Michael Catalonello Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Executive, Reed Business Information Getting Past Big Brother Reed's 100 business publications all run independently. This means that the company's 300-plus sales reps each maintain their own customer database--and in the past, it also meant that managers had limited ability to forecast, to conduct customer profiling or analyses, or to develop best practices. Catalonello was charged with increasing sales effectiveness across the organization, part of which was the implementation of an Onyx CRM system. Fearing Big Brother, reps balked. One even said she would be fired before using CRM. Catalonello, who previously had successfully launched a CRM initiative at General Electric, included the reps in the development and definition of the project, allowing them to design the system to meet their needs. He also spent time showing reps how CRM could help them improve their skills and collaborate better, and thus sell more. This approach engendered such trust that Reed has seen a 90 percent adoption rate among the divisions in which CRM has been deployed. Even the woman willing to be fired was a convert--she now is an enthusiastic advocate of the system. Atique Shah Vice President of CRM and Technology Solutions, Churchill Downs Three Times a Charm Shah knows how to do CRM right. After all, he has completed successful, award-winning implementations for the National Basketball Association and GSI Commerce. This past year at GSI, as vice president of CRM, Shah created a system that would support more than 60 customers, including The Sports Authority, Estee Lauder, and Reebok, yet adhere to privacy guidelines and Direct Marketing Association standards. And he did all this in less than half a year. Today GSI's CRM system includes a centralized data mart, a real-time cross-sell engine, a marketing campaign engine, and a call center that together have generated more than $2 million in incremental sales since the go-live date. So why stop there? At Churchill Downs Shah is spearheading an industry-first CRM initiative--and everyone is watching. Similar to the initiative at the NBA, Shah must get buy-in from not only executives and users at the parent organization, but at the horsetrack company's individual properties as well. So, he hired a team of seasoned CRM veterans and hit the road, visiting Churchill Downs' other tracks to discuss each property's needs and expectations. He also examined the current systems in depth and identified 27 data sources that will eventually feed the CRM system, and is creating the statement of work that will guide the initiative. His success is a sure bet. Influential Leaders: Ones to Watch Michael McCloskey, CEO, FrontRange and Karen Richardson, CEO, E.piphany Two CEOs, One Mission Both McCloskey and Richardson joined their respective firms in the summer of 2003; have driven quarter-over-quarter gains since taking the helm; and have reinvigorated their companies' focus on technology innovation. Most important, they both have been charged with reinventing their respective organizations and are doing so, with diligence and enthusiasm. McCloskey restored FrontRange to profitability, increasing profits 17 percent and cutting operating costs by 20 percent. He led the company's expansion into new markets, including South America and China, rebuilt faltering relations with channel partners, and championed the acquisition of 450 new customers. He had a direct role in reinvigorating GoldMine, including having launched numerous upgrades and functionalities, such as GoldMine Mobile Edition. To top it all off, McCloskey has projected the launch of GoldMine's hosted edition this month, and an IPO by year-end. Richardson refocused E.piphany on its customers and the idea that serving them well means simplifying integration. Thus, she has driven the buildout of E.piphany's J2EE architecture, and has concentrated the company on growing its customer base of large consumer-oriented businesses. This has led E.piphany to 30 percent year-over-year revenue gains. HALL OF FAME Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle The "Godfather" of CRM Oracle may not be as well known or as celebrated for its CRM application as its competitors, but no one can deny the fact that "by association" Oracle's chief executive has made an indelible mark on the CRM industry. What we mean is this: Many of the industry's top executives were high-flyers at Oracle, and many of them reported directly to Ellison. He built a culture of leadership--and these leaders are now all imprinting their marks on the industry by running market-leading companies. These hard-charging individuals include CRM's reigning king and CRM magazine Hall of Famer, Siebel Systems' Tom Siebel; PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway; two-time Influential Leader and Salesforce.com Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff; and NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson and Chairman and CTO Evan Goldberg. Other top industry executives who have driven success at Oracle and at their current firms include Peter Dunning of RightNow Technologies; Jeff Scheel and David Schmaier of Siebel Systems; and Tien Tzuo of Salesforce.com. Jim Goodnight, Ph.D., CEO, Chairman, and President, SAS Institute Employees Are Customers, Too Dr. Goodnight's reputation precedes him. The reason? He practices what he preaches. He doesn't just tell customers how great SAS software is, he uses it extensively himself every day, not only during his average workday, but also during customer meetings, presentations, and conference speeches. He doesn't just expect programmers to come up with "the next big thing"--even as CEO he gets into the trenches and works with his team on select software programming. And he doesn't just pay lip service to the idea that if you treat employees well, they'll treat customers well. His philosophy is that his employees are the company's unmatchable competitive advantage. And he treats them accordingly by offering exceptional health benefits, childcare centers, and other worklife programs. In fact, he treats employees so well that SAS has won myriad awards from such publications as Fortune, Computerworld, and Working Mother for being one of the top companies to work for in the United States. Not surprisingly, the company gets on average about 200 resumes for each job opening it advertises. As a result of his hands-on approach, SAS has achieved its 27th year of growth and profitability, with a 13.5 percent increase in revenue in 2003. Revenues for the first half of 2004 were up 8 percent over the first half of 2003. Dr. Goodnight is also committed to the success of the industry, and has been involved in such projects as working with the Federal Trade Commission to improve how companies responsibly use customer data.
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