My Top 10 Favorite Posts of 2010

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After the dark days of 2009 that followed the financial meltdown, 2010 was marked by slow and unsteady improvement in the economy. Although Tiger Woods never got his groove back, businesses started making money again as consumers (those employed, anyway) cautiously opened their wallets.

Our community grew like wildfire in 2010, increasing to 80,000+ visitors per month by the year’s end. We more than doubled the number of active authors to 450, thanks to our launch of several new communities and our syndication program.

That made it all the more difficult for me to pick my favorite posts of the year. We cover a dozen different topics, from customer-centric leadership to technology. Social Business was our most popular topic at 27% of all posts. Leadership, Sales Performance, Digital Marketing, Customer Experience and Service & Support were also very popular.

I picked my 2010 favs by reviewing 500+ editor’s picks along with our highest rated, most viewed and most discussed posts of the year. These posts will really make you think about what it takes to create a profitable, customer-centric business. Enjoy!

2010: Year of Social CRM
Harish Kotadia opened up the year with this gem, discussing the unique opportunity that social media brings marketers to engage with customers and create loyal relationships. One of the many reasons Harish was our most popular author of 2010.

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Return On Customer Experience Investments
I don’t know exactly who “Virginia” is, but now she knows why it makes sense to invest in customer experience! Jon Picoult shares research on how companies that excel in delivering great end-to-end customer experiences are rewarded by consumers and investors.

Why Steve Jobs doesn’t listen to customers
Listening to the “voice of customers” has spawned a new industry of solutions and methodologies. However, Shaun Smith argues that how you listen is critical, pointing out that the Apple CEO is adept at seeing what customers didn’t realize they wanted.

Influencer Strategies – We Shouldn’t Want Them
This post is a great example of why Wim Rampen was our best conversation starter of 2010, disputing the notion that “influentials” even exist. Why not help customers get their jobs done, instead of yet another attempt to control?

Why Executives Don’t Respond To Solution Selling
Sales reps are often encouraged to “sell high” and solve a specific “pain” with their solutions. Former F500 CFO Jack Dean says in his buy-side experience, probing for pain rarely paid off in a second meeting. He offers a more effective approach to act like a true business partner.

About Them Customers’ Expectations
Esteban Kolsky stirred up one of the most heated debates of the year by proclaiming that a social business must exceed customer expectations. Shocking idea! Some agreed, and others countered that consistency is more important. What’s your strategy?

Why ERP is critical to a customer-centric business (and CRM/sCRM is not the endgame)
This post by yours truly stimulated an interesting debate about what customers really care about and the role of CRM technology vs. strategy. There’s more to a customer-centric business than automating the front-office, right?

Social Media And The Disintermediation Of Sales People
Top sales blogger Dave Brock discusses the challenges and opportunities that social media brings to the sales profession. Recommended reading for anyone in B2B sales that would like to continue selling to Customer 2.0.

How to show customers you appreciate their business
Head hurting from all these wonky debates? Then take a break as Cheryl Hanna shares eight disarmingly simple but highly useful phrases to help front-line employees leave a positive impression with customers.

Earning Your Customers’ Rave: Make These 5 Decisions, And Customers Will Grow Your Business For You
Jeanne Bliss reveals how you can earn your customers’ devotion and drive your business growth. Written in early 2010, it’s well worth reading—and re-reading—as you prepare for 2011.

These posts represent just a small fraction of many outstanding contributions by our top authors. Thanks to everyone for your interest and support of CustomerThink in 2010.

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