Customer, Tech and Social Strategies: 41 Talented Leaders Voice Their Thoughts

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.” – James Broughton

How do the most successful companies in the world of business leverage technology for business benefit? How does their journey through the social media landscape allow them get more out of the social Web?  And how have they transitioned from providing customer service to consistently delivering great customer experiences that lead to loyalty and brand advocacy?

Below we delve into the minds of industry thought leaders in the SlideShare at the bottom of this article.  The quotes are the outgrowth of the thought-leader interview series I’ve hosted for the past two years here at Small Business Trends.  We grabbed some of the best quotes we could remember — inspirational and thought-provoking quotes.

From Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity, to Laura Thomas of Dell.  From Christian Taylor of Payvment to Jon Ferrara of Nimble.  From Loni Stark of Adobe to Cindy Bates of Microsoft.  Some quotes introduce us to new concepts like Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo’s thoughts on The Subscription Economy.  Others reinforce tried and true ideas, like Brian Solis on what happens when we lose our footing.  These and many more thought leaders voice their ideas to  inspire you, and give you insights for your business.  We invite you to take advantage of the wisdom this collection of business leaders shared with us over the past two years — and in keeping with the times, we’ve also made it easy for you to tweet shortened quotes if you like:

“Email lights the fire and social fans the flame.” Tweet This Quote from Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact

“If somebody in a business exhibits that natural tendency to interact in social media, let that person lead it.”  Tweet This Quote from Laura Thomas of Dell

On social customer service: “I’ve found that customers want the right experience, at the right time.”  Tweet This Quote from Frank Eliason of Citibank

“A social business [has social] embedded into the company‘s workflow… into the soul of the company.” Tweet This Quote from Sandy Carter of IBM

“Ecommerce on Facebook is not just throwing a store up on Facebook.” Tweet This Quote from Christian Taylor, founder of Payvment

“It’s not just about how to listen, but to have a good team that can act & capitalize on opportunities.” Tweet This Quote from Cory Hartlen of Salesforce

“The new generation of customers now using social media…want to hear directly from the brand.” Tweet This Quote from Tu Nguyen of  Gongshow Gear

“Once something goes up on social media, you don’t have control over it anymore.” Tweet This Quote from Chris Bucholtz of CMSWire

“Attention is scarce and when attention is scarce… there is flight to quality.” Tweet This Quote from Loni Stark of Adobe

“Influence is the ability to change someone’s thoughts or actions… you can’t do it by force.” Tweet This Quote from Michael Wu of Lithium

“[Ask] how do we tie social, social metrics and social analytics back to… business objectives”  Tweet This Quote from Justyn Howard, founder of SproutSocial

“Today’s marketers … are the people building community and engaging customers in a dialog…” Tweet This Quote from Kevin Cochrane, CMO of OpenText

On the so-called death of email: “…people are spending as much time in the emails as before.”  Tweet This Quote from Rich Rao of Google

“I think we are going to… see new cloud businesses blossoming… a revolution in entrepreneurship.”  Tweet This Quote from Cindy Bates of Microsoft

“A lot of the small businesses that survived the downturn [did so] using technology.”  Tweet This Quote from Connie Certusi of  Sage North America

“Small businesses… can now afford to use the best in class software… in the cloud.”  Tweet This Quote from Chris Cabrera, CEO of Xactly

“We expect from every website what we get from the very best website & get frustrated when it isn’t.”  Tweet This Quote from Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity

“The cloud can offer the ability to compete with larger companies with lower cost.”  Tweet This Quote From Steve Cox of Oracle

“Information on an iPad is a living, breathing thing. On paper it is dead….”  Tweet This Quote from Jim Fowler, InfoArmy founder

“When you lose your footing you start to lose your relevance.”  Tweet This Quote from author Brian Solis

“Small businesses are still struggling with marketing. Focus on fundamentals…like directories…”  Tweet This Quote From Tom Byun of Yahoo!

“Expectations every quarter are raised to a new bar with a new device coming out or a new application….”  Tweet This Quote From John Hernandez of Cisco

“I like to think of marketing automation as the orchestra conductor.” Tweet This Quote from Phil Fernandez, founder of Marketo

“People’s tolerance for a product that…doesn’t look like it works very well is small & getting smaller.”  Tweet This Quote from TA McCann of RivalIQ

“It was buyer-beware — now it is more seller-beware.”  Tweet This Quote from Simon Berg, founder of Ceros

“The new way of thinking starts with the customer.”  Tweet This Quote from Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora

“Workflow automation, by itself, is [not] going to be a competitive advantage going forward.”  Tweet This Quote from Umberto Milletti, founder of InsideView

“The whole customer journey and experience is radically shifting. And most companies aren’t prepared.”  Tweet This Quote from Jon Ferrara, founder of Nimble

“Customer experience…is all of the different ways you interact & all of the different touch points.”  Tweet This Quote from Ginger Conlon, Editor of Direct Marketing News

“When you look at a customer’s lifetime value … customer service is almost more important than sales.”  Tweet This Quote from Matthew Trifiro, CMO of Heroku

“Early customers are crucial … [they] are going to help you figure out who your market is.”  Tweet This Quote from Pam O’Hara, founder of Batchbook

“Collaboration is … built into almost every single business process you can think of.” Tweet This Quote from Daisy Hernandez of SAP

“The best form of sales is really education….” Tweet This Quote from David Cummings, co-founder of Pardot

“Customers exist in a context of a life cycle – acquisition, transaction, delivery, support &  advocacy.”  Tweet This Quote from Jeff Nolan, Ping Identity

“Consumer switching hasn’t necessarily been a new thing. But it has reached a new plateau.”  Tweet This Quote from Robert Wollan of Accenture

“Big data is a new term and a not so new term….”  Tweet This Quote from Tamara Gruzbarg of Gilt

“Most people hate the idea of giving up value that they know they already have acquired.”  Tweet This Quote from Bruce Bedford of Oberweis Dairy

“Social… has drastically changed the relationship that businesses have with their customers.”  Tweet This Quote from Sean Whiteley, formerly of

“Your job is to take care of the customer; your job is to make that person leave happy.”  Tweet This Quote from John Pepper, CEO of Boloco

“Customers still call our president… It is really important [to be] connected to the customer.”  Tweet This Quote from Annie Tsai, DemandForce

“Customer experience is not only about what the customer gets, it is about…how you get a win/win situation.”  Tweet This Quote from Ed Kolsky, founder of ThinkJar

This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.

Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.