Archives For July 2013

Larry Augustin

SugarCRM has been named a Visionary in the 2013 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation published by Gartner(1). SugarCRM was recognized as a visionary software provider based on Gartner’s criteria, which notes that visionary companies “anticipate emerging/changing sales needs, and move the market ahead into areas where it hasn’t yet been.” (2).

We’re disrupting the CRM market, and we’re honored that Gartner has recognized us for our view of how CRM needs to change.

Sugar builds CRM that helps the customer-facing professional do their job better.  We turn our users into customer experts.  We focus on the real constituents of CRM: the individual customer and the individual user.  We help users do their job when engaging with customers.  We help the seller sell.

Historically, CRM has focused on the needs of management.  What did our sales people do today? How many meetings have they had?  How many calls did they make?  What is their forecast?  While answering those questions is important to management, those questions don’t help the seller do their job.

Our focus is on helping the seller sell, rather than enter data and forecast updates after the deal has happened. Sugar strips away the irrelevant data entry layers and user controls that impede sales productivity and ultimately CRM adoption.

Because we remain laser focused on delivering innovative solutions for the individual user first and what they need to do their job, we not only raise the bar on sales productivity, we also deliver real value to our customers. Sugar offers a price point that allows for the broad-based CRM adoption businesses require, to enable every customer facing professional to successfully engage their customers.

SugarCRM is disrupting the industry, delivering innovation while driving value for our customers.  It’s core to who we are. SugarCRM was one of the first commercial open source applications in the space – empowering organizations to deploy CRM broadly across the customer facing organization at great value and with more control over their CRM initiative. And, Sugar was one of the first CRM products to be available across multiple cloud environments – giving users the ultimate level of choice in deployment. Today, we are developing some of the most innovative, user-focused CRM products available across devices.

Not using Sugar and want visionary CRM for your business? Try SugarCRM for yourself for free.

CRM as a concept has been around for decades. The technology has changed with the times, and we have learned valuablel&l lessons from the successes and failures of past deployments. Today for example, cloud-based and mobile software developments have sped the time to deploy CRM, and lowered the cost to entry. On the user front, more intuitive, user-focused tools have made CRM initiatives increasingly more successful.

But it doesn’t stop there. There are many ways SugarCRM users can benefit from the lessons learned from previous CRM adopters.

Want to learn more about pitfalls to avoid with your CRM initiative? Are you in the SF bay area? Then join SugarCRM and Gold Partner Faye Business Systems for a live lunch-and-learn session at SugarCRM headquarters in Cupertino on Tuesday July 30.

We will talk about some common reasons for CRM failures, and how to avoid them in creating customized, cost-effective CRM your users will love.

We hope you can join us. Register today HERE as space is limited!

I had a great talk this week with the always enlightening Esteban Kolsky. I was briefing him about Sugar’s latest and greatest,101007_curve_sign and our evolving messaging, and he brought up a really nice point: SugarCRM acts as a “change agent” inside our customer companies.

So, what does this mean?

To explain, let’s assume that the majority of organizations out there have constant goals: acquiring customers, supporting customers, retaining customers, driving revenue, controlling costs, etc.  However, the path to those goals changes constantly. Macro-level trends, such as the economy, the explosion of social as a channel, the emergence of mobile as a preferred communication channel, etc. affect how your organization reaches its goals. On a more micro-level, executive management changes, enhancements to internal processes, reactions to customer demands, etc. also force change inside your organization.

The question becomes, then, how do we remain focused on our goals and work towards meeting them – without being either bewildered or bogged down amidst such rapid change at all levels? Many organizations rely on internal “change agents” to help see the proverbial curve in the upcoming road. These individuals are visionaries and usually go above and beyond in helping companies adapt to changes.

But – can a change agent be a thing, and not a person?

Esteban and I outlined how SugarCRM has been a change agent for a lot of our customers. Their goals, as stated above, were constant and solid. But the method for attaining them became more and more difficult. However, rather than get “stuck” trying to achieve their sales, marketing and support goals, many were able to adapt because their CRM technology was forward thinking, “future proof,” or in other words ultimately flexible.

Now, other products might offer “modern” CRM tools (think: social, mobile, cloud) – but very few offer the strategic advantage of being so deeply flexible and channel-agnostic that companies can adapt to the changing tide BEFORE the vendor releases packaged features to address these issues. Our customers, in a lot of areas, are adapting faster than our roadmap – because that’s the luxury deploying Sugar affords them.

And when you combine that flexibility with the kind of strong TCO Sugar provides – the combination makes Sugar an even more attractive change agent. Sure, many products can be customized or altered to fit changing needs, but at what cost? And on whose terms? Adapting to change is one thing, doing so in a strategic and cost-effective manner is another.

So, when thinking about deploying or upgrading your CRM, think about the state of change. And think about how you can adapt to changes with the tools you have, or are thinking to deploy. Again, goals stay the same, the path constantly changes. Is your CRM going to be a change agent seeing the curves far ahead in the road, or a road block on the path to CRM success?

GetSatisfaction for SugarCRM is the July 2013 SugarCRM App of the Month. This plugin is about more than simply putting more data into your CRM. It is about integrating these special customer and potential customer interactions into the company’s systems and business processes. See for yourself at the live demo on the SugarCRM Community Webinar on July 17th at 11am EDT. To learn more about the GetSatisfaction SugarCRM plugin, you may contact DRI directly.

Name, title and brief bio?

Mitch Lieberman, Managing Partner DRI, USA

Mitch has successfully helped businesses of all sizes to understand the importance of technology and culture; it is about balance. The focus needs to remain on the problem, appropriate solutions, and getting jobs done. Mitch takes a modern, unique, but practical view of customer strategy, process improvement, and technology optimization achieved by creating tight alignment between business strategy, goals and objectives.

His own personal balance is that of a practical view on today, as well as, a strong belief on where we are headed, and how this applies to many different types of businesses, cultures, and geographies.

When you designed and built this app, what problems were you looking to solve for SugarCRM users and how does the GetSatisfaction plugin solve those problems?

Communities should be used to bridge the gap from social media conversation to digital interactions with a purpose. Today many organizations are trying to figure out how to leverage social conversations and these new connections to deliver a better customer experience. Customer communities are great way to accomplish this goal. As much as we would like to do it, taking the online conversations people are having about your company in Facebook and Twitter and dumping them into a CRM system without a considered process, just does not provide a whole lot of value. As you have learned with forums, your customers really do want to connect with you and while the basics have not changed, customers expect more as does your business.

What unique or interesting ways does the GetSatisfaction plugin make it easy for users to use?

Users do not think about the fact that it is being used, it feels like a natural extension to SugarCRM and the CRM process. Does a user think about the Internet connection when they log into the application? It just works and makes their lives easier. In this case, the user of the plug-in itself is the business and not only does it bridge the gap, technically, among service, sales and marketing it brings the organization to together to discuss more important topics like customer experience and customer satisfaction.

What attracted you to being a part of the SugarCRM ecosystem?

I have been a part of the SugarCRM ecosystem longer than most; I have been part of the system (same login to SugarCRM.com ) for over 9 years. DRI has been a gold partner since 2005. I have taken a few breaks, but I keep coming back!

Are there any other apps you’d like to mention that you have either used or been involved with in the SugarCRM ecosystem?

We are actually seeing a lot of traction, in different regions with Act-On.

For someone who wants to create their own SugarCRM apps, what resources would you recommend that helped you?

Build the business case and bounce that off of business users. Technology is the easy part, once the business case is understood.

What is your vision for the GetSatisfaction plugin? What can we expect to see from DRI in the future?

A customer community allows you to collect and analyze data, derive insights about your customers that will then allow you to provide them with relevant, appropriate information at key points along the journey. Today’s forums, or customer communities, can be strongly linked to social networks in order to maximize insight, streamline campaigns, and drive organizational shift to bring your company into the social age. What you can expect from DRI is to focus on the whole customer experience, not just the sale, not just service, nor marketing – but how all the pieces connect, relate and solve the bigger questions of loyalty and satisfaction.