Archives For CRM

Using social collaboration tools? Want your opinions heard? Then take a few minutes to take a new survey by Aberdeen 500px-Collaboration-handsGroup  focused on social collaboration.

The enterprise social collaboration concept has been around for a few years, evolving from IM and other chat tools into activity streams, document sharing, web meeting, and other combined technologies to better enable cooperation in all kinds of workplaces.

We’d like to hear how Sugar users are connecting distributed workers, and those in the same campus, via enterprise collaboration tools. The more we learn, the more we can shape our product and integration strategy to best fit the true needs of the Sugar user.

Take the survey HERE.

We’re excited to announce TOM. The Sale Closer. as the August 2013 SugarOutfitters App of the Month. TOM is a unique iPad app that uses advanced Constraint Management methods to help you to close your sales opportunities from SugarCRM in the most effective way. Join us for a live demo August 21st on the next Sugar Community Webinar.

Name, title and brief bio?

Simon is director of TOMfor BV and Partner & co-founder of BPI-Group BV.

BPI-Group BV is a management-consulting group specialized in strategy development and program management for complex (client related) business environments for Industry, ICT, Healthcare and Pharma. TOMfor BV is developer of the TOM APP combining the experience, processes and know-how of many years of sales and sales process engineering in software tools for all customer related processes. Simon is specialized in Sales and Business Management, process engineering based on TOC, LEAN and SixSigma.

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

We have seen that many Sales People have problems focusing on and eliminating the most important constraints in their sales campaigns. A lot of time is spent on issues, which are less important and at the end a major constraint is blocking their deal. A waste of precious sales effort and time, which cannot be spent on attractive business one can win.

This is why we created TOM. Our sales APPs combine professional Opportunity Management with TOC (Theory of Constraints from Dr Eli Goldratt, author of the Goal). They support Sales to identify and eliminate their sales Constraints. We implemented that in such a way that Sales and Business Managers get a view on their most frequent opportunity constraints. We help Sales focusing on winning their business and give management access to real time information to analyze the Constraints and eliminate the Root-Cause. This will add substantial value for both Sales and Business Management.

What unique or interesting ways does TOM make it easy for users to use?

We believe that CRM is necessary but not sufficient for a company to be successful in the future. CRM provides critical data for executives to manage their business. But Sales, one of the most important sources of this information doesn’t get much value from their CRM systems. Our objective is to add value to Sales make them benefit from and use CRM. We want to make it as easy as possible for sales to reach their goal, which means “Meet or exceed their sales target”. TOM will help sales with constraint based opportunity management navigating to the order and provides Executives with information they need to have to support sales in closing the most attractive business deals. This is why we believe TOM creates a breakthrough is Sales and Business management.

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

I’ve worked most of my corporate career for Hewlett-Packard in the period that HP endorsed open systems and focused on partners for creating value for customers. SugarCRM being an Open Source company does have the same philosophy and is easy to get access to. Beside that SugarCRM is one of the fastest growing companies with a large installed base.

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

My recommendation would be to work with SugarCRM regional management and the SugarCRM partners and position the APP in line with the SugarCRM strategy to leverage on their marketing and messaging. In our case we did focus on adding value to the SugarCRM user by providing them with the necessary opportunity management and tracking tools.

What is your vision for TOM? What can we expect to see in the future?

We introduced the first version of TOM. We are planning to add extensions for Key Account Management and Product & Program Management in the near future.

Want to learn more?

Check out TOM. The Sale Closer. Available at a special discounted price for SugarCRM users at SugarOutfitters.

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?

Earlier this month, I was joined by Aberdeen Group’s Peter Ostrow for a discussion around “Amplifying the R in CRM.” Peter discussed how best-in-class sales & marketing organizations leveraged CRM and related technologies to create stickier customer relationships.

We discussed some best practices, outlined some of the ancillary tools and integrations that augment a core CRM deployment, and went over SugarCRM’s vision for helping organizations better market to, sell to and support customers and prospects.

Specifically, Peter and I outlined:

  • What Best-in-Class companies do differently
  • Pitfalls they avoid
  • Why they achieve greater success
  • Technologies and services they leverage to succeed

The webcast was one of the most highly attended we’ve ever done. If you missed it, or would like to hear the discussion again – Click Here.

A few things got me thinking this morning about how we at SugarCRM define ourselves, and how we fit in the broader market in general. Yesterday analyst and all around instigator Esteban Kolsky made some interesting points in scrutinizing a leading analyst firm’s increasingly broad definition of what vendors fit into the CRM landscape.

In my days an an analyst I covered call center tools, sales automation software, marketing and demand generation technology, analytics, e-commerce and even ERP – all in the name of “customer facing/touching technology.” And these are, in all fairness, all part of a customer acquisition or retention strategy.

But while some companies offer a lot of these components (and I am sure a few might argue they offer them all) – no single PRODUCT covers all of these bases in a seamless and unified manner. They just don’t.

And this is a good thing. More and more, consumers of these technology components are taking a “best of breed” approach, in order to get the best features, benefits and the most attractive return on invested dollars. On the vendor side, a diverse market of providers fosters innovation and healthy competition that benefits the customer.

So, where does SugarCRM fit in? Well, for one we believe in the best of breed approach to CRM and the adjacent technologies that support a successful CRM initiative. For example, we work with lots of great demand generation providers like Act-On, Hubspot and Marketo to enable seamless lead flow into our core CRM system. Second, all we focus on is that “core CRM” and not infrastructure or business intelligence or other technology. In a world where M&A and other drivers has made nearly every CRM player also a seller of other IT stuff – we remain the CRM specialists. These may be valuable tools (and lucrative to sell) but they are not our focus.

Our focus, then, is what I’ve been calling the “Nexus of Engagement:” that point where an internal person/employee/user, etc. interacts with a customer/lead/partner, etc. (Akin to what I talked about a while back in bringing the “R” back into CRM.) We are the system that supports the user in delivering the right information, at the right time. We help sales, marketing and support professionals see the “next best step” in a process, or the best person to interact with next. We are the home base, as it were – supporting the process of turing “CRM users” into “Customer Experts.”

Don’t get me wrong – we don’t do it alone. Like I noted above in the demand generation ecosystem we support – there are lots of potential data inputs, integrated tools, apps, widgets, etc. – that make for the most successful creations of this “Nexus of Engagement.” But I would argue that the unlimited flexibility of Sugar’s architecture, it’s easily customized user-first design, and the broad pre-existing technology and data ecosystem around Sugar – makes us unique in our ability to support any user in becoming a customer expert.

A Case for cRm.

Martin Schneider —  June 6, 2013 — 3 Comments

The technology that supports the interactions between a customer and a business have gone through all sorts of changes over r-blogthe past several decades. Advancements in technology, buyer behavior, high-level phenomenon like social media, etc. have all left their mark on CRM technology.

One could argue that in different phases of its evolution, each of the three initials of C-R-M have been the focus. For example, when application software was a nascent market, the simple fact of managing the data around a sales person’s activities (the”M” in CRM) was the focus. Prior to early CRM systems, pen and paper, and early unwieldy databases were the status quo. In short, there was very little focus on the customer and the relationship – just managing and trying to standardize processes and capturing actions. And to keep the “management” conceit going, most early CRM systems benefitted managers more than actual users. Users were forced to enter data, which benefitted management reports around company performance, rather than actually helping users do their jobs better.

As the web, service oriented architectures, the cloud and social media became commonplace, CRM started to become more about customer data. The addition of “the customer” (or the “C” in CRM) sounds ironic, but it was a novel change. Most CRM systems, as noted above, focused on the sales or support agent’s activities and workflow process management, management-level reports, etc. – NOT on optimizing the insights around customer histories to create meaningful experiences at every touch point. Adding the C is a great evolutionary step.

So that brings us to the “R” in CRM. As an industry we have mastered the management of data, and have gotten much better at including rich customer insights into processes and interactions. Evolving further, I think we are starting to actually focus better on the relationships customer have with businesses. That means more of a focus on the point of engagement, not on post-call data entry, or on batch-level rollup reports that tell us nothing in true detail.

Focusing on the relationship benefits both the customer and the actual front line users of a CRM system. The customer benefits because we have the previous addition of their data in the equation, and a focus on solving their problems and generally better meeting their needs right at the point of any engagement, across any channel. That’s good stuff. And by empowering users with the tools they need to better provide that level of service not later, not through 17 screens – but in a single, intuitive user panel that is accessible on any device – sales, marketing and support professionals can do their jobs better and with less stress and manual efforts. Also good stuff.

So, I argue that we are in the era of cRm: focusing on the Relationship aspect of customer interactions. Wether it is a one-time interaction, or a lifelong bond between a buyer and a brand – SugarCRM is looking to help organizations of all sizes optimize those relationships, wherever and whenever.

To learn more about how you can enhance relationships with CRM and related tools, join us for a webinar with Aberdeen Research’s Peter Ostrow titled Amplify the “R” in your CRM on Thursday, June 13th.

Are your sales reps hitting quota above or below the level of top performing teams? Are you retaining as many customers as the best in the business? Want to learn how to get on the right track towards being a best-in-class sales and marketing organization?

Join us Thursday June 13th for a discussion with Aberdeen Research’s Peter Ostrow. Ostrow recently led an insightful survey and is publishing the results around how best-in-class sales and marketing organizations leverage CRM and related technologies to gain their competitive edge. All attendees of this informative webinar will receive a free copy of the report.

We will discuss just how much more productive these leading organizations are, and some of the secrets to their success.

You will learn:

  • What Best-in-Class companies do differently
  • Pitfalls they avoid
  • Why they achieve greater success
  • Technologies and services they leverage to succeed

Register for the event HERE. We hope you can join us for what promises to be an insightful session!

The global markets are rebounding and companies like yours are focused on growth again. But achieving and sustaining double-digit growth quarter to quarter is hard. Building your company for rapid scale is challenging. And doing that while keeping those close, personal customer relationships you’re known for can be even more challenging. You’re in the process of upgrading all of your business automation to manage this next stage of growth. This is where SugarCRM comes in.

SugarCRM has a global portfolio of over 6,500 customers who look just like you; mid-sized companies growing rapidly into small- to mid-sized enterprises. You’re looking for how to move from manual processes mastered by a few heroes in your company to standardized and automated processes across a whole legion of sales professionals. This may even be your first CRM purchase. Microsoft Excel just not working for you anymore? SugarCRM provides the perfect solutions for managing your customer-facing operations. Whether it’s keeping in touch with your customers or passing leads to your field personnel or answering questions in the call center, SugarCRM provides market-leading innovation at one, simple price.

And what’s more important, we get you. At SugarCRM, we ourselves are a growth company. We understand what it means to grow like you in today’s challenging market conditions. SugarCRM has already doubled its business in just the past couple years and is preparing to do it again. With the assistance of our global network of local channel partners, we can help you build and plan for success.

If your company has 100 – 4,000 employees and is planning on rapid growth in the coming upturn, Sugar is the right CRM solution for you. With thousands of customers across the financial services, insurance, professional services, manufacturing and technology sectors, SugarCRM delivers CRM success for Growth Companies just like you.