Archives For CRM

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.

We’re bringing the top Sugar highlights from the Twitterverse right here to the Sugar blog every Friday. Hear what Sugar fans tweeted this week! For more, join the conversation and follow us @sugarcrm

Bruce Zimmerman tweeted, “Just demo’d @sugarcrm Super sweet product! Lovin the Sugar High :-) #crm”

Donna Sokolsky Burke tweeted, “Congrats @acquia @sugarcrm: 2013 OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies http://shar.es/lrpRG  via @alwayson”

Nigel Gasper tweeted, “@sugarcrm’s #Sugar 7 skips the lipstick, gets a full body makeover and looks more beautiful than ever http://t.co/c7Rp5jO2qt

Atcore Systems tweeted, “Save the date: @sugarcrm will be taking #SugarCon 2014 back to the West Coast! #LoveSanFran ow.ly/i/1XOmw”

Carla tweeted, “#SugarCRM #gartner360 great presentation @sugarcrm. Loved the user focus.”

Lisette tweeted, “Great customer names here MT @sugarcrm: See why major industry brands select SugarCRM for Sales Force Automation: http://bit.ly/151L5dL

Have a Sweet Friday!

Best,

Anshu Agarwal

VP of Marketing

Everywhere you look, individuals, businesses and even television networks are “going green.” The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power is becoming big business. SugarCRM customer Sofos is one such company doing good for the environment and its customers by promoting the shift to renewable energy.

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While Sofos was well established, with more than 700 clients – it was becoming difficult to track and manage the more than 3,000 prospects in its rapidly growing pipeline. And while Sofos sells modern, green technology, it was relying on manual and time-wasting processes and tools like spreadsheets for managing its sales. So, it was wasting time and employee energy, while also missing out on the ability to deliver the level of coordinated sales management required by sales management and C-level managers.

Sofos knew it needed a change. From the solutions considered, the company was most impressed by Sugar’s flexibility and user experience. Sofos engaged SugarCRM Partner ICE Consultants and in just four months, ICE Consultants had Sugar up and running for Sofos, complete with various customizations to fit Sofos’ unique business needs.

Sofos quickly began seeing numerous benefits from using Sugar. Benefits include:

  • Streamlining its two-year sales cycle–reducing the number of stages from 30 to just 14
  • Reducing monthly reporting time from three days to 60 minutes
  • Increasing closed-won opportunities by 6 percent in the past six months
  • Improving opportunity management and increasing pipeline visibility

Check out the case study here for more detail.

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We’re flying at 40,000 feet above the central California corridor on our way from Silicon Valley down to San Diego for what we expect to be an awesome Gartner Customer 360 Summit that kicks off tomorrow, May 1.

Understand. Engage. Deliver: Earning Customers for Life – that’s the theme of this year’s summit.  We’re really excited to be participating this year as a platinum sponsor. Gartner360CRMIt will be two-and-a-half intensive days chock-full of analyst presentations, workshops and peer interaction, giving business and IT leaders a complete view of the customer across the organization and across every touchpoint in every medium. Understanding what customers want, need and expect — and having the right people, processes, cultures and technologies in place to respond in real time — will be critical to every organization’s success, according to Gartner.

We agree completely. Our mantra is Every Customer. Every User. Every Time.

That’s the message we’re spreading, as a sponsor of this year’s Customer 360 Summit.  SugarCRM focuses its SFA messaging on empowering every sales user to be more effective every time they engage 1-to-1 with every customer. Sugar focuses on the point of interaction between a customer and sales professional. We enable sales professionals to have the knowledge and tools necessary to understand their accounts and prospects as individuals, identify what really matters and when it matters, and drive value and a superior experience every time they engage with their accounts.

We’ve planned multiple meetings with Gartner analysts, customers, partners and prospects over the next few days. Today, we hit the ground running attending the afternoon pre-event CRM Boot Camp.

Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing insights, perspectives and things we learned at this year’s exciting Gartner Customer 360 Summit.

Best,

Jay Mejia

Director of Communications

Sweet Tweets of the Week

anshua —  April 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Get the latest buzz on all things Sugar! Join us here on the Sugar blog every Friday as we recap weekly highlights from the Twittersphere. Here are just a handful of tweets that caught our eye this week. Follow us on Twitter @sugarcrm and join the conversation!

Jason Levine tweeted, “Breakfast with @SugarCRM & Oosis – preview of #social integration in SugarCRM 7 is impressive. #SocialBiz”

https://twitter.com/jasonjLevine/status/327306613176295424

BrainSell tweeted, “Demoing @sugarcrm and @contivio #telephony integration, love the reactions from propects. Lots of ooos and ahhs”

https://twitter.com/BrainSell/status/326746486304043009

John Mertic tweeted, “Nice recap of #SugarCon by the gang over at @SugarOutfitters https://www.sugaroutfitters.com/blog/sugarcon-2013-our-highlights …. Thanks to @eggsurplus and @chadhutchins!”

https://twitter.com/jmertic/status/327238055931047938

Jacqi Levy tweeted, “Nice video from #ibmpartners @SugarCRM on how to go to market effectively with IBM http://bit.ly/11hHlhW

https://twitter.com/jacqilevy/status/326739704437428224

Mike Gee tweeted, “Thanks to @sugarcrm #Sugar 7 dashboard is now even more involved with what’s going on in your world pic.twitter.com/0xSM80tjly”

https://twitter.com/EnableITmike/status/326423414850080769

Going to Gartner Customer 360 Summit in San Diego next week, May 1-3rd? Find us at the event that’s all about creating a great customer experience.

–Visit Booth 106 to meet the Sugar team and see the latest, coolest CRM technology that is redefining the way companies interact with the people who choose to do business with them. Every Customer. Every User. Every Time. Gartner Summit

–Attend Sugar CEO Larry Augustin’s session, “SugarCRM: Death, Taxes, & Sales Forecasts: Transforming CRM for Real Users” on May 2nd from 11am-12pm. Find out how:

Traditionally accepted claims of CRM ROI – better forecasting visibility, better internal controls – are a testament to why the promise of CRM has fallen short. Even with today’s ease of deployment, CRM is still synonymous with low usage and the burden of mandatory forecasting. In this session, attendees will learn how to move away from the corporate-led CRM agenda and focus on the needs of real CRM constituents: the customer and the customer-facing user.

Learn more about Gartner 360 here. See you in San Diego!

Gartner Customer 360 Summit delivers complete coverage of the new strategies and technologies that are enabling organizations to better understand and engage their customers, build loyalty and grow the business.

This must-attend CRM event brings together senior business, marketing and IT leaders to focus on creating a strategic, unifying vision for customer engagement and experience management.