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Welcome to our weekly roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve brought together articles that get to the “heart” of CRM in one convenient post.

Gartner Says CRM Will Be at the Heart of Digital Initiatives for Years to Come
Analysts at Gartner summarize how organizations are leveraging CRM technologies as a major part of their digital initiatives to enhance the customer experience. They delve into what they believe are the main drivers behind the hot topics of CRM including the Internet of Things, where sensors connecting things to the Internet create new services previously not thought of.
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Looking for Customer Love in All the Right Places
Christopher J. Bucholtz iterates the importance of service in its correlation to customer loyalty. Bucholtz believes, “even with CRM providing the so-called 360-degree view of the customer, businesses continue to operate with significant blind spots.” He offers five broad categories to consider when developing metrics around your customer-facing operations.
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Avoiding a Brand Breakup This Valentine’s Day
“73% of consumers want to have a long-term relationship with brands that reward them for being a loyal customer.” according to Responsys, a marketing cloud and services provider that commissioned a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, to take a look at how brand-customer relationships are built, and why they “break up.”
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Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

CRM_Roundup_Banner_V4
Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. We’ll be hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

What Forrester’s Predicted Customer Service Trends Can Teach Your SME This article is specifically targeted toward the SME. Forrester has recently published a report containing their predictions for the top customer service trends in 2014 but it may have been too heavy on the corporate jargon for those in the mid-market. Kelly Atkinson has hand-picked her favorite trends and translated them into more palatable words of advice. tweet_button

Simplicity-Minded Customer Experience “Simple customer experiences. Sounds logical, doesn’t it?” – Michael Hinshaw Michael Hinshaw starts by offering the suggestion to make a “promise” to simplicity to remove the complexities many customers face while dealing with businesses. Even though every business is different, Michael helps you think about what simplification means within the context of your own customers’ journeys as well as the supporting infrastructure and processes involved. tweet_button

Automation And Customer Intimacy It’s not what it sounds like. In this day and age, it’s all about knowing your customers from the inside-out. Customer intimacy is about establishing deep and trusted relationships. Dave Brock offers insight on embracing efficiency through automation while balancing customer intimacy and relationships. tweet_button

Are You Following These 7 Social Customer Care Best Practices? “Social care is the new norm, with 70% of businesses estimated to be using social for customer service by mid-2014.” – Aberdeen Group Learn what the best-in-class companies do to provide truly outstanding customer care. tweet_button

SugarCRM Celebrates Banner Year in 2013 as Company Redefines the Customer Experience According to Gartner Research, CRM will represent the largest segment of enterprise software by 2017. SugarCRM is putting the individual front and center, declaring 2014 “The Year of the Individual.” tweet_button

Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

FutureOS_Collaborator_badge_128Supported by 35 collaborating organizations (including SugarCRM), Black Duck Software and North Bridge, in partnership with Forrester Research Analyst Jeffrey Hammond, are teaming up to announce the 2014 Future of Open Source Survey! This is your chance to help shape the future of open source and be a part of an industry wide discussion sharing your views with today’s industry leaders.

Over the past eight years, this annual survey has sparked important discussions around open source adoption. Show your support for the open source community and share your perspective by taking the Future of Open Source Survey.

Take the survey here to voice your opinion and contribute to the conversation around:

  • Why companies engage directly with and contribute to open source communities
  • The importance and potential impact of upcoming new developments in open source
  • What business problems can be solved by open source now and in the future

Then, register for the live webinar, revealing the survey results on April 3, 2014. The results will also be shared on Twitter from the @FutureofOSS account, using the hashtag #FutureOSS.

Don’t miss the live panel discussion on the industry’s hottest trends and the future of open source survey results featuring:

  • Lou Shipley, CEO and President at Black Duck
  • Michael Skok, General Partner at North Bridge
  • Jeffrey Hammond, VP, Principal Analyst Serving Application Development & Delivery Professionals at Forrester Research
  • More to be added!

The SugarCRM alliances team is coming off a very productive few days in Orlando, Florida last week as part of our participation at IBM Connect 2014. Among the highlights of the week, SugarCRM was named as a finalist for IBM’s 2014 Collaboration Solutions Award in the “Best of Show and Chief Technology Officer (CTO)” category during the event.

The combined Best of Show/CTO Award recognizes visionary IBM business partners who use cross-IBM Software Group (SWG) capabilities in innovative, customer-focused ways. SugarCRM was named a top award contender after demonstrating how the Sugar-IBM solution helps customers maximize and improve social business efforts and increase bottom-line results.

The SugarCRM-IBM solution includes SugarCRM’s integrations to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, IBM Notes and IBM Connections. In addition, SugarCRM’s integrations to IBM Campaign and IBM Interact further extends the IBM Smarter Commerce solution and brings the power of IBM Enterprise Marketing Management to customer-facing sales, support and marketing individuals. SugarCRM also runs on IBM DB2, IBM SmartCloud, IBM SoftLayer, IBM PureSystems and IBM PowerLinux.

The good news is, customers benefit the most from the SugarCRM-IBM connection. For example, SugarCRM customer Tollpost Globe, one of the Nordic region’s leading logistic companies, needed a platform that would increase internal efficiency as well as customer satisfaction. Since implementing SugarCRM and IBM Collaboration, Tollpost Globe has already seen a 70 percent increase in sales, a 40 percent increase boost in sales efficiency and a 30 percent rise in customer satisfaction numbers.

We are in a new era of CRM – one that is more intuitive, personalized and social, and our partnership with IBM underscores SugarCRM’s commitment to delivering solutions that enable our customers to engage in highly innovative social selling.  The SugarCRM and IBM relationship is gaining impressive momentum and underscores our commitment to further extending our social business solutions to new markets, products and customers around the globe. This recognition by IBM is an exciting and telling testament to that fact.

To learn more about how you can harness the power of Sugar and IBM technology visit sugarcrm.com/ibm

CRM_Roundup_Banner_V4
Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. We’ll be hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Opportunities in the Democratization of CRM
“If you don’t use it, you don’t pay for it. But, since we all want to be successful, those that build a competitive capability here will pay more, and the consultants who introduce this capability will share in those successes.” – Mike Boysen

Mike Boysen further iterates the concept of “democratizing” or unbundling of CRM from a ‘pay-for-what-you-want’ viewpoint. His sentiment is that as certain components of CRM become commodities, we will be likely to see new services built on top of them that were previously only available through high-paid consulting engagements prior.
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Digital Disruption Replaces Brand Relationship With Digital Customer Relationship
Customers are looking to build deep digital relationships with brands, bringing them closer to the content they want, with a more efficient way to consume it. James McQuivey makes it clear that if you’re not working on building that “digital bridge” between you and your customer, somebody else out there is replacing you in creating the “ultimate customer relationship”.

“If you continue to focus on building a wonderful brand relationship with your customer, you will one day awake to find that someone else has taken your place in your customer’s life. Not with a more compelling brand relationship, but with a more compelling digital customer relationship.” - James McQuivey, Ph.D.
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To Win Against Increasing Competition, Equip your Salespeople with a Deeper Understanding of your Buyers
“Your only true differentiation comes from how your reps interact with your buyers” – Mark Lindwall, Senior Analyst at Forrester

Mark Lindwall drives the point home that in order to gain a competitive advantage in the sales environment, you must equip your salespeople to have a deep understanding of the buyer — a concept Forrester calls “buyer empathy”.
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Registration for SugarCon 2014 is Now Open!
SugarCon is the premier event for SugarCRM customers, users, and partners to experience a rare glimpse of CRM’s future while witnessing the intersection of innovation and technology with a renewed customer experience.
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Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

CRM_Roundup_Banner_V4
Welcome to our all-new roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. We’ll be hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Your IT Group is at The Center of Your Customer Experience (and Your Business)
“Inside companies of all sizes, the issue of ‘silos’ – where walls have been erected between groups, divisions and departments – are both a common pain point and a significant cause of unmet customer expectations.” - Michael Hinshaw

As digital touch points increase and become more intelligent, the socially-savvy consumer will have an increased expectation of communication in these channels. This article proposes a shift in thinking, suggesting that IT as an organization needs to look at a business from the outside-in.
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Developing a Response Model in 5 Easy Steps
In an evolving digital landscape, the number of channels where customers interact with a brand continue to increase. How quickly do you respond in these channels? Do you have a response model? Every channel has its own audience — define that audience, and then find your voice there.
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The many benefits of integrating customer support into CRM
“While many organizations run some sort of customer help-desk or advice line, it’s surprising how often this function is supported by standalone technology rather than being part of the main CRM application.” - Richard Boardman

Implementing a system that spans sales, marketing, and support embraces a more open flow of information between all customer-facing employees.
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This is “How i CRM” – Redglaze Group 
Employees at Redglaze Group share their story about how they align teams across eight different companies to run seamlessly as a cohesive organization.

Aligning eight businesses is not for the faint-of-heart. By encouraging adoption to 74% of employees across CRM-deployed companies, Redglaze increases efficiency in all departments, streamlines resource-sharing, and increases consistency in all customer interactions across the company.
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Got other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments!

maglassWhen talking about the CRM market, a lot of numbers are thrown around. Analyst firms like Gartner and IDC do amazing jobs of calculating the annual spend in the market, which will be more than $30bn in a few years. There are lots of huge companies selling CRM software (usually among other technology pieces), and the space gets a lot of news coverage.

But while these numbers and the continual buzz in CRM seems impressive…is it really?

SugarCRM co-founder and CTO Clint Oram and I have had an ongoing dialog for nearly a year now, about how the CRM industry has – in a lot of ways – utterly failed to live up to its potential over the past two decades.

“Failed?” You ask?

Yes, a big #Fail.

What we have been talking about internally is that the CRM industry now serves roughly 20-25m end users (you can take a composite of all research and it usually ends up around this number give or take a few million users). Now, while this seems like a big number, let’s look at some other “relationship management” tools out there and their user counts:

LinkedIn (professional relationship management): 200m+ Users

Facebook (personal relationship management): 1bn+ Users.

When we stack CRM up against similar (yet admittedly consumer oriented) concepts, CRM falls down in comparison in terms of seeding its total addressable market. Clint calls this, “The Case of the Missing Zero.” And I agree, why aren’t we asking the bigger questions about CRM, namely: Why is this a 20m user market and not a 200m market today?

I think the answer lies both in looking at the success of companies like Facebook and LinkedIn, and also in the history of business technology. In short, CRM originated in a time before such life-changing trends as: the internet, social media, cloud, mobile…pick your buzzword. Early CRM was expensive, difficult to deploy, and benefitted management and not the actual front-line users of CRM – those who deal with prospects and customers. And a lot of expensive, traditional CRM deployments are now in place, lack the modernity expected by today’s workforce, which only exacerbates the issue. And, what’s more, nearly every traditional CRM providers’ offerings were built in this pre-web/social/mobile/cloud era and are thus ill equipped to meet the needs of the individual user.

But…there is hope. If we as an industry start focusing more on the actual users of CRM, and build tools that help them do their jobs, not simply capture data, we can bridge this huge adoption gap.These tools should be simple to use, mobile friendly, and not only make sense of the mounds of structured and unstructured data about every customer – but provide fast and valuable insight around this data to every user at every turn.

And by creating pricing that actually works with companies to put the software in more users’ hands – we can start seeing the true promise of CRM. This isn’t about selling more software (well, in some ways it is), but rather empowering more people in the organization who touch the customer. It’s not about having to make hard decisions about who does and who does not get to use the tools designed to improve the lifeblood of your business – your customers – it’s about giving everyone access to the information they need to provide better service, make more informed decisions, and simply promote better customer relationships.

We are making headway in this area, and made some significant announcements this morning to that effect. While it is early in what I feel is a transformative time in CRM, I am excited. By bringing innovation back into this industry in a big way, empowering more individuals in every company we serve, and simply helping make great customer experiences happen, I hope to see this industry find that missing zero (yes, everyone not just SugarCRM) and show what a difference great CRM can really make.