Forbes contributing writer Dan Woods recently caught up with SugarCRM’s CEO Larry Augustin for lunch in San Francisco for a discussion about the state of the customer journey.

florbes

Larry shared SugarCRM’s grander vision for Customer Relationship Management (CRM). “Instead of sales force automation,
CRM should live up to its name and start helping every single person who interacts with customers do a better job of serving them.”

As technology trends like social media and mobile both break down internal silos and help individuals better connect and interact with companies – the bounds of CRM must grow. For organizations to truly foster deeper, more effective and personalized relationships with their customers – they need to expand CRM beyond traditional sales and support professionals.

As Larry goes on to state in the article:

“It is ridiculous to limit CRM to sales. In my view, every clerk walking the floor of a store, every customer service rep, every repair technician, receptionists – essentially everyone that interacts with a customer should have a view of the customer provided by CRM.”

Well said, Larry.

To read the article in full, please click here.

SugarCRM is participating in the BoxWorks conference this week in San Francisco, the Imageannual event for collaboration and cloud file storage provider Box. During CEO Aaron Levie’s keynote – he cited some impressive growth numbers for the company. Box now has 180,000 companies using its offerings, with about 20 million individuals in that mix.

20 million. Think about that.

A lot of very successful business software providers, and I mean BIG companies with billions in revenue, only serve about 3-5 million users, tops.

Why is that?

The answer, in my opinion, is that tradition business software providers – the old guard of CRM, ERP, etc. – have typically been either too inflexible, too expensive, or a combination of both, which restricts the amount of employees in a company that can actually use the software.

Think about it. If you really map out a customer-facing process in a CRM usage scenario, for example, there are all kinds of potential touch points internally that get locked out of a typical CRM deployment. Product experts, fulfillment personnel, receptionists…anyone who might either interact with a customer, or have information that can help enhance the customer experience. But instead, CRM deployments are usually limited to quota carrying sales reps, managers, and support agents – in short, a limited set.

I believe Box is painting a picture of how businesses should be looking at technology and how they empower their employees to do their jobs better, and in turn serve customer better. And Box is showing how technology providers should be looking at their business models in fresh new angles. For users, Box’s technology both promotes collaboration and is super simple to use. On the business side, Box used freemium and openness to quickly get entrenched inside the largest and smallest companies – it did not rely only on expensive and inefficient enterprise sales models. Box’s technology quickly and easily proved its value to the USER, and management’s buy-in naturally followed.

We are in a new era of user empowerment in business software in my opinion. Powered by the convergence of consumer technology experiences, evolved distribution and business models, and an overall approach (hopefully) that favors getting the software into the hands of users versus simply “selling the expensive seat license” to decision-makers. The future is bright, and Box is proving that the right technology, with the right approach to distribution, can lead to great things…

SugarCRM is all over the news these days. We have seen lots of great coverage of our strong momentum and our recent financing news. The great news has resulted in SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin appearing on Fox Business News, telling the story of how SugarCRM creates customer experts and is changing the CRM industry for the better.

Larry is beginning to be a cable news fixture, it seems. Following on the Fox appearance, Larry appeared today on Money Moves on Bloomberg TV. Larry talked about our recent funding from Goldman Sachs and how our customers across multiple industries are leveraging Sugar to improve their customer relationships. He also explained how SugarCRM is more nimble and agile in reacting to the changing needs of our customers versus all of the other rigid and non-innovative providers of CRM software in the market.

In case you missed it, here’s the clip.

We just hope Larry continues to focus on continuing to expand SugarCRM’s global business and not on a new television career.

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.

Wow…that’s about all I can say. As I gather my bearings after what can only be called a whirlwind week on the east coast, I am reflecting on all the great moments with SugarCRM customers, industry influencers and media.

In all, we met with dozens of reporters, analysts and customers – and all of them were excited about our vision for where we see the CRM market going in the next year and beyond. We announced great news about our $40m funding from Goldman Sachs, which followed continued strong momentum.

Early in the week, both SugarCRM Clint Oram and CEO Larry Augustin presented on our vision for the call center and CRM in general, respectively, at the CRM Evolution conference in NYC. I also sat on a panel discussing “best practices for global CRM deployments” at the event. The incredible global adoption of Sugar and the global deployments performed by SugarCRM and our partners gave me great fodder for the event.

After the event, we yo-yoed up and down New England for some great meetings. And of course, in true Sugar fashion, we always like to make our presence known:

As news of our funding broke, major media outlets covered the story, including Fox Business News:

All told, between the CRM Evolution event, all of the great news coverage, and simply having our message validated by nearly all of the leading CRM influencers during our analyst tour, it has been an amazing week to be part of what we are trying to do here at SugarCRM. We are changing the CRM landscape, for the better in my opinion. And even with all this great momentum and validation, we are only just getting started.

cal“Am I what!?”, you’re probably saying.  “But it’s only August.  2014 is five months away!”

Yep, and it’s time to start planning for next year.  We are in a global recovery and you need to be thinking about growth and taking full advantage of the economic recovery.  Here at SugarCRM Inc., our company has tripled in size since 2010.  We have three times the number of people and three times the amount of business.  We are barreling forward on this growth curve going into 2014.  Is your company growing too?  Are you figuring out now how to hit those growth goals?

At SugarCRM, we serve “Growth Companies” like yours everyday.  We talk to hundreds of companies every day who are enjoying great growth themselves.  As a result, their sales quotas are going up and management demands for visibility into the sales pipeline are also going up.  While the past few years were all about tightening the corporate belt, 2014 is going to be all about managing growth to full effectiveness.

The first question you have to ask yourself is, “Are you ready?”  Do your sales people have the tools they need to be more effective than the competition?  Have you built a sales strategy for maximizing growth?  Can your sales people qualify leads, manage sales cycles and close deals quickly and effectively?  Have you aligned your teams, processes and tools with that sales strategy?  Do you know what you need to hit your goals?

If not, talk to a SugarCRM solution expert today about how you can get ready for growth in 2014.

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.