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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will focus on the most important aspect of your business: the customer, and how to create and maintain a culture that puts them at the center of your business. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Businesses are beginning to understand that becoming customer-centric can enable their employees to deliver an exceptional and consistent customer experience. In today’s ever-changing landscape of technology, consumers have nearly an infinite amount of channels they can use to reach you for service and support.

Customers are increasingly frustrated with the level of services they experience: 91% because they have to contact a company multiple times for the same reason, 90% by being put on hold for a long time, and 89% by having to repeat their issue to multiple representatives. (Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey)

Do you have a plan in place to make this transformation? The following articles offer a starting point to jumpstart your journey to becoming a customer-centric organization.

Source: Forrester

Source: Forrester

5 Steps To Create And Sustain Customer-Centric Culture
Forrester’s Sam Stern outlines in 5 steps how to create and sustain a customer-centric culture from securing executive buy-in to embedding customer-centric principles throughout the organization. This is an abridged version of Stern’s full report on how companies can transform their cultures to be customer-centric.
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Six Ways to Become Competitively Customer-Centric in 2014
As today’s marketplace continues to evolve, business owners are conscious of the newfound expectations customers have set out for them. “Companies that are able to place the customer at the center of their strategies will undoubtedly beat out the competition.” – Greg Lloyd
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The Evolution of Customer Service: Adapt and Adopt or be Left Behind
Customer service expert and SugarCon Keynote Speaker Shep Hyken takes you through the evolutional journey of customer service and support from his own experience. Catch him at this year’s SugarCon!
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We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of our Weekly CRM Roundup. You’re equipped to ignite your organization to extraordinary customer experiences.Got ideas for other great articles and topics we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will dive into the different ways you can leverage CRM from a marketing perspective. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

CRM can be an indispensable tool for marketers that wraps together many solutions, including prospect and customer targeting, multi-channel and multi-touch campaigns, as well as lead tracking and management. Here are some statistics on marketing functions that can be executed through a CRM system:

Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Source: Gartner Research)

89% of marketers said email was their primary channel for lead generation. (Source: Forrester Research)

Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. (Source: Jupiter Research)

And here’s our latest collection of articles on how marketers can leverage CRM and improve their marketing campaigns across the board.

Empowering the Individual CRM User with Intelligent Data
Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and SugarCRM have teamed up to announce their latest service offering with integrated business data. With D&B for Sugar, you will be able to better profile your prospects before you contact them as well as see growth potential inside new and existing customers. Segmentation and targeting just got a lot easier for your integrated marketing campaigns.
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The State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014 [Infographic]
“More and more companies understand that to remain competitive, marketing automation is necessary.” – Dayna Rothman

What do people search for when surveying the technology landscape for marketing automation vendors? The people over at Marketo and Software Advice have put together an infographic titled The State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014 that highlights what drives organizations to purchase these systems.
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How to Integrate Email Campaigns With the Rest of Your Marketing
This article emphasizes that email as a singular marketing tool will never be as effective as an integrated email campaign. Tying in social media, blogging efforts, mobile, and analytical data into your marketing campaigns can help effectively boost your reach while increasing your click-through and conversion rates.
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What are you waiting for? Work smarter not harder. I hope you enjoyed this week’s roundup with its focus on CRM with a marketing lens. Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

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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!

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!

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.