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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!

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.

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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 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.

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.

Do you have an opinion on where you see open source software going in the next year and beyond? Then share your thoughts and predictions with SugarCRM and the rest of the collaborators in our annual “Future of Open Source” survey.

Analyst firm (and my former employer) 451 Research is a collaborator again this year, along with Revolution Analytics, Red Hat, Hortonworks, and several other open-source software firms. If you work for an open source provider, or are a decision-maker deploying open source – take the survey today.

The survey is open until March 28th; results will be announced during a live webinar on April 17.

Here’s a slideshare preso around last year’s findings:

In a recent blog, Ernst & Young’s Laurence Buchanan quite astutely pointed out that we are entering a new age of CRM. For want of better terms, he defined the age we’re leaving as the “analog” age and the age we’re entering as the “digital” age, primarily because the penetration of digital technology has had a change in the way businesses reach customers and vice versa.

Laurence delivered a tremendous keynote at SugarCon 2011 that touched on these topics (you can see it on SlideShare)  but this blog expands on these ideas, and it led Laurence to these set of characteristics of a “digital age” CRM application:

  • Designed for Customers and front line customer-facing staff, not just for management
  • Focused on speed to value and positive internal momentum
  • Designed with a core foundation (e.g. data, processes) but able to embrace change at the front-end of customer interaction (i.e. devices, apps, social networks etc.)
  • Delivered in an iterative fashion with constant business involvement
  • Open and integratable in nature (often made up of a collection of services rather than a single package)
  • Cross-functional in nature, busting through internal silos
  • Paid for based on value delivered to the business

It’s always great to see a respected thinker independently assert ideas that you hold dear, and that’s what Laurence has done here. He wasn’t talking specifically about Sugar, but he articulated many of the ideas that SugarCRM has used to build its platform. Here are a couple ways that Sugar achieves that:

“Designed for Customers and front-line customer-facing staff, not just for management:” This is the heart of SugarCRM’s “user first” philosophy. There’s no point in designing an application that caters to management and focuses on reporting if the people who feed data into the system (the front-line customer-facing staff) don’t use it. Sugar’s constant focus on the front-line user means that managers get better, more accurate data to work from, and the users clearly how using the application makes their jobs easier, makes them more in commissions, allows them to market better, or enables them to provide better support. A CRM application should make everyone better at his or her job, not just the sales manager.

“Focused on speed to value and positive internal momentum:” This is such a vital consideration we created a white paper about this very subject.  It’s critical that you take this into account, not just at the time of the initial deployment but as new features are added. The paper suggests that you ask yourself, ”from the time you begin deployment of a CRM solution, how long did it take before the solution delivered real business value as measured by criteria that you defined? We believe that with the right approach, you can achieve measurable business value from CRM in as little as 30 days.”

Of course, deployment time can be affected by outside influences, like the quality of the data you start with. But when the application is designed with this notion of speed to value as a critical attribute, you’re far more likely to see a return on investment – not just a faster ROI, but ROI in general, since delays can harm your ability to gain user buy-in and the universal adoption that leads to a truly effective CRM system.

“Designed with a core foundation (e.g. data, processes) but able to embrace change at the front-end of customer interaction (i.e. devices, apps, social networks etc.).” Sugar’s basic functionality is solid, but there’s a lot more to it than just the basics. As you get beyond the core sales force automation features you’ll see not only built-in support for mobility  (and that means mobility on all major devices) and for social media input (via activity streams), but also an unparalleled ability to integrate with the applications that are key to running your business.  Which leads directly to…

“Open and integratable in nature (often made up of a collection of services rather than a single package).” That doesn’t mean applications or services from a specific technology stack, as in the case with other major CRM vendors. That means the applications you select because they’re the right choices for your business. Because flexibility and integration are two more basic tenets in the Sugar design philosophy, and because SugarCRM works with over 400 resellers worldwide to deliver the application, it’s far easier and far les expensive to maintain that control over your business software systems. The vendor doesn’t dictate which applications you will use; you decide what’s best for you.

Laurence wasn’t describing SugarCRM in his blog post, but we’re exceedingly pleased that his choice of words fits us so well!