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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!

Leading organizations are increasing their use of digital mechanisms for the business processes of buying, marketing, selling, and servicing. To do this, many organizations are turning to IBM’s Smarter Commerce and IBM Enterprise Marketing Management. Marketing automation tools like IBM Campaign and Interact, along with Silverpop, are great for defining multi touch campaigns, cross-channel marketing across digital channels, and real time personalizations for customers on electronic store fronts.

But what happens when a customer – who may have received an offer driven from IBM Campaign – calls into a customer service center? Does the customer service agent who answers the phone – let’s say it’s John –  have a history of that customer’s past interactions, and have the right information to answer that customer’s questions? Even better, can the customer service agent reinforce an offer that may have already been presented to the customer via IBM marketing automation offerings?

What happens if a sales person – let’s say it’s Sally – is about to call on that customer? Sally could be an inside sales rep, or an insurance agent, or a personal shopper in retail. Does Sally know everything about her customer including the fact that that customer might have received an offer through email that was generated by a campaign management tool? To take that a step further – if a campaign management tool generates 1000 leads, does Sally know that seven of those leads are her customers, and does she know exactly what to do with those seven leads?

We know that IBM Campaign can precisely target a specific set of customers. But imagine if Sally, upon signing in for her work day, sees seven specific new leads that are assigned to her from that campaign, along with specific actionable information for those leads. Imagine if John, our customer service agent, was able to pull up a complete view of the customer as he was helping resolve that customer’s issues; and could even upsell the customer based on a real-time offer appearing in his customer service dashboard.

SugarCRM, an IBM Global Alliance partner, can help. Sugar is an innovative CRM system designed for every individual who engages with customers: sellers, marketers, customer support agents, receptionists, and executives.

r4_smarter_commerce.jpgSugar has integrations into IBM Campaign to surface campaign information into sellers’ daily tools, whether that be Sugar itself or IBM Notes or Connections. Sugar also has integrations to IBM Interact to present real-time offers to sellers and customer service agents. Sugar is the first major CRM solution to be validated for the IBM Ready for Smarter Commerce mark. DiGi Telecommunications is one customer using IBM Campaign integrated to SugarCRM to provide consistency across digital marketing programs and human sales and service representatives.

Organizations that integrate SugarCRM and IBM experience faster campaign-to-cash times,  more efficient marketing and sales processes, and higher customer satisfaction and value.

For more information, see sugarcrm.com/ibm, or come visit us at SugarCon, April 28-May 1 in San Francisco, or the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2014 in Tampa, Florida May 12-15.

In addition to the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of San Francisco, we’re excited to be bringing Sugar University to this year’s SugarCon. Our top training instructors will be delivering quality training directly to you through live, hands-on instruction.

This is the place to start – or continue – learning best practices for end-users and administrators with Sugar through our extensive 2-day Discover track sessions. We’re also offering an additional Customer Training day, purely dedicated to our most-wanted training topics. Here is a glimpse into the training options available at this year’s SugarCon:

Sugar UniversityTuesday, April 29 & Wednesday, April 30
Discover | Becoming a Sugar Power User

Adopting Sugar 7
For those of you thinking of upgrading to Sugar 7, this session is for you. We’ll show you what’s new in the Sugar 7 release to prepare you and your team to make a smooth transition and get the most out of your upgrade.

7 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Sugar 7
Sugar is one of the most used CRM applications on the planet. The application has spawned countless books, web sites, blog posts and tweets about interesting things one can do with the platform. This session will uncover some of the coolest things you didn’t know you could do with Sugar.

Sugar Importing Basics
One of the first challenges in implementing Sugar is migrating your existing information for use in Sugar. This session highlights best practices that you can use to quickly get your existing data where it belongs – in Sugar! Learn how you can quickstart your Sugar implementation by importing data from other CRM applications, Outlook, Google Contacts, or any program that can save data in a CSV (comma-separated values) format. Clean data in Sugar becomes valuable information for your business.

“No Code Required” Configurations
This session showcases some of our favorite configurations for Sugar administrators. You will learn key configurations in Studio and Workflow that can be applied to real world scenarios in your implementation.

Getting Started with Reporting
As a newer Sugar user, one of the most critical features you’ll use everyday is Reports. We will provide you with basic information about the Reports Module, show you how to get started using Reports, and update you on enhancements we’re planning for future releases of Sugar.

Thursday, May 1
Customer Training Day

End User Getting Started
Get started by understanding end user features and functionality. You will learn Sugar best practices and how to enjoy the features most commonly used by SugarCRM end-users.
Audience: End-Users

Creating Reports
Become a reporting expert and learn how to create reports using Sugar. All major report types will be reviewed and you will be given the opportunity to create your own reports in class.
Audience: Adminstrators or End-Users.

Working in Studio
Learn how to create new fields (including calculated and dependent value fields), re-label existing fields, add-to and remove fields from page layouts, and create new module relationships.
Audience: Adminstrators

Building Workflows
Learn how to create workflows that streamline your business processes using on pre-defined triggers to generate automated actions and alerts.
Audience: Adminstrators

Register today for your chance to get live, hands-on training by Sugar experts in the most beautiful city in the world!

See you there,
Kevin Freitas

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!

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!

I think most of us here at SugarCRM are still catching our breaths after an amazing week in NYC. SugarCon 2013 was an awesome four days of great keynotes, discussions, customer stories, training sessions, evening events…simply put – it was our best event to date, and we are already dreaming scon13up ways to make SugarCon 2014 even better.

While there were tons of highlights, great moments, sound bites, press coverage, etc. coming out of the event, one trend became clear. SugarCRM has aligned with some innovative and insightful partners – all of us with similar visions of helping create more customer-centric organizations. Perhaps one of the most profoundly aligned companies in our ecosystem is IBM.

Our aligned visions took center stage on Tuesday April 9, as Larry outlined our vision for “Every Customer, Every User, Every Time” and how our product and services are working towards making that a reality for every Sugar customer. Then, following behind Larry’s message, Steve Laughlin, Vice President for Smarter Commerce for IBM’s Global Business Services unit, talked about the empowered customer era and told the 1000+ attendees how IBM is helping to make enterprises more adept at personalizing interactions and the customer lifecycle in general.

And then, on Tuesday, Tamara Duncan, client advocacy executive at IBM, talked about the importance of customer centricity on a panel led by Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity. In addition to the main stage, IBM executives also presented two standing-room only sessions: one on social selling by Christopher Lamb, IBM Program Direct, Social CRM, and another on modern marketing tips by Chris Benedetto, Product Marketing Leader, Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM). In addition, SugarCRM solutions architect Charles Hicks presented an integration overview between SugarCRM and IBM Cognos BI to a packed house. It was refreshing to see two seemingly different companies in strong agreement when it comes to creating great customer experiences.

That alignment in culture and vision is already paying off. During the event, SugarCRM announced a key customer win with Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG, a leading supplier of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. Sennheiser made the decision to go with Sugar due to the usability of Sugar and product flexibility, but also due to Sugar’s deep integration with IBM technology and products.

Coming away from such an amazing event, we are reminded of how strong an ecosystem we have, anchored by some heavy hitters like IBM. What’s more, it is even more invigorating knowing our vision for our customers’ success are so well aligned.

Sweet Tweets for Sugar 7

mremedios1 —  April 9, 2013 — 1 Comment

Today at SugarCon, we proudly announced the preview of Sugar 7!

Twitter was bursting with awe and excitement as Sugar CTO Clint Oram and CPO Lila Tretikov unveiled Sugar 7 live on-stage from the Grand Ballroom of The Waldorf Astoria New York. Here’s a recap of tweets from the analysts, customers, and partners that experienced it firsthand: