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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will offer valuable insights to help jumpstart your customer loyalty program. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Creating an amazing customer experience can create customer evangelists. Although, how can you measure the value of a satisfied customer who isn’t loyal? Shep Hyken says it best:

There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.
    ~ Shep Hyken

Did I also mention that Shep will be our keynote at this year’s SugarCon? The following will be a list of articles that can be used as a guide to revitalize your overall loyalty program, or give it a little boost.

Effective Social Media in your CRM: Loyalty
Social CRM can often complete the complete 360-degree customer view that companies rely on to communicate a consistent customer experience. Knowing exactly who your customers are will allow you to help serve them timely, relevant, and engaging content through the right social channel.
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How To Use Technology, Brains, and Service To Build Customer Loyalty
It’s here that you shift your customers’ perception of your company out of the “they’re perfectly fine for now” to “they’re my one and only.”” – Micah Solomon

Technology can’t foster customer relationships alone. However, by combining well-trained employees with the tools needed in order to create an extraordinary customer experience, you’ve created an opportunity demonstrate value to your customers and drive customer loyalty.
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Finding Benefits in SMB Loyalty Programs [Infographic]
How do you view customer loyalty for your SMB? This infographic explores the benefits of a loyalty program and exposes opportunities for you to take advantage of to leverage your customer base and keep them coming back for more.
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4 Sharp Tools for Honing Reseller Loyalty
This article focuses more on managing relationship within your extended sales force: the channel. Providing support through an indirect channel is like playing a lethal game of telephone in customer service.

“It’s repeatedly been said that service is the secret to loyalty. Most of the time, that’s said in reference to direct customers — but it applies even more so to the indirect channel.” – Christopher J. Bucholtz
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And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this week’s roundup and have a newfound insight on loyalty. Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (June 2013) Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Found in a recent Gartner survey, 77% of American consumers go online looking for incentives relating to a purchase, and nearly one in two of them go online searching for effective problem solving. Meanwhile, as many as four times the number of people see a negative tweet as see a positive one. Wouldn’t it be better to see these people quickly and help them solve their problems, creating a positive brand awareness on social media rather than leave a negative perception of the brand?

By gaining visibility to customers’ social profiles, companies can discover who acts as brand advocates and influencers: who on Twitter posts positive messages (or negative ones) about customer service, who shares a particular buying experience by photographing a shirt or tie they recently bought on Instagram, or even who is connected to whom on LinkedIn to develop better in-roads into winning that all-important contract. The choices are endless.

Both B2B and B2C companies are relying on CRM to organise these insights about what customers are doing and buying, and to help establish predictive ability to know what and where to target next.

CRM gives this complete customer view by providing a single context of what the customer is doing — such as total wallet spend, or spending patterns — with a single entry point to not only analyse it, but to react to the information. Business rules and marketing drip campaigns can be driven off this data, but companies also gain the ability to see which individuals are brand ambassadors and who would be key to any successful loyalty programme integration.

Loyalty is a key theme at the moment, with many businesses seeking to not only maximize what they know about their customers, but to then enhance it with predictive behaviours and analysis that reward loyal customers and evangelists for the brand, and drive customers with similar behaviours to become stellar and vocal brand advocates.

At SugarCon 2014, I’ll be presenting on “Effective Social Media in your CRM” – we’ll be continuing this discussion on the use of social CRM to power effective loyalty programmes, as well as its application in targeted marketing campaigns and real-time customer support. Demonstrations of these systems in action will be showcased, along with customer stories of successful social CRM programmes for both B2B and B2C companies. I encourage you to attend this session to jumpstart your own consideration and integration of social CRM into your business!

We’re bringing the top Sugar highlights from the Twitterverse right here to the Sugar blog every Friday. Hear what Sugar fans tweeted this week! For more, join the conversation and follow us @sugarcrm

Harmen Baas tweeted, “Nu presentatie van Sugar7 door @sugarclint op CRM Acceleration 2013! #BrixCRM #SugarCRM pic.twitter.com/TK6LETwVTz”
https://twitter.com/HarmenBaas/status/340113475839868929

Mike Gee tweeted, “Just received my @SugarCRM Pre-Sales Engineer and Implementation Consultant certificates. I’m now qualified!”
https://twitter.com/EnableITmike/status/340433103942201344

Endeavor CPQ tweeted, “BIG HONOR! Congrats 2 our partners @SugarCRM RT @jmertic: SugarCRM Wins ISM 2013 Top 15 CRM Software Award… http://fb.me/Vw0EABjp
https://twitter.com/endeavortweets/status/339476813153710080

Jordan Moss tweeted, “@sugarclint I love this show almost as much as I love @sugarcrm! :) @AtcoreSystems #AllThingsAtcore”
https://twitter.com/jordanmoss_13/status/339376923031519232
(Regarding Shipping Wars, A&E’s hit reality tv show which uses Sugar’s customer uShip as its shipping marketplace)

Have a Sweet Friday!

Best,
Anshu Agarwal
VP of Marketing

We’re bringing the top Sugar highlights from the Twitterverse right here to the Sugar blog every Friday. Hear what Sugar fans tweeted this week! For more, join the conversation and follow us @sugarcrm

Anna Islamova tweeted, “@lilatretikov Great to see you on the panel! #OD13 #OnDemand13 @sugarcrm”
https://twitter.com/annaislamova/status/336936462975115264

Jason Reid tweeted, “@sugarcrm @jmertic I will be sure to stop by, looking forward to seeing what’s new.” (regarding demos of Sugar 7 from our booth at DrupalCon this week).
https://twitter.com/jasonreid/status/337358223478759426

BrixCRM tweeted, “Next Thursday at CRM Acceleration in Amsterdam: @sugarclint reveals Sugar 7! Free sign up: http://bit.ly/10YmGld @sugarcrm”
https://twitter.com/brixcrm/status/337121753954390016

Peter Niemeyer tweeted, “I am thankful for having the nicest colleagues in the world! @sugarcrm @SugarCRMChannel @tinnitus pic.twitter.com/0i8u9M2pc5”
https://twitter.com/NiemeyerPeter/status/336814098346045440

Have a Sweet Friday!

Best,
Anshu Agarwal
VP of Marketing

We’re bringing the top Sugar highlights from the Twitterverse right here to the Sugar blog every Friday. Hear what Sugar fans tweeted this week! For more, join the conversation and follow us @sugarcrm

Sonja Fridell tweeted, “SO enjoying the @collabspot @gmail – @sugarcrm integration. Doing all #CRM work with it”
https://twitter.com/Sfridell/status/335025970379624448

Sean Myers tweeted, “Great trip to San Francisco. Thank You @sugarcrm for the invitation and @DocuSign for a really cool conference.”
https://twitter.com/seanpmyers/status/334767649294782465

DrupalCon tweeted, “We’re grateful for the support from our Silver sponsor @sugarcrm and cannot wait to see you in Portland! http://sugarcrm.com”
https://twitter.com/drupalcon/status/334582985716281344

Eligeo CRM tweeted, “We’re halfway through Switch to Sugar month! Check out our blog for resources for making the switch to @SugarCRM http://bit.ly/switchtosugar”
https://twitter.com/eligeo/status/334747814619926529

Jordon Moss tweeted, “This is possibly my new favorite thing about @sugarcrm! @AtcoreSystems #AllThingsAtcore #AllthingsPink #PinkSugar pic.twitter.com/O5hHbGswYZ”
https://twitter.com/jordanmoss_13/status/335391779253792769

Have a Sweet Friday!

Best,
Anshu Agarwal
VP of Marketing

We’re bringing the top Sugar highlights from the Twitterverse right here to the Sugar blog every Friday. Hear what Sugar fans tweeted this week! For more, join the conversation and follow us @sugarcrm

Kenny Ray tweeted, “@sugarcrm Looking forward to learning about your product at #tek13”
https://twitter.com/kennyray/status/331768144777588737

Jason Eggers tweeted, “I love using it. Syncs docs and more. RT @sugarcrm: Learn about Rolustech’s Gmail Plug-in…Sugar App of the Month! http://bit.ly/Zgu2wT”
https://twitter.com/eggsurplus/status/331804664104353792

Mirco Mueller tweeted, “We won again with @sugarcrm and @Share2B against http://salesforce.com and chatter :) #crm #ESN #SocialSales #SocialBiz #enterprise20”
https://twitter.com/mller_mirco/status/332396514771095554

Peter Niemeyer tweeted, “Thank you @carm_torres and the entire @IBMCCMad crew for making @sugarcrm look good! Here the winning workshop-group pic.twitter.com/vUZq0zoLlP”
https://twitter.com/NiemeyerPeter/status/332633750376689665

Have a Sweet Friday!

Best,
Anshu Agarwal
VP of Marketing

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Going to SugarCon next week? We hope you’re as excited as we are and ready to share your experiences on Twitter! Tweet about the conference with the #SugarCon hashtag and you’ll be entered to win an iPad mini, sponsored by Sugar partner and Social Analytics leader, NextPrinciples.

Guidelines to enter:

  • Follow @sugarcrm and @nextprinciples on Twitter
  • Tweet about SugarCon using the event hashtag #SugarCon
  • Must be physically present at the conference
  • Contest begins Tuesday, April 9th and ends Wednesday, April 10th at 4:30pm
  • NextPrinciples and SugarCRM employees are not eligible to participate

The iPad mini will be awarded to a contest participant with the highest “Influencer” score, based on the highest volume of tweets and retweets. The winner will be announced during the App Throwdown in the Grand Ballroom on Wednesday, April 10th from 4:30–5:30pm. The prize can be picked up at NextPrinciples’ sponsor booth, #207.

This contest is supported by the powerful social analytics and engagement platform provided by NextPrinciples. Visit nextprinciples.com/sugarcrm to see for yourselves.

Tip: Use our mobile app to tweet by sharing status updates or checking in to events on Twitter! Download the SugarCon mobile app here.

Many of you may have taken part, or at least seen the results of our recent Social Media Survey.

Some of the highlights of the survey were interesting, but not all that surprising.  Among them, these points stand out to me:

  • Only 26 percent of respondents said they currently integrate their customers’ social networking information with their existing CRM data.
  • 72 percent of respondents said they plan to integrate their customers’ social networking information into their existing CRM data within the next year.

When you put these two together – it would seem that ideally EVERYONE would be undergoing social CRM initiatives in the coming months. That is a huge opportunity, but also a bit scary. There is an amazing propensity for people to overpay “gurus” and point vendors with no real solution in place, and thus not see results because they did not properly align business goals with the IT work underneath. (Really, there is not much difference between the potential social CRM miscues we could see and the high-level “CRM failures” of the Siebel era.)

The plus side?  A lot of the tools needed to “get social” can be accessed (albeit in a more ad hoc or manual manner) for free. This certainly lessens a lot of the financial risk associated with a new IT initiative.

I had an online chat with InformationWeek’s Dana Blankenhorn and he gets it. In his write up on the survey, Dana points out that this need not be an expensive undertaking.

Overall, I think we can safely say that Social is here to stay…now, the real question is – how will you leverage social in your organization to better your business in 2011?

Editor’s note: This blog post originally appeared in the UK-based B2B Marketing magazine blog series. And, since I think these are points worth repeating (and I wanted to get a blog post out this week!) I am reprinting my thoughts hereAlso note, while it’s true I am too lazy to change spelling back to American English – I think the British English stylizing gives my thoughts a bit of an air of respectability ;)

The explosion of social media over the past several years has certainly begun to make its mark in the business world. What started out as a primarily consumer-driven concept has become big business on many fronts: companies are marketing to customers via social networks; supporting customers and identifying trouble spots via Twitter; and leveraging these new social channels for market research and to qualify leads.

While social channels present an opportunity, companies must not forget the core foundations that actually manage the core data and processes within the organisation. New concepts like ‘social CRM’ are appealing for many reasons. But, ultimately, are not a replacement for traditional CRM. Rather, it is more important to augment existing CRM strategies and systems with social tools – because abandoning core systems could lead to chaos inside the organisation.

To best navigate your move into social CRM, it is useful to ask yourself five simple questions before spending precious time and other resources towards a social media endeavour:

1. Where are my customers and prospects aggregating online?

This seems fairly simple, but might be more complex than it seems.  For large B2C organisations, it may be enough to blast messaging across sites like Facebook. But for more niche markets and products, or more specialised B2B sales models – it may take some more research and listening to your customers before you begin any outreach via social channels.

2. How will this social initiative enhance the customer experience?

Just being social for the sake of being social is useless, and can backfire. For many B2B sales and support organisations, social media should be a means of adding convenience to the sales or customer support cycle – not an intrusive waste of time. Insure that your social interactions are a benefit, not a detractor to the overall customer experience.

3. Am I using social media to hide deeper flaws in my business?

Many companies are using social media as a “band-aid” to hide poor support processes or other problem areas. Customers who tweet about a bad experience get preferential treatment; but what does that really solve?  Before adding layers of social engagement, try to insure your customer-facing processes are already strong before exposing them to the hyper-critical social channels.

4. Who will be responsible for our social outreach?

This is a huge problem area for those looking to jump into social business. If you are going to generate leads, or attempt to handle customer complaints via social media – insure that a proper escalation path is in place. If a customer reaches out via social media and gets no response – it is almost worse than not having a social policy. Insure the right people are in place to quickly and consistently manage inquiries received via social channels.

5. How will I track and measure success?

It is very easy for a social media initiative to create even more data silos, with loads of data not providing insight. However, if you tightly integrate your social tools and data with well-structured existing systems like a CRM tool, you can more effectively track interactions and outcomes. Again, social CRM is not a new concept in itself – we are just using new technology to do what we have always done as  businesspeople: attract and manage customer relationships.

Two of the biggest trends in CRM over the past couple of years have been mobile access and the addition of social media channels. While these technology trends were developing, more and more small and midsize companies around the world were discovering that thanks to open source and the cloud – they could now afford to add the benefits of CRM to their businesses.

Now, all of these technology and business trends are converging in the latest release of Sugar 6. The latest and greatest from the people that pioneered “CRM Made Simple” are at it again, this time adding Global, Mobile and Social capabilities to Sugar 6.

On the global front, 13 new language packs make it easier than ever for companies around the world to get up and running quickly with a best in class CRM system. Sugar will continue to add these fully supported language and currency translations – which no longer require downloading and installing or updating. Just select your language and currency from the drop down list at startup – and you’re good to go!

More and more workers are looking to gain access to data and do their jobs more effectively while away from the office. SugarCRM has answered this call with a new Sugar Mobile application for the iPhone. This native application captures the sleek look and feel of iPhone resident applications, and is fully integrated with the iPhone features. This means you can click to call, and log that call in Sugar in seconds. Click on an address to jump to the google map of that location. With Sugar Mobile – all of your data and connections are just a click away at all times.

Social media is a hot topic, and adding social channels to your CRM system can give you an edge in the market. With the latest edition of Sugar 6, you can quickly check the Twitter streams of contacts and accounts with the new Twitter Connector. And a new integration with social collaboration vendor Qontext makes it easier to collaborate in real time with co-workers and customers in a cool new social media friendly manner.

So there you have it – new Global, Mobile and Social tools – right inside the most intuitive, flexible and open CRM system on the planet.

Check out these new features for yourself by grabbing your own Free Trial of Sugar 6 today.