Archives For CRM Success

Analyst reports can be very valuable tools when making a software purchase decision. Analysts pour over tons of details, product roadmaps, and talk to several partners and customers of the products they review.

However, G2 Crowd does it a bit different – their rankings come 100% from users like you. The peer-review concept is gaining steam, and SugarCRM is proud that its users are so satisfied with Sugar the product that they drove us into the Leader quadrant in G2 Crowd’s latest rendering of its midmarket Grid for CRM.


Again, this ranking comes from nearly 150 satisfied Sugar users – and nothing else. G2 allows site visitors to peruse thousands of reviews from real, verified users. So, we’re especially proud of this honor.

If you’re a mid-sized company looking for a CRM partner, don’t take our word for it, ask the satisfied reviewers at G2 Crowd.

If you’re spearheading a new CRM project within your organization, it’s important to remember you are not on an island. Your colleagues, presented the right amount of information, will likely be interested as well because everyone has something to gain from it.

In fact, “selling” project internally is critically important. If you don’t do this your whole CRM initiative will face an uphill battle right from the beginning.

There are some tried and tested outcomes that you can aim for when you first get started with a new CRM platform. It always helps to see see fast and tangible results to help get your CRM off to a great start.

These goals are designed to get a number of departments involved and motivated early on in the process, and they form a backbone to develop an organization-wide CRM strategy.

1) Help Sales to acquire new customers

New customers are something that no business would turn down. CRM is great for shaping sales behavior – giving salespeople tools, processes and information to boost their performance and win rate.

CRM helps salespeople prioritize opportunities and think smarter about working their pipelines – it’s about using a qualification process. Simple and effective!

2) Help Account Management  boost revenue with customers

One of the most important things you can do with CRM is more deeply understand your customers so you can better anticipate and serve their needs.

Getting account management features set-up from the start brings customer information together in a digestible way so you can profile customers and help account managers plan their cross-sell / up-sell activities.

3) Help Marketing to engage more effectively

CRM helps you understand your audiences and engage with them meaningfully. It can also measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

By measuring marketing effectiveness, CRM can form a closed-loop system that lets you track responses and attribute leads to specific campaigns – even when engaging offline.

4) Enable effective, efficient customer service

Streamlining customer service and giving agents better support reduces costs and boosts customer satisfaction.

Customer service reps can can tackle inquiries quickly and independently when they’re supported with the right tools, workflows and information in CRM.

5) Provide business intelligence that lets everyone act on fast

Practically everyone in an organization benefits from being able to monitor and measure performance. CRM helps you keep an eye on anything that’s meaningful, from headline figures to granular detail.

By setting up dashboards looking at leading indicators and how they affect outcome goals, helps you improve as an organization.

We are in the era of digital disruption and it’s not just about companies like Uber and Airbnb. Organizations in every industry, because of the ridiculously fast pace of technology innovation, are dealing with disruption. They must develop digital transformation strategies that focus on utilizing new technologies and business models to more effectively engage with customers at every touchpoint.

Furthermore, there is clear evidence that companies that embrace digital transformation and offer a superior customer experiences are outperforming their competition in terms of attaining and retaining customers.

Disruption comes from innovation. Often, innovation is the end result of viewing things differently, recognizing patterns and trends before your competition, and then being agile and courageous enough to act before the rest of the world catches up. In our latest disruption series video, we had the chance to talk with one of the most innovative companies in the world. Dale Price from IBM talks with SugarCRM’s Martin Schneider about how marketing automation paired with IBM Watson analytics drives better engagement by bringing more intelligence and insights throughout the marketing and sales process. By bridging the gap between marketing and sales, IBM & Sugar accelerate your ability to close more business.

We are in the era of digital disruption and it’s not just about companies like Uber and Airbnb. Organizations in every industry, because of the ridiculously fast pace of technology innovation, are dealing with disruption. They must develop digital transformation strategies that focus on utilizing new technologies and business models to more effectively engage with customers at every touchpoint.

Furthermore, there is clear evidence that companies that embrace digital transformation and offer a superior customer experiences are outperforming their competition in terms of attaining and retaining customers.

Think about the end of the quarter, when sales people are rushing around to secure all the final details and signatures to close a deal. It’s often stressful and time-consuming. Enter PandaDoc, which makes it easy to create, send, track and eSign quotes, proposals, and contracts right within SugarCRM. For part five of the disruption series, SugarCRM’s Martin Schnieder talks with Jared Fuller, the vice president of sales and business development at PandaDoc about how the company is disrupting how organizations close business.

Marketing teams are charged with building extraordinary relationships with customers. With this much responsibility, it makes sense for the marketing department to become power users of CRM. However, many marketers view CRM as a tool for sales or customer service and may struggle to see how it can become a critical tool that helps them do their jobs better.

Recently, I had the chance to sit-down and talk with Clint Oram, SugarCRM’s co-founder, CMO, and frequent contributor to this blog to discuss how marketers can best use CRM.

Q: What’s one opportunity for using CRM that marketers often overlook, but has the potential for making a significant positive impact?

A: CRM can, and should, be tightly integrated with top-of-funnel marketing tools like marketing automation and the website. Building on that, CRM is the starting place for segmenting your customer base for install base campaigns. Rather than just blindly running marketing campaigns to your entire database, segmenting your customers and prospects by size, geography and industry helps you be more strategic and efficient. For instance, you will want to run a financial services campaign in New York and a manufacturing campaign in Detroit. CRM helps you do that.

Q: What about challenges with CRM tools? What’s the most common challenge you come across and how can marketers get past it?

A: For marketers, CRM user adoption is a challenge. Marketers are smart people, and unlike our friends in sales, there isn’t quite the same mandate to use CRM from management. So, if the CRM doesn’t provide an easy user experience that makes their job simpler, marketing folks just won’t use it. As an organization, it’s on your CRM selection team to not forget about their users when they select and deploy a new system. At SugarCRM, we have some wonderful examples of customers setting up creative onboarding programs to make sure employees are comfortable and understand all the benefits of the CRM.

Q: Marketers can use CRM tools to support initiatives across the customer lifecycle—from generating awareness to maintaining loyalty. Where are marketers currently under utilizing CRM tools? And what can marketers expect from increasing its use in that area?

A: Building loyalty by running marketing programs for current customers is underutilized in many companies. All the data tells us retaining and expanding relationships with current customers is much more cost-effective than turning leads into new customers. Marketing teams should ask themselves, “What else can we do to build loyalty, turn our current customers into advocates and offer additional products to increase revenue within the current customer base?”

Q: There’s no escaping customer experience as a hot topic today. Marketers can use CRM to enhance many aspects of CX; some areas more than others. Where should marketers focus their use of CRM technology to make the biggest positive impact on CX?

A: Here’s why the customer experience is so important today: with a few exceptions, different companies in the same industry usually offer just a variation of the same services or products. And every one of those competitors are just a simple Google search away from each other.  How you win customers is now based on how you treat customers as much, or more than, as what you sell.

That means the need for an exceptional, and unique, customer experience is more critical than ever before.  Think about it, I’ve stayed in many business class hotels all over the world. There are some minor differences, but they all offer a comfy king-sized bed and a bathroom. The list goes on: airlines, rental cars, even Uber vs Lyft. How do you differentiate yourself when you offer similar goods or services as your direct competitors?

The answer is your customer experience. The companies that win in this era of empowered and intelligent customers win because they create better relationships with their customers. That makes sense, but a natural follow-up question (and the key question to this whole blog post) is: How can you create a better customer experience when you are using the same, uninspired CRM system as your competitors?

Q: Let’s get into the weeds a bit. One benefit of a CRM tool or platform is the efficiencies it can bring to marketing and related processes. Where do you see marketers stumbling here? Where are they getting it right that others can learn from?

A: Automation does bring a lot of efficiencies to marketing. But, to me, the key is building processes that match the way you work – not the other way around. I see too many examples of marketing teams running their campaigns based on what the technology can do. It should be the other way around. A flexible CRM tool adapts to your unique business; you don’t adapt to it. With our advanced workflow capabilities in the Sugar platform, we’ve made it so anyone can redesign and deploy these business processes with a visual design interface. Our advanced Workflow can also be integrated with external systems

Q: Let’s wrap with a look forward. What’s coming up that you’re excited about in two areas: in the market in general—perhaps a trend or tool; and within SugarCRM—any new features or upcoming upgrades?

A: Artificial intelligence is hot right now; you may have heard. There is a lot of noise about AI, and quite frankly the technology industry has overhyped it a bit. We won’t wake up one day and be in era of artificial intelligence. Instead, it will slowly creep into the marketing industry just like most other technologies.

I will say this, adding cognitive intelligence will free up CRM users from tasks like searching for and organizing data things that machines are better at than humans. This will allow humans to focus on what they are best at, which is communicating with other humans. Marketing people, in general, are creative people and they are going to love when AI frees them from the tasks they don’t like, and allows them to unleash their creativity.

Along those lines, look for some really interesting announcements from SugarCRM related to our Sugar Intelligence service. We’ve heard all the AI hype, but we think we are building things the right way in a way the market will accept.

Last week, a survey by a company out of the UK came back with an interesting headline, “Only 17% of customer relationship managers believe their CRM is generating revenue.”

Hmmm…really? Though those results surprise me, the data is based on a poll of 500 CRM managers. As they say, “you can’t argue with the people.” So, for the 83% who are struggling to understand how to generate revenue from their CRM. Here are five ways a sound CRM investment drives revenue:

CRM increases sales rep productivity – Some industry data suggests salespeople spend only one-third of their time actually selling. The rest is spent on administrative work like qualifying leads, and data entry. CRM will streamline and cut down that time, so reps can spend more time selling. The more time selling, the faster deals can close.

CRM help reps prioritize – If configured correctly, CRM helps reps prioritize their time by focusing on the deals that are more likely to close so they don’t chase low percentage opportunities.

CRM helps with retention – By making sure customer service professionals have access to the CRM to review the details about the customer’s journey with your company including, purchase history and account status, your customers will be less frustrated and less likely to leave. Customers that feel like they are a priority lead to upsell opportunities and solid growth.

Integrated marketing and sales activities – A modern CRM allows not only the sales team, but also the marketing team to stay plugged into leads at every stage in the process. This enables marketing to be part of the sales cycle and helps prevent leads from falling through the cracks. 

Automating post-sales processes – By using your CRM to automate and speed up everything that happens after the contract is signed, activities like user onboarding and the billing process, improves time to revenue and increases available cash flow for an organization.

If you are not seeing revenue from your CRM, you should ask yourself: 1) are my daily users getting the most out of our CRM 2) is it tailored my specific business processes 3) am I partnering with the correct vendor who cares about my business success and considers me a priority?crm

(Editor’s Note: the following is a guest blog post from Sarah Friedlander Garcia, the director of marketing at W-Systems. It originally appeared on the W-Systems blog. For more blog articles from W-Systems visit the company’s SugarCRM Blog.).

Silo mentality has become a major problem in organizations across the globe. Today, the lines between sales and marketing teams have become blurred. Marketing teams are often tasked with converting new leads from social media interactions, emails and website visits into customers –  traditionally a sales role. Meanwhile, many sales reps are using these same vehicles to gain insight into a customer’s buying behavior – traditionally the marketer’s job. Organizations must do a better job at clearly defining the roles of sales and marketing, where marketing generates leads and sales closes them.

Software as a Barrier

Technology now serves as another reason for silos between sales and marketing teams. If sales reps are using a CRM platform to manage their customer relationships and marketing is using a marketing automation platform to manage their leads and these two systems aren’t sharing information, it’s a recipe for disaster. A disconnect between sales and marketing can lead to lost opportunities and lost revenue. Then sales and marketing teams are left pointing the finger at each other.

Better Together

Successful organizations need to utilize both CRM and marketing automation systems. However, these two systems must have the ability to share data. By connecting these two systems together, organizations can fully realize the value in each.  Marketing automation is worthless if salespeople aren’t closing deals from the leads provided.  Likewise, CRM is a useless prospecting tool if it is not being fed quality leads from marketing.

The Dynamic Duo

In many cases, you’ll find CRM and marketing automation platforms on the market that offer integration on a very basic level. Unfortunately, basic integration yields basic results. And world class sales organizations need to be much more than basic to compete in the current hyper-competitive landscape.

Marketing automation solution Act-On integrates deeply and seamlessly with Sugar CRM, providing a complete, closed-loop system for multi-channel lead generation, management, and revenue contribution. Act-On features a native, out-of-the-box integration with Sugar, allowing sales and marketing teams to set up automatic bi-directional synchronization between the two platforms.

Synergy at Work

This deep integration allows marketing to deliver highly qualified leads to the sales team, while allowing sales to access those leads and activity histories, personalizing their sales pitch to the individual, in real-time. This is powerful stuff. A sales rep that knows a prospect’s preferences, behaviors and activity history before the call, changes a cold call into a warm call, makes the call more satisfying for the prospect and has a better shot at making the sale.

Studies show that when both sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies become 67% better at closing deals. Therefore, an integration of the technologies used between sales and marketing teams are imperative to breaking down the information silos that exist between them, opening the door to realizing the ultimate goal of both teams – increased sales and revenue.