Archives For SugarCRM

Is your organization using Sugar to automate sales, marketing, support, or in some other unique way? Have you gained benefit from the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the Sugar platform?

Then it’s time for your voice to be heard.

pi

Gartner’s Peer Insights is an innovative new concept from the analysis firm. Rather than have potential decision-makers hear only from analysts, who may or may not have hands-on experience with the software they recommend, Peer Insights gives potential buyers first hand analysis from actual users.

These reviews, combined with other steps in the evaluation process, can better equip IT and line of business decision-makers with the tools they need to best address their CRM initiatives.

Want your voice heard? Simply provide a review by clicking HERE.

We look forward to reading your thoughtful reviews!

 

visionThis month, Gartner released its 2016 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, and SugarCRM was once again listed in the “Visionaries” quadrant, we believe because of the company’s continued improvement in our core SFA and mobile tools, among other product developments in the last year.

But what makes SugarCRM truly a CRM Visionary? We’re a company that challenges conventional CRM wisdom and offers an alternative to the status quo. Over the past year, SugarCRM has made a number of enhancements to the Sugar platform, announced new product offerings, and formed partnerships aimed at empowering organizations to go beyond simple “SFA” and truly create standout sales engagement strategies and better overall customer experiences.

This includes Sugar Intelligence, revealed at this past SugarCon in San Francisco, which leverages the company’s recent acquisitions and innovative development to build tools that deliver insight at every turn to sales reps in a variety of real life usage scenarios. In addition, SugarCRM released version 4.0 of its cutting-edge SugarCRM Mobile – which allows for more profound customization, as well as drives greater collaboration and productivity for users in mobile settings.

To further our commitment to providing the most choice available for CRM deployment options, SugarCRM announced a deeper partnership with IBM, to offer private cloud deployment options on IBM SoftLayer.

These are just a few of the truly innovative moves SugarCRM has made in the last few months. They underscore our commitment to helping our customers think and be different when it comes to CRM – helping them build uniquely strategic initiatives to win in an ever-increasing competitive marketplace.

To download your own copy of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, click HERE.

 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

 

A few weeks ago, in Part 1 of this CRM advice column, we focused on SugarCRM’s pricing model versus Salesforce, and it became clear that some CRM vendors are more upfront about overall TCO and pricing than others.

Perhaps you read that and nodded, but at the same time were thinking: “I’m willing to pay more, because I want to partner with a company that respects my company and our goals.”

You are correct to assume you should get that. Any CRM relationship should be a true partnership between vendor and customer. Especially these days, when all CRM companies stress the importance of providing a superior customer experience.

At SugarCRM, we aim to be a company that our customers enjoy doing business with.  We believe in an open, accountable and long-term relationship with our customers that creates trust. We put a lot of resources and energy into being that true partner. In fact, it is a key to what sets us apart from our chief rival.

We hear all the time from prospects, current and former Salesforce customers, even from the media that they are a tough company to work with. We often win deals because former SFDC customers were fed up with poor customer service, including inconsistent rep coverage, wildly expensive quotes with additional monthly fees, and general arrogance when addressing these issues.  Salesforce’s current marketing lingo centers around “age of the customer,” but they let their own customers down over and over.

On the other hand, SugarCRM wants our champions to succeed over the long haul, which is why we’re here for you every step of the way. We’ll give you the tools you need to make the right decision for your company and guide you as you proceed with our CRM solution.

You can learn more about how to save yourself some CRM heartache here.

(Editors Note: To help our readers better understand the impact of Brexit, we called in an expert. The following is a guest blog post from Frank Fanzilli, a SugarCRM board member and former global CIO in the financial services industry).

Brexit – What Happened, and What Comes Next?

Now that we’ve had a few days to reflect and move past the utter shock of the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union, it’s important for organizations in every country to develop a strategy for dealing with what comes next.

We have entered an era of economic and political uncertainty with no easy fix, and one that is slightly different from that of the past decade. As an organization, it’s important not to overreact, and think you must come up with all the answers to deal with the economic impact of Brexit right away. Sure, the value of the British pound immediately fell to $1.35 against the dollar — its lowest level since 1985. And the U.S. stock market dropped 600 points the day after the decision. But frankly, those are minor issues, and a correction may already be under way. The full extent of the economic impact of this vote won’t be known for some time because, as you’ve probably read, the United Kingdom must invoke the “Article 50 notification” first. After that, it has two years to negotiate its exit from the EU.

So, while England and the EU take a methodical approach to how to best navigate this mess, I suggest you do the same. If you are in the financial services or technology sectors with operations in the UK, it is unlikely that there will be any changes in the short term: A contract that was enforceable yesterday will be enforceable today. The UK’s financial services regime, including EU directives and regulations, remains in place until further notice. But there will be lots of noise, there will be distractions, and yes, there will be more volatility.

What is different about this crisis is that, while it is of course an economic story, it’s also a huge political story — and the largest in the West, at least in my recent memory. And last week’s Brexit vote was just the first political domino to fall. It seems likely that a second vote on Scottish independence is coming. (Scotland voted to remain part of the UK in 2014.) In addition, far-right politicians in France and the Netherlands are now calling for their own EU separation referendums. I’d say the chances of other countries leaving the EU aren’t likely, but then again, I never thought we’d be at this point either.

How Brexit Affects the Technology Industry

Finding talent — Tech companies with offices in the UK might have trouble finding and hiring enough skilled engineers and developers. Without the EU’s “freedom of movement” allowances to let workers travel between countries, companies are now worried about a shortage of qualified employees.

Funding — British entrepreneurs face the potential loss of EU business and research grants. London’s technology industry has been on the rise for the past several years, partly because Great Britain benefits in large part from funds such as the European Innovation Fund. If that dries up, it sets the tech industry back. It goes the other way too: About 50 percent of all European funding comes from venture firms based in London. I don’t see how London venture capitalists will continue “business as usual” until the regulatory implications are better understood.

Free trade uncertainty — This was a major topic at this week’s EU meeting. Leaders in the UK want to maintain “single-market access,” which offers free movement of goods and finance around the EU without tariffs. Unless a new deal is reached — and it appears the EU will play hardball on this — by the time the UK leaves, a UK-based company outside of Europe will trade with the EU under World Trade Organization rules. This would mean UK exporters will pay new EU import tariffs, as well as face other fresh barriers to trade.

Data flow and data privacy — This is the biggest issue, in my opinion. The United States and the European Union are in the process of making final adjustments to their latest data privacy agreement, which governs the flow of data between the United States and Europe. With a major player in the European Union now backing out of the coalition, it throws things into chaos.

Right now, U.S. multinationals and tech firms are running out of ways to legally process the data of European citizens. This is because the EU has so far been unable to finalize an “adequacy” decision that would declare the United States safe as a destination for Europeans’ personal data. When it leaves the EU, the UK will be in the same boat. If British companies want to process the personal data of employees and customers on the European mainland, the country must win an adequacy decision. This means that, even though it’s leaving, the UK must reform its privacy laws to be in line with the new EU rules or face big barriers to cross-border data flows.

Meanwhile, global tech firms must deal with the new EU rules. These rules clear the way for massive fines for privacy violations, and allow people to opt out of being profiled online, but they do at least welcome the uniformity that they promise.

How can businesses protect themselves against the likely forthcoming changes in tech policy? For one, it’s vital to have flexibility in cloud options and the ability to adapt solutions to suit the particular needs of their customers and comply with data sovereignty laws. Modern SaaS companies leverage multiple infrastructure service providers in different countries so that customer data can reside wherever legal requirements force a business to store that data. In contrast, legacy SaaS providers operate a single, vendor-specific cloud, putting all of their customers’ data at risk under the umbrella of that vendor. In this next generation of SaaS, technology companies operate their own cloud and also enable other service providers to deliver that SaaS service on their clouds, either private or public.

Impact to the Financial Services Industry

One note of caution: Operational volatility — especially in trading — is likely to increase for the near future. Investors and their assets will undergo a flight to quality — we’ve already seen that. Minding the shop will remain as important as ever, to make sure that key systems continue to operate without fail. And understanding risk will be a key to institutions’ ability to navigate the crisis successfully.

Until now, most global banks have done business in the EU by setting up regulated businesses in the UK and using their right to “passport” into the rest of the European Union. Now, thousands of jobs may be moved out of London because these banks will no longer be able to run their European businesses from the UK — nor would it make political sense. Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg seem like the most likely places for banks to shift operations, but moving infrastructure and people is expensive and time-consuming.

U.S. banks operating in the UK may also have to deal with new sets of financial regulations — a process that will take time and create more uncertainty. However, there is ample time to set up contingency plans to influence the changing legal and regulatory requirements.

imgresWhat Should Businesses Do?

Nothing can predict what the coming months will hold, but any kind of lasting economic upset is looming, it will happen slowly — hopefully giving sufficient time for businesses to make the right course corrections. Here’s a bulleted list to get your comprehensive plan together:

  • Determine how your employees are taking this news. Reassure them that it will be business as usual until more is known. But also be thinking about how you can offer additional information, guidance and training.
  • Figure out how to best communicate with customers, partners and investors. Come up with answers for questions like, “For customers in the UK and Europe, how will this change their buying behavior? For customers that pay us in depreciating currencies, should we alter payment options?”
  • Calculate what your optimal cash buffer would be in the event that Brexit leads to a liquidity crisis.
  • Evaluate your own company as well as competitors in your industry so you recognize the advantages and disadvantages that all industry players will face as the economic and regulatory situations changes.
  • Assess the impact on your ability to maintain your workforce. Will there be any implications for EU nationals working for your organization in the UK, or for UK citizens working elsewhere in the world? You must understand how this will affect workforce mobility across our organization.
  • As the UK and the European Union work through Article 50 negotiations, monitor how to adapt to changes related to corporate taxes, HR laws and international data management laws.

Most importantly, avoid overreacting and distracting yourself from your current business objectives.

-Frank Fanzilli

No, I’m not going Dear Abby on you, I’m talking about your relationship with your CRM provider.

Sometimes you just don’t know what you’re in for. Everything starts fine, the whole thing seems like a promising partnership between vendor and customer. But, the more you get to know someone, the more you start to realize there are some flaws you just can’t stand – like an ambiguous pricing model.

If you are considering a new CRM relationship with Salesforce, you should be aware of a few things. Salesforce pricing includes upcharges for system usage, which are often very hard to calculate and budget. Just as companies start to realize the business benefits of the CRM system, the costs start to grow exponentially. Upcharges include API calls, which equate to connections to other data sources. Storage-based fees can balloon when storing large files such as PDFs or presentation slide decks in the system. In addition, complete mobile access for some versions can cost as much as $50 additional per user, per month. Also, building custom mobile applications on the Salesforce CRM platform can cost an additional $300 per application per month.

It helps to understand Salesforce business model. They talk about “the age of the customer” and how they want to help you build close customer relationships. That’s great, but what they also want to do is lock you into their proprietary cloud environment and charge you every time you want to access your customer data. Think about that, it is like being charged a toll every time you park your car in your own garage.

A recent Forrester survey revealed that 52% of the respondents picked “high cost of ownership over time” as the one thing they most dislike about Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, followed by “rigid and inflexible pricing model” at 42% of total. As a result, 43% of the respondents said they will “renegotiate our contract with Salesforce when it comes up for renewal,”

Good luck with that one.

Breaking up is hard to do, the best approach is to avoid a dysfunctional CRM relationship in the first place and choose a better partner from the outset.

SugarCRM believes strongly in simple, predictable pricing with no hidden fees or forced upgrades. Unlike Salesforce, SugarCRM includes sales, service and other core CRM capabilities for one price with absolutely no hidden fees. SugarCRM’s sticker price is much lower than Salesforce for similar editions, but that really only tells part of the story.  SugarCRM aims to limit the “hidden fees” that Salesforce is known for.  SugarCRM does not charge exorbitant premiums for object storage nor does SugarCRM force users to upgrade to more expensive editions when the user hits arbitrary customization or API limits.

These are some critical elements to consider when entering into a new CRM relationship. Buyer beware!

For more information about hidden CRM costs, check out our pricing comparison guide.

 

Mobile CRM is not the future, it’s today.

As the workforce becomes more dispersed and employees increasingly spend more time away from their desks, a high-quality mobile CRM app is crucial to ensure those valuable interactions with customers that take place outside the office aren’t left behind. CRM on mobile isn’t about shrinking the desktop experience down so it will fit on your smartphone screen. Instead, it’s about empowering users to build extraordinary customer relationships wherever they are with access to updated account, contact, and opportunity data; tools to collaborate with colleagues in real-time within the CRM; and the ability to personalize dashlets in an easy to navigate mobile interface so road warriors have everything they need before, during, and after each customer interaction.

Of course, one of the top concerns with mobile CRM is the risk of customer data being compromised. Mobile devices get lost or stolen everyday. It is up to the organization to anticipate that happening, and to be able to secure customer data when it does happen. With those concerns in mind, SugarCRM has implemented significant data security updates to SugarCRM mobile 3.0.0. Now, offline data within SugarCRM Mobile will be stored in an encrypted database on the user’s mobile device. This new feature will give CIOs even more confidence that their data is even more secure than ever before.ios-sugar-2.4

We’ve heard from many SugarCRM customers who said they are now sending their employees on the road with tablets and smartphones instead of laptops. One such customer is Seguros Monterrey New York Life, the largest life insurance company in Latin America. Seguros sends its insurance agents, (about 2,000 in total) out into the field with tablets equipped with the SugarCRM Mobile app. The agents rely solely on mobile app to provide everything they need to build relationships with their customers and sell customized insurance policies.

In addition, no CRM vendor is more committed to offline mobile connectivity. Sugar Mobile’s offline sync truly makes it easy for users to access data. Users can retrieve or log customer information even when there is no connection to the Internet (such as on an airplane). When the app reconnects, changes or additions will be applied to the Sugar database.

SugarCRM Mobile is included in every Sugar subscription and is compatible with Android phones and tablets as well iPhone and iPad. Users get access to their CRM information, including Contacts, Accounts, Leads, Meetings, Activities, and all custom Sugar modules. The app encourages CRM use by providing users a tool that is familiar, easy to use, and has up-to-date information because it pulls in real time information from the same database as the desktop application.

Digital transformation is a popular buzz phrase. But, what does it mean and how does it fit into your business?

There are many definitions floating around the Internet. This one from the analyst firm the Altimeter Group is good: “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.” But I would extend it by saying it’s about engaging ALL customers — through both digital and human touchpoints.

Many organizations today are undertaking broad initiatives to transform how they engage with their customers. Whether this is classified as a digital transformation, a customer engagement transformation, a business transformation, or something else, a common theme is holistically incorporating capabilities such as social, mobile, data analytics, marketing automation and CRM into a complete solution for customer engagement along the entire customer journey.

The role of CRM in digital transformation

Digital transformation spans more than just CRM, but CRM should be a key component of digital transformation for the following reasons:

  • The CRM is a central hub for information about customers – a critical data source for human and digital touchpoints during customer engagement.
  • Almost all organizations still need human touchpoints such as sales reps, customer success managers, customer service agents, etc.  Even as organizations increasingly adopt intelligent digital capabilities like marketing automation and social media monitoring and outreach, at the point in the customer journey where that customer interacts with a human, it’s important that the human can navigate the CRM system to better connect with the customer. In this scenario it’s also critically important that the CRM system can tie into and both inform, and be informed by, the other digital systems and channels.

CRM requirements in the digital transformation era

To make your CRM a centerpiece of your digital transformation, it must easily integrate into other customer engagement tools so that the CRM user is presented with all the relevant information he or she needs to know about a customer, even if that information resides outside of the CRM (and much of it will). For example, can a call center rep see previous digital marketing interactions, social media comments, and even in-store / in branch activity, quickly and easily inside the CRM? From the CRM, can they then initiate other processes like a return process, check on the status of an order in the order management system, even add the contact to an existing marketing automation program? Can a sales rep be fully informed about all the prospect’s previous digital interactions? Are analytics quickly and easily measured in the CRM to provide “next best actions” or upsell recommendations, easily and quickly to the sales or contact center rep?

Why is Sugar the best CRM for Digital Transformation?

Here’s how Sugar is uniquely positioned to meet these needs:

Innovation Empowering the Individual

Tools used in digital transformation must be innovative. Unlike legacy CRM systems, Sugar is designed with the individual in mind, and offers the most innovative and intuitive user experience on the market – SugarUX™.  With SugarUX’s modern and immersive interface, every customer-facing employee can effectively engage with customers every time thanks to a consistent Sugar experience regardless of your access point or device. Embedded collaboration tools help break down departmental silos and increase engagement and service levels. And best of all, Sugar provides contextual intelligence from internal and external data sources—all within a single dashboard—to drive more actionable insights for every user.

A Customizable CRM platform

Sugar easily integrates with global enterprise applications and data sources. It is a highly customizable platform based on open technologies and using readily available skills (PHP, Javascript). Sugar offers full source code access with a full range of upgrade-safe integration points. And, Sugar offers single code base across all environments.

Note that in most cases, system integrators and customers who build customizations on top of Sugar, own the intellectual property. Therefore they are free to leverage their investment and harvest their customization as a remarketable asset, adding value for their customers and differentiating themselves.

Greatest business value

Sugar offers simple, predictable pricing with no hidden fees or forced upgrades. Unlike other CRMs, Sugar is less expensive to customize and integrate; includes sales, service and other core CRM capabilities in one price; and has lower long-term TCO: lower data and API costs due to flexible cloud options. Other CRMs charge additionally for additional API calls , and hence digital transformation initiatives with multiple CRM integration points end up incurring high CRM costs. Sugar does not charge for additional API calls.

Example of Sugar in Digital Transformation

Rodobens is one of the 100 largest conglomerates in Brazil, and operates seven business units, including automotive sales, leasing and rental, farm machinery sales, insurance, and banking. Rodobens undertook a complete digital and customer transformation, including Analytics, Marketing Automation, and CRM initiatives. To do so, Robodens turned to trusted solutions providers in IBM, for its business management model , analytics, and marketing automation offerings, and SugarCRM for a Customer Relationship Management solution that could handle the diversity of the various business units and easily integrate with IBM and other business applications. You can read more about the Rodobens story here.