Archives For SugarCRM

(Editor’s note: this post was originally published by DestinationCRM.com)

How did we, as an industry, get to a place where so many CRM customers have buyer’s remorse after they invest in a new system? I hear about it on social media, in user forums, and in meetings with prospects: Customers feel like they’ve been duped.

It helps to take a look at how we got here. Basically, the big traditional CRM and enterprise software companies have quietly promoted a set of CRM assumptions that steer customers toward antiquated solutions that fall far short of meeting the real needs of customers.

The negative impact is palpable, and making the wrong CRM choice makes it difficult to differentiate your business, removes choice and flexibility, doesn’t help create seamless customer experiences, makes individuals’ jobs harder, and winds up costing a lot more than expected.

It’s time to debunk these myths, and empower a new breed of CRM that helps customers transform their businesses by building extraordinary customer relationships from the first engagement forward.

Myth #1: I need to choose the most popular CRM to keep up with my competition.

Doing the same thing everybody else does is actually a risk. Why? It’s a terrible way to differentiate your business—and isn’t that what you’re trying to do? Being better means being different. If you want to differentiate yourself, go with a CRM that will transform your customer relationships, re-energize your customer-facing employees, and help you provide a truly exceptional customer experience.

The companies that win in this era of empowered, intelligent customers win because they create better experiences and better relationships with their customers. But using the same old CRM is the best way to deliver the same old customer experience.

Don’t be afraid to demand more from your CRM than adequate, average, and the status quo.

Myth #2: The cloud is the future, so the deployment environment doesn’t matter—just give me a cloud.

Ten years ago, the vendors who invented cool new SaaS offerings had to create their own cloud infrastructures—because there weren’t any others. But that was a long time ago. It’s now time for CRM champions to get much more sophisticated and choose the deployment model that meets your business, security and regulatory needs. Today, there are modern clouds from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, IBM, etc. These modern cloud environments are more affordable, flexible, reliable, and secure than any vendor’s proprietary cloud. Most importantly, they give you something you need and deserve: choice. And, don’t forget about private and hybrid cloud options. Those should be on the table as well.

Make your CRM deployment adjust to your business needs, not the other way around.

Myth #3: I have to buy different “suites” for the different departments in my business.

Traditionally, companies have been organized by function and department. The concept of CRM “suites” for different departments followed, and as a result, many organizations are often stuck in their old habits, using their legacy CRM technology to support separate, siloed business functions.

Buying multiple suites or clouds and development platforms to support sales, marketing, and service people increases complexity, cost, and time-to-market for your users. It also means you have to try to integrate different solutions, and that can be difficult, even if they are from the same vendor.

Instead, let’s look at the purpose of CRM from the beginning. What do you need it for? Isn’t it to build better relationships with your customers? Shouldn’t that apply to everyone in your company who interacts with them?

By making CRM available to all your teams, it ensures that no one in your company can claim ignorance and everyone has the latest on the status of your customer base.

Myth #4: When it comes to CRM, the sticker price is only the beginning.

For far too long, enterprise software vendors have gotten away with complex pricing models that make it very difficult to know how much your CRM is really going to cost. Vendors publish pricing that looks straightforward on the surface but requires a team of lawyers to really understand all the limitations and up-charges you’re going to face if you actually try to make the system do what you need it to do. These include:

  • Upcharges for system usage, which are often very hard to calculate and budget.
  • Charges for 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.
  • Charges for mobile access and more all make it very difficult to understand what your CRM solution is really going to cost.

There really is a better way. Simple and straightforward pricing should be the rule of the day so businesses can make their CRM initiative a strategic differentiator at a cost that works for them. Organizations should be able to make as many API calls as they want, store as much data as they want, and never be surprised by unexpected fees.

Myth #5: My CRM vendor can never be a true partner.

This one really bugs me. As an industry, we haven’t done a good job of being true partners that our customers enjoy doing business with. Sure, we need to make our products easy to use, pricing straightforward and deployment flexible. But even more important than all that, a CRM vendor should strive for an open and accountable relationship that creates trust.

Your CRM should be committed to our role as a trusted partner in your success, providing a holistic view of how you can balance people, processes, and systems to build extraordinary customer relationships—and steering clear of the above CRM myths is the first step in achieving this goal.

First-generation CRM vendors have sold a lot of software. But they haven’t helped a lot of companies build great relationships with their customers.

It’s time to stop accepting the conventional wisdom about CRM, and start exploring the power of being different.

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.

 

Salesforce vs Sugar PricingA few weeks ago 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.

In fact, in PC Magazine’s 2015 business awards, SugarCRM earned the highest overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend scores in the CRM category, beating our chief rival by a significant margin. PCMag said Sugar is an “enterprise-worthy and beloved solution for every aspect of the customer relationship” and a system which PCMag readers certainly “prefer far and above the other options.”

PCMag Business Choice Winner

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.

Learn 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.