Archives For Uncategorized

As a precursor to their annual Salesforce Automation (SFA) Magic Quadrant, several Gartner analysts ran a survey polling key decision makers at enterprises around the world about what they look for in an ideal SFA/CRM system. The results were published on Gartner’s site (note: subscription required) this week, and the results are not surprising.

Well, not surprising to us over here at SugarCRM. That is because the key areas that IT decision makers saw as important focus areas are the exact areas where we have built out the Sugar product and platform the most over the past few years.

So, according to the survey, what is most valued by IT leaders?

  • Intuitive Mobile Solutions
  • Mastery of Core Functionality
  • Ease of Integration

On the topic of mobility – I think we as an industry are finally coming to understand that mobile CRM does not mean “shrinking a CRM system down to a phone screen UI.” Rather, we are building more device and purpose-driven applications of CRM – and it is great that IT Decision makers also get this, meaning they are looking to optimize the real-life mobile usage scenarios customer-facing employees require every day. I am excited about the direction our mobile team is going, and we will have lots of cool announcements as 2016 unfolds.

When it comes to “core functionality” – we at SugarCRM have seen more and more companies select Sugar not by our “latest and greatest” or “edge functionality” but rather by Sugar providing absolutely mature and intuitive core SFA features on top of the most solid, extensible and scalable platform. In today’s world, IT leaders know they can develop and build features on a platform, but a solid and well-designed user experience must be there in order to start off on the right foot.

While Integration has certainly come a long way in the age of the cloud, we often forget than many of the large enterprises out there are still stifled by legacy applications. These products have older, proprietary back ends – making integration challenging. Sugar offers a wider range of integration options making it easier to integrate legacy enterprise applications with Sugar than with other CRM systems out there. And as integration becomes easier and easier, we are seeing even more innovative combinations of enterprise and Web data merged with Sugar data to create more highly informed users.

Again, these survey results are not surprising when you consider where we are at in terms of CRM trends. Large enterprises are moving away from legacy systems and the large giant incumbent software vendors, and midsize companies are entering the “strategic” phase of their CRM journeys. It all combines for what we see as an exciting era in CRM history, one that bodes very well for SugarCRM and our vision for the market.

Today, SugarCRM announced 23 of its worldwide channel partners have achieved Elite partner status for 2016. This year’s class represents the top 10 percent of all organizations in SugarCRM’s worldwide channel program. 16 different countries are represented, including for the first time, partners from Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada and Brazil, showing the significant momentum SugarCRM is enjoying around the world.

Additionally, our Elite partners delivered a solid 36% year-to-year increase in annually recurring subscription revenue in 2015, and added more than 350 new SugarCRM customers in total.

SugarCRM Elite partners have attained the highest level of recognition in the company’s channel partner program by building large-scale, growing businesses that provide consulting, implementation, integration, training and development services for Sugar; meeting or exceeding standards for technical proficiency and professional certification in Sugar products; and demonstrating consistent success implementing Sugar in hosted, on-premises, and private cloud environments.

This year’s Elite Partners are:

  • Bhea Technologies (Singapore & USA)
  • BrainSell Technologies (USA)
  • BrixCRM (Netherlands)
  • CloudTech (New Zealand)
  • DataSync Corp. (USA)
  • DRI-Nordic (Denmark & Germany)
  • Enable Technologies (UK)
  • Epicom (USA)
  • Faye Business Systems Group (USA)
  • GrowIT (Argentina & Chile)
  • iNet Process (France & USA)
  • Insignio CRM GmbH (Germany)
  • Levementum, LLC (USA)
  • Merx Business Performance (Mexico)
  • OpenSymbol (Italy)
  • Plus Consulting (USA & Australia)
  • Provident CRM (Ireland)
  • REDK (Spain)
  • Sinergis (Brazil)
  • Solutions Metrix (Canada)
  • Synolia (France)
  • Technology Advisors Inc. (USA)
  • W-Systems Corp. (USA)

Congrats to all of our Elite partners.

Organizations that view their CRM as a tool to track sales leads and record data about current customers are missing opportunities to get the most out of the system.

It seems a given that CRM needs to evolve to meet the need to of today’s digital economy and empowered customer, but many CRM offerings lack the critical components needed to succeed in today’s world of fast-paced change, highly-informed consumers, and a constantly expanding array of customer touch points.

One of the first issues is that many legacy CRM deployments were done as departmental silos, meaning the software and processes were limited to a single company department or portion of the customer lifecycle. This leads to disconnection between departments, difficulty presenting a consistent message to customers, and ultimately frustrated customers.

Our latest blog series will provide ways organizations can leverage modern CRM tools to better align the entire organization around the customer lifecycle.

Better Alignment Between Marketing and Sales

In most companies, sales and marketing are separate departments. Organizations typically rely on the marketing team (and marketing automation software) to develop, score and nurture leads, and then simply “throw them over the wall” to the sales team.  From there, it’s up to sales to turn a lead into a paying customer.

As service becomes more important, and as we increasingly move to a subscription economy – that wall between lead generation and sales processes needs to be torn down.

One of the weaknesses in the marketing-to-sales handoff is the lack of visibility and context around the true nature of the lead. Even if it’s highly qualified, much more information and work is needed to better route and engage a marketing-qualified prospect. A modern CRM takes the handoff from the demand generation tool, and can add far more sophisticated routing rules to make sure that every new lead is sent to the correct person in sales, and also ensure that existing customers are not sent to the wrong agents, reducing “lead cannibalization.”

Advanced workflow capabilities inside modern CRM tools can ensure that not only are leads nurtured, but post-sale follow ups, renewal notifications and other revenue-generating actions all improve the quality of marketing directed to known customers. After all, studies show that the probability to selling to existing customers is 60-70% higher than selling to new prospects.

So, is your CRM aligned to meet the demands of the empowered customer? Can you bridge the gap between your sales and marketing teams?

Modern CRM tools offer organizations the ability to create a more cohesive, cross-departmental view of the customer journey. And these tools are flexible – and affordable – so the actions of every customer-facing employee can make informed decisions with access comprehensive information about the customer, This customer data must be orchestrated across all departments to deliver a consistent message throughout the entire customer journey.

In case you haven’t heard, the old school thinking that customers are a commodity that can be managed is long passed its expiration date.

Nowadays, customers have the power. The rise of mobile and social networking means they are always connected and can find (and distribute) information in seconds.

As we discussed in a recent podcast, customer engagement is the new normal. To keep up in this new world, the most successful businesses focus on customer engagement by providing consistent, personalized experiences that reach customers just as they need them.  

In layman’s terms, customer engagement means you have the eyes and ears of the customer. And, the customer is interested in interacting with you. Whether it be a proactive email reminding a customer about a renewal, or a text message promoting a special offer, customer engagement takes many forms.

One of the biggest obstacles to the customer engagement process is departmental silos.  Too often, different departments engage with the customer with different tools. The marketing department might use marketing automation, the sales team a CRM, and customer support…well, a customer support tool. While these tools are critical, the result is that the data created and used in these systems simply stays in these systems. Other departments either never get access to this data, or get it in a format or at a time that does not help them when dealing directly with a customer. A recent case study about Sugar customer Bancvue by analyst firm Nucleus Research takes a closer look at the benefits of moving from multiple data sources to the Sugar increased productivity, visibility, and customer data accuracy.

A solid CRM platform functions as the engine that harnesses customer data and drives and orchestrates customer engagement. Through its advanced workflows and ability to break down departmental silos, Sugar enables every employee in the organization to engage with the customer. By orchestrating conversations between employees and customers across the company, every employee understands where a customer is in their engagement with the company. From there, the individual can engage in a consistent, valuable and personalized way to provide an extraordinary experience for the customer.

With Sugar, organizations tie together the sales, marketing and post-sales support interactions to help break down silos of information and process, to better engage with the customer.

The theme of last month’s SugarCon2015 was “Connecting i2i,” and I have to say, it was really inspiring to see all the attendees taking advantage of the rich assortment of keynotes, panel discussions and technical sessions presented by industry leaders and Sugar users, partners and developers.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the end of the conference meant the end of “connecting.”

Just this week we uploaded SugarCon2015 session videos and PPTs to sugarcon.sugarcrm.com, a microsite devoted entirely to nurturing the collaboration and learning that happens at every one of our Sugar conferences. We hope you’ll turn to the site again and again and see it as a valuable resource for information that can help you improve customer relationships and ultimately, transform your business. When you visit, you’ll find that sugarcon.sugarcrm.com features a broad range of keynotes and presentations.

Keynotes

These SugarCon2015 keynotes contain powerful insights to help you deliver the personal, meaningful customer experiences now essential for revenue growth:

  • Stop the Excuses and Get Started – Transforming Your CX Ecosystem: Rick Parrish, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Data Inspired Relationships: Unleash Insights and Create Growth: Matt Collins, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Dun & Bradstreet
  • Thriving in Today’s Customer-Driven World: Bryan Brown, VP of Product Strategy, Silverpop, an IBM Company
  • Doing Business from the Customer’s Perspective: Phil Winters, Customer Perspective Champion, CIAgenda
  • Putting Customers First – Again: Larry Augustin, CEO, SugarCRM
  • Fusing CX to CRM: Customer Journey Mapping: Jennifer Stagnaro, CMO, SugarCRM
  • Reimagining CRM: The Customer Perspective: Clint Oram, CTO, SugarCRM

SugarCon KeynoteConnecting i2i at Smarties Bar in Sponsor Pavilion

Presentations

We’ve downloaded 29 presentations in all, and they cover a variety of today’s hottest customer engagement topics. Here’s a small sampling:

  • Sales is from Mars & Marketing is from Venus
  • The Modern CRM – A Forrester Perspective
  • Integrating Marketing, Sales and Service for Exceptional Customer Experiences
  • Optimizing the Sales Experience – Stories and Sales Models from the Road
  • No Coding Required: Configure Sugar for Enhanced Sales

Are you ready to “re-connect i2i?” Please join us at sugarcon.sugarcrm.com , and of course, we look forward to seeing everyone next year at SugarCon 2016, June 13-16 in San Francisco!

Want to check out SugarCon 2015 photos? You can view them and tag yourself on our Facebook page.

Session AttendeesPanel at SugarCon

Our i2i workshop series follows SugarCRM’s recent announcement about a “reimagined” vision of CRM, one that fuses Customer Journey Mapping with CRM.

Continue Reading...

Picture this: you are interested in a product from a particular company. You look at that company’s website and register for a special offer. Then, you contact a sales or call center representative from that same company. But – the representative has no idea that you’ve already looked at the website, and that you’ve registered digitally for the special offer.
This is an example of a disconnected customer experience, where digital interactions (like web or email marketing) are disconnected from human interactions with sales or service people. Unfortunately, this results in an inconsistent customer experience for the prospect, and represents missed opportunity to increase return on marketing investment and to increase lead-to-cash efficiency for the company.

SugarCRM, an IBM global strategic business partner, is working together with IBM ExperienceOne to address these issues and to provide optimized customer experiences across marketing, sales and service; and spanning digital and human touch points.

At IBM Amplify 2015, there will be many opportunities for you to learn more about the exciting combination of SugarCRM and IBM ExperienceOne:
– On Tuesday May 12, from 2:45-3:45pm in Room 33c, listen to a panel discussion featuring Chris Wong, IBM VP ExperienceOne products and strategy; Clint Oram, SugarCRM CTO and co-founder; and customers and partners including Rodobens, a diversified financial services and automotive company, and Triscal, an IBM and SugarCRM business partner. You’ll hear Chris and Clint’s views on the intersection of marketing and sales automation. Listen to Rodobens and Triscal describe how they are providing a consistent customer experience across their disparate lines of business, with IBM Campaign, IBM Silverpop, and SugarCRM (session MHT-1286A).
– Also on Tuesday May 12, from 11am-12pm in Room 29A, you’ll get an exclusive preview from Dale Price, Senior Product Manager with IBM Silverpop, and Laurence Leong, Senior Director Strategic Alliances with SugarCRM, about the new Silverpop for SugarCRM integrated solution (session MEE-1283A).
– You can also visit the SugarCRM booth 606 to see and learn about these solutions yourselves.

Not going to Amplify? Learn more, and get a copy of the solution sheet, at sugarcrm.com/ibm/experienceone