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It’s time to Transform Relationships!

The (r)evolutuion of new technologies is rapidly re-drawing the business landscape. Customers are in charge, hyper-connected and full of expectations that companies know them intimately and deliver communications, products and services designed for THEM. Everyone knows it’s time to transform or be left behind.

The transformation needs to start with taking the customer perspective. SugarCon 2016 will offer new insight from experts and industry leaders on how companies can take a holistic approach to transform relationships to drive deeper customer understanding and deliver more engaging customer experiences.

SugarCon 2016 has more than 35 breakout sessions from top CRM experts. In this year’s sessions, executives and thought leaders from a broad range of industries will address business transformation, strategic IT management, and technical CRM development and deployment topics. In addition, SugarCRM technical experts will go in-depth on the product roadmap and the latest Sugar capabilities.

Some of the can’t-miss sessions at the event include:

Larry Augustin: Transforming Relationships – Four Ingredients for Success – June 14 at 8:45am

SugarCRM works with thousands of companies around the globe. We see four key ingredients that set the very best companies apart. Larry will talk about how each company must align strategy, people, processes and systems to transform customer relationships.

Clint Oram: Transforming Relationships with a Modern CRM – June 14 at 9:45am

Clint will demo how Sugar 7 can help you transform relationships by delivering a seamless customer experience across the entire customer journey, anticipating customer needs and coordinating the actions of teams across large organizations. You’ll see and hear great examples of how Sugar 7 can be extended to address specific industries.

Transformation Around the Globe: Sugar Customer Panel –  Tuesday, June 14 at 11am

We’ve brought together a pretty amazing panel of experts to discuss the market dynamics driving their own business transformations. They’ll share insights and experiences using Sugar to re-tool global sales teams, streamline customer care, and create personalized guest and retail experiences.

The panel includes:

IBM – Deb Drakeford, Director Sales Connect, Office of the CIO

Devlyn Optical – Andrew Devlyn, eCommerce and Innovation Director

Sands China – Scott Lake, Senior Vice President of Loyalty Marketing and Strategic Analysis

Fast Forward with Rich Green – Wednesday, June 15 at 8:45am

SugarCRM’s new chief product officer, Rich Green, is a recognized Silicon Valley leader and one of the architects of the technology environment that surrounds us today. Rich will discuss major technology drivers, like information to everywhere, mass customization, big data, machine learning, IoT – even quantum computing. He’ll share his vision for how these technologies are transforming CRM — today and well into the future. Expect some exciting announcements and sneak peeks in this session.

Dr. Catriona Wallace: When Customers Take Charge – Transforming CRM to a Segment of One –  Wednesday, June 15 at 9:45am

Dr. Catriona Wallace, one of the world’s most cited experts on the future of customer experience, will share how emerging trends, such as Conversational Commerce, are now creating an environment where both B2B and B2C customers can no longer be put in segments, and instead need to be treated as individuals. Dr. Wallace will share the key trends that have provided customers  more power than ever before as well as the important role that platforms play in better connecting and creating shared value for both customers and businesses. 

The App Throwdown – Wednesday, June 15 at 4:15pm

SugarCRM’s annual showcase of technology for the Sugar platform is always a crowd favorite. The App Throwdown is where customers, partners, and prospects get to see some of the coolest, most useful, and innovative extensions that drive business transformation, save costs, and close deals faster. 

Build your Sugar Expertise

We’ve created a whole new track called Sugar In-Depth where Sugar experts get into the nitty gritty on how to use new Sugar technology like the Mobile SDK, Sugar 7.7, and Advanced Workflow. SugarCon also offers a hands-on “UnCon” track for developers, opportunities to interact with the SugarCRM engineering team in the SugarLabs, and Sugar University training and certification.

Build your Network

SugarCon will offer lots of great networking opportunities – with industry leaders and influencers, peers who share your interests and challenges, SugarCRM executives, technical experts and partners, and of course our event sponsors. Birds of a Feather sessions will offer a place to connect with attendees around topics that matter most to you.

And Have Fun Too!

There are plenty of cool events and experiences at SugarCon. You definitely won’t want to miss this year’s SugarCon Party Tuesday evening, June 14!

Finally, don’t take my word for it. Here’s Clint Oram, SugarCRM Co-Founder and CTO about what will make SugarCon great this year.

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.

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