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Customer relationship management (CRM) software houses all your customer data in one place. Whether your sales team is primarily at the office, or out in the field, essential customer information is always at their fingertips. Thanks to this easily accessible data, your sales team has new tools to enhance every aspect of their work. It’s even possible for salespeople to check the status of prospects, identifying their exact placement in the sales funnel. That’s also great news for sale managers, allowing them to instantly track their team’s performance and determine where leads tend to stall out in the sales process.

There’s more to tracking sales performance than simply measuring the number of calls made and deals closed. The more customer and sales data you collect, the clearer the overall picture becomes. A CRM not only provides you with a system for tracking the “activities” of your sales team — calls made, emails sent, meetings taken — it also enables you to measure the “motion” of your sales efforts. This allows you measure the effectiveness and efficiency of any sales strategy or activity.

By tracking sales motion, you can see how many potential customers are being moved through the sales funnel by your team. For the first time, you can see something once thought to be impossible: Tracking the ‘untrackable.’

Instead of viewing performance in terms of a specific set of actions, tracking motion allows you to measure process over time, gauging the success of your sales efforts over weeks, months, quarters, and years. It also gives you a greater degree of control over the sales funnel itself. If prospects are stuck at a stage in the sales funnel, reps and managers can collaborate on ideas for moving them forward.

This new approach to the sales funnel can be baked right into the CRM itself, with the necessary tools and processes for tracking sales and activities and motions being put in place during the CRM design and implementation phases. These tools can provide the insights you need to win deals, create strong customer relationships, and develop strong strategies for the future.

Benefits include:

  • Better management of your sales pipeline.
  • Enhanced communication between marketing and sales teams.
  • Optimized demand generation efforts.
  • Greater insight into your sales operations.

To get a better idea of how these benefits truly work, lets take a look from the perspective of a VP of sales. Tracking motion within a CRM, allows the VP to know how many viable opportunities have become stuck in some stage of the company’s sales funnel and can easily track how long the opportunities have been lodged there. From there, the VP can determine if the opportunity is stuck there because the deal stalled out or if the reps didn’t have the knowledge or resources needed to move them along to the next stage. The additional information CRM software provides grants the VP the ability to make educated decisions, instead of shooting in the dark or hoping for the best.

By examining the sales process, it’s even possible eliminate these “logjams” before they happen.

Download our white paper for tips on measuring sales success.

Few things are as frustrating as going through the expensive, time-consuming process of implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system, only to see it fail. It’s an all-too-common problem, with multiple industry studies claiming failure rates between 47% and 63% for new CRMs. To avoid this costly situation, it’s important to understand how and why a CRM fails. If identified early, most of these issues can be corrected long before they threaten the entire CRM project.

Let’s take a look at the 25 most common reasons that a CRM fails, and how to fix them.

1. Lack of user adoption 
Low user-adoption rates are the root cause of most customer relationship management (CRM) project failures. This happens when your employees and other CRM users actively resist learning essentials of the system. Perhaps the CRM isn’t well integrated with existing workflows and processes, or the system is just more confusing than it needs to be. This situation can often be avoided by bringing end users into the design and user-experience testing processes, and by enhancing CRM training.

Looking for an innovative way to engage employees and improve user adoption? Check out Splash, a CRM gamification integration.

2. Lack of vision
One of the biggest mistakes companies make going into a CRM project is not setting specific goals and targets. CRM software is designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing it to be used in a wide range of industries and use cases. Without a clear vision of what you need your CRM to accomplish, it can be easy to lose focus over the planning and implementation process. The more specific your plans are for what the CRM — including how employees will use it in their daily work, and how it will improve your KPIs — the more likely it is that the implementation will be a success.

3. Thinking it’s just a technology solution
It’s easy for companies to get excited about the technology behind their CRM projects, but it’s important to remember that these software solutions should always be in service of enhancing customer relationships. The technology alone can’t improve those relationships. When the CRM’s technology is combined with the right workflows, operated by well-trained staff, and managed thoughtfully, the system’s full potential can be tapped into to generate powerful results.

4. Not putting the customer at the center
While CRM technology provides a wealth of tools for boosting the efficiency of your business, improving your processes, and providing insights into your sales cycle, its true purpose is to enhance your relationships with your customers. When a CRM is designed without your customers’ needs in mind — focusing solely on increasing sales KPIs, for instance — many of the software’s best features simply go to waste. A well-designed CRM starts with the customer right at the center.

5. Poor planning
Implementing a CRM system is not a simple task. It’s a multi-stage process, refining a general outline into clear workflows, software systems, data curation, user testing, and employee training. It’s not a process that benefits from trying to figure it out on the fly. Every moment invested in planning serves to prevent later confusion and frustration, ultimately helping to prevent a CRM fail

6. No plan for evolving
It’s no surprise that most companies design their CRMs with only their current needs in mind. A good business changes and evolves over time, creating new products and services for it’s customers. A good CRM needs to be designed with this growth in mind, allowing for expansion, refinement, and other future needs. This includes a process for identifying issues and improvements to include in the next iteration of the CRM.

7. Scope creep
Great ideas excite everyone who hears about them. A CRM project that seeks to improve sales pipeline management may be such a compelling concept that the customer satisfaction team decides that they want a piece of the project, too. Before long, everyone wants in. What began as a relatively small project now needs to serve the needs of multiple departments, and account for dozens of use cases. The project’s scope grows after every meeting, making it increasingly likely that the project will collapse under its own weight. Don’t let this happen. Clearly define your project. Once you have that plan, stick to it.

8. Too much all at once
One way to balance an expanding CRM project is to break up your implementation into manageable pieces. Planning the system is one distinct stage, for instance, as is user testing, design revision, and employee training. Trying to rush the process by combining or skipping these stages usually results in serious problems with the overall implementation. To keep the implementation process moving smoothly, it’s essential to keep each stage manageable, and with realistic timelines.

9. Lack of training
No matter how you decide to roll out your CRM software, it’s imperative that you fully train your team. CRM software can have a steep learning curve, presenting a challenge even for relatively tech-savvy people. Cutting down on training time might seem like a good way to trim the project’s budget, but in practice it usually results in low user adoption rates and increased risk of CRM failure. If you want your team to make the most of the CRM software, don’t skimp on the training.

10. Lack of support
In an ideal world, your CRM project would have a “champion” on staff to act as a software guru, cheerleader, and point person. If you don’t have a CRM champion, however, it’s absolutely vital to get a high level of support from your CRM vendor. Your team will always have questions about the system, and your software will inevitably need revisions and tweaks as your business grows and changes. Your CRM partners need to be available to help at every step of the way, not just at implementation.

11. Wrong vendor
Can your CRM fail simply because you chose the wrong partners? Yes! Some vendors take a cookie-cutter approach to their work, delivering a bare-bones CRM that isn’t customized to the client’s unique needs. If a conflict arises between their client’s business processes and their one-size-fits-all software, they prefer to change the business rather than modify their own code. A true CRM partner will always build a customized solution that fits your needs.

12. Choosing the wrong software
Choosing the right partner is important to your success, but so is selecting the right software. It can be tempting to choose the cheapest CRM software licenses, for instance, until you realize that customizing it to fit your company’s needs is often far more expensive than just buying the right software in first place. Other companies will make the opposite mistake, spending a small fortune on an expensive system with a ton of features that they will never use. Cost is important, but it should be a secondary consideration to finding the right CRM software for your company’s needs.

13. Too many bells and whistles
CRM software is designed with customization mind, with dozens of modules and add-ons that can be configured to work for countless possible use cases. Unfortunately, some companies make the mistake of trying to make use of all of those options at once, rather than only using those that are essential for their specific needs. A great CRM provides a lean user experience, only making use of those elements which are absolutely necessary. Why force your teams to learn systems they will never use, or add additional steps to a process that should be simple? The more intuitive and streamlined the user experience, the better the user adoption rate.

14. No measurable objectives
How would know if you have implemented a well-designed CRM solution? If it was failing, how would you detect it? Without the right metrics, there’s really no way to tell if the CRM is a success. Your CRM project needs clear, measurable objectives that can be easily tracked, analyzed, and evaluated. This allows you to make timely changes to the CRM itself, workflows, and even training long before the CRM is at risk of failure.

15. No executive buy-in
In order for your CRM system to have its best success, everyone involved with the process needs to be on board. While your sales and marketing departments may be able to easily grasp the value of a CRM, the advantages might not be as obvious to other departments. This can even apply to executives, who may focus more on the costs of a new CRM than on the benefits. It’s not enough for the C-Suite planners to acquiesce to trying out a CRM, they need to be 100% behind it. The better their understanding of the value the CRM brings to the company, the more invested they will become in its long-term success.

16. Look at your business through your customers’ eyes
The fundamental job of a CRM is to efficiently assemble customer information in one central location, and to make it easily accessible when needed. There are countless ways to organize this system, and typically this data is organized in the way that is easiest for the company, rather than the customer. In some cases — such as customer support — this company-centric approach isn’t always the optimal one. If your CRM is failing, it’s worth taking a step back to see how your customers (usually through your employees) interact with your CRM. You may find some surprising disconnects, roadblocks, and other frustrations that are only obvious when you work backwards from the customer’s experience.

17. Failing to involve end users
Your CRM should always be designed around the needs of the people who will use it most. A workflow that makes sense to a CRM vendor’s coder or UX designer might be bafflingly unintuitive or painfully slow to the salesperson, support desk agent, or data entry worker who has to use that system all day, every day. These end users are often the very people who ultimately determine if a CRM project succeeds or fails. If the system is poorly designed and implemented, those users will either avoid using it, or — even worse — use it in a way that makes the process less efficient than not having a CRM in the first place. By bringing these end users into the planning and user-testing stages, these headaches and costs can often be avoided completely.

18. In-house CRM coordinator picked randomly
Businesses often toss the job at the CTO or COO, as the CRM is a technology-driven tool. In some cases, the Director of Marketing or Sales may be assigned to the task, as CRMs are built around customer relationships. Another common choice for a CRM coordinator is a mid-level IT manager. There are better ways to select your CRM coordinator. This person needs to have the time, the ability to plan and a passion for the project. Learn more about choosing your CRM champion.

19. Bogus data
Your CRM software works because it provides insight into the customer data you collect. If your data is bad — corrupt, outdated, or just incorrect — there’s nothing that the CRM can do to make it useful. To get meaningful results, your data needs to be as pristine and complete as possible. Before you start your CRM project, make sure your data — and the methods you use to collect it — are in the best shape possible.

20. Employees don’t trust the data
It’s not always the CRM itself that causes CRM failure. Sometimes, the CRM’s data sources are to blame. A good example of this is incomplete or incorrectly entered customer data, which can make employees skeptical about the information in the CRM. If the wrong names or phone numbers are tied to prospect data, for instance, it’s not hard to see why a salesperson would be reluctant to rely on the CRM to make sales calls. If there’s a problem with how the data is getting into the system — poor data entry training, for instance — nothing you can do to the CRM itself will address this. Instead, workers need to be retrained using best practices.

21. Business and tech teams don’t work together
Every department in your company plays a vital role in the overall success of the business. At the same time, these departments also have their own priorities, considerations, and ideas about how to tackle any given problem. When a project comes along that crosses through multiple departments — like a new CRM — one of the biggest hurdles to success is often getting these teams on the same page to reach a mutually beneficial solution. This often often means breaking down departmental barriers, freeing data from dedicated department silos, and creating uniform (or at least consistent) processes for accessing and using customer information. Your business and tech teams may need to work together in new ways to make sure that everyone is getting the most from CRM software.

22. Team members don’t understand their role
From in-house office assistants to field sales agents, everyone the company will need to upload data to the CRM at some point. The processes for getting that data into the CRM, however, may be completely different depending on the use case. This needs to be reflected within the CRM interface, and it also needs to be supported by both adequate user training and documentation. When this support isn’t available, the CRM soon stops being effective. To get the most out of the CRM, each team member needs to fully understand their specific use case.

23. CRM is not the center of your business
Every business has specific tools — like email and spreadsheets — that act as the “center of gravity” of the operation. What happens when a more efficient tool, like CRM, disrupts the established workflow? It can create a situation where workers avoid using the better tool in favor of more familiar ones. Learn more benefits of having a CRM-focused center of gravity.

24. CRM is considered a one-time thing
A CRM system should ebb and flow with your business. A great CRM isn’t the result of a single, perfectly executed implementation. Instead, it’s created by ongoing refinements, revisions, and expansions. The CRM is never “perfect” because your business is always changing. If your CRM is failing, it might simply need to be updated and given a little room to grow. At the same time, a great implementation partner won’t abandon the project when the CRM is finally up and running. Instead, they will check in with you regularly, providing the ideas and support you need to keep the CRM healthy.

25. Attempting the process alone
A CRM system can catapult your company’s efficiency if you implement it properly. The best way to do that is to partner with a customer relationship management software expert to ensure you are engaging your employees and getting the most from your investment.

Looking for a CRM implementation partner? Intelestream is here to help. Call us at 800-391-4055 or contact us today!
And don't forget to check out our killer apps on SugarExchange!

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. –Benjamin Franklin

I will cut straight to the chase. There is a long list of reasons why SugarCRM has managed to establish its footprint in the CRM industry in such a short span of time. Loved by SMB’s to large enterprises alike, SugarCRM has always put its customers at the heart of its organization. Regardless of company size or industry vertical, SugarCRM has managed to transform businesses to drive profitability and increase customer satisfaction.

If that still does not answer the fundamental question why SugarCRM? Let me  share with you the top six reasons why SugarCRM is an optimal CRM solution for your business.

 

1. Affordability

SugarCRM has somehow managed to pull off the ‘More for Less’ value proposition in the CRM industry. Although SugarCRM no longer offers its FREE Sugar Community Edition, the other three editions cost way less than their counterparts. With all the core CRM capabilities that require a one time payment and no hidden fees and complexity, SugarCRM is an affordable CRM solution that you can blindly trust.

 

2. Easy to use

Choose SugarCRM for your business

With a simple user interface that is easy to navigate, your employees will not find it difficult to use Sugar at all. Sugar is known to have a high user adoption rate, a must have feature as it is ultimately the end users who determine the success or failure of implementing a CRM system.

 

3. Customizable

Choose SugarCRM for your business

No matter which CRM you purchase, a default solution will not empower you to carry out all your operations. The need for customization would always arise. You would like to get your SugarCRM theme, modules, dashboards, workflows, fields etc. customized to have a complete bespoke system that would serve as an all encompassing platform to manage your business. SugarCRM takes the lead in this area too. As an open source CRM, you can get Sugar configured according to your exact business needs.

 

4. Integratable

Choose SugarCRM for your business

Customizations would only get half the job done. To get 100% results, you need to connect your Sugar with all the departments of your organization through third-party plugins/integrations. SugarCRM allows you to virtually connect with any software that you desire be it marketing automation, sales automation, social media, payment gateways, data analytics, content management systems, ecommerce platforms, etc.

 

5. Reporting

Choose SugarCRM for your business

Sugar is extremely competent in comparison to other CRMs when it comes to handling large amounts of data. It lets you gather data from various modules to generate reports that give you an excellent handle on your analytics. In addition to the four basic reports, Sugar lets you create advanced reports. And even if that does not suffice, you can get custom reports built to analyze the wealth of information stored inside the database.

 

6. Deployment

Choose SugarCRM for your business

One of the most distinctive features of SugarCRM is the deployment options it offers. SugarCRM supports four deployment methods: On-Demand, Private Cloud, Public Cloud and On-Premise. You get complete freedom to choose from any of the four options and can always make a switch as your customer base grows and business evolves.

 

We are here to help

With Sugar by your side, meaningful customer relationships and excellent customer service are just a click away. So what are you waiting for?. Contact us to schedule a FREE business analysis session

We hear a lot about analytics or artificial intelligence.  But the question I have is, can you see it?  Do you know what it feels like when you ACTUALLY see it?

 

I equate the feeling to an experience I had this past weekend while surfing with a friend in Satellite Beach, Florida. We were minding our own business waiting for the waves to come in, when suddenly a spinner shark breached the surface of the water in full spinning mode. Picture a 4-5 foot (1-2 meter) shark jumping out of the water and spinning about 5 times.  What a sight to see!

 

The spinner shark was about 12-15 feet (4+ meters) away from us.  After the shock passed, we began to contemplate: should we get out of the water? We looked at each other and said “wow, that was cool,” and decided to keep surfing. 

 

Now picture yourself in the water with a shark VERY close and you can feel the vulnerability you experience with a new level of visibility. Yes, it was a bit scary, and it was definitely on our minds as we kept surfing, but being face to face with the dangers of the water made us more alert and conscious to pay attention to the water around us and not just the waves.

 

Seeing the shark in the water, is like finally experiencing the visualizations in SugarCRM for all the things that analytics companies claim. Accent Technologies brings this new level of visibility, supercharging SugarCRM, so the reps can be more productive and effective.  This level of visibility lets the reps and the managers quickly assess what is going on without sifting through spreadsheets or lines of data trying to filter and figure out what has changed on the opportunity from the last time they spoke.  It allows you to see activities and the effectiveness of those activities.


This is important for several reasons:

 

  • Analytics or business intelligence typically rely on historical data that is stored in Sugar. Accent leverages historical data but without requiring any additional data entry by the rep, it adds additional components like company specific standards that drive the desired behavior of the business.  This allows the reps to go after what the business decides are attractive opportunities and is always delivered real time. 
  • Additionally, our smart digital assistant, gets the reps aligned with the right activities and visualizations that help move those opportunities to the next step.
  • Powered by intelligent analytics, Accent delivers more accurate forecasts helping prioritize the right opportunities at the right time for better forecast accuracy. Algorithms based on different model types allow for the system to learn what is an ideal opportunity, what activities are most effective and visually representing what is happening in real time.

 

See the shark! Visualize the value with Accent Technologies and SugarCRM.  Stay tuned for our announcement and expect to see us on SugarExchange soon.

American Specialties, Inc (“ASI”), a Sugar and W-Systems customer since January 2016, was a featured presenter at this year’s SugarCon 2017 conference. The presentation, “Getting Independent Sales Reps and the Manufacturer on the Same Team”, was designed to promote how a successful CRM implementation could, and should, be executed, and to help provide insights to other Sugar customers going through similar implementations.

Avi Bar, National Sales Manager for ASI, and the architect behind their global CRM rollout did a terrific job outlining what a successful implementation blueprint should look like.

Let’s take a look at a few of the challenges that Avi, and ASI faced:

1000+ Users and 30 Territories Across the Globe

  • Challenge: In the manufacturing space, ASI works with independent sales reps who often times who represent other manufacturers. As you might imagine, this presents a unique challenge related to user adoption. Unlike traditional sales environments, ASI has no authority to mandate the use of their own internal tools, yet compliance is critical to overall success.
  • Solution: In order for ASI to gain full adoption, they needed to provide a tool that truly provided value to their reps, otherwise they simply wouldn’t use it. So, how did they do that? Well, they spent 9 months working very closely with the reps across the globe. They did this with one-on-one face-to-face meetings, calls, etc. with the goal of; 1) planting the seeds earlier on so the reps knew what was coming; 2) making sure their voice was heard and that they felt that they were part of the process; and 3) building specific functionality that would help them be more productive. On top of all that, they convinced the sales people that utilizing this new tool would have a direct impact on their ability to make more money, the sweetest sound any salesperson can hear.

Data Visibility and Security Across 100+ Teams

  • Challenge: With all these different reps/companies accessing the system, ASI knew they would have to convince the reps that their data was secure and visible only to those with the requisite permissions. Without it, they knew it would be unlikely that they would get the data input they were requesting.
  • Solution: Utilizing the Sugar built-in Roles and Team security (with a little bit of added magic from W-Systems), ASI deployed a sophisticated security structure that provided the reps with the confidence that their “proprietary” data would not be exposed to any vulnerabilities, or shared outside its own user-base.

Data Aggregation and Analysis

  • Challenge: With no systems in place prior to the deployment of Sugar, there was little data to analyze that would allow ASI to accurately evaluate performance
  • Solution: With the addition of Sugar, ASI now has the ability to furnish reports that allow them to better evaluate the performance of their reps. This gives them insights that they did not have before, which can now be used to help change behaviors and selling strategies.

Encourage Reps to Focus on Untapped Opportunities

  • Challenge: One area of long-term success for ASI is to sell to Architects during the planning phase, however, because these sales cycles are long, reps don’t like to spend their time there, they want low-hanging fruit…
  • Solution: ASI knew that if they presented these opportunities to their reps in small increments, they might be able to get them to focus some attention… They decided to integrate Sugar with a data services provider (“Dodge”) that automatically populates real opportunities in Sugar. All project details, customer accounts and contacts make it very easy for reps to quickly follow up and submit bids.

Training and Education to Aide with Adoption

  • Challenge: With a global, distributed sales force, ASI needed to make sure they provided a comprehensive training strategy to ensure adoption and compliance.
  • Solution: ASI developed and delivered live training in “easy to consume” sessions generally lasting no longer than 1 hour. From there, they created much smaller training “clips” (approx. 15 minutes) that they posted on a YouTube channel dedicated to Sugar training, and lastly, they opened up a Help Desk specifically to answer Sugar-related inquiries. This combination of training and support channels ensured that users were never left in the dark and helped them get optimal value from the tool.

These are just a few of the ways that ASI was able to follow a regimented plan for a successful implementation. As it turns out, past experience proved invaluable for this customer, and by sharing some of their experiences, ASI is hopefully your organization can find similar implementation success.

This article was originally published on W-Systems' SugarCRM Blog.

A CRM system can give your business both a look forward and backward, and be the centralized hub for customer information. While you understand the reasons you need to use CRM software, you may struggle on getting the most from the solution. In truth, the technology is only as good as it’s users. Are you wondering how to get your team to utilize a CRM platform for your company?

Here are 5 best practice tips for CRM use:

1. Customize for your needs

CRM systems can have many bells and whistles. However, you do not want to make your employees’ process any more difficult. Take the time to learn what will help them.

For example, if you are a manufacturer of a solution used in medical adhesives, there are only so many customers that will use your product. You already know who the customers are in your marketable universe, so it does not make sense to qualify leads. Anyone that is interested in this medical-grade compound is already qualified and is an opportunity. Thus, you do not need a Leads module in your CRM because your data can go right to the system’s Accounts module. If your sales team is uploading information into the Leads module, this creates extra, unnecessary steps.

Speak to your team about what they are interested in and then build from there.

Do you know the difference between a lead and an opportunity? Learn how to best differentiate these terms and utilize your CRM.

2. Define objectives and KPIs

Once you determine which facets of a CRM you want to use, you need to decide what goals you want to meet. Maybe you are most interested in growing qualified leads. Or you want to discover where in the sales funnel people drop off. Either way, define what your goals are prior to launching a CRM. Keep checking back to make sure you are achieving your goals and if not, adjust your strategy.

3. Manage expectations

Be realistic when you set personal goals for your team. How many leads would you like each team member to enter into the CRM? What data fields do you think are most important? Set your expectations so you can see where adjustments may need to be made.

4. Create buy in

Team members are not going to go full throttle into a new technology if senior leadership does not show passion for the system. Take the time to speak to your staff about why everyone needs to use the CRM and how using it is going to increase efficiencies.

5. Continue training

A common mistake is to only conduct training on the CRM system during implementation. A one-and-done training model leads to minimal effort from your team. It is not that they don’t want to use the CRM system, but when they start to use it and get stuck, they can feel too busy to take the time to figure out the issue and continue on. Instead, they may go back to the old way of doing things. However, with continued training, you will reinforce your message of using the CRM system and be available to troubleshoot issues.

Want more good stuff? Then check out all our apps on SugarExchange!

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. –Benjamin Franklin

I will cut straight to the chase. There is a long list of reasons why SugarCRM has managed to establish its footprint in the CRM industry in such a short span of time. Loved by SMB’s to large enterprises alike, SugarCRM has always put its customers at the heart of its organization. Regardless of company size or industry vertical, SugarCRM has managed to transform businesses to drive profitability and increase customer satisfaction.

If that still does not answer the fundamental question why SugarCRM? Let me  share with you the top six reasons why SugarCRM is an optimal CRM solution for your business.

 

1. Affordability

SugarCRM has somehow managed to pull off the ‘More for Less’ value proposition in the CRM industry. Although SugarCRM no longer offers its FREE Sugar Community Edition, the other three editions cost way less than their counterparts. With all the core CRM capabilities that require a one time payment and no hidden fees and complexity, SugarCRM is an affordable CRM solution that you can blindly trust.

 

2. Easy to use

Choose SugarCRM for your business

With a simple user interface that is easy to navigate, your employees will not find it difficult to use Sugar at all. Sugar is known to have a high user adoption rate, a must have feature as it is ultimately the end users who determine the success or failure of implementing a CRM system.

 

3. Customizable

Choose SugarCRM for your business

No matter which CRM you purchase, a default solution will not empower you to carry out all your operations. The need for customization would always arise. You would like to get your SugarCRM theme, modules, dashboards, workflows, fields etc. customized to have a complete bespoke system that would serve as an all encompassing platform to manage your business. SugarCRM takes the lead in this area too. As an open source CRM, you can get Sugar configured according to your exact business needs.

 

4. Integratable

Choose SugarCRM for your business

Customizations would only get half the job done. To get 100% results, you need to connect your Sugar with all the departments of your organization through third-party plugins/integrations. SugarCRM allows you to virtually connect with any software that you desire be it marketing automation, sales automation, social media, payment gateways, data analytics, content management systems, ecommerce platforms, etc.

 

5. Reporting

Choose SugarCRM for your business

Sugar is extremely competent in comparison to other CRMs when it comes to handling large amounts of data. It lets you gather data from various modules to generate reports that give you an excellent handle on your analytics. In addition to the four basic reports, Sugar lets you create advanced reports. And even if that does not suffice, you can get custom reports built to analyze the wealth of information stored inside the database.

 

6. Deployment

Choose SugarCRM for your business

One of the most distinctive features of SugarCRM is the deployment options it offers. SugarCRM supports four deployment methods: On-Demand, Private Cloud, Public Cloud and On-Premise. You get complete freedom to choose from any of the four options and can always make a switch as your customer base grows and business evolves.

 

We are here to help

With Sugar by your side, meaningful customer relationships and excellent customer service are just a click away. So what are you waiting for?. Contact us to schedule a FREE business analysis session

We always talk about the value and necessity of data, but there’s one caveat that rarely gets mentioned. Whenever we say “data,” we mean clean and relevant data. We refer to data that offers real value to reps—not the 30% of rotten data that experts say accumulate yearly in your database.

It’s rotten data that has given CRM a bad name. While it’s true that CRM adoption has had exponential growth and that investment in the business has steadily increased, CRM failure remains a major concern, with as many as 1 in 2 businesses saying that the CRM is no help at all.

A CRM fails a business when it contains contaminated, irrelevant, useless, and dated information about customers. As a relationship database, the primary function of a CRM is to help marketers, sales reps, and support reps understand a customer better.

That’s not possible if your data is five years old and hasn’t been changed since. Or if your CRM is full of old contacts that are no longer considered as customers or prospects. Or when looking for a contact is creating more problems because you have multiple entries with different information in data fields.

All these problems will get in the way of using your CRM, and eventually affect your service. To avoid getting knee-deep in decaying data, try the following tips and start keeping a tidier, more effective CRM.

  • Keep everyone on the same page about CRM use.

Invest time and effort into training everyone with access to your CRM on the proper data protocol, from data collection to verification. This would ensure that everyone appreciates what clean data is, and the difference it makes to CRM and customer care. It will also help cultivate a culture of data awareness and raise the skill level of your employees in terms of handling customer information.

 

  • Integrate your system.

CTI can help you maintain clean and accurate data in your CRM. Integration will ensure the accuracy of data by automatically capturing data and logging it into your database, removing the intervention of human reps who may or may not follow the standard procedure of data entry.

 

A great example of how this works is the Tenfold and Sugar integration. Sugar is praised for its intuitive and simple design that’s different and better than the usual enterprise-level CRM. With Tenfold’s enterprise assistant technology, inputting data into Sugar and accessing that data during customer interactions become a breeze. Tenfold logs calls, and offers additional features like click to call and pop-up notifications.

 

  • Institute routine data health checks.

People change—that’s the reality of life. If you can’t keep up with the changes in your csutomers’ lives, you’ll have low-quality data that will just be a hindrance to your business objectives. One way to counter this is by doing data verification with your customers every not and then. If you fear that routine data verification will be tedious, then use automation tools to lessen the time and effort. You can also automate communication with your customers regarding data confirmation.

Data is only good for business when it’s clean and accurate. For optimum data health, choose an integration solution and have trustworthy data at your fingertips any time of the day.

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See how Tenfold works in action with Sugar: Tenfold Demo (SugarCRM) on Vimeo 

Tenfold @ SugarExchange

Today, the implementation of CRM software is nearly ubiquitous. In fact, a 2016 study conducted by CSO Insights found that 80% of companies are investing in CRM to drive sales productivity.

 

Successfully migrating CRM data is a big part of any CRM implementation project. The process of moving CRM data can be quite complex. Whether you’ve worked with CRM software for months, years or decades, you could probably still stand to learn a thing or two. Here are some things to consider before, during and after migrating your CRM data:

 

Pre-Migration – Scope your migration.  As an organization you should agree on what legacy data is valuable and critical to the new CRM system. Start by identifying the source of the conversion, then develop a business understanding of what that source data is being used for. Next, figure out if you’re doing a simple contact migration or if more complex data such as meeting history, call logs and emails will be included. Don’t gloss over the details, it can lead to expensive and painful realizations later in the project.

 

During Migration – Catch errors.  During the migration make sure you have a design that will report and log errors such as malformed data rows, un-matched or orphaned relational records, and sub process failures. No migration is perfect on the first try, and without logs you will be wasting a ton of stressful time trying to explain to the client what happened.

 

Post-Migration – Have your test ready. Be ready with how you will test the data migration upon completion.  Use before and after table record counts to demonstrate the completeness of the migration. Also, use before and after representative records to show specific, previously agreed upon records both in the data source system and in the new CRM system. Lastly, inspect each data element and verify that the data ended up in the expected location in the new system.

 

A Bloor Research Data Migration report found that nearly 40% of data migration projects were over time, over budget or failed. This may come as no surprise if you’ve ever been involved in a large-scale CRM data migration, as you already know how daunting these projects can be.

 

We have carefully compiled even more of our best practices in our new white paper, “Best Practices in CRM Data Migration.” Download it today to discover our proven framework for CRM data migration success.

 

And don't forget to check out all of our apps on SugarExchange!

The importance of moving beyond spreadsheets and email.

Every child first learns addition and subtraction, only then moving on to more advanced ideas like multiplication and division. With those fundamental concepts mastered, students can then tackle more advanced topics like algebra, calculus, and beyond.

But what if we stopped learning math after we were taught addition? What if we let simply let every elementary school child stay in their mathematical comfort zone? Would most people’s daily lives actually be all that different? People could still add things together — slower than multiplication, but it creates the same results — so the biggest problem would simply be how time consuming certain mundane tasks become. While not ideal, it’s probably fair to say that most people could probably get by only knowing the mathematical basics of addition and subtraction.

What’s less obvious, however, is just how much time would be wasted on those slow, trivial calculations. If we want to know how much it would cost to buy 15 cans of beans at $1.05 each, we can just multiply them. That’s a far, far more efficient option than adding them together one at a time. It’s obviously a better, more efficient, and streamlined solution. And yet, there are countless business processes and workflows that are as slow and counterproductive as relying on addition and subtraction for every operation.

Consider the spreadsheet. When personal computers were introduced 30 years ago, the spreadsheet was considered the apex of business technology. It was as much of a practical leap forward as the electronic calculator was from a slide rule and paper. Even today, executives rely on Excel and other spreadsheets. It’s easy to see why: Excel is simple. You only need to click into a cell, and then enter your data. From there, it’s possible to run that data through every imaginable equation and situation, color coding rows and columns to keep things clear. But should we be moving beyond spreadsheets?

We can’t ignore that spreadsheets are primitive tools. While it’s entirely possible to create a semi-functional lead database or pipeline management system within Excel, that’s also an incredibly inefficient way to manage that data. It’s as inefficient as relying on addition and subtraction for every mathematical problem. Yes, it’s technically possible to make it work, but what a headache!

Spreadsheets just can’t compete with software designed for those specialized business tasks.

Email is another tool that has become a “center of gravity” in many companies. Yes, it’s possible to use an email program to store customer data, share contracts, and even track the progress of deals. It’s just a terribly inefficient way to do any of that. It’s the wrong tool for the modern workflow.

The fluidity of email use is a huge problem. A salesperson might have a wealth of prospect information in their Gmail account, but there is no way for the rest of the sales team to access or make use of it. All that information — which clearly belongs in a categorized, searchable, reportable, trackable, shareable, and summated system — is only accessible through a crude email search system.

How does a company move past these inefficiencies?

Using multiple platforms creates confusion among employees and slows down workflows.

These inefficiencies are hardly limited to multitasking. Consider a typical sales job at a small company without a CRM. Just to do their job, they may use:

  • Excel to track leads
  • Word to pull up the appropriate sales scripts
  • Google Calendar to schedule calls
  • Google Docs to update a shared opportunity status spreadsheet
  • Dropbox to access contracts
  • Skype for team meetings and some sales calls
  • Gmail to handle their email

These are seven completely different, largely disconnected applications, each with their own quirks, costs, and limitations. None of these tools are hard to use, but switching between them can create serious inefficiencies.

Remembering how to input data into a specific spreadsheet takes time, as does remembering to check a calendar, or hunting down the right sales form in a shared Dropbox folder. This eats away at time that could be spent talking to prospects, making deals, and closing sales.

Get your time back by creating a new center of gravity: a customer relationship management (CRM) system that stores all necessary customer information, all in one place.

It’s the same principle of learning multiplication as a child. While you could technically use addition to put together your equation, but once you learn multiplication, even mundane tasks become exponentially easier. In the case of CRM software, this small investment in efficiency makes it much easier to improve everything from workflows to knowledge transfer.

It’s not enough for your CRM to be a part of your business, it needs to be the nucleus. Download our white paper to learn how to make it happen.

Business applications are useful because they help you do something. Whether it streamlines a process, helps store information, or increases other efficiencies, a business application’s purpose is to assist you. However, if you have too many business applications, or if they don’t work together, these tools can instead cause confusion and chaos.

How? When your resources are not connected, it can be easy to lose track of where your data is. Even making a simple sales call to a potential customer may require you to search through a mountain of emails, wade through countless cells in an Excel file, hunt down physical copies of contracts and other paper, and even scan your phone for relevant call times, voicemails, and texts. By the time you find what you were looking for, you may even have forgotten why you needed it for in the first place.

Beyond that, what about the information you need while you’re on the call? What if a customer has a question that you weren’t prepared for? What if you need to know the CTR of an email campaign, or want to pull a forecasting report? Putting all those pieces together takes time, which can be a serious drain on your company’s resources.

With CRM software, you can put all this crucial data at your fingertips, in one place. The four cornerstones of CRM software are:

  • Marketing automation
  • Sales force automation
  • Reports and Analytics
  • Service Desk

Marketing automation

Marketing automation needs tools to not only reach out to leads, but also to gather all the information it can from them. MA platforms have tools to guide leads through their customer journey, no matter what channel they originated from.

MA initiatives can take many forms, including:

  • highly-targeted email marketing
  • social listening
  • SEO audits
  • A/B testing
  • predictive analytics

Sales force automation

Sales is a hands-on job, but there are some tasks that do not need as much attention as others. Sales force automation (SFA) allows you to automate certain sales functions, freeing up time for your sales reps and managers.  SFA makes it possible to manage a huge volume of leads, contacts, accounts, prospects, and customers.

Your sales team’s process is streamlined, enabling anyone to hop into the system and see where they left things with a prospect. Vital information — from logging every call and email to face-to-face conversations and contract dates — becomes easy to find.  

CRM systems also allow sales managers to quickly see the progress of individual accounts, and to track how the sales team is spending their time.

Reports and analytics

The more data you have in one place, the better overview you have into your sales, marketing, forecasts, and other data. CRM systems are also highly customizable, allowing  you to pick and choose the reports you need.

CRM software allows you to get a bird’s eye view of your business practices, and then provides the opportunity to dig deeper. When your sales force and marketing automation programs are connected for a Total CRM solution, you gain a complete view of your leads, customers, and other essential aspects of your business.

To provide the greatest insights into productivity, CRM reporting needs to move beyond simple activity reporting. With a little bit of guile in structuring these reports, it becomes possible to focus on motion as well as activity, tracking efficiency and productivity across teams and individuals.

Service desk

Your service desk makes and takes many calls, every day, every hour. Creating efficiency for your team is important so they don’t waste valuable those valuable moments on slow load times, inefficient customer data storage, or confusion on next steps.

A complete CRM solution isn’t about the software, it’s about creating a comprehensive strategy for enhancing all customer relationships. The better those relationships are managed, the more effective the marketing, sales, administrative, and customer service functions can become.

A CRM system can mean anything from a marketing-automation service to a back-end reporting tool. Learn your definition by checking out this informational white paper.

Are you looking to expand your business and capture new markets? Maybe you need to develop a new app or service offering to capture a market opportunity. Or maybe you have an existing proposition but need to stay ahead of the competition; provide more value to your customers; and/or drive more revenue from your install base.

 

If so, then you know that speed, agility and innovation are key. You need to get to market quickly and iterate to align your offering with customer expectations. To stay ahead of the competition, you need cutting-edge technology. And, you need an industry-leading, innovative partner, so that you don’t have to “go it alone”.

 

These are all good reasons to look at partnering rather than building. By partnering, you can:

- Accelerate your time to market

- Lower cost and risk

- Leverage existing industry-leading functionality

 

Whether you want to offer:

- Your own branded CRM;

- CRM “light”;

- Or an product that includes any or all of contact, account, lead, opportunity, campaign management;

partnering to take advantage of SugarCRM’s proven, industry-leading functionality is quicker, more cost effective, and more innovative than building your own.

 

Example - Access Group

Access Group, a leading author of business management software, drove 1M$ in year one of launching their CRM Powered by SugarCRM, representing about 25% of net new business for aCloud, the brand under which Access Group markets Sugar within its business services package.

 

“A few years ago, we recognized that we needed to have a transformation strategy that moved to a cloud solution – that’s the way the market is going – and that it made sense to have a CRM as part of that strategy,” says Greg Dennick, head of aCloud operations. He concludes: “Sugar was the best fit for us.”

 

As a “Powered by SugarCRM” partner, Access Group realizes: 1M$ net new revenue; faster time to market with a highly customizable CRM; deeper CRM functionality as part of an integrated suite of business applications; a stronger customer centric product that adds value for customers. Learn more by reading the SugarCRM OEM Access Group Case Study.

 

Example - Vodafone

Vodafone has launched a suite of role-based customer management apps for Small and Medium Enterprises, Powered by SugarCRM, hosted in the cloud and available from their Digital Marketplaces.

 

For more information, message me (Emma Price) in the community or, if you prefer, drop an email to oem@sugarcrm.com.

We just wrapped up a SugarCRM Workshop in Chicago with our friends at Technology Advisorsa SugarCRM Elite partner. Both current and prospective SugarCRM customers gathered to learn how to streamline their sales processes and turn leads into revenue faster with Sugar. Tech Advisors provided complimentary training sessions on Advanced Workflow and Customer Journey Mapping.

 

 

 

Here are some of the event’s highlights:

 

Keynote: Clint Oram, SugarCRM’s Co-Founder and CMO

Clint kicked off the gathering with a SugarCon recap doing a wonderful job of making everyone jealous they didn't attend. He showed some video highlights of keynotes and speakers and some great pictures of the superhero-themed costume party. He then went straight into talking about what the future of CRM looks like. Clint often warns prospective CRM buyers to beware of CRM bloatware. Clint argued that legacy CRM vendors are packing their products with too many features that customers are not asking for, and don’t know how to use. Anything that's not focused on the job of building better business relationships is diluting the effectiveness of your CRM.

 

Clint also showcased SugarCRM’s product roadmap, noting how we are stepping on the gas pedal when it comes to innovation in both our Sugar cloud offering and our new relationship intelligence product line. As is typically the case when we show the simplicity and time-saving capabilities of SugarCRM Hint, the audience started nodding and murmuring their approval.

 

SugarCRM’s goal is to eliminate the “bloatware CRM” and replace it with easy and modern CRM user experiences at every touchpoint and for every role.

 

Finally, no CRM discussion is finished until someone throws out, “the world is heading mobile-first.” The boundaries between your work and personal life are merging. As Clint explained, “we wanted to build an application that’s as easy to use at home as at work.”

 

 

Scott Alder, Channel Account Manager at Act-On

Scott’s session was titled, “A Look into the Future of Marketing” and went through some evolutionary changes made in marketing in recent years, and how Act-On addresses the needs of digitally-savvy business buyers. He said, that you can master the customer journey by focusing on marketing personalization through the best messaging, perfect timing, and the ideal channel. With more than 500 joint customers,  Act-On recently announced an Act-On for Sugar bundle to make it easier for customers to take advantage of their deep integration.  The bundle is designed to complement Sugar and aims to help sales and marketing work better together to deliver smarter customer engagements.

 

 

Jane Curry, CEO at Curry Young Consultants

Jane’s writing workshop focused on how the power of effective writing focuses heavily on the reader, not the writer. It’s the client’s opinion that matters most, and making sure your content is effective and ‘passes the eyeball test’ can allow you to not only write with clarity and power @@but give your readers instant access to your insights.

 

Jane also recommended the ‘so what? test’, meaning business writers must ask themselves, “why do my readers need to know my message?” In business writing, you should almost always begin with the most important information, and let the details follow. When you force your readers to march through endless paragraphs of detail instead of getting to the point quickly, it often drives people away.

 

 

My Two Bonus Takeaways:

1)    If you think you know why Chicago is called the windy city, think again!

2)    Never try Malört at a bar in Chicago.

 

Thank you to everyone who attended a wonderful two days. And thank you to Technology Advisors for making this a first-class event. We love having our customers and partners together in one place.



-Jonathan Bach

 

Clint Oram Danine Pontarelli Jen Fabrizio 

HR team looks for HR tool to increase Employee satisfaction, motivation, and overall productivity. But, can CRM can help HR to improve Employee Experience, sounds strange, but it's true.

A good HR team will take care of interviews, appointment process, induction, training, payroll processing, automating and simplifying the process as much as possible, leveraging technology for it. However what about the regular work that the employee has to do to fulfill Job Description. Also, these days role of HR has evolved a lot.

Today, HR is no more about processes and Laws, its more about OverAll Employee Experience.

Changing role of HR

  • HR is no more about rules, processes, laws, and compliance. It is more about Employee Experience, Job satisfaction, motivation, etc. HR team is also responsible for making overall operations smooth and stress-free.
  • The role of HR has changed from supervisory and monitoring role to role of coordination, enabler and force multiplier. That will build trust, and the trust will boost teamwork and overall performance.

Its a Myth that employees need to like each other actually need to trust each other for their professional capability. HR needs to develop processes and deploy tools accordingly.

For all above reasons, HR needs to make sure that proper processes and tools are required that will bring the desired results like reducing stress, improving productivity, building trust and teamwork, achieving higher results.

How CRM can help HR to improve Employee Experience

A properly deployed and implemented CRM system will improve Employee Experience in more than few ways.

Increased productivity and confidence level

CRM, whether used in Sales or Support Teams, raises productivity and efficiency. Results are much faster, and that helps in boosting confidence and motivational level of employees.

Its a misconception that motivated employees are successful. Actually, successful employees are motivated. So HR needs to make sure that employees are successful.

Realistic sales forecasts versus targets

CRM helps Sales manager monitor the pipeline and do error corrections in real-time. Thus the focus shifts from Sales goals to Sales activities and milestones. CRM provides realistic sales forecast based on expected opportunity closure dates and estimated revenue. It can be drilled down to a very granular level. Thus Sales forecasts provided by CRM are much more realistic as compared to Sales estimates and targets set by Sales Manager and Sales Executives.

Bhagwat Geeta says, you cannot control results, you can only control your activity "Karma - कर्मा"

Reducing stress in Sales Teams:

You can manage Sales activities and not Sales results. Generally,  Sales Managers give figures of desired sales results and then. The sales team is supposed to achieve it. No one is talking about what is happening on field level, but if Sales managers monitor the ground activities and milestones made/missed the sales results will be easily achievable.

Also since the activities done by sales team are transparently recorded in real-time, there is no difference of opinion.  If there is an external factor involved for not achieving the results, the sales executive can at least explain that to The Sales Manager with proper details and proof.

Improving Sales processes from learnings in CRM

Sales coaching should be a part of the role of Sales Managers. But how do they know where the sales team is lacking and what mistakes are they making? CRM helps here by logging activities, sales process, customer journey and deal stages, etc. It helps in determining where the things are going wrong or out of direction.

There is difference between Sales Training and Sales Coaching. Sales coaching is something which is generally done onjob and its an ongoing process.

Faster and meaningful meetings:

In Excel days (or in the absence of your CRM giving your real-time results and notifications) Sales Meeting generally started with people giving in their numbers and then discussing what happened and why. Finally, if some time is left, then they talk about the next step and corrective actions. It is a mess and waste of time and resource.

Not anymore, With proper CRM in place everybody attending the meeting knows the numbers, even the activities done and milestones achieved. Which means that the meeting is purposeful, analytical and productive. Team members can focus on error correction and plan next actions.

Better coordination between Marketing,  Sales, and Service:

In any organization, there is constant conflict between the marketing team and Sales team. Marketing Team says that Sales team is not able to convert the leads that they generate. On the contrary Sales team will argue that they don't get proper leads. It happens because both teams are using separate tools to measure their activities.

CRM can bring an end to this by providing proper analytical stage wise reporting with the appropriate reasoning for failure to convert the leads.  All these happen on a single platform - the CRM.

Same kind of conflict occurs when Support Team has to interact with customers and deliver them the promises made by sales.  It is because they are not clear what had occurred in the Sales process. CRM brings both these teams closer because they both use same platform and history of all the interactions with Customer are available to support team also.

Conclusion

Above examples are for the Sales team, but are equally valid for Support and service teams also. A modern CRM does not only mean lead management system or customer database, but it's much beyond that. CRM helps to improve Employee Experience to a significant level.

What is CRM analytics?

CRM analytics refers to the processing of data that resides in your CRM database to uncover useful insights about customers that businesses can act upon. Integrating analytics makes CRM systems more intelligent in comprehending customers and empowers you to make data-driven decisions.

(This is the age of data analytics. Read our post CRM & Big Data Analytics)

Why should businesses use an Analytical CRM?

CRM analytics

Most businesses rely on a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to form lifelong relationships with their customers. However, in the recent years, understanding customers has become a convoluted process since a wealth of information is being generated every single day on the internet that needs to be harnessed and analyzed. Customers have become unpredictable in the ever changing business landscape. Businesses need to adapt faster to respond to customer needs or else they will be driven out of the market. Hence, having a CRM that is integrated with analytical tools cannot be stressed enough.

What can CRM Analytics accomplish for your business?

1. Marketing

Learn which customers are interested in purchasing your products and design your marketing campaigns keeping their tastes and preferences in mind. This will increase the efficiency and result in the desired ROI since you won’t be targeting customers who show little to no interest in your product.

2. Sales

Get detailed insights about your customers regarding their demographics, tastes and preferences,buying behaviour etc. This will help accelerate the sales process by allowing you to identify the leads that have the highest probability of being converted into deals.

3. Customer Service

Improve customer retention and enrich customer experience by tracking customer behaviour and knowing how your product or brand is being perceived by the audience. Reach out to customers to determine any dissatisfaction on their part before they switch over to your competitor.

(An interesting read: Internet of Things & The Future of CRM)

SugarCRM as Your Analytical CRM

With Sugar, your analysts will gain the ability to predict how customers will respond to certain stimuli (products & services) based on their behavioral history and past preferences.  This will enable your analysts to more successfully judge and answer the most pertinent questions that exists in corporations; how, when and where to allocate resources for future investments and products.

             

Your sales representatives and marketing executives would be able to thoroughly analyze and examine all the customer touch points. These include social media, web click stream, internet, email and inquiries made via telephone calls. Just imagine how valuable this information can be to business analysts. Your team of marketing analysts will be able to better forecast consumer preferences, envision subsequent requirements and resolve other issues that incorporate various business decisions.

Sugar gives you the ability to manage forecasts of each member of the team through a single worksheet. Assigning quotas, adjusting individual forecasts and analyzing the performance of individuals are no longer considered a tedious task. Sugar also allows your enterprise to keep track of customer activities.

Key Takeaway

Regardless of your company size or industry vertical, having a CRM integrated with data analytics capabilities has become a necessity to spot developing trends and identify new opportunities. The traditional functionalities of a CRM no longer enable businesses to provide excellent customer service due to the ever evolving market dynamics. Data needs to be extracted and analyzed to gain deeper customer insights. The fundamental reason why we recommend Sugar is that it is one CRM which offers great flexibility to businesses since it can be seamlessly integrated with third party data analytics apps.

We are here to help

Our experts can integrate your SugarCRM with any data analytics platform that you desire. Contact us to schedule a FREE business analysis session