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When it comes to software, every business has a unique set of needs. In an attempt to create the perfect solution to those needs, most companies end up cobbling together a collection of products that includes a CRM, an ERP, a sales and marketing suite, and an email solution. While these individual pieces function just well enough to get the job done, the companies who use them don’t realize just how inefficient it can be to switch between these tools.

In the course of an average day, salespeople switch from their CRM to their email hundreds of times. Each time, they lose a few precious seconds of productivity while the software is loading and they’re reorienting themselves to a different layout. When you multiply these seconds by dozens of employees, those seconds quickly become hours (or even days) of needlessly lost time.

But when you connect your company’s most essential tools through software integration, you’re doing more than streamlining workflows. You’re saving your company serious amounts of money. So how do you fully integrate these tools to yield the greatest possible benefits for your business?

Make It Fit Your Needs

Combining your software should make things easier, not harder. Connecting two platforms isn’t that helpful if your ultimate result isn’t a simplified workflow. Ideally, you should integrate your software in a way that allows your team to share and update between both tools.

Any platform integration should start with a thorough examination of your company’s processes, and you should look for opportunities when integration makes the most sense. Once you know where the disconnects are, it becomes easier to identify the integrations that will provide the best results.

Streamline Your Processes

If you want to understand the least efficient parts of your company’s software setup, here’s the best place to start: Find the people who have to deal with that software every day. Then ask them about the most frustrating issues they encounter when using these platforms. Since they know exactly where the cracks and roadblocks are, get their feedback about how their workflows can be improved.

If the current workflow requires them to manually enter the same new customer information into two systems (for example, your ERP and CRM), they will be the first people to point out how inefficient this process is.

Get the Most from Both Platforms

When it comes to integrating your company’s most-used software, boosting worker efficiency isn’t the only benefit you’ll get from integrating your company’s most-used software. You can also improve your operations across the board, which provides your employees with new insights and tools. By removing the barriers between these various systems, your teams will have everything they need in one place.

One great example of this consolidation involves integrating a CRM solution (such as Sugar) with a sales-and-marketing platform like HubSpot). Need to see which types of marketing initiatives are resonating with a specific customer? If you simply select a HubSpot dashlet within Sugar, all of that vital marketing data is right at your fingertips.

In fact, we offer this exact integration here at Intelestream. It’s called HubSpot for Sugar®.

Conclusion

By utilizing software integration, you’re doing more than just improving the efficiency of your workflows. You’re changing the center of gravity for your business. You’re helping your teams succeed in ways that would never have been possible before. And that’s a smart investment for your business.

The more you know about marketing automation (MA), the better it sounds. What’s not to like? It’s a software solution that takes care of the most repetitive and mind-numbing parts of managing your company’s marketing work.

Marketing automation provides you with real visibility into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, which allows you to pinpoint exactly what works (and what doesn’t). So for any company looking to maximize their results, it sounds like the perfect solution.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that every marketing automation solution isn’t the perfect fit for every company or use case. Since your company’s needs and goals should inform your decision-making process, we’re going to zoom out a little, and explore some of the finer points of marketing automation you might not have thought about.

Get the most from both your CRM and your marketing automation software. Read our Total CRM whitepaper.

  1. There’s more to marketing automation than email blasts.

The best automation tools allow you to fine tune every part of your marketing process—from A/B testing every element of your communications to writing content that targets prospects along specific stages of the pipelines.

  1. It delivers great results for businesses of every size.

Even relatively small businesses with specialized products for niche industries can benefit from MA. Are you worried that your company just isn’t big enough to see real benefits from marketing automation? If so, think again. Some marketing automation tactics actually work more effectively with small and midsize businesses.

  1. Automation doesn’t mean your marketing is on autopilot.

Marketing automation is about eliminating tedious tasks, not letting a machine captain your ship. It allows a marketer to have more time to test ideas, explore new options, and scale operations. But there will always need to be a human hand at the helm.

  1. Time is money, and marketing automation saves you both.

Marketing is a detail-focused job, which requires extensive planning skills and a strong creative streak. The more people they reach, the better the company’s bottom line will be. If a technology helps streamline workflows and other processes, it will directly translate into more revenue.

  1. The more streamlined your marketing process is, the more efficient your operation becomes.

Many companies don’t prioritize their marketing technology. While the rest of the company is using modern ERP and CRM technology, the marketing team is stuck using tools that date back to the days of print media and slow everything down. By fully integrating a new marketing automation solution with the tools used by other teams, the entire company gets a major efficiency boost.

  1. Marketing automation takes the headache out of both tracking and targeting.

Without the right tools, it’s hard to identify customer segments. It’s basically impossible to follow prospects as they move through the funnel. So if you have a properly-designed marketing automation solution, you can accomplish both of these goals right out of the box, and you’ll have deep insights into every aspect of your customers.

  1. It scales with your business.

Before the advent of marketing automation technology, scaling your marketing operation was a challenge. The only option was to hire new people and give them a bigger budget. Today, one skilled marketer can handle the same amount of work that used to require a dozen or more people. MA makes it exponentially easier to scale the marketing side of any business.

  1. Lead qualification becomes a stress-free process.

The less time your sales team has to spend on qualifying leads, the more time they have to make sales. By automating the first several interactions with potential customers, marketing automation software essentially allows leads to qualify themselves.

  1. Real-time monitoring allows you to quickly respond to changes and challenges.

When something isn’t working with your marketing, you need to know about it as soon as possible. By properly setting up the alerts and dashboards on your marketing automation software, you’ll be able to see and respond to trends and changes long before they become serious problems.

  1. To learn more about your customers, test everything.

Even tiny tweaks to an email or social media post can result in double-digit changes to conversions. By using your marketing automation tools for A/B testing, you can discover exactly which messaging, images, and CTAs generate the best responses from your customers.

  1. Great results require quality content that is delivered at the perfect time.

When a new prospect enters your company’s marketing funnel, he or she actually takes a guided tour through your company’s most compelling selling points. Marketing automation allows you to target exactly what these prospects learn during each stage of the funnel. This benefit weeds out the prospects who aren’t ready to buy. It also sends the ones who are ready to the sales team.

  1. Results are only as good as the quality of your data.

For any marketing automation solution to work as planned, clean data is essential. If you have dirty data in your CRM or related databases, it’s imperative that you work with your software implementation partners and scrub it until it shines. As your marketing operations bring in data about new leads, that information must also meet the highest possible standards, cleaning it up before it passes to other teams.

  1. Your competition is already doing it, or they will be soon.

Every company is looking for an edge, particularly when it comes to winning new customers. For companies that rely on emailing, digital advertising, retargeting, or social media to bring in new business, marketing automation tools are huge advantages. If you aren’t using marketing automation to drive your results, you’re only making it easier for the other guy to reach them first.

marketing automation

Twitter has revolutionized the way brands engage with audiences across the world. It’s inclusive algorithm lets you identify and reach out to numerous customers across the world, thereby increasing brand awareness and engagement in leaps and bounds. According to a recent study, Twitter was one of the most lucrative outlet when it comes to increasing website visits through social media. The fact that tweets appear everywhere irrespective of whether or not a consumer is associated with your brand helps this cause, and the added SEO juice it brings is just the cherry on top.

But the true benefit of Twitter lies in how it helps businesses offer world-class customer service. Customer experience has cemented itself as the number one priority to drive business growth and businesses left, right, and center have hopped onto the bandwagon, making customer service an absolute necessity for companies looking to float. But how do you make the most of Twitter and its capabilities to ensure it makes a positive impact for your business? Well, with a Twitter Integration with SugarCRM.

Social CRM is no secret, and you can take a look at our comprehensive take on Social CRM and its benefits. But for today, we’re going to focus entirely on how a Twitter Integration with SugarCRM can help you revolutionize customer support and consequently improve customer experience. Let’s begin!

Quick Response Time

The constant mainstay in every customer experience strategy is the response time. Integrating Twitter with your SugarCRM will help you churn out all brand mentions and conversations inside your SugarCRM, from there you can automate a number of tasks i.e. initial contacts via direct messaging, replies, and more to improve your response rate. Let’s say someone has a below average experience with your brand, integrating your Twitter with SugarCRM will help the latter track and identify when a user talks about your brand and help improve the customer experience. This information will be fed through SugarCRM to you in real-time and you can then take necessary actions to retain or reward the customer based on the situation. You can also use chatbots to automate this initial process if you’re serving to a range of audiences. In this particular case, the chatbot takes care of the customer by analyzing his problem and giving him the satisfaction of knowing that the brand took the issue under consideration. While the chatbot contains the customer, you can work on finding the right solution to his problem. However, if you go about doing this without integrating it with your SugarCRM, you’d have multiple queries every minute and absolutely no mechanism in place to organize and deal with them.

Monitor Brand Mentions and Engagement

With SugarCRM, you can fetch out brand mentions, keywords that are associated with your brand, as well as phrases and comments. This might not seem so much but when you factor in the fact that these mentions could be in the hundreds of thousands, you begin to see the picture that all this data could be directed into the CRM to find meaningful insights and details about customers and their experience with your brand. Perhaps some customers might be having an issue with your website layout, which is something your web team might not consider as an issue. Monitoring these conversations and mentions of your brand can help you identify issues with your product, services, and support that you might otherwise be oblivious to.

Connect with Influencers and Brand Advocates

You can also use all this customer data to good use by identifying brand advocates in your customer base. These are everyday people who are regular users of your products and services. With meaningful insights into their behaviors, you can up-sell and cross-sell to them in ways that seem natural and convincing. You can also monitor industry experts and leaders and engage with them in real-time when they mention your brand.

Over to You!

Twitter Integration with SugarCRM can help you make considerable strides in your attempt towards a more improved and inclusive customer support and experience. The features of this integration highlighted above make for a compelling case in this regard. As 2/4th of the customer base find their footing on social media, it’s only logical that you put a system in place that lets you gather insights in your customer’s perception of your brand.

According to Gartner, CRM hit a major milestone at the close of 2017 when it became the largest of all software markets. While projections show that this won’t be changing anytime soon, companies struggle to find value in their CRM, thus concluding they invested in the “wrong one,” and begin to search for the right CRM. It’s a lot like Goldilocks and the three bowls of porridge – but the just right option doesn’t seem to exist.

 

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

 

 

I regularly speak with companies that are on their second or third investment while searching for this just right CRM solution. What they don’t realize is that they may already have it. Oftentimes, taking a closer look at processes and other internal factors can improve the value of your current solution. But there are instances when it really is time to make a new investment.

Here are five common reasons we hear from organizations considering switching CRM systems and what you should consider before switching, too.

  1. “Everyone hates our current CRM solution.”

This one is a popular complaint – particularly, from salespeople if they’ve never used technology as part of their sales position.  They often feel like CRM is intrusive and time-consuming. Senior leadership needs to decide whether you should put a stake in the ground and make CRM required.

 

However, you also need to consider people and their processes. If your current solution doesn’t align to your team’s process, or if they don’t even have a process, then you might have missed the first step of implementing a solution: mapping out your team’s sales process.

 

 

It’s not as hard as you might think to map out your sales process. That first step is so worth it! You can then look to how a solution can make you and your team more effective. There’s gold in the hills – if you’re willing to do this work upfront.

  1. “We have very few people using our CRM solution.”

Let me guess: the sales leader hasn’t bought into the solution. Or if they have, they aren’t holding the team accountable for using it. If you’re thinking about switching CRM systems, and none of your team is using the old one, what will change when you move to a new one? Is this really going to motivate employees to use CRM?

 

 

There are instances whereby the mere mention of a specific solution’s name will leave a bad taste in your mouth. In these cases, maybe switching is the right move. But before you spend another dollar, let’s consider how to get your sales leader to hold the sales team accountable for using your current solution.

 

 

First, you need to sell the value of CRM to your team. This means that you need to show them how your current solution can make their jobs easier and how they can save time by automating tedious tasks.  You also need to make sure your solution works with your team’s other technologies such as email or marketing software and accounting software. Regular training is the key. Make sure your team is getting the training they need and remember that everyone learns differently. 

If you’re looking for an incentive carrot, take, for example, BrainSell’s spiff program. If one or more BrainSell salespeople close a sale in less than the average days it normally takes, then they get a spiff.  The only way to track your average closing period and get that spiff?  Use CRM.

 

 

We have a saying here at BrainSell: if it’s not in CRM, it never happened. We can’t claim a commission if it’s not recorded in our solution.

  1. “Our CRM solution is too big for us and we don’t use all of the features.”

Believe it or not, this happens. Someone wanted a fancy Mercedes and they only needed a Chevy. Either they were over sold (a good vendor won’t let that happen) or they over bought. You need to know your true requirements before buying.

 

 

Sometimes it’s better to spend a little money upfront and have an expert review your requirements, your process, and even your CRM users, to make sure you know what you need from a solution. It depends on your business’s unique current situation which solution is right for you.

 

 

If your solution is too large for your business’s needs, you need to check if it has a downgrade option, where some features can be turned off.

 

 

But first, you need to reevaluate your business. Maybe the features you don’t use can have a big impact on your business’s improvement? Those features were designed for a reason. Often times, if you take a closer look, you might find a hidden return on investment in those features.

  1. “A new person is leading our projects and they want to switch to a CRM solution that’s more familiar to them.”

For businesses with clients in place with your current solution, switching poses a big risk of losing a client that has a new stakeholder. If your solution is operating as expected, then switching for the sake of one person’s familiarity strikes me as a potential financial hit for the business as a whole. Consider these ramifications:

  • Users will need to learn a new system, and thus, a change in management is likely.
  • The risk of bad data migration is a cause for serious concern. Data can be corrupted or lost during this process.
  • The cost to migrate data from one solution to another is usually expensive, even when done right.
  • You may have to use and pay for two different solutions for a period of time while migrating data, which adds to the ultimate cost of the switch.
  • Users may end up rejecting the new solution anyway and this may put current business processes in peril. Yikes!

Of course, there are good reasons for why a new person would want you to switch! They may have concluded that you’ve outgrown your current solution, that more CRM horsepower could advance the company, that the current solution is too old, or that it’s time to follow the crowd to the cloud.

 

 

Companies in this position need an objective third-party resource to help with the decision to switch or not.  Partners who have multiple products in their portfolio can be an excellent resource. An independent consultant who has no allegiances to any one vendor is also an option – but this is hard to find. Even the large consulting houses have partnerships with the larger CRM vendors. (You know who you are!) Yet, smaller consulting companies probably have limited experience with multiple solutions.  

  1. “Our CRM solution is too expensive.”

If you simply don’t have the funds, then that’s that. But in the business world, “too expensive” should be directly related to return on investment. If you are only looking at the cost of the solution without considering how you can create a return on investment in the solution, then switching CRM systems or dumping it is short-sighted. It’s likely that businesses in this position need to review their financials and then determine how they can achieve the return they hope for.

 

 

With more than 25 years of experience, our unbiased approach to CRM consulting can help you decide if switching CRM systems is the right choice or if some reevaluation is all that’s needed. Struggling with finding your just right option? Contact us!

Customer relationship is of paramount importance for a business to grow and keep a strong footing. Business 101 tells you that your customers are your biggest asset, and periodic interactions with your clients are a must to keep yourself in their mind. However, if you’re an insurance agency, chances are you seldom manage to interact with a client. Why is that? Because most people buy an insurance policy and literally forget about it. This makes it twice as hard for insurance companies to cultivate and understand their clients or their habits to market their insurance policies. This is where a SugarCRM comes to rescue. Sugar can provide deeper knowledge of clients, strengthen current accounts, resolve issues and basically hold all your bits and pieces of data together.

Here are the key benefits of Sugar for insurance agencies.

CLEAN AUDITING:

Auditing histories can make or break a company. One of the most important factors to compete in the insurance industry is an excellent track record with regulatory bodies. If a client’s putting their money in your organization, they want to know you’re clean. Command the trust of your customers by using a Sugar that handles data and transactions with a build in feature. Analyze any record history, view summaries, track user activity in real-time.

TRACK PROGRESS:

Sugar comes with numerous built-in report features. It covers all basic reports i.e. revenue, client lists and campaigns etc. But certain industries have certain specific needs. Sugar certified developers came up with metrics specific to insurance companies i.e.

  • Policy Status
  • Premiums Status
  • Client Applications
  • Policy based on coverage
  • Agent Progress

All these features present a streamlined view of the day-to-day processes of an insurance company. You can view detailed charts for analysis with a click of a button.

BOOST CUSTOMER SERVICE:

Like we said, insurance agencies seldom manage to keep in touch with clients. With a Sugar, you can close this gap by implementing it on your service team. Find all the data on your clients in one place. Target those midway through their policies with giveaways and rewards, educate them about the value of their insurance policies. Keep track of their life events to maintain cordial relationship with them. Make the most of SugarCRM custom fields to customize the UI with life events, policy status fields and more to keep your organization always a step ahead.

OPTIMIZE AND AUTOMATE WORKFLOWS:

A lot of paperwork, authorizations and attestions go into creating a policy and registering a client. It can be a tiresome affair if you have a big client list. Finding which client is at which stage could seem like finding a needle in a haystack, and the last thing you need are missed deadlines on policy renewals or premiums. Sidestep all of this with Sugar where you can track clients at every step of the decision process. You can also make use of SugarCRM integrations to automate repetitive tasks i.e. follow-up emails and billing procedures; or provide self-service features to help them follow their claims.

OUR TWO BITS!

It’s pretty evident that in today’s age of highly competitive cut-throat competition, Sugar can give you an edge in every aspect of your organizations management. Keep an excellent track record with regulatory bodies, track all your client in one place, automate workflows and keep your clients coming back for more with an improved customer service. What more could you possibly need?

In case you do,

Contact Us at Rolustech, a SugarCRM Certified Developer & Partner Firm. We have helped more than 500 firms with various SugarCRM customizations and integrations. Get your FREE consultation session now!

The first of 4 quarterly releases from SugarCRM is here. Sugar Winter ‘19 is packed with improvements and updates across the board, with a number of new functionalities stacked in the middle. Titled Sugar 8.3, this new release builds upon Sugar 8.2 by introducing new features in core modules as well as some simplistic updates here and there to further intensify the user experience.

Let’s break down all the major features introduced in Sugar 8.3

New Features in Product Catalog

Sugar 8.3

The Product Catalog Dashlet in Sugar has evolved to include a number of new functionalities in Sugar 8.3. Introduced in Sugar Winter ‘18, the Product Catalog Dashlet now has the ability to add Quick Picks, Reports. And Records. Let’s take a look:

Product Catalog Quick Picks Dashlet

The Product Catalog Dashlet can get clustered pretty quickly if you’ve got a number of different variables in play, but that’s all taken care of now in Sugar 8.3 with Quick Picks. The Product Catalog Quick Picks Dashlet quickly lets the user access recently used line items as well as those the users have marked as favorites. This simple new feature can save users valuable time and improve the overall experience.

Quick Picks isn’t the only new update to the Product Catalog. In Sugar 8.3, you can also mark Favorites through the Product Catalog list view.

The Product Catalog Dashlet is one of the best time-savers in the Sugar platform and this new update will surely delight Sugar users.

Product Catalog Reports

The Reports Module now displays your Product Catalog as well. This helps you get a visual representation of all the products in your inventory in the shape of reports.

New Features in Advanced Workflow

Sugar 8.3

Sugar 8.3 includes a number of new updates in Advanced Workflows across the board. Advanced Workflows serve as a core feature in SugarCRM and help organizations automate complex tasks and processes. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new!

Process Validation

In Sugar 8.3, you can validate advanced workflows for their functionality and sublimity before putting them live. The Process Validator imports process definition designs and picks out errors and issues along with sequencing mistakes.

Admin Configuration

New Process Auto Save and Auto Validate options have been added to Sugar’s System Settings with a designated panel called “Advanced Workflow”. The error number of cycles setting has also been relocated in Sugar 8.3.

Module Relationships

New Module Relationships have been created in Sugar 8.3 that let you add related records as well as the ability to relate it to a target record. You can also change the value of one or more fields on the target record.

New Comment Log Field

Sugar 8.3

The Bugs and Cases module has a new entry called the Comment Log Field. Sugar users can access the Comment Log Field to view these snippets to ensure everyone is on the same page. Sugar Administrators can use the Comment Log Field and put it in other modules apart from Bugs and Cases Module. This comment log ensures that customer information is present right in the confines of the Sugar record.

Rolustech is a SugarCRM Certified Developer & Partner Firm. We have helped more than 600 firms with various SugarCRM integrations and customization.

No doubt Sugar dashboard is a powerful tool for regular Sales Management. Special diagrams like Pipeline or Forecast, reports diagrams and filtered list views help to see the current state of sales, to analyze opportunities and quotes portfolios from different viewpoints. Report drill down option gives the possibility to examine any diagrams segment and look into details in a second.

But what do you do if you look at the pipeline or any other similar diagram and see that the portfolio was significantly changed? 

Some of the opportunities could be shifted to the latest period or, vice-versa, to the earliest one, some of the opportunities had changes in the amount or/and stages. But which changes exactly and what exact amount of change? That is a question. If you manage the dozens and hundreds of opportunities, the receiving of answer needs a lot of time, doesn't it?

You can make this part of sales management work easier and more efficient if you use TimeLine Viewer, a special Sugar add-on for collecting and managing significant changes in your data.

First, add the report based on TimeLine data to visualize the structure of significant changes in your portfolio and add a particular diagram to your Sales Dashboard.  It helps to be aware of the existence of changes that had impact on your portfolio, as well as how many of them took place, and who is responsible for them.

Second, add special "My TimeLine" dashlet to the dashboard and configure a dashlet filter to display just a restricted set of business events (stage changes, change in the amount and probable date of the close).  It gives not only the possibility to view each particular change that had impact on your pipeline but also to collaborate with teammates in a quick and easy way in the context of the particular event.

Finally, add Collaboration dashlet to Dashboard to quickly review your teammates' answers directly from dashboard.

With these improvements, your Sales Dashboard would look like this and you will be able to manage all pipeline changes directly from the dashboard.  This is a piece of cake. 

If you use Sugar Enterprise, we have another good piece of news: you can view TimeLine feeds on your Sugar mobile as well, because Sugar Enterprise allows extending regular Sugar Mobile.

 

Enjoy the work in Sugar,

Integros

By Elizabeth Mankowski, CRM Practice Director, Highland Solutions

 

 

Like many consulting firms, Highland Solutions groups our team into several practice areas. The CRM practice distinguishes itself from the other Highland practices by focusing only on CRM (of course!) and by supporting multiple active clients instead of a single client’s custom development initiative. These clients range in size from family-owned custom fixture businesses to global manufacturing firms.

 

We have a small but experienced team of dedicated CRM experts at Highland Solutions who support about 25 clients. So how do we do it? Here are 6 guidelines that help us work at a sustainable pace while delivering excellent work to our clients.

 

1. Prioritize often

We do a diverse range of work for our CRM clients, which often includes:

  • New CRM implementations
  • Major enhancements for an existing client
  • Production support requests
  • Upgrade testing


This work varies in its predictability (how far in advance can it be scheduled?) and its unknown risks (how well can it be defined before we start?). As a team, the areas of greatest risk are usually prioritized higher, as shown in the matrix below.

Image by Jeff Blanchard

We take time on Monday mornings to review the week ahead and rank by client and type of work. 

 

2. Limit work in progress

Highland is a people-first organization. We are spouses, parents, friends, and caretakers, as well as technology professionals. Like you, we have a limited number of hours in our day and we don’t spend all of them working. When we are working, focus is critical to quality and completion. Context switching between Jira stories, client meetings, and internal tasks can be taxing, so we limit the number of stories assigned to each team member at any given time. We use Jira quick filters to highlight what’s assigned to whom at stand-up.

 

3. Maximize work not done

This is driven by the Lean principle: minimize or eliminate any steps that do not create value for the customer. We often ask ourselves, “what if we don’t do this for the client?” and we ask “what if we don’t do this today?” Then we weigh the consequences in dialog with our clients and help them evaluate when a request is a “must have” or a “nice to have.” We like to remind each other, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

 

4. Shorten client feedback cycles

We don’t prepare a large requirements document up front. We educate our clients on Agile software development during our kick-off meetings, and we shepherd our joint team through a rapid story definition, implementation, and demo cycle. We present changes and enhancements to clients early and often, and we turn around feedback quickly.

This shorter cycle keeps the information fresh in the minds of Highland team members and our clients. Our clients are often busy sales and marketing professionals with day jobs that are not configuring CRMs. Keeping their focused attention and reminding them frequently of what we’re doing on their behalf results in more valuable feedback for us and a better end product for them.

 

5. Specialize but have a back-up

We can’t afford to have every team member become an expert in every client’s CRM, so generally there are one or two experts per client. That said, some cross-training provides benefits when we need to spread out testing tasks or when a team member takes time off. We also use a secure tool to save and share credentials, ensuring we can access clients’ Sugar CRM environments without passing around usernames and passwords on post-it notes.

 

Photo by Bridgett Colling

 

6. Communicate

From internal daily stand-ups to weekly or bi-weekly client demos, the importance of communication cannot be overstated. We are committed to being transparent and open with our clients and with each other. Occasionally we will miss a deadline or misinterpret a requirement, but frequent check-ins ensure that trust remains high and corrections are timely. Every CRM engagement is a partnership, and candid communication is the strong fiber binding us together.

 

 

Taking the best from Agile methodologies, lean principles, and about 50 years of collective technology experience helps Highland’s CRM team keep our day-to-day workload manageable while still delivering high value to our clients.

While these guidelines help us manage our work today, we’re always improving our process and tweaking it as our needs change. If you lead or work on a team that’s managing multiple clients, leave me a comment and let me know how you’re applying Agile or lean principles to your work.

 

This post was originally featured on the Highland Solutions Journal 

As a Sugar Administrator, you play a major role in team productivity. If the CRM isn’t configured with fields and calculations that make data entry easy, the team isn’t going to use the system. In parallel, if the fields and calculations aren’t helpful, it will lead to frustration and wasted efficiency.

 

During our December online user group discussion, our Sugar experts addressed the concept of managing configurations and gave best practices advice for modifying dropdowns, deciding what to require, managing searchable fields, and more. I’ll summarize their points in this blog. Check out the video clip for their commentary, and join us for our February online user group where we’ll tackle using quotes in conjunction with opportunities, products, and forecasting.

Best Practices for Adding a Field

When adding a new field to your Sugar instance, it’s important to first understand how that field will be used. Will the information in that field need to be searchable? Will the user need to draw reports from it? Is it a calculated field? Think about how to best match the field type to fulfill the field purpose.

 

For example, it would be better to use a dropdown instead of a text field if the user wants the ability to easily report on the data. Why? If you use a text field, you are leaving the spelling, punctuation, and capitalization open to human error, which will make it that much harder to accurately draw a report.

 

Need to do a calculation on a value? Use an integer or currency field so you can add, subtract, or average those numbers in a calculated field or summation report.

 

When adding a text field, make sure you think about character length. What will you be entering in that field? Is it something you know will keep a standard length? For example, will you be entering invoice numbers that are always eight characters long? Avoid creating text fields that will require space for a lot of characters or you could run out of room in your database tables.

 

When it comes to dates, how do you decide whether to use Date or DateTime for the field? Best practices would indicate you should use Date if you don’t particularly care about time, and DateTime if you must be able to report on both. A field that is date only will be easier to report on, filter, group, and enter data into, but of course if the time is necessary, you must use DateTime. Just be mindful that it is filled out appropriately.

 

Take care when using calculated fields or dependent fields. If you’re pulling data from a parent record down to a child record when using calculated fields, and you cascade those records down multiple levels (ex: Contact field based on parent Account field, and then Case field based on that contact field) and edit the account, you’ll have to cascade those changes down multiple levels. This may affect the ability to do an accurate calculation or even prohibit the calculation altogether. In the above example, if you have Workflows based on the Cases and you update the top parent Account (which updates the related Contacts, which updates the related Cases), each Case will kick off the Workflow.  If that Workflow updates the parent Contact or Case, you can get into quite the mess.

 

Additional Best Practices for Creating & Editing Fields

As you manage your field configurations, questions on enabling certain features may emerge. Here are our best practices for answering those questions:

 

1. To Require or Not to Require?

If you create too many required fields, there’s a higher likelihood your users will fill in the fields randomly just to be able to move on in the process. However, if you don’t create any required fields you may find your data has too many gaps and you can’t collect the information you need. So, what’s the solution? It’s a balancing act, but keep in mind that Sugar has other tools, like data scoring and exception reporting, that can help you keep track of certain data if you are worried about having too many requirements.

 

2. Enable Duplicate Merge?

Your Sugar instance will show a field property with the option to enable duplicate merge. Duplicate merge is when you merge duplicate records and get a side-by-side view of the data in that field. If you know you’ll have time to compare the two records completely, go ahead and merge, but if there is an overabundance of custom fields, you may find yourself with information overload.

 

3. Is This Personal Information?

Sugar added a new property called Personal Information in version 8.0. This was in response to the GDPR and other European data privacy laws. It allows you to mark which fields contain personally identifiable information. That information will feed in to the data privacy features, including being able to see all personal information on file in a record via a particular view in Sugar. The information also feeds into the data erasure process built into the data privacy module. You can capture this information at the request of a customer and erase it, copy and paste it, or do whatever else is asked of you.

 

4. Should This Field be on the List View?

This best practice tip is not a field property, but it has to do with fields so, here it is! Put thought into which fields are available as columns in your list view – prioritize the most crucial information your users will want to see in that field and don’t over clutter by showing too many columns. It will slow down your process.  

 

Managing Searchable Fields

How will the fields you’re creating be available for searching? Global Search, Search Filtering, and Reporting are all Administrator level configurations that are manageable for your searching needs. Here’s a breakdown of each:

 

Global Search: Global Search Admin settings allow you to select which modules should be indexed for Global Search (in the search Admin tool, not in Studio). With this high-level capability, you can turn off searching for modules you don’t want users to be able to use through Global Search. Within Studio, you can control which fields you want indexed for the search engine. This also controls how the results are ranked for your users via the Boost Value. You can adjust Boost Value to make sure you’re presenting the most important information to your users first.

INTERESTING NOTE ABOUT BOOST VALUE:
If you type a search term that matches multiple fields on a record, the Boost Value from each field will add up to get the overall match for that result.

 

Search Filters: These filters are controlled through a layout in Studio. Within every module in Studio you have a search layout. You can drag and drop fields into your search layout so they can be searched. Keep the Search Filters in mind when you’re creating new fields. You may not want the particular field on a list view layout, but in most cases you will definitely want the new field to be on the search layout.

 

Reporting: The Admin can control which fields are available (or unavailable) for reporting. In most instances, if you’re disabling a field for reporting, it’s because your team is no longer using the field. You can hide fields from the Reports screen by unchecking the reportable property on the field under the field settings.

 

Modifying Dropdowns

Best practices for modifying dropdowns start with reviewing existing data, especially if you’re removing any values. Search the field for the values first, because once the values are removed, the related data in the database no longer exists according to Sugar. If you must replace the value, do the following:

 

1. Add new value to your dropdown

2. Go to Entity

3. Search field for your old value

4. Do mass update to the new value

5. Go back into your dropdown and remove the old value

 

For more Sugar Admin best practices, visit our website at www.techadv.com. Be sure to join us for our February user group on best practices for using quotes in conjunction with opportunities, products, and forecasting.

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2018 turned out to be a huge year for CRM as companies realized the full extent of its functionalities and paved the way for Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Internet of Things. Big data cemented its place as the source of all good things when it comes to customers but things took a turn for the worse when the world caught up with lackluster security protocols in the virtual ecosystem. Things only go uphill from here because CRM is a household name and everyone wants a piece of this cake.

Let’s look at some of the top CRM trends to look out for in 2019

CRM goes Mainstream

The CRM industry is truly evolving beyond its reach and 2018 showed how the mainstream industry has caught on with it. More and more companies these days look for a Customer Relationship Management platform early on in their existence. The multitude of benefits in terms of customer acquisition, retention, and management are hallmarks that make CRM a must-have software. SugarCRM and Salesforce still hold the top spots when it comes to the best but expect more CRM vendors to sprout in 2019, offering basic or mid-scale services at cheaper rates to target the SMBs. However, a word of caution; the rise of GDPR and privacy regulations regarding big data is serious stuff, so opt for a CRM vendor that guarantees data privacy. The big two in the CRM Industry, SugarCRM and Salesforce, are both GDPR ready!

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing Automation take center stage!

2018 paved the way, 2019 will cement their footing! Artificial Intelligence is truly here and the amazing benefits it presents for companies worldwide means it’s not going away any time soon. Artificial Intelligence with CRM makes for an interesting combination that brings order and proactiveness to customer support and management. Expect companies to leverage AI in areas beyond customer support in 2019 to achieve a competitive edge. Voice-to-text functionalities, spam filters, sales forecasting, smart searches, and sentimental analysis are all areas that can do a lot more with Artificial Intelligence.

As for the other half of the sales cycle, expect Marketing Automation to secure a solid footing in a majority of marketing tasks and operations. Companies can grow their marketing to new heights as the bulk of the work gets automated, expect competition and cutting edge solutions heading into 2019.

Mobile CRM takes over!

Mobile CRM presents its users the core CRM functionalities on the go and brings a whole new range of possibilities for your CRM users. 2018 saw Mobile CRM breakthrough for Sales departments. With CRM functionalities on their phone, Sales teams improved their productivity by closing deals and managing clients on the go. By being constantly connected to the CRM, your sales people are always a touch away from your clients. Certain CRM integrations can add to the diverse functionality of Mobile CRM and improved data quality. Mobile CRM ensured new data into the database in real time and increased CRM adoption rates with its multi-device adaptability.

Deep Personalization

2019 will be the year when companies dig into years of customer data to personalize experiences for them. The number 1 rule to retaining customers is making them feel valued. If you as a company can target the customer’s need before the customer itself, you’ve hit gold. Years of data in CRM can be leveraged to do just that. The world is effectively heading into a territory where customer experience will grow to become the key differentiator, and deep personalization is the most popular train to it. Use your customer data to understand your customer, identify their preferences, needs, wants, and then tailor the experience with the help of AI to make them feel appreciated. Read more on how you can use SugarCRM to improve Customer Experience.

Our Two Bits!

Things may take a different route altogether but they will still have strings attached to the key differentiators we mentioned. The world of technology is volatile and it takes very little to change the course of things; who saw GDPR coming in 2018? Nonetheless, the focus on Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Data is where we see the CRM Industry heading, but then again, who’s to say they’re not already there?

A changing buyer landscape

 

It is coming to the end of 2018 and without doubt, in the B2B commerce world the buzz word of the year is Artificial Intelligence or AI.

 

This is the year that all the large ERP and CRM vendors announced AI initiatives following on from 2017 Dreamforce and the Salesforce announcement of Einstein.

 

So why is everyone suddenly talking AI and what does it mean to sales organizations?

 

For field sales organizations, one of the most sobering statistics to come out in recent years is the steady decline in average quota attainment for B2B field sales organizations. There have been many suggested causes, but no doubt today’s B2B purchasers have done their research on-line prior to ever engaging with your sellers. In addition, according to research undertaken by the Harvard Business Review “The number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.”

 

Sellers are facing more informed buyers and more of them involved in each sale.

 

AI can help

 

Although there is no simple panacea, there is a way for sellers and sales organizations to improve their odds. By using AI.

 

AI can help sales organizations prioritize opportunities, identify deals that are not currently a focus but should be, and surface important reasons as to why deals are either on track or off track.

 

But not all AI is the same. AI succeeds when you have three key ingredients:

 

  • a richly descriptive set of data
  • domain expertise to be able to define problems sets and interpret answers
  • machine learning (ML) infrastructure to “learn” from the data.

 

It is not just about the the algorithms as most have been available for over 30 years. And it is not just about having the data. It’s the intersection of all three.

 

What machine learning can do is look at vast amounts of say opportunity data and discern patterns in the data. By having a large enough data set that contains both opportunities that won and opportunities that lost and stalled. By looking at patterns across a sufficient set of opportunity data, the machine learning will identify what does “good” look like and what does “bad” look like in terms of winning and losing.

 

Once the machine has determined this, you have a very useful model. Good AI predictive models will have the ability to identify the key influencers that are evident in won and lost opportunities.

How to use AI for Opportunity Management

 

Armed with these models, forward looking sales organizations are deploying them via applications like ours. It is important to realize that AI does not replace human judgment, but augments it. In fact to take out human judgement will almost guarantee low adoption throughout an organization as sales professionals have tribal knowledge and emotional intelligence insights that AI can not yet replicate.

 

An opportunity probability win score should aid in understanding the totality of a pipeline, and should triangulate with human judgment, either reinforcing through agreement, challenging through disagreement or uncovering hidden insights into overlooked opportunities.

 

In our product, we headline this through our Opportunity Map, where we take all opportunities with close date in a particular quarter and group them into four buckets:

 

  1. Deals that both the sales organization and Aviso agree are strong candidates to close win (committed deals)
  2. Deals that the sales organization believes are strong candidates to close win (committed deals) but the Aviso Score indicates otherwise
  3. Deals that both the sales organization and Aviso agree are weak candidates and are not likely to close this quarter
  4. Deals that the sales organization believes are weak candidates to close win (committed deals) but the Aviso Score believes are good candidates to close won and are worth another look.

 

Additionally, we provide insights or reasons as to why we are calling these deals the way we are, either confirming that deals are on track and are progressing at the right pace through the deal process or highlighting the reasons why the deal is off track and suggesting areas that need addressing.

 

Armed with this information, sales organizations and leadership can better:

 

  • Understand where reps should focus to avoid costly, drawn out sales processes while pursuing deals that otherwise might be overlooked
  • Help coaching conversations and guide next steps
  • Identify which reps are repeatedly over optimistic
  • Spot sandbaggers
  • Improve data hygiene

 

 

 

AI for Forecasting

 

Opportunity scores are not just for helping to decide where to apply scarce sales effort, but in addition can be used to create more accurate revenue forecasts earlier in the quarterly cycle. With deal level scores, a good forecasting system will combine an aggregation of projected opportunity win amounts with a top down view of deals that are projected to open and close (new won) in that quarter that are not currently in open pipeline.

 

A good system will be accurate from day one of the quarter, constantly re-evaluating both projected opportunity win amounts and new wins.

 

This does not necessarily replace more traditional judgment based rollup forecasting but it adds an extra dimension to triangulate the different methods. Typically, early call deals are less likely to be committed, meaning that judgment contributes to a higher percentage of the sales forecast earlier in the quarter as opposed to later in the quarter. AI is more willing to commit early stage deals and will compute new wins with better accuracy than judgment alone.

 

 

 

Summary

 

It would be a mistake to judge all current AI marketing as hype, believing it will play a future role, but not this quarter as you focus on making the number.

 

Companies that embrace the right AI tools for Sales today will have a leg up on their competitors. These companies will learn earlier how to deploy AI to derive maximum value. These efforts will pay off in terms of shorter and more predictable successful sales cycles, more effective deployment of resources and Day 1 visibility into where the Quarter will land.

According to Gartner, there will be more than 25 billion connected things by 2020. It means the Internet of Things is going to be a huge connected network between people-to-people, people-to-things, and things-to-things. It is not only connecting with us more, it is also changing the way we live. Whether we prefer to notice it or not, yet IoT is transforming our surroundings and will keep on doing it.

 

Now, let’s talk about CRMs. In earlier days, the focus of CRMs was to reduce the cost around customer acquisition, retention, and servicing them. Now, it has customer portals that look after saving time and resources along with cost cutting. It also strives to provide quality of services to customers. Sugar CRM facilitates enterprises by enabling them to build customer portals to better their engagement.

 

Blending Automation with Convenience
So, IoT is changing the way people live and Sugar CRM is changing the way enterprise work. Now what if they both work together? This synergy will create an environment of predictive and preventive functionalities that send alert for future actions. Such a system will notify your customers in advance before they face any problem and provide a service or solution to the issues they might face in the near future. IoT will decode the buying pattern of the customer in real-time, and it will help the SugarCRM client portal or application to include them in the right marketing campaign.

 

Is it possible?
Yes, it is possible to use 'Internet of Things' and integrate it with SugarCRM Customer Portal and applications. The major three components of IoT can generate huge benefits for organizations if it works in sync with CRM. These three important components of IoT that your Sugar CRM solution can optimize are:

  • Sensors
  • Wireless Internet Connectivity
  • Computational Capability at the Device i.e. Data Processing Capability

 

Gartner researched recently about the drivers of a CRM applications. In that study, the most important attributes were: Mobile, Cloud, Big Data and Social Networking capability. Further, that study says that Internet of Things is going to be the fifth driver after these four.

 

Exemplifying the Ease of IoT and SugarCRM
Consider a scenario of a hearing aid company. The hearing Aid Industry has become more advanced. Now it is trying to introduce innovative features in their product lists. Examples could be longer battery life, Bluetooth compatibility, noise reduction. It is also introducing products for controlling your hearing aid device through smart phone, etc.

Let us take few scenarios from this company. It will help us to understand how IoT helps in providing services to customers, with the help of IoT and its integration with CRM.

 

3 Different Scenarios Where IoT is Taking the Customer Experience to The Next Level.

  • A customer’s hearing aid instruments battery is malfunctioning. There is a need for it to replace that within next few days. Here IoT will notify about the status of the machine. This will allow the staff to inform the customer proactively and update him. They can communicate with them that the instrument’s battery is having some issues, and it needs replacement soon. It will help a customer to replace the battery, and they will not face any problem while using the product.
  • A customer’s hearing aid instrument is under warranty period and not working properly. Again, IoT will help the company to know about this issue. Hence, the customer service representative can call the customer and talk about it. Or they can straight away replace the instrument since it is not working properly and it is under warranty period.
  • The customer is not using certain new incorporated features of an instrument because of some reason. Here, IoT analytics will come into the role and will raise an alert. Now the support team can call and ask for a session or training. So that he/she will get awareness of those new features and customer can start using it.

How SugarCRM Takes These IoT Alerts for Next Level Customer Experience?
In all these scenarios, how the company official will get to know about all the issues? That is because a sensor placed in the hearing aid instrument sends notifications to the central application. It creates an alert in the system that there is some issue with the battery or instrument, and needs replacement. As being an open source, SugarCRM can render IoT alerts in different ways with flexibility. These are,

  • Company can design their Sugar CRM application to share this data. It can also trigger some informative information that certain features of the product are in use for a single time. SugarCRM application will integrate this information and will send a notification to the staff.
  • The flexibility of Sugar CRM will also allow you to render this information in another manner. It also drives the system to generate a service case where the system will register a support call automatically to the customer. The system will assign it to a service representative automatically, who will make a call to the customer to update the problem, or ask for other services.

In any of the way, a customer will be happy that the Product Company is taking a preventive action, and providing service promptly before they face any issue. It will help you to gain the customer’s confidence in your services, products, and increase their satisfaction level as well.

 

Apart from this, IoT with SugarCRM can also help sales and marketing functions in multiple ways. Real-time data generated by IoT will you to help understand in numerous ways. It will tell you usage of the product, buying patterns of the customer, opportunities for cross-selling and up selling, deciding flexible pricing, etc. Your sales team can analyze the IoT generated data to decide future campaigns by knowing the right customers.

 

It will help them reduce the cost in terms of market research. This data can also help the marketing function to identify those customers, who are not using your products anymore. For such customers, you can run separate campaigns, or invite them for trade shows and product launch programs, and try to retain them.

 

So, why wait? Leverage the power of IoT and Sugar CRM and get the best out of your business. It will make the work flow faster and user friendly. This will also stay helpful for your staff and assist them to boost their productivity.

 

View Source: Sugar CRM and IoT: The Synergy That Will Drive the Next Level Customer Experience 

With December starting this weekend and 2019 just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to create a guide for our family of SugarCRM customers to use and plan for the upcoming year. Here are four things to think about as we approach 2019.

End-of-Life Dates

Sugar maintains an end-of-life schedule which you can access at any time here. It’s important to be aware of these dates and include in your plans for the year. End-of-life means that the specific version of Sugar will no longer be supported or maintained by SugarCRM. Once the end-of-life date passes, you can no longer call Sugar support to request help, and Sugar will no longer release bug fixes or perform security maintenance on your instance.

In 2019, the end-of-life date you need to know is October 31. On this date in 2019, Sugar 8 end-of-life will occur. If you need to, you can purchase extended support for Sugar 8 which will give you up to a year of additional support on that version. We recommend planning for end-of-life six months before the end-of-life date. It’s important to speak with your partner (such as W-Systems) to prepare for end-of-life and the changes that come with it.

Upgrades

Don’t forget that Sugar adopted a new release process in late 2017. This process is documented here. If you are a Sugar Cloud (On-Demand) customer, you know that your system will be automatically upgraded four times per year. We recommend you work with your partner each quarter to understand what is coming in each update and evaluate whether your system’s current customizations need to be updated during the upgrade process.

If your Sugar instance is On-Premise, there will be one update available to you each year. With the current Sugar release process, the next update will be Sugar 9 in 2019 and Sugar 10 in 2020. Some organizations try to remain on an older version of Sugar, but this is not something W-Systems would ever advise. You will not have access to bug fixes or protective security patches. And the longer you wait to upgrade, the more costly and time consuming your upgrade can become (whether it’s development time, training users, or counseling employees through change). It’s best to stay up-to-date with upgrades to keep your organization’s data secure and your CRM productivity optimized. Want to know more about when it’s best to upgrade?  Check out this blog post.

Optimization

Here at W-Systems, we don’t believe in a one-and-done CRM system implementation. We believe that you must continually evaluate and measure your CRM performance and optimize for improvement. Here are a few ways to do that in your yearly planning:

  • Choose some record views to improve. This may include deleting unused fields, renaming fields to more relevant company lingo, or streamlining using dependent fields.
  • Create some auto-populated fields using calculated fields in Sugar. You can use this tip to create consistent names for records.
  • Create some new Sugar reports for increased accountability.
  • Review business processes implemented in the last year and make sure they are reinforced in Sugar through required fields and automated workflows.

User Training/Onboarding

It’s really important to incorporate CRM training into your yearly calendar. This is easy with all the Sugar resources available to you, such as:

Recurrent training is critical because of user turnover and also any changes that might be implemented to your CRM software. If you are a larger organization or using Sugar Cloud, we recommend quarterly training. If you are a smaller organization, we recommend doing training as new employees are hired or upon your yearly upgrade.

Concluding Thoughts

If you need help creating a plan for your organization and Sugar in 2019, please reach out to us! We can help you evaluate where you currently are, what your goals should be, and what to do next.

This post originally appeared on w-systems.com.

Customer Engagement is a huge word. And when you ask the business owners about what it means to them; they will come up with different responses. Not just that, they will also regale you with stories about their experiences with customers and their struggles to offer impeccable services. Well, just because such stories are enticing, does not mean they are an epitome of offering customer services. In today’s times, it is important to enable your customers to resolve their issues on their mobile phones independently.

 

A study conducted by Microsoft in 2016 (Global State of Customer Service) proved that almost 90% of US customers like to use self-service customer portals. The biggest reason behind this is – they want the solution to their problems at the earliest. And they do not wish to wait for customer executives to get back to them.

 

So, if you adopt a customer portal, it enables your customers to find solutions to their problems on their own. Also, if your resource is apt, it is sure to keep your customers coming back. That too, without any reluctance.

 

CRM Customer Portals: A Perfect Resource for Different Purposes

Let us say you have a SugarCRM system and WordPress Content Management System. You would need SugarCRM WordPress customer portal. It can come of great help as it will enable your sales team to resolve tickets easily and offer an exceptional customer experience. You can also offer your customers with a knowledge base about your products/services and give apt purchasing opportunities. Some of your objectives for offering SugarCRM customer portal could be:

 

  • Displaying information about company
  • Providing product information
  • Sharing service information
  • Offering credit and finance information
  • Giving pricing schedules
  • Resolving queries through tickets

 

As most of the CRM portals come with an intuitive navigation system and user-friendly interface, they make it easy for your customers to find the information they need. Whenever they want.

Offer Excellent Customer Engagement with SugarCRM Portal

SugarCRM customer portal is a blend of WordPress CMS and SugarCRM. It is a self-service customer portal that enables customers to create customized dashboards, generate tickets, update data, and find the information they want. If you are a SugarCRM user, you and your team can get an access to customer cases, meetings, calls, accounts etc.

 

Here are some of the major features of this portal:

  • Secure Sign-in – Safe login for your customers to the portal
  • Role based accessibility – Manage SugarCRM module accessibility and keep your data confined to WordPress User Groups
  • Module layout configuration – Create portal layouts for different modules in SugarCRM
  • Portal Customization – Give a name to your portal, choose themes/colors, set logo, and add a profile picture
  • Knowledge Base – Share your articles and other content with your customers
  • Access to Invoices and Contracts – Enable your customers to view quotes, contracts as well as invoices. (Downloadable in PDF format)

 

Who All Can Use It?

Customer portal provides customizable options for different businesses to create their portals according to their domain/industry. All you need to do is share the specific requirements of your business and customers and the developers will build it accordingly. Some of its industry applications are given below:

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality Industries
  • Ecommerce
  • Travel Industry
  • Manufacturing Industry

In today’s DIY era, customer portals can offer huge benefits to businesses and helps strengthen customer relationships. If you want to bring smile on the face of your customers, it is the right way to go. And there is one for every business out there. All the best choosing one for yourself!

Every SugarCon is an event of the year for us, and this one was the best so far! So many truly exciting things at the same time. Exchanging new ideas, listening to keynotes from experienced field professionals- gurus in Sales, CRM and IT. Networking opportunities with customers and partners, new friends and direct feedback. All this is priceless especially when handled in a fun way! Our team got really busy with all of the follow-ups these weeks, and I just love it!



I’d like to share some of the key things learned:

  1. While having lots of focus on disruptive technology and innovation, Sugar team is also reminding us about the importance of existing relationships and recurring customers. Quoting Larry Augustine: “Did you know it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one? Statistics tell us that you are 14 times more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new prospect.” It is natural to pursue new customers but retaining existing customers and building long-lasting relationships is invaluable as in most cases new customers will value the feedback of your existing ones.
  2. I am a big fan of Sugar Hint, which searches the web for additional information on users and pulls it into Sugar and thus saving you a lot of manual work. New additions to Hint will deliver proactive and configurable customer alerts for signals and interesting moments, including funding, personnel changes, general company announcements and M&A activity.
  3. New awesome functionality available in the latest Sugar release for:
    • Quotes Configuration
    • New Data Visualizations
    • Advanced Workflows
      Video overview
  4. It was great to hear live feedback on highly requested IT Sapiens Analytic Reporting Tool features by customers, which extend the Sugar core functionality:

    • Common filters are often required, in order to be able to easily see results by team, region, user or a product group across several charts at the same time.
      With our new dashboard solution this is available along with fancy chart types like gauge, funnel, geographic charts and 3-axes chart (where you can add different scales together like count and amount of opportunities and see how they correlate together over the time).
    • It often takes a lot of effort to put reports together to be printed and look good. With IT Sapiens Analytic Reporting Tool you can get a really nice PDF report output containing several summary tables in your own preferred style using Excel for templates. Once a template is created, you can forget about it, as it can be easily scheduled regularly via e-mail as PDF or Excel, saving you a lot of time.
    • Snapshots and Historical Data – business trends over the time:
    • Calls, Meetings, Tasks and Emails available in the same report: both detailed list and summary.
    • Our customers are happy as they have a lot of power creating various reports without a need to be a programmer. With our easy to use interface you can create summaries, charts and report layouts, even add your own calculations.
  5. Cooperation & networking
    Most of all I actually learn and get inspired by those informal talks to experienced, wise people – so many of them are all gathered together at the same place, I want to catch every minute of it! Cooperation is one of the key success factors in every business, and seeing success in helping each other brings joy to your soul.
    “Eventually it is all about people” SugarCRM people say,– it is something, what the worlds smartest and most successful and independent people usually say as well. No matter how smart, strong, wealthy or independent you are, it is always important to have good people around you. SugarCRM and SugarCon is is definitely the place to find them! Happy to be at the right place.