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We're all familiar with the current spate of buzzwords surrounding customers - from disruption, to journeys, to the customer experience... it's easy to get confused. But I want to ask you a really simple question - how well do you actually know your customers? And crucially, what are you doing with that knowledge?

 

You’ve probably used some form of CRM since the start of your business – remember Rolodexes? But as you grow, so does the amount of information you hold about your consumers. And good luck keeping all of that written on the back of an index card. In the dawn of AI and ever-advancing technologies, it might be time to modernise how you get to know your customers.

 

Last week, I received an email from a company I'd recently bought a pair of trainers from. I admit I’m guilty of ignoring a lot of emails like this, but this one really grabbed my attention because it really seemed like they knew me. Of course, the email contained a personal greeting and a blurb about my recent purchase, but it also contained the most perfectly-selected products I could hope for. I wanted to buy every single one! It was as if the company had scanned my thoughts and decided, "Hey, I know what she'd love!" and packaged it all into one nice, neat, beautifully-presented email.

 

It got me thinking about just how they knew me so well, and I admired how clever their strategy was. Some people might wonder just how much time and effort went into designing an email like this, but as a SugarCRM specialist, I know the truth - a good CRM will do all this for you, and more.

 

From capturing vital data such as my location, gender, and spending habit, to my shoe size and color preference, the retailer was able to exploit this knowledge and send me a targeted promotion which made me feel special. But this won’t be the end of my journey in the retailer’s CRM – it will likely be used for logging product support tickets, recording activities like calls and emails, as well as have an integration to their website so they know exactly what products I’ve viewed. All of this history provides them with a comprehensive view of “me” as a consumer, allowing them to get ahead of the competition.

 

In today’s ultra-competitive market, conventional methods are no longer going to cut it. As consumers faced with the paradox of choice, we’re beginning to expect this kind of bespoke communication. We want to feel special, and businesses want to feel empowered to get ahead of their competition.

 

As a fully customisable and intuitive CRM, Sugar can capture intelligence about your consumers, allowing you to attract new customers and maximise the value of existing ones.

 

To find out how Sugar can help you create extraordinary customer relationships, get in touch today.

 

(PS – Oh, and guess what? My credit card took a big hit that afternoon!)

Relationship intelligence and buyer engagement is critical during the buyer’s journey in order to have the outcome you are looking for.  The buyers journey is a framework that buyers go through before selecting vendors and can be broken into three main sections – discovery, consideration and decision. 

 

As companies get larger, the buyer turns into a buying team and that becomes ever-more complex with the size of the company, size of the deal and the number of areas within the company where your solution brings value.  Now, the buying team has to move through the buyer’s journey.  And you if you are a company with multiple sales people that support large portfolios of solutions, how do you know who’s engaged with whom?

 

Throughout all the complexity of the buying team, the steps through the buyer’s journey and the complexity of the seller organization, a sales leader should know whether their reps are engaging the buyers or even if they have the right buyers engaged (will get to the latter on another blog post). But for now, let’s focus on a few ways a sales leader can easily see who is communicating with the client.

 

  1. One seller to many buyers (buying team)

 

If you have one seller assigned to an account(s) and they are solely responsible for the entire engagement without anyone else from your company being involved, then you fit into this category.  They may build a relationship with a buyer, influencer, sponsor or friend at first and as time progresses the relationships expand.  This is great, but what if the communications slow down with a particular person on the buying team? What if too much time has passed since they last understood the procurement process? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see the communication lines between the sales rep and the buying team?  Wouldn’t it also be nice if you can determine who the sales team is engaged with and how often they communicate with the buyers.  You could be more effective with this intelligence as it prioritizes a sales reps day.  Let’s continue.

 

  1. Multiple sellers to many buyers (buying team)

 

If you are a large organization, with large sales teams and/or a large portfolio supported by multiple people, the same thing happens as a above. Relationships get formed they expand and before you know it the lines of communication between companies looks like spaghetti.  Who from the sales team is talking to the buying team? Is the right subject matter expert engaged and with whom are they talking?  Wait, why is that individual in software development talking to my client? Did you know about that? Lots of questions can get answered when you can easily glance at the visuals of the communication lines between the sales team and buying team.  This becomes a critical view, no pun intended, of the situation of the opportunity and can help determine the health, probability and I will venture to say the reality of the opportunity and its progression.

 

  1. Critical qualification step of seller to buyer(s) before probability of sale increases

 

Here, we look at critical steps required in the sales process by the selling organization that must take place in order to move the deal forward.  In other words, my software architect must meet with the CTO or head of IT in order to ensure successful integration before the deal can be put into the forecast. Can you tell if the step has occurred on a first visual glance of the opportunity?  Is your rep delayed in updating the notes in SugarCRM, or did that step not take place this week? This gives the visibility to the sales leaders on the activity of the reps with the extended selling team and the engagement they are having with the buying team. 

 

Put a little Accent Technologies in your Sugar and you can easily achieve any of these answers to the questions by simply looking at visuals on the opportunity page. Accent captures data from all sorts of places and puts it into its analytics engine and then gives you in context visualization of the communications happening in your opportunity without any more data input by the reps.  That’s right, they don’t actually have to log all those calls, emails, answers, we can do it for you automatically.

 

As a rep, you get to see who on the sales team is communicating with the buying team and what they are discussing so you can more effectively engage with the buying team. As a leader, you get visibility into whether the right conversations are occurring. You can also realize at a glance if there is a communication breakdown, buyer response slowdown or if you have the right subject matter expert already engaged.  Guide your sales teams to win. 

 

Tie this back to my blog on coaching and you have another piece of the capability of Accent Technologies with SugarCRM. Expect to see us embedded into Sugar and on SugarExchange before end of year!

SugarCon’s a great chance to introduce yourself to the Sugar Community, make new friends and reunite with old ones. At this year’s conference, we decided to bring along our newest employee, the Star Wars Stormtrooper Battle Buddy (which will henceforth be referred to as Bobby)!

So, what was Bobby up to at SugarCon? Let’s take a look!


Bobby got up early (way too early), put on his t-shirt and SugarCRM cape and got down to the booth.
 


We know you won “Most Sociable” today, Bobby. That doesn’t mean you
have to say ‘Hi’ to everyone here. Some of us are trying to work!

 


Bobby forgot his shoes at home. Time to go shopping! But there’s so many to choose from…

 


We have a winner: because there’s no better way to represent SugarCRM at SugarCon than with red Converse shoes!
 


Mark Weitzel, Sr. Director, Worldwide ISV Alliances at SugarCRM
stops in for a photo opportunity with Bobby.

 


Clint Oram, Co-Founder
and CMO at SugarCRM, also came at our booth for a photo op.
 


T-Shirt? ✅  Cape? ✅  Shoes? ✅  Awesome SugarCRM socks? ✅

 


It’s been a long three days full of great content and people, and Bobby finally hit the sack.
SugarCon 2018’s just one year ahead, so he needs to recharge!

This may have been the last day of SugarCon 2017, but it was still jam-packed with announcements, insightful sessions and a glimpse at what’s to come to Sugar!

General Sessions

Rich Green, CPO & David Falk, VP, Product Management at SugarCRM got on stage to discuss how Sugar updates will be delivered going forward: On-Premise will get updated quarterly, while On-Demand updates will get released every year. On-Premise users will also have the option to extend support for 30 months for their Sugar versions.

Additionally, Rich and David went through some of the new additions and enhancements for Sugar and its add-ons including:

  • Drill-Through Charts
  • Email
  • Hint
  • Mobile
  • Outlook Plug-In “OPI”
  • Quotes
  • Shareable Dashboards
  • Structured Search

Next on stage, Billy Beane, EVP of Baseball Operations for the Oakland A’s & Subject of Moneyball, shared his story on how he turned baseball scouting onto its head by focusing on accurate and objective player statistics instead of superficial aspects, which led to the sport switching to a meritocracy model to pick players.

Sugar Labs

We dove into Sugar Labs to get a behind the scenes glimpse at some of SugarCRM’s pre-release products and features for Sugar.

Demo stations were set up for the following:

  • Design and Style guides for Sugar, both web and mobile versions
  • Email Templates for Sugar
  • Outlook Plug-In version 2.4 features and improvements
  • Project Dossier - SugarCRM’s new relationship intelligence mobile app
  • Quotes Module, now using Sidecar
  • Reports Module enhancements
  • Search and Filters, and a redesigned Global Search
  • Shareable Dashboards and Drillable Dashlets
  • SugarCRM Hint - features planned for v2

SugarCRM Mobile, with the added ability to convert leads directly from your phone

Act-On - The Future of Marketing and Building Adaptive Journeys

Andy MacMillan, CEO at Act-On discussed how the digital age is disrupting traditional business models, and how marketers must balance inbound and outbound tactics in a digital ecosystem.

We also got a glimpse into Adaptive Journeys, which will cater content and delivery to each of your contacts by taking advantage of connected data and machine learning.

W-Systems Booth

We’ve had so many productive conversations at our booth this year. After spending the last two days on his feet, our Star Wars StormTrooper added a new superhero power when he added a pair of SugarCRM socks to his growing wardrobe.

SugarCon App Throwdown

Check out our SugarCon 2017 App Throwdown blog post where we review all of the submissions (and announce the winner) from this year’s App Throwdown.

SugarCon 2018

Save the date! SugarCon 2018 will be moving to Las Vegas next year and will be held from October 10 - 11, 2018. Until then, we’re over and out!

What better to get our superhero juices flowing than a perfectly executed drumline to kick off SugarCon 2017?

Welcome & General Sessions

This morning, SugarCon 2017 was kicked off by SugarCRM’s CEO, Larry Augustin, who took the stage to and discussed the stellar success of Sugar in Customer Satisfaction (with a 64% percentage of satisfaction, according to PCMag.com), and announced two a new product line that will go hand in hand with Relationship Intelligence: Relationship Management.

Next, on stage, the Customer Panel featured Jason Gerard - Executive Director at JP Morgan Chase & Co, Andrew Devlyn - Director of Innovation at Devlyn Holdings and Rached Chatti - Director of Strategic Operations at DuProprio. Each of them spoke about their organization’s success with Sugar, in their respective industries.

Up next, Clint Oram, CMO, Co-Founder and resident CGO (Chief Geek Officer) was joined on stage by Carlye Bartel, Global VP, Solutions Consulting at SugarCRM to show off a revamped UI for Sugar, a new alerts dashlet, and most importantly, the Visual Pipeline, streamlined view of records and their current status in your sales cycle.

Tim Draper, Founder of Draper Associates, FDJ and the Draper Venture Network, focused on how the advancements in AI will push people to perform better, and eventually, move forward in their careers.

Tim was then followed by Danny Barnett, Sales and Marketing System Leader at IBM, who announced that IBM will be switching to Sugar-on-Demand in 2018.

Last but not least, Rich Green, CPO at SugarCRM, discussed how technology is rapidly adapting to AI and Machine Learning, and revealed a new upcoming feature for SugarCRM Hint - insight generation, which will allow users to “work like you live”.

Track Sessions

You Want Better CRM User Adoption? Gamify Your System

Once a CRM project is completed, many fail or have poor adoption because no one uses them. Excuses run the gamut of, “The old way was faster,” to “I missed my quota because we couldn't use the CRM system properly.” In this session, Jason Green from Intelestream led us through an interactive section to improve user adoption including gamifying Sugar through their CRM Gamification Engine, Splash, that aims to help improve user adoption.

What do you think about gamifying CRM? What aspects of your business would you like to gamify? (Two of the most popular options in the session that came up was gamifying time sheets and new hire training.)

Upcoming Features and Enhancements in Quotes, Opportunities, and Related Modules

This session focused on the upcoming features and enhancements in Quotes, Opportunities, and RLIs, and additions for Sugar administrators to customize Sugar without having to code.

 

Fanatical Labs - Practical Customer Acquisition and Retention with Sugar, MailChimp, ZenDesk and Intercom

This session focused on how Fanatical Labs channels the combined powers of Intercom, MailChimp and Zendesk into Sugar to automate their customer lifecycle with add-ons which you can immediately start using.

Sugar Product Roadmap Overview

In this session, David Folk, VP of Product Management at SugarCRM discussed the future product roadmap. 

Topics covered included:

  • Core and Front End Platform
  • Drill Through On Charts
  • Extended Support
  • Marketo
  • New UX in Email
  • Opportunities and Quotes
  • Relationship Management and Intelligence (SugarCRM Hint)
  • Reporting & Improved Organization of Reports
  • Sugar Outlook Plugin
  • Sugar Stack Support
  • SugarCRM Mobile and SDK

All information disclosed at this session is subject to change without notice, but we are excited to see the vision that SugarCRM has for Sugar over the next year and beyond.

W-Systems Booth

We’ve had a lot of people interested in our Sugar integrations Products, and there has been plenty of foot traffic at our booth. Speaking of foot traffic ... our Stars Wars Stormtrooper got some new kicks today after a visit to the Converse store on Market Street!

Tomorrow we will share with you the highlights from Day 3 which will include diving into the Sugar Lab as well as some keynotes and sessions.

To kick off SugarCon 2017, the category winners for the App Throwdown were announced during the opening reception. However, we got to see the teams in action on Wednesday at the SugarCon App Throwdown where they got to compete for bragging rights to the "Ultimate Superpower!"

The panel of judges this year were:

  • Avi Bar – National Sales Manager, ASI Group
  • Rebecca Wetteman – VP of Research - Nucleus Research
  • Rich Green – Chief Product Officer, SugarCRM
  • Mark Weitzel – Sr. Director, Worldwide ISV Alliances, SugarCRM

Best in Class Winners

X-Ray Vision – Splash: Gamification Platform for Sugar


Splash introduced game-like mechanics into Sugar to inspire employees to be more curious, detail-driven, and competitive. This increases productivity and performance, in addition to job satisfaction. Tap into your workforce’s hidden potential and turn your CRM into an employee-motivation engine.

Teleportation – Appdome: Enterprise Mobility in Minutes


With Appdome, organizations can integrate Sugar Mobile with their EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) SDK of choice in a matter of minutes, no code or coding required.

Clairvoyance – PandaDoc: Sales Docs Integrated with Sugar


From sales proposals, case studies and contracts, PandaDoc allows you to create customizable documents directly from Sugar. You can easily customize these templates and add new ones to create a robust library of branded templates, and then send out for electronic signature saving both your sales team and prospects time without having to install specialized software.

Utility Belt – RT SalesMap: Google Maps Integrated with Sugar


By bridging the gap between Sugar and Google Maps, RT SalesMap helps users track and locate their records on Google Maps within Sugar, which enhances the overall performance of the sales team, making them more productive and efficient to deal with the customers.

Crowd Pleaser – 3CLogic: Amazon Alexa Integration



Introducing 3CLogic’s voice-enabled Insides Sales solution leveraging SugarCRM but enabled via Amazon Alexa using 3CLogic’s CTI and Call Center platform. It’s a simpler way to provide customized customer engagements while extending the size of your sales or customer support teams. Now that’s a superpower!

App Throwdown Winner: Splash by Intelestream

Voting to choose the winner of the App Throwdown was done through the SugarCon Mobile App: Congratulations to Intelestream on their win!

What a time to be a superhero!  

This year’s SugarCon will focus on the on the “heroes” of CRM; those that go above and beyond – and the technology that supports their heroic endeavors.

We are excited to be one of the CRM Superheroes as a Silver Sponsor at SugarCon 2017. While the conference kicks off bright and early tomorrow, we got the opportunity to spend time in the partner pavilion, “suit up” with a SugarCRM superhero cape and introduce our newest employee, the Star Wars Stormtrooper”to both new and old friends.

Here are some photo highlights from the evening:


View of the SugarCon registration and check-in area.
 


Meet our newest employee, Star Wars Stormtrooper who won the award for "Most Sociable," at the booth tonight.


A closeup of our booth in full glory!


With a full assortment of food, ranging from chicken pad thai to green bean
wasabi shooters, there was something for everyone at the buffet tonight.



Members from the W-Systems Team Team pose at our booth.
From left to right Sarah Friedlander Garcia, Roy Grubbs, Joe Hogan and Christian Wettre.

Heading toward my first SugarCon, I was excited to attend sessions, speak to other partners, customers and Sugar’s team. Luckily, SugarCon 2017 did not disappoint and I came home with a smile on my face and knowledge in my brain. What more could a woman ask for?

Here are the Top 10 Things I learned from SugarCon 2017:

10. Love what you do.

Billy Beane is known for the book and movie Moneyball so it’s not a major surprise that he is a captivating speaker. Billy Beane shared much information with the crowd, but what really stuck with me is that Beane not only stayed in the same industry, he stayed with the same team, doing the same thing. Moneyball may have added some fame to his name, but at the end of the day, he kept doing what he wanted to do.

Loving what you do is important. It keeps your mind sharp, your quest for knowledge fresh and your drive at the forefront of everything you do. I admire his dedication to his craft.

Bonus tidbit from Billy Beane: You have to make decisions without the noise around you.

9. C-R-M: Don’t forget the R.

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are why were all at the show. Whether attendees work for SugarCRM, partner with the company or its customer base, CRM systems are the reason why we showed up in San Francisco.

One of the biggest takeaways from SugarCon is that SugarCRM is not forgetting about the relationship aspect of the business. In fact, they are focusing on it. SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin said the company is doubling down in the “R” with both relationship management and relationship intelligence efforts (See #3 for a Hint).

8. It doesn’t matter who is buying or selling, it’s about the relationship.

SugarCRM let us know that relationships are important to them. But it was also a driving point of Tim Draper’s presentation at the show. He said at the end of the day, it does not matter who is buying or selling; it’s ultimately about the relationship between the two sides.

7. CRM is becoming the world’s best personal assistance.

Life is about fulfilling lives, not fulfilling a calendar, said Rich Green, chief product officer. Green walked us through the near future on how merged time between personal and professional lives will be. AND how CRM software helps us navigate through our worlds.  

6. People are not buying things, they are using things.

Green also said that people are not buying things, they are using them. While this thought was not earth-shattering, it was enlightening. When I thought about Netflix, Spotify, AirBNB, le tote and more, people are leaning more to subscription-based use than all-out purchasing.

5. Not a news flash: Companies struggle with CRM user adoption.

While the Superhero theme carried through the show, the struggle of CRM user adoption was also highly discussed. It makes sense. Customers have invested their time, money and effort, but if no one is using the CRM software, then what? There were a lot of suggestions, but one user adoption-focused application won SugarCon’s App Throwdown (see #1).

4. Sugar has some cool things coming down the pike.

With a focus on relationship management and relationship intelligence, Sugar has some innovative technologies coming down the road. From core relationship management modules to amazing new relationship intelligence tools like Hint, there’s a little something for everyone.

3. Hint is already here.

Hint is SugarCRM’s relationship intelligence tool, which lets you automatically search the web for personal and company information, including social data, with just a name and email address.

2. Sugar is a talented group of innovative team members, partners and customers.

Going into my first SugarCon, I was not sure what to expect. What I learned was SugarCRM’s group of team members, partners and customers are all a fantastic group of people who work together. From speaking to other partners to touching base with SugarCRM’s customers, the collaborative spirit in the room was impressive.

1. Intelestream’s App Throwdown win was the cherry on top of an awesome conference.

Our team was pumped going into SugarCon 2017 to be selected as the utility belt app in the App Throwdown for Splash for SugarCRM. It was beyond exciting to win the competition!

Interested in learning more about SugarCon 2017 or Splash for SugarCRM? Contact us today. 

Limesh Parekh

Is CRM costly?

Posted by Limesh Parekh Sep 29, 2017

Although CRM is gaining popularity within the Indian SMEs and start-ups, still there exists a significant number of developing companies which think that CRM is costly. CRM is considered a tool affordable and necessary only by those who have the significant financial strength or operate at a substantially large scale.

So, is CRM really expensive?

Not exactly, in fact, CRM reduces overall operating costs drastically. CRM makes sure that no enquiries are missed or skipped, which automatically increases sales. CRM helps to decrease stress between the sales team and sales managers, by giving more clarity about the activities and not just focusing on the results. It's much easier to sell more to existing customers, rather than sell to more customers. CRM provides detailed analysis and insights on consumer categories and behaviour patterns, which can result in more sale per customer.

With mobile CRM, coming in along with lots of new technological innovations, CRM has become an almost indispensable tool for businesses today. CRM increases customer experience, decreases stress, improves sales and profitability. Above all, it brings stability into organisation against changes in team members, since now the business related information is stored by a system and not by people individually.

Then why do people think that CRM is costly? 

Are there any misunderstandings? If we dig down deeper, there is a serious problem in the way people see CRM. Companies are not getting the value for their investment in CRM is due to some hurdles that are faced along the way.

Considering CRM as a software and not a culture.


Many times companies think of CRM as a software just like MS Excel or Outlook. They think that they can just install it and then start using it. What eventually happens is that the team is not able to get any tangible business benefits out of the same and then frustration sets in. Such a scenario leads the people into thinking that the CRM solution is costly as they are not getting the expected returns.

Not allocating enough resources for training. 


There are two kinds of challenges here (A) No training at all, thinking that the users will figure out how to use the software themselves (B) Training only a few members of the team and believe that these people will train others. Both these scenarios give very nightmarish results. There is a mass refusal or reluctance amongst team members regarding the use of CRM. Untrained staff results in minimal CRM utilisation, which prompts the thought that CRM is costly.

Planning without preparation. 


Business processes when automated will be drastically different (and easy) as compared to doing it manually. Companies don’t plan to figure out changes in their procedures. Many times they don’t even have written (even understood uniform) process available. So everybody thinks of CRM system in their ways and plans in own individual ways to take this ahead. Improper planning is the reason there are no improvements in business after CRM, and then we feel that CRM is costly.

Trying Free CRM and then giving up. 


There are lots of companies which fail miserably while trying free CRM because either that was not the right choice for them or their team did not have the technological capability to implement the same. Instead, consulting an expert would have been a better idea before choosing CRM platform.

Buying off the shelf, Online CRM
.

Generally, Online Portals selling CRM are suitable for DIY (Do it Yourself) kind of people, who have enough technical and managerial skills to implement entire CRM on their own. There is a huge difference between implementing something by reading documents and getting some consultant (or Vendor) who provides tips and tricks and best practices. Without a proper consultant to help implementation, companies remain unaware of the true potential of CRM with respect to their business. Thus not getting the required returns.

Most importantly, not using it to the fullest. 


When people buy CRM, it is with the excitement over the possibilities in CRM. These possibilities can be actualized only by the proper collaboration and coordination of the vendor and the customer. The vendor/ CRM cannot fulfil the expectations alone, the support and enthusiasm of the user are the must. The efforts taken to monitor and implement CRM with respect to the company’s demands are not recognised by the buyer, thus causing a problem. The CRM platform has tremendous capabilities but companies fail to utilise them just because they don’t put enough efforts to implement things correctly.

How to make sure CRM provides value for money

Plan Properly

Before deploying CRM, plan for selecting a technology, select processes to be automated, who should be involved, what will be the technical and personnel requirements. It is a good idea to get an expert’s guidance. But if it is your first CRM implementation, always go for a Consultant or a CRM vendor who will provide consultancy also. Do not buy online CRM without calculating implementation efforts required from your end.

Drive from Top.


Most of the time management team does not give required importance to this. CRM is a cultural change, and it has to be driven from the top. Failure in steering the CRM project by the top management leads to poor adoption and ultimate failure of implementation.

Implement in Phases


One of the best ideas for SMEs and start-ups. Implementing in phases makes sure that over investment is not done. Phase wise implementation also means lesser and smaller changes which are easy to bring to an organisation. The phased implementation also allows the entire processes to be monitored closely.  It will also help measure the ROI of total exercise.

Invest resources in Training.


Training is a must [PERIOD].

Conclusion

CRM is not costly if used appropriately and thoroughly. But failure to utilise CRM for business benefits leads to the thought that CRM is expensive. Also, companies don't perceive CRM as the highest priority for businesses. Maybe, that is the reason it seems to be costly.

SugarCon 2017 is right around the corner. Take this as an opportunity to meet us there, as well as other interesting news you'll find in this post. We are looking forward to an exciting conference with great sessions, interesting conversations and ideal networking opportunities.

 

Participate in this year*s Booth Game and win an Amazon Echo at the Magic Software booth. See you in San Francisco!

 

 

 

 

Stay up-to-date with Magic!

Your CRM application by SugarCRM is doing its job: helping your sales team sell more effectively and helping your customer service reps deliver exceptional service. However, to achieve maximum operational and sales efficiency, business intelligence, and innovation, you need to integrate Sugar with other enterprise applications, systems and data.
So how can you do this quickly, easily, and cost-effectively? Magic xpi is your answer. Watch one of our videos where Klaus Höling, Director of Group IT, Sennheiser Electronic GmbH, talks about CRM - ERP Integration using as an example SugarCRM. Or you might be interested in "Riding the Digital Storm", an article published on brainstormmag where Kerry Hope, Business Development manager at Magic Software South Africa, was quoted. We might even meet each other at SugarCon 2017.

 

Customer Panel:
Leveraging Real Time Sugar Integration to Achieve Greater Customer Insights

Join our session to learn how Sugar users are leveraging CRM and our visual, code-free, reusable and scalable Magic xpi platform to gain greater insight into their business and customers.

 

 

Take advantage of this opportunity to connect with us in person! We are open for appointments throughout the entire conference from September 25 through the 28th. Meet us during the day at the conference or visit our booth at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel. You can direct message me in the SugarCommunity or drop me an email at lhedrich@magicsoftware.com.

 

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco.  

Earlier this year, Intelestream debuted Splash, a gamification platform for SugarCRM. Now, we're ready to unleash it at SugarCon 2017’s on Sept. 25!

Splash incorporates a variety of game-like design concepts to make the CRM experience more engaging for users. Why is this so important?

One of the biggest challenges CRM implementers have is getting their team engaged with the system. In fact, low user adoption rates are the cause of 65 percent of all CRM project failures. By incorporating gamification features, the CRM experience becomes dramatically more engaging for users.

Gamification is at the center of Intelestream’s “You want better CRM user adoption? Gamify your system” session on Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. in Continental 2.

The Intelestream team will also be present at the “Manufacturing: How to gain and retain customers in the manufacturing business” Birds of a Feather session on Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. in Continental 3.

Have questions on Splash or gamification, or any other of Intelestream’s innovative integrations and plugins? Stop by Booth G1 during the show!

Chicago-based Intelestream was founded in 2007 by former SugarCRM employees and is a CRM product development and consulting firm that offers solutions related to business processes and CRM technology.

 

Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to store all your customer data in one place, pull the sales reports you most need, and more.

CRM systems are highly customizable, allowing you to get the most from your software. But what happens when you sign up for the most basic version of the CRM software, only to realize that you need something more advanced? Or what do you do when your CRM system becomes outdated?

In some cases you can update your CRM with minor upgrades, but sometimes that’s just not enough. In those situations, a CRM system reboot is in order.  

Are you going to SugarCon? Visit us at Booth #G1!

There are two major reasons why your CRM software needs an upgrade.

1. Your CRM just isn’t working.

It’s difficult for a team to acknowledge the CRM system they’ve spent so much time working on is failing.  CRM software is a huge investment of capital and time, and it’s only natural to try and salvage those hard-won successes, even if it means sticking with a system that just isn’t up to the task.

However, if the workflows and tools are not performing, it makes skeptical employees even more reluctant to use the system. Low user-adoption rates are one of the biggest causes of CRM failure, with employees simply giving up on systems that have underperformed in the past.

To save this project, you need to do something drastic. It’s time to reboot your CRM implementation.

Just because a CRM has failed doesn’t mean that all is lost. There are valuable insights to be gained from a botched implementation, making it that much easier for the next iteration to be complete success.

2. Your business is growing

Even successful CRMs can occasionally require a reboot, especially as your business grows and evolves. When you expand your capabilities, your CRM needs to progress as well.

Lifecycle of CRM

To understand why your CRM software needs an update, it’s helpful to understand the lifecycle of a CRM system:

  1. Searching: The initial process of looking for the right tools, partners and vendors for the CRM solution.
  2. Starting: Designing, building, and otherwise implementing the CRM.
  3. Scaling: Adapting the CRM as the business expands, incorporating new use cases and tools that may be beyond the scope of the initial implementation.
  4. Struggling: Managing the limitations of the system, and creating increasingly complex workarounds for cases where the CRM is no longer up to the task.

Once a company is in the struggling stage, it is officially time to reboot your CRM. Just like when you first implemented your system, you need to take some time to determine what your goals and needs are. From there, you can work with a CRM expert to help shape and execute the implementation process.  

The success or failure of a CRM is rarely a matter of the software running the system. It’s all the other stuff — adapting the system to work with existing workflows, integrating needed third-party tools and plugins, testing the user experience, training the staff — that truly matters. Without the right partners with the right expertise to guide them, however, it’s the CRM software that tends to take the blame when the implementation sputters.

Do you need help determining if it’s time to reboot your CRM software? We are here to help. Contact us today or call us at 800-391-4055.

UnCon is the developer conference within the SugarCon and is an opportunity to learn new skills and code side by side with top developers, architects, and technical staff of SugarCRM.

The UnCon 2017 sessions this year are divided up into three tracks:

  1. In-Depth Sessions
    Senior engineers and other technical staff will walk through new and upcoming features and other technical topics relevant to Sugar Developers.
  2. Solution Architecture
    Discover technical best practices for successful Sugar solutions and integrations. Learn from senior architects inside and outside of SugarCRM.
  3. Tutorials by the Experts
    Roll up your sleeves with the Sugar Engineering team and work through exercises prepared and assisted by the team that built the product.

 

We will be doing a more in-depth review of the following sessions including:

  • Solution Architect Panel
  • SugarCRM Mobile SDK Deep Dive
  • Performance Tuning for Scale
  • Single Sign On (SSO) Best Practices for Sugar
  • Using REST API to Integrate with CRM Data
  • Building Custom Apps Using Mobile SDK

 

In particular, the Solution Architect Panel Presentation at UnCon this year is not to be missed, which will cover a panel discussion with Sugar Solution Architects from across the ecosystem who will provide a better understanding of what it means to be a Solutions Architect and how to successfully approach architecting CRM integrations and implementations. 

 

This session will feature Ionut Tonita, Development Practice Manager at W-Systems who will talk about the unique challenges of being a SugarCRM Architect including:

  • How to deal with user experience (UX) - how we leverage Sidecar - an application framework built on top of BackboneJS and Bootstrap - to create deeply integrated customizations to achieve a smooth transition into Sugar
  • Technology and tools to use including:
    • Data Integration Tools: RabbitMQ and Talend
    • Development Environments Tools: Vagrant and Docker
    • Hosting Environments: AWS and Google Cloud
  • How and when to use the Sugar Extension Framework
  • Best practices for high-performance data loading and integration
  • Architecting for Sugar On-Demand vs Sugar On-Premise.

 

"I'm very excited to be part of this year's SugarCRM Architect Panel! Last year's was a huge success where everyone got to learn something from Sugar's experience managing solutions. This year we're going a bit more in-depth technically, and with a panel comprised of mostly partner experts, we will give a hands-on look on how we deliver successful Sugar implementations. If you do anything SugarCRM, make sure to check out UnCon and stay in the technical loop!’’

 

For more information on this year’s UnCon, take a look at UnCon section in the Sugar Community

In the early years of my career, I learned from coursework, managers, mentors, certified coaching colleagues and my own experience that coaching is not giving advice. Sounds simple, yet most people find it difficult to separate the two.

 

Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. Advice is a one-way street (not always a bad thing), you can post advice on the whiteboard or write it on a sticky note, but coaching requires individuals to engage in the conversation and work through the problem together. The impact of a coaching approach is way more beneficial in the learning process than simply solving someone’s problem and giving them advice. Here are a few ways to improve your coaching tactics, and how you can leverage and analytics engine and your Sugar data to ensure you’re making the most effective impact.

 

  • Help them remember what they already know  

When a rep comes to you and asks for help, pause for second and determine whether they need advice or coaching. The answer depends on the question being asked, but it also depends on the skill or experience they have. Ever hear the term "never stop learning". As a leader, you should always coach first and give advice second. Ask them questions that will help them work through the information available, as well as your organization’s best practices. The goal is to guide them through what they already know, and encourage them to apply it in the context of the situation.

 

  • Teach a man to Fish

The next step is helping them arrive at a conclusion. By asking questions about the situation, the individual will have to think methodically and out loud with the coach. Hopefully by doing this, a course of action will become apparent. If it’s a unique situation, this may be a good opportunity to insert your advice. But by walking them through this exercise your reps will learn to assimilate information better and faster and will ultimately learn to work through their problems rather than lean on you, their coach, to solve them. They will also implicitly commit to action because they came up with the solution or the next step.    


So how does all of this relate to CRM? Imagine having full insight into the opportunity’s context before you meet with your rep who needs coaching. How much more strategic and impactful could your coaching be?

 

What if Sugar, could makes inferences from the data, automatically to connect some of the dots, and then ask the rep a few of those preliminary questions to guide them toward a solution? Not only could you ensure that every rep who needs help gets it, but you could save time on some of the more standard cases so you could truly focus your expertise on the unique or challenging situations.

 

With Sugar, using Accent Technologies’s analytics engine, sales leaders can do just that. We ask questions of the data and surface automatic responses with recommended next steps (advice). Additionally, sales leaders can take what they see as an experienced leader and easily coach in the context of the opportunity. Utilizing Coaches Corner they can insert key questions or recommendations directly into the rep’s opportunity engaging a healthier, more productive conversation. They can also learn more about the opportunity without talking to the sales rep improving overall efficiency. This is only a small, yet powerful, piece of the capability offered by Accent Technologies.  

 

Understanding what coaching is and utilizing analytics is the key to having better conversations between reps and leaders.  If you’re a leader only giving advice, you are not really leading, so you may as well do the reps job.  Leveraging your experience as a sales leader and an analytics engine to get simple questions asked for more context can really help everyone focus on the right things. To learn more about what sales enablement is with Sugar visit us at Accent Technologies.

 

We're working hard to bring our vision into the Sugar platform. Expect to see us embedded into Sugar and on SugarExchange before end of year!

 

Acquiring new customers is an important part and huge focus for most businesses. But retaining existing customers is equally important. According to the Harvard Business Review, a five percent increase in customer retention can increase business profits by 25 percent. That’s a return to pay attention to.

 

But the value of increasing customer retention goes well beyond keeping your most loyal and satisfied customers placated. It means new opportunities for upselling and cross selling products to an already engaged audience and reducing painful costs associated with attrition. Plus, it’s an opportunity to create a pool of advocates who will support your products and services with their own social and professional networks.

 

So how does an online community and your SugarCRM translate into increased customer retention?

 

1. Help Customers Help Themselves

According to Forrester Research, 80 percent of businesses think they deliver ‘superior customer service’ while only eight percent of customers agree. Clearly there’s a gap between perception and reality.

 

An online community has the potential to decrease that gap and keep customers from fleeing. How? An online community allows customers to ask questions and receive crowdsourced answers from fellow customers, any time of day, anywhere in the world. Customers can post questions to your forum and/or search the library or previous discussions to find helpful information. This streamlines problem solving for many customers and reduces recidivism for your customer success team who now have more time to work on harder problems.

 

2. Let Customers Network

Giving your customers a space to talk about solving specific problems is critical, but giving them a way to actually connect and talk to each other is also valuable. Your online community allows this authentic connection to happen through user groups, mentoring, ambassador programs or any other number of ways. When your customers foster deep connections with each other and with your organization, the online community becomes about something bigger than just your organization—it truly goes from being simply a platform to an actual community.

 

3. Create a Cohesive Customer Experience

Customers crave a cohesive experience when they interact with companies. In fact, according to research done by Google, 62 percent of customers expect brands to deliver a consistent experience. But what does that mean? This same research showed that only 42 percent of customers think most brands do, actually, provide consistent experiences. Clearly there is a gap between what customers want and what they receive.

 

This is where you have the chance to really impress customers and give them what so few other companies can. Use your community data, combined with data from SugarCRM and your marketing automation platform, to create an accurate, 360-degree view of all your customers. Instead of having some data in one spot, and more data in another spot, by integrating all your data into one place, like SugarCRM, you can work towards providing that seamless, cohesive customer experience people want.

 

Customer Retention Helps the Entire Organization 

Increasing customer retention doesn’t just bring more value to your online community—it has the potential to bring more value to all parts of your organization—from customer satisfaction to business growth. Spend time making your community the best that it can be—and your entire organization will thank you.

Want to learn more? Check us out at SugarCon! This year we'll be on the show floor and ready to show you how #HigherLogic will help you increase your customer retention! And don't forget to check our our SugarExchange listing as well: Higher Logic Community Platform.