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SugarCRM’s next product release, known as Sugar 8, is just out and includes all the features from the last two product releases and Spring ‘18. Here’s a look at some of the great new features new to on-site users in this update.

A Brand New Look & Feel

Sugar 8 includes a new user interface that is cleaner, more modern, and more consistent. While the switch from Sugar 6 to Sugar 7 was a challenge for some companies, the upgrade to Sugar 8 should be more straightforward merely because these changes are visual updates only to HTML and CSS. The new appearance is more intuitive than ever and now matches the mobile app design for consistency across devices.

Product Catalog Dashlet

The new Product Catalog Dashlet lets users click on items within a product catalog and quickly add them to a quote or other documents that they generate in Sugar. The product catalog is a visual representation of all your products, available within the intelligence panel.

Interactive & Actionable Drill-Through Charts

Another reporting improvement! Users can click on a segment of a chart or graph and see a drill down of the data within that segment. Once users are in the list view, they can modify data using in-line editing.

New Emails Module

The old email client (did anyone even use that?) has been deleted and replaced with a much-improved emails module. The new module is built on the sidecar framework (coding speak for the fancy side panel) and allows you to preview emails from subpanels or list views by clicking on the eye icon.

Closing Thoughts

The Sugar 8 release will also include several brand new features from the coming Spring ‘18 release. The details of this release haven't gone public yet--so we can’t spill the beans (or the sugar cubes). Stay tuned on April 27th for a release recap.

P.S. In late 2017 Sugar updated their release schedule--get the scoop on that here. Since then, on-demand users see a product release once per quarter, and on-premise users get a roll-up release once per year.

This post was originally published on www.upcurvecloud.com

We have extensively covered the top CRM implementation mistakes adopters make that negatively impacts their ROI. It’s good to have a neatly chalked out strategy and some idea of what goals you want to achieve by implementing a CRM. However, this is not all you need to be on the lookout for. Even if you have got your CRM up and running perfectly, it may not be always be smooth sailing from here onwards. There might be some areas where your CRM is being underutilized or some bad decisions or exercises getting in the way of all your efforts. With this in mind, we present the top 5 CRM best practices that will help you get the most out of your CRM.

 

1. Automate Repetitive Tasks

The primary reason you adopted a CRM in the first place was to save time and make your life a little easier. However, having to spend countless hours manually entering data into the CRM, preparing reports, prioritizing leads and writing emails goes totally against that. Tedious, repetitive tasks are a common feature of most jobs and separating these from challenges that really deserve your attention is essential for taking your productivity to the next level.  This is where CRM workflow automations come in to play. They allow you to easily set up business rules, alerts and follow-up triggers, allowing you to streamline common business processes such as managing approvals, lead generations and other sales processes. Moreover, you can set up personalized email templates and send them out automatically in response to a predefined trigger.

 

2. Make data-driven decisions with CRM analytics

Your CRM collects and stores petabytes of valuable customer data. Moreover, most modern day CRMs come equipped with predictive analytics out-of-the-box. Consequently, making data-driven decisions has become both convenient and essential. If you are not using your CRM for analytics and ignoring precious data, you may as well not use the CRM at all. Thus, instead of letting your data gather dust, make use of the tools at your disposal and track the right metrics to gain deeper insights into your customers, make better decisions and boost overall performance.

 

3. Cleanse your CRM data of the clutter

More data doesn’t always equate to more power. Bad or unnecessary data can bog down your ability to make informed decisions by distracting you from intel that really matters. From inaccurate forecasting to wasting resources to chasing dead prospects, the consequences can be dire. Moreover, storing and maintaining this data can be cumbersome and expensive. Thus, it is a good idea to schedule regular data cleansing and deduplication. Ensuring your CRM data is free from obsolete, duplicate or incorrect data entries, helps your data represent your current state of affairs more accurately and the actionable insights you derive from this are more in line with reality.

 

4. Invest in a scalable CRM

Your business might be small right now, but it’s not going to stay that way for long. At least we hope not. Your team size will multiply, your business processes would diversify and become more complex and the rules of the game would change. Not only should your CRM be able to stay on top of these aspects but also grow along with your company. Switching over to a new CRM at a later stage is likely to disrupt all business activities and employee productivity. You can avoid the hassle of data migration and adopting a new CRM altogether by opting for a CRM that is scalable and capable of preemptively accommodating business growth from the very first day.

 

5. Leverage CRM Customizations and Integrations

You probably knew this one was coming. However, it can’t be stressed enough that it is difficult for a common CRM to fully cater to the needs of a unique business such as yours. Moreover, the business landscape is evolving all the time and your vanilla CRM is probably going to have a hard time keeping up with it. Thus, it makes perfect sense to employ CRM integration with the right third party apps and appropriately customize it according to your needs. These will tailor your CRM to your exact business processes and equip it to virtually handle any challenge thrown at it. Our team of CRM experts can help you understand your exact needs and provide you optimal solutions based on best practice. Feel free to Contact us for your FREE consultation session. We will be happy to help!

 

Be sure to check out the original post here and please visit our blog for more content like this.

A few time ago we shared how to save time and improve personal efficiency using a power of SugarCRM platform and TimeLine Viewer, a Sugar 7 add-on for collecting any important events from Sugar database or from other systems and visualising them like a news feed.

 

Now everyone can use TimeLine Viewer not only on a Sugar desktop application but also on iPhone, iPad or gadgets on Android.

Logic Builder: How to create Timeline Viewer event for a Call in SugarCRM

 

SugarCRM introduced a new version of Mobile SDK in Fall’17 release. It allows extending regular Sugar Mobile and literal moving of key CRM events at Sugar users’ fingertips.

 

In addition to the power of regular Sugar Mobile, you get an easy way to be informed about all-important CRM changes from TimeLine Viewer wherever you are.

 

Anyone who needs to work on the move will evaluate the easy way to analyse important changes using usual dashboard’s dashlets like news feeds, configuring them by type and nature of events: funnel changes; leads & customers communications history; key customer cases’ and issues’ changes etc.

 

Only three touches are needed to receive a full picture by particular object: 1) touch the object you are interested in; 2) select the “Dashboards” tab and 3) touch the “My TimeLine” dashlet to get a full picture on a single screen.

It works for any CRM object (lead, customer, contact, opportunity, case, etc.), both regular and custom.

Logic Builder: How to create Timeline Viewer event for a Call in SugarCRM

 

You will be able to see from one feed the changes of important fields and create new related objects, read emails directly from the feed even if you are not the author and on the list of TO or CC. It’s also possible not only for emails but also for any other event with the description (call, meeting, note, task, etc.)

 

The collaboration directly from the feed will save a lot of time for you and your teammates. You no longer need to waste time on describing the context of your questions or comments. Logic Builder: How to create Timeline Viewer event for a Call in SugarCRM You just select a particular event from the feed and type a message, question or recommendation. You can add calls for the particular colleagues (they will receive a notification); add active web links or links to the CRM system objects for making your message more focused, informative and useful. In this way, you can use the full power of your team and share team knowledge with all authorised users without any effort.

 

We hope that Sugar Mobile users and especially SugarCRM partners will enjoy TimeLine Viewer mobile features especially given the possibility to configure new TimeLine events tailored to your unique needs without programming. Logic Builder allows creating new events in minutes and does not require programming.

 

It is just the beginning of moving TimeLine Viewer features into Sugar mobile. If you have ideas for improving TimeLine Viewer, join us. We would be glad to work together as a team.

 

Sincerely yours,
Integros team

 

p.s. We would like to thank SugarCRM Mobile SDK development team for their help and support.

 

p.p.s Anyone willing to know more about how mobile CRM allows saving time and improving individual efficiency can watch this webinar.

Who are the dominant players solving data ratio and relationship intelligence problems? Not sure? SugarCRM and Accent Technologies have teamed up to take that title. No matter what you call it, with AI (Artificial Intelligence) or any assistive technology, it’s important to focus on the problems they are trying to solve.  Increase output of the CRM, be assistive to the sales rep and ultimately be intelligent enough to help drive change.

 

 

Here are a few things we will dive deeper into on AI, data ratios and driving change. 

 

  • Data sources are critical.

Data sources may grow in size, you may have more of them and maybe more variables that contribute to the big picture, so the more data you get in, the richer the output.  But this doesn’t mean manually entering more data, this means automating data entry plays a key role. Being able to leverage various data sources will paint a better picture in the end.  This makes it critical to ensure the solutions you look at, are tapping into quality data sources.  SugarCRM’s Hint and Accent’s CRMSupercharger do just that.

 

  • The tools should aim to improve the data ratio problem – not make it worse.

No one wants to manually enter data. Let’s be real – there is not a single seller today that likes to put data into a CRM.  They all do it because they have to—either because of a mandate enforced by leadership or their desire to track customer relationships at that level of detail. Think about what automated data entry, an analytics engine that can seamlessly connect to different data streams, and a tool that brings back a full buyer profile from just an entered email address can do for your sales organization (Hint).  It can change the perception a seller has about CRM.

 

It’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s often overlooked. Organizations are quick to mandate the data entry by their reps, but is that the best approach? We like to think that your reps bring more value when selling, not entering data. Ensure your sales tech solutions are capturing data sources and improving the data ratio problem, not requiring more data entry, which is the case with SFDC’s Einstein. Just look at the release notes. Really? Enough said.

 

Now let’s look at getting visibility and driving change. What can intelligence do for the sellers?

Experienced A-players know where to focus and what to do next, so make sure you are learning from that. Also, make sure that new sales strategies that come from the top-down are being supported and executed on at the ground level on the frontline. Let me give you an example: One of our clients is experiencing the following:

  • Major competitor is a disrupter in the industry
  • Revenue decreasing 6% YoY
  • Need to differentiate with new services offering
  • Reps need to pivot in new direction
  • Sales leadership needs to change rep habits to focus on new sales strategy

 

What do you do? Do you trust sales teams to go down an unknown path of selling services? Do you have weekly calls evangelizing the importance of the services offerings?

 

Both, but at the end of the day, you can’t affect an outcome. You can only affect the activities and the effectiveness of those activities to meet the objectives.  As stated before, the outcome is a result.   

 

Visibility of activities, effectiveness and objectives is important in the realm of AI or assistive technologies.  We need intelligence that can guide sellers in the right direction.  Accent’s CRMSupercharger in SugarCRM  provides visibility and allows you to leverage standard models out of the box to guide and prioritize deals for your reps. But we also give the steering wheel to our clients and work with them to set their own parameters. This allows them to prioritize the right opportunities for the business and subsequently indicate to sellers what are the most attractive opportunities to pursue. You’ve got the sales strategy, but Accent can operationalize it. Now that is big value.

 

Finally, acquiring new accounts requires time and research to determine who to talk to next, what role they play in the purchase process, how you make a connection to them, etc. If you are missing this, the AI assistance is falling flat. This is where Hint comes in. Accelerate the call prep time and reduce the amount of research you need to make a connection.  Then enhance the overall picture with Accent’s CRMSupercharger by visualizing the engagement and the role of each contact. What does that mean? Well, visualize who is at the buying table, who your champion is, who your economic buyer is, who is engaged and to what extent.


Pictures tell stories.  Weigh the difference.  Do you prefer an analytics driven picture powered by Accent or a 1 paragraph summary of words and notes in an email from your rep? And if I had to bet, I’d say you’re still waiting for that summary from your rep.

 

As the world becomes more sophisticated and we get more complex, we will be in a great position to adopt assistive technology for more insight and maximizing peoples time. Keep in mind they should always be solving a problem and providing business value.

Post originally published by FayeBSG Project Manager, Vicki Leopold 

Certifications. This is definitely a hot topic and can drive some very passionate discussions. It seems there are two camps – those who support them and those who don’t. Many will claim that certifications show only that one can study, take a test, and pass. They will argue that having the certification doesn’t mean that the certification holder can do his or her job any better than a person without a certification. Others will argue that having a certification shows a basic knowledge of the subject and shows that the certification holder was motivated to invest the time and energy to learn the material well enough to pass the test.

 

We fall into the second camp here at FayeBSG. We believe that a Sugar Admin Certification is a worthwhile investment of time. The exam tests a lot more than just one’s knowledge of basic configuration and screen navigation. Many of the questions cover scenarios of user and technical issues that occur every day, requiring an admin to troubleshoot, find, and fix the issue. Answering the exam questions correctly requires the knowledge of someone who has had experience with the product. You can argue that on a multiple choice test, one can simply guess their way through and pass, but it’s unlikely that any test taker is lucky enough to guess their way through 70 questions, many of which have answers that are very close to being correct or have multiple correct answers to choose from. It takes experience to get a passing score on this exam.

 

The bottom line is that holding a Sugar Admin Certification shows that you have more than a basic knowledge of the product – it shows that you also have experience as well, and that is valuable to you as a job candidate and to your employer. If you have the experience but don’t yet have the certification or don’t feel you need it, why not take the test anyway? It’s 90 minutes of your time, and you just might learn that you don’t yet know everything!

 

Participate in the Sugar Certification Program to validate your knowledge, skills, and abilities on Sugar best practices. Learn more here: Sugar Certification Program - SugarCRM 

Hussain Nasir

CRM for Restaurants

Posted by Hussain Nasir Mar 19, 2018

The restaurant industry heavily relies on human interaction and connection. Although customer relationship management is at the core of any restaurant business, most tend to shy away from adopting a CRM system. Try and imagine a solution that will allow your business to be smarter and help you provide a more personalized experience to your customers while integrating seamlessly into your existing processes and practices. Does all of this sound too good to be true? Well, here are five ways a CRM solution will help you turn this into reality.

1. Integrate existing technologies with your CRM

CRM for restaurants

In this day and age, most restaurants interact with their customers through multiple channels. These may include the restaurant website, social media, emails and other web based content. These channels allow you to obtain valuable feedback and learn more about your clientele. Using a CRM solution puts this treasure trove of data to better use. A CRM is able to effectively gather this information and produce highly personalized reports and analysis, all under one hood.

2. Keep them coming back for more

CRM for restaurants

Personalized reports lead to a more personalized experience for your customers, and that’s bound to be one that they never forget. This is the top priority for any restaurant. With valuable information like contact details, average spending, visit frequency and meal preferences at your disposal, your staff is able to better cater to your customers. Implementing a CRM solution, will also provide you with relevant information so you can better track and handle customer complaints.

3. Optimize your restaurant’s menu

CRM for restaurants

You are bound to have items that are popular than others. Some of these might be well received across the board, some may appeal to a more niche market while the rest may need to be scrapped from the menu altogether. With a CRM, you can monitor and analyze their sales data with great ease and accurately decide what course of action to take. This will not only allow you to boost sales by choosing what stays in your menu but also enable you to innovate more profitable items in the future.

4. Effective marketing campaign management

CRM for restaurants

By integrating marketing and operations data with your CRM system, you will be able to maximize profits by undertaking highly targeted marketing campaigns. With information like visit frequency and average spending, you will be able to approach your clientele with offers and promotions tailored to their needs. For instance, if some customers have not visited recently, you can bring them back using promotional emails. Alternatively, you can target regulars and heavy spenders with personalized discounts and incentives.

5. Integrate your CRM with a payment gateway

CRM for restaurants

To help you better manage your invoices and payments and reduce manual input, you can leverage CRM integration with a payment gateway like Stripe or Authorize.net. This will allow you to focus on more pressing matters like the quality of your menu and service, all the while providing a seamless and secure payment experience to your customers.

The Bottom Line!

A CRM solution provides numerous incentives to restaurant owners. It offers you various valuable insights that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. It grants you full control over your business processes, lets you build committed relationships with your customers and offer them a personal experience that they are unlikely to forget.

Your customers deserve the best. Click HERE to get in touch with our team of certified SugarCRM experts and get free consultation.

Both customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are powerful tools. But combined, they give your company full access to both front-office and back-office activities. In this three-part blog series, Intelestream dives into both the why and how you should connect these two systems.

This blog focuses on the benefits of integration. Stay tuned to blogs 2 and 3 for more information on what data to integrate and best practices to sync.

Understanding the Difference

CRM vs. ERP

The first step in understanding why you should integrate CRM and ERP software is to understand the difference between them.

While both systems keep track of information, they are designed to reach different goals. On the most basic level, CRM software handles your front-office activities, while ERP focuses on the back office.

Customer service and sales teams use CRM to track essential information about customers as they move through the sales funnel. It can also provide useful insights about the ways the sales team interacts with their customers, and provides hard data to managers in the form of reports and analytics.

On the flipside, your ERP system allows you to track customer activity. Sales reps check ERP if they want to know when an order was placed, what products were on the invoice, or what packages left the warehouse.

An ERP system may show some customer data, and a CRM system may show specific sales or details about customers. But in essence, these two systems don’t overlap much.

Connecting CRM and ERP Benefits

When these two systems are separate, you’re not getting a full view of your customer. And when customers call your sales department to find out the status on an order, valuable time is wasted as the sales rep contacts the back office, or tries to figure out an unfamiliar ERP system.

Whether you’re a salesperson or a technician, you need to be efficient.

Here are three of the biggest benefits to linking CRM and ERP systems:

  • They provide better opportunities for mobile applications.

A technician in the field does not have time to log into CRM and look up customer information, then pull up details about past orders and pricing from ERP. So these systems are in one platform, valuable information is now at the technician’s fingertips.

  • They assist with internal controls.

All of the data your team members need will be in the CRM system, which helps eliminate information silos. It also keeps employees out of systems they don’t need to be in (such as a salesperson going through the accounting system), just to find out details about a payment or quote.

  • They boost business intelligence.

 CRM has an opportunity forecast online, while ERP shows historical data, lagging indicators, and past orders. When your team has easy access to all of this information, they will be able to forecast more accurately.

Now that you know why you should connect your CRM and ERP systems, are you wondering what data should be integrated, or how to sync it? If so, check out the next two blogs in this series, which will be available on March 22 and April 5.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software, by definition, manages your customer relationships. It houses all the data points for your current and potential customers in one place. However, CRM capabilities extend beyond clients, and can also keep detailed data about partners, resellers, co-workers and more.

Satellite Offices

Large companies with satellite offices around the country, and even all over the world, have a lot of employees. If a person working in Phoenix needs to reach out a New York counterpart, a CRM system can make this a simple and informed process.

Resellers

Sometimes businesses work with similar companies that resell their products. Resellers would benefit from having access to a CRM-driven portal for registering leads and collaborating with salespeople.

Partners and Vendors

Similar to resellers, you frequently work with various people in different companies. From the person who restocks your coffee to a partner business, keeping a record in an easy-to-find place has merit.

Service Desks

CRM can also play a huge role in service desks. Do customers need a login to submit tickets? Do they want to see their past orders, or track the status of a current order? In an educational setting, where the “customers” are students, a CRM-like system might be used to manage courses or check grades.

In all of these situations, the goal is the same: Using all available data to create a 360-degree view of the customers. It doesn’t matter what the source of the data points come from — even third-party vendors can play a big role — the important thing is that all of this customer data is piped into a CRM system. The more robust the customer data, the better the relationship with the customers can become.

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

The Problem.

Reporting dashboards. They’re everywhere. They paint the walls of executive board rooms, they’re at the center of forecasting and budgeting discussions, and they sit persistently on the computer monitors of most managers.

They say, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” And trust us, there aren’t many who would disagree with that in our 21st century, data-driven world. But this obsession with sales metrics, and the visibility into those metrics, has led us to neglect the very reason we set out for that visibility: Improvement.

Take this scenario for example:
Jane, the Chief Revenue Officer of a global company, is responsible for 25% growth in new sales this coming year. She communicates this goal down the chain of command, from her national sales directors, to her frontline sales reps.

To improve visibility into this goal’s progress at each level, the company established a policy to make data entry mandatory: Enter everything you did into the Sugar or you don’t get paid.

Each quarter, sales leadership reviews these metrics, so the managers continue with their weekly reviews of each rep’s pipeline in order to report from the field. The national directors advise their managers to focus on selling the new product line, and the managers try to steer their reps in that direction. Due to this structure, the recommendations for course corrections trickle down from the top.

Sounds logical, right? Well, let’s check back in.
Most of the reps seemed receptive to the course correction ideas, but when it came time to engage with a prospect, they found themselves reverting to what is comfortable and easy to talk about: the old product. As the second quarter ends, sales managers realize they’ve become broken records. Each pipeline review is an uphill battle as they try to persuade their reps to focus on the new product line.

So, where did Jane go wrong? Nowhere, she just fell a little short.
Top down management and hierarchical reporting are fundamental in the business world, but are simply not enough in today’s hyper competitive landscape that all businesses face. It takes weeks, sometimes months, for these course corrections to be communicated effectively. With agility at such a premium in today’s world, that just doesn’t cut it

 

The Solution.

Now, no one is telling you to get rid of those dashboards—almost all of them are necessary. But they should only be used for strategic planning and direction. In addition, sales reps need a firm level of tactical support to execute this strategy. In other words, if Jane is looking for 25% revenue growth and relying on new product initiatives to get her there, relying on managers to bludgeon their reps over the head until the new product is sold is an archaic way to approach the problem.

To truly effect change on an organizational scale, each individual sales rep (who we all know is a creature of habit) must feel equipped to change him or herself. And with the modern workforce slowly adopting the millennial mindset, we must offer this equipment with a quick, easy, and consumable flavor.

What does this equipment entail and how should we deliver it?

  1. Information.
    If you want your existing reps to sell a new product or focus on a new vertical, they need to know how. If you want new reps to sell an older product or focus on an existing vertical, they need to know how. But in the world of instant gratification and shortening attention spans, they need to be served this information in bite sized chunks, in the rep’s moment of need. They need just-in-time pieces, rather than 6-month-long fire hoses of information and training. Also, the information must find the rep, because the reality is that most reps don’t want to change what they’re doing— never mind go look for that change.
  2. Real-time guidance.
    Retrospective course corrections are great, and they can happen every Friday at those pipeline reviews. But real-time guidance to steer the ship proactively is a true game changer. In context coaching, suggested next steps, and hyper-relevant training reinforcement materials can help the rep move the deal forward on Monday, making that Friday pipeline review, and those quarterly reviews, a lot more productive for everyone.
  3. Buyer Relationship Intelligence.
    We’re constantly searching for objective visibility into what our reps are up to, but wouldn’t it be nice if your rep had that same visibility into how their buyers were engaging. For a moment, think of your rep as a sales manager, and think of that rep’s champion buyers across the pipeline as their sales team. Painting a clear, objective, and comprehensive picture about each of these buyers is critically important for reps to maintain their pipeline. Because at the end of the day, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

In sum, the argument regarding sales strategy implementation methods should never be “top-down vs. bottom-up.” Instead, it should ask what tools and information can be implemented from the bottom-up to support initiatives that come from the top-down. Of course, the crux here is user adoption. It is important to roll out these pieces of support in a calculated fashion. Too much too soon, and your reps will be overwhelmed. Too little to start, and your reps might not be convinced of the value. With the Accent CRM Supercharger embedded in the Sugar platform, we can grow with you, giving your reps this support in strategic doses. The Accent modular approach to development paired with our crawl, walk, run implementation strategy, ensures your success at each step and brings your reps value with each phase.

If you wish to be successful in nowadays business, you need to both have effective lead generation machine and deliver positive Customer Experience. It's an axiom.

There are 3 typical destroyers of CX that are very often presented together with omnichannel lead generation processes:

  • Your customers get upbeat marketing messages even while they’re in the middle of a heated customer service issue
  • Your customers receive offers for products they already own
  • Your sales push customers who just "rejected" your marketing message

If you wish to deliver positive CX, you need to avoid such situation. It means you should integrate and coordinate your marketing, sales and service activities. Let's see all these cases in more detail.

  • Your customers receive offers for products they already own. It means that your marketing processes and customer information file are not integrated. You need to manage your target lists according to information about all customer's purchases by all existing channels. Don't forget about not completed purchases too, if the time from customer's "YES" to reflecting the data in the customer's file is quite long.
  • Your customers get upbeat marketing messages even while they have unresolved heated service issue. It means that your marketing processes don't use information about key service events. You need to add special trigger control for temporary excluding the customers with unresolved issue or case from the target lists. Don't forget to return these customers in the target lists after resolving the customer's issues, of course, in an automated way too.
  • Your sales team push customers who just "rejected" your marketing message. It means that your sales team don't have timely and convenient access to marketing campaign results by all channels. It's a typical situation when the customer communicates with the call-center (by chat, messenger or mobile app) after receiving marketing message by email. You need to integrate key events of marketing campaigns into sales dashboards for delivering the most up-to-date information for your sales people.

The simplest way to do all these improvements for small and medium business is to pass managing campaigns target lists to CRM system, collect & visualize all key events of marketing campaigns into CRM system sales dashboards. It resolves the challenge of omnichannels marketing but, of course, it presupposes some CRM system' customization:

  • bi-directional integration with you channel automation systems (email, messengers, push notifications, etc.)
  • implementation of some triggers into CRM system logic for including/excluding particular customers from target lists
  • visualization of key marketing and service events on sales dashboards

If you wish to know how it's possible to do it for Sugar and MailerLite, as an example of e-mail automation system, click here.

As the world continues to get more complex in every facet, we are starting to see AI become assistive to help people in their roles.  Utility companies can use drone imagery and thermal mapping in conjunction with AI data to detect and anticipate equipment failure. IBM Watson is helping doctors condense mass amounts of data into something digestible. Many companies are beginning to take advantage of the benefits AI systems can offer, but one thing remains the same, we are only scratching the surface.

 

For sales teams, there have been countless enablement tools that make big claims. Traditional AI tools typically use historical data to generate a “predictive” information analysis to help you shape future results. While that is a good first step, it falls short in a few ways. 

 

  • Not enough data to make a good assessment.

Data entry is not a highly motivating task.  While Accent Technologies allows for automated data entry, there may not be enough data in SugarCRM to make a good correlation to predict results.  That is not any one individual’s fault, it is a collective book of reasons why there may not be enough data. Nonetheless, the lack of data may be prohibitive in moving forward with today’s infant AI/predictive tools.

  • The world keeps changing.

Which means there might be enough data, but sales strategies are always changing. What is considered to be good business today may not be good business going forward.  Maybe the organization has paid for studies that are telling it to go in a different direction or focus in a certain industry or market. Or maybe you just need to make adjustment so your sales team can focus on more attractive business, low hanging fruit, more profitable business or beyond that. The point is that strategies change, and models have to allow an organization to create success first. Then machine learning can help amplify those successes throughout the organization.

  • Not having quality data.

For example, and as an exaggeration of the example:  if you had 100 sales people and they were all “A” players and they all forecasted deals 2 weeks before they were considered a “win” and subsequent closure of the deal, you may have bad quality data to be predicting future events on. This is, of course, an exaggerated example but it can go many different ways. Sales reps may be putting in more than what is real, potentially “forecasting” deals that may not be actually progressing. Additionally, reps might be successful in areas that may no longer be strategically valuable to the company. Whatever the case is, there needs to be a check for the quality of data.

  • The models are based only on historical quantitative big data (or just data).

What about the “thick data”?  The human insight that can’t be quantified.  Tricia Wang, a Technology ethnographer, discusses this at length and why it is important to combine big data with thick data so you can provide the lost context surrounding the quantitative findings.  This goes back to the point made in number 2. We have to allow adjustment of the models through machine learning or manual intervention.

 

The bottom line is predicting what might close and prioritizing opportunities are two separate endeavors. Probability should be taken into consideration, but other variables (both quantitative and qualitative) should also be considered. These variables can range from a number of different categories like sales productivity, sales performance management, compensation planning tools, optimization tools, coachability of the sellers, etc.

 

Accent Technologies has determined that long-term success requires short-term adjustments. We design our standard models with the capability to be flexible out of the box. This allows teams to make adjustments as they go through deployment or make strategic changes in the future. With a flexible algorithm that can be easily adjusted,  your human experts can inject that “thick” data into the equation which will ultimately bring you the most value . We also leverage different data sources to ensure there is sufficient quantitative data flowing. Understanding your historical data, where you want to go and how to get there, will lead the way in effective use of AI. Giving the steering wheel to the organization is a part of what we do and how we help companies execute their strategy. 

 

Come see a demo at SugarCRM’s Sales Kickoff!

You must be familiar with big data and the endless possibilities that come with it. However, today I would like to bring your attention to Small Data which, contrary to its name, just might be the Next Big Thing.

Lindstrom, the branding expert and bestselling author seems to share our opinion as he breaks away from the marketing herd in his new book titled, “Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends”.

Lindstrom believes that we have become so focused on Big Data that we tend to forget about the basics concepts and creativity. He defines Small Data, “as seemingly insignificant observations you identify in consumers’ homes, is everything from how you place your shoes to how you hang your paintings”. Therefore he believes that in order to mine and find correlations, one should perfectly master the basics, Small Data.

What is small data?

Small data is data that is small enough for human comprehension. It is data in a volume and format that makes it accessible, informative and actionable. [Wikipedia]
According to the small data group – Small data connects people with timely, meaningful insights (derived from big data and/or “local” sources), organized and packaged – often visually – to be accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyday tasks.

Difference between Big Data and Small Data?

Big Data is basically all about finding the correlations, but Small Data is all about finding the causation, the reason why. We can comprehend Big Data by reducing the data into small objects representing various aspects of large data sets (like charts and histograms).

 

Big Data

Small Data

Source

Data is generated from external sources i.e. Social media, device data, images, etc.Data is generated within the enterprise i.e. from CRM system, web transactions, and financial data.

Volume

Terabytes to Zettabytes.Gigabytes to Terabytes.

Speed

Real time.Near real time.

Variety

Structured, Unstructured, Multistructured.Structured, Unstructured.

Value

Complex, advanced, predictive business analysis and insights.Business intelligence, analysis and reporting.

 

Why Integrate Small Data with your CRM?

1. Get more personal

With small data you can get more personal both in terms of your ability to adapt your marketing and sales efforts to need of your customers and also in terms of the data your business CRM captures.
Small data allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns specific to different customer groups like B2B buyers and e-commerce buyers. You can get valuable insights into the visitor’s online behavior which allows you to choose the best channels to reach and engage with them. In short small data integration into your CRM can give a personalized experience at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

2. Get real time insights

With small data all the useful customer data is at your fingertips allowing you to make real time decisions. The information together with CRM helps you to understand the buying decisions of different prospects. Apart from improving the process of lead generation and sales, this also revolutionizes the way you market to your customers.

3. Get immediate Return on Investment

Being simple and manageable small data delivers results more quickly. Small Data together with the CRM allows the collection of daily information about the user behavior and then pushes this information directly to your sales and marketing teams. This reduces the time spent on compiling unnecessary data and also proactively improves your customer relationship.

The Bottom Line!

Experts at Forbes are now of the view – Forget Big Data, Small Data is driving the internet of things”.
Small data is real time, actionable data and can be easily collected within your CRM. Together, Small Data and CRM can revolutionize how you approach sales and marketing for ages to come.

Be part of the revolution. Contact us  for your free consultation session.

When launching a customer relationship management (CRM) program, you want to do it right. Your company invests significant amounts of time, energy and money on your software. There are 5 concrete steps you should take to ensure you get the most from your investment.

Looking for a quick hit list for reasons why your CRM fails and how to fix them? We’ve got you covered.

1. Identify your need

Diving into a CRM project without a game plan is a recipe for disaster. Most executives and employees can appreciate the benefits of housing all customer information in one easily accessible system. When it comes to actually implementing that CRM solution, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scope of what needs to accomplished. Like any big project, it helps to break things down into manageable steps and clear priorities.

Are you implementing a new CRM system? Answer the following questions:

  • What type of efficiencies am I looking to achieve?
  • What departments are involved?
  • Who should be the CRM champion?
  • What is the budget for this project? What are the most important tasks you want to accomplish?

If you are rebooting/upgrading your system, consider these questions:

  • Does your system meet your original needs?
  • Were there efficiencies not accomplished?
  • Are there breakdowns in the sales process you are hoping to correct?
  • What is the budget for this project?
  • What is most important in the reboot to change?

2. Choose your vendor

There are a lot of CRM software options on the market. Taking the time to figure out exactly what you want your CRM to do makes it much easier to find the right vendor. With a clear list of requirements — essential software capabilities, available modules, plugin compatibility, price points — you can quickly identify the perfect vendor for your needs.

When selecting your CRM software partner, consider the strength of the vendor’s product and their experience in the CRM market. Have they worked with companies similar to your size? Do they have experience with your industry, and understand how to integrate specialized tools like ERP or CPQ systems? Additionally, does the vendor’s corporate vision complement your own? What is the knowledge level of the vendor’s employees?

3. Understand the use

Once you have identified the right CRM partner, it’s time to think about how the system will actually be used on a daily basis. Who will use the CRM? Will it be primarily used by the sales team? Will customer service and marketing teams also need access? If so, what will their use cases be? How will the CRM integrate their existing workflows and tools? How can the system make their work easier, faster, or more efficient? As you craft your CRM plans, make sure to include ample time and budget to allow for user testing and training.

4. Create phases

It’s best to roll out your CRM implementation in phases.This allows you to slowly introduce key pieces of the CRM while also allowing for adjustments and revisions. If some critical element of a process or workflow has been overlooked, the entire CRM project won’t need to be halted while a solution is found. This approach also allows managers to gain insight into the process, identifying inefficiencies, areas where additional training is needed, or potential problems for the next phase of the roll out. This staggered approach to release also helps to prevent the staff from feeling overwhelmed by the new system, greatly reducing the odds of CRM failure through low user adoption rates.

5. Reassess and adjust

Once the new CRM is in place, it’s important to step back and assess the results. Almost all CRM projects require a few adjustments after their initial launch. By making a few tweaks to the system early on, it’s possible to save substantial amounts of time and money that would otherwise be lost to minor inefficiencies. This is also a great time to compare the current CRM product with your goals. Check back to those initial questions you answered about what you wanted from your CRM. If the CRM isn’t generating the results you hoped for, now is the time to find out why. In most cases, these problems have relatively simple fixes. Don’t be discouraged! The hard part — the actual CRM implementation — is done. Now, you just need to fine tune the results.

Get the most out of your CRM platform. Take a journey with us. Download our white paper about the power of successful CRM implementation.

Getting paid by customers promptly is essential for businesses as they need cash to manage their daily operations. Delays in payments could put businesses at risk of facing serious cash flow problems. While SugarCRM is a great platform to handle customer interactions to build excellent customer relationships, an out-of-the-box Sugar solution does not suffice when it comes to generating invoices and managing financial transactions.

The reason why SugarCRM has gained widespread recognition in the CRM industry is that it is highly flexible, scalable and extensible. Businesses have faith in SugarCRM since it provides them a centralized and unified platform to manage their complete operations. In order to make the payment handling process hassle free for our clients,  we have integrated Sugar with leading payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, SagePay etc.  Moreover, we have done some pretty awesome customizations that enabled them to reap the full benefits of Sugar. I will discuss about the payment gateways integration in detail in another post. Here, I am going to share a few of the customizations that helped our clients automate payment processes.

1. Credit Card Customization

Payment Handling Customizations in SugarCRM

The world is moving towards a cashless economy. With a surge in e-commerce and customers preferring to pay online, businesses cannot afford to lose out on potential customers by not incorporating this feature in Sugar. With this customization, the credit card details of the clients are saved in Sugar when they buy something for the first time. When clients place an order again, payment is automatically deducted from their credit cards. Hence, customers do not have to manually enter their card details every time they make a purchase.

2. Currency Customization

Payment Handling Customizations in SugarCRM

What if your company operates in the global market and has to regularly deal with international clients? Your CRM should be able to handle financial transactions in multiple currencies and this customization achieves just that. It allows you to easily and seamlessly convert financial information from one currency to data. This results in greater efficiency by reducing manual conversions and smoothens international operations.

3. Payment Module Customization

Payment Handling Customizations in SugarCRM

Businesses need to offer a wide range of payment methods to facilitate faster payments and attract more customers. There are statistics that support the fact that your conversion rate will increase if you offer multiple methods of payment.

This customization lets businesses accept credit cards, cash on delivery and cheques on their website. Not only does it make your business look more professional but also empowers you to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers.

Key Takeaway!

Sugar is an amazingly powerful tool but if you do not customize it, you are unlikely to get the desired ROI. Payment handling is an extremely important aspect of any business and therefore, care needs to be taken that the entire process is swift, secure and smooth. Whether you intend to integrate any payment gateway with Sugar or desire to get any module customized, you should get in touch with a firm that specializes in CRM customization. As SugarCRM certified partners, we will be more than happy to give you a FREE consultation session.

When launching a customer relationship management (CRM) program, you want to do it right. Your company invests significant amounts of time, energy and money on your software. There are 5 concrete steps you should take to ensure you get the most from your investment.

Looking for a quick hit list for reasons why your CRM fails and how to fix them? We’ve got you covered.

1. Identify your need

Diving into a CRM project without a game plan is a recipe for disaster. Most executives and employees can appreciate the benefits of housing all customer information in one easily accessible system. When it comes to actually implementing that CRM solution, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scope of what needs to accomplished. Like any big project, it helps to break things down into manageable steps and clear priorities.

Are you implementing a new CRM system? Answer the following questions:

  • What type of efficiencies am I looking to achieve?
  • What departments are involved?
  • Who should be the CRM champion?
  • What is the budget for this project? What are the most important tasks you want to accomplish?

If you are rebooting/upgrading your system, consider these questions:

  • Does your system meet your original needs?
  • Were there efficiencies not accomplished?
  • Are there breakdowns in the sales process you are hoping to correct?
  • What is the budget for this project?
  • What is most important in the reboot to change?

2. Choose your vendor

There are a lot of CRM software options on the market. Taking the time to figure out exactly what you want your CRM to do makes it much easier to find the right vendor. With a clear list of requirements — essential software capabilities, available modules, plugin compatibility, price points — you can quickly identify the perfect vendor for your needs.

When selecting your CRM software partner, consider the strength of the vendor’s product and their experience in the CRM market. Have they worked with companies similar to your size? Do they have experience with your industry, and understand how to integrate specialized tools like ERP or CPQ systems? Additionally, does the vendor’s corporate vision complement your own? What is the knowledge level of the vendor’s employees?

3. Understand the use

Once you have identified the right CRM partner, it’s time to think about how the system will actually be used on a daily basis. Who will use the CRM? Will it be primarily used by the sales team? Will customer service and marketing teams also need access? If so, what will their use cases be? How will the CRM integrate their existing workflows and tools? How can the system make their work easier, faster, or more efficient? As you craft your CRM plans, make sure to include ample time and budget to allow for user testing and training.

4. Create phases

It’s best to roll out your CRM implementation in phases.This allows you to slowly introduce key pieces of the CRM while also allowing for adjustments and revisions. If some critical element of a process or workflow has been overlooked, the entire CRM project won’t need to be halted while a solution is found. This approach also allows managers to gain insight into the process, identifying inefficiencies, areas where additional training is needed, or potential problems for the next phase of the roll out. This staggered approach to release also helps to prevent the staff from feeling overwhelmed by the new system, greatly reducing the odds of CRM failure through low user adoption rates.

5. Reassess and adjust

Once the new CRM is in place, it’s important to step back and assess the results. Almost all CRM projects require a few adjustments after their initial launch. By making a few tweaks to the system early on, it’s possible to save substantial amounts of time and money that would otherwise be lost to minor inefficiencies. This is also a great time to compare the current CRM product with your goals. Check back to those initial questions you answered about what you wanted from your CRM. If the CRM isn’t generating the results you hoped for, now is the time to find out why. In most cases, these problems have relatively simple fixes. Don’t be discouraged! The hard part — the actual CRM implementation — is done. Now, you just need to fine tune the results.

Get the most out of your CRM platform. Take a journey with us. Download our white paper about the power of successful CRM implementation.