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Oftentimes, there is no official process in place for generating and managing leads. If a process does exist, it's usually a combination of manual tasks and inefficient communications that put leads at risk of never closing. In this post, we’ll cover six questions to consider, determining whether your sales lead process is both efficient and effective.

  1. Do your sales and marketing teams communicate effectively? While they rely heavily on each other, many sales and marketing teams often operate within a silo. In fact, Forrester data shows that only 8% of B2B companies have tight marketing and sales alignment. The top reasons blamed for misalignment include long-term thinking by marketing vs. short-term thinking by sales, different goals and measurements, and not enough time.
  2. Are your sales and marketing technologies in sync? Not only do the people within sales and marketing teams often neglect to share information, but the technologies used by each team rarely share data in real time.  Activating bi-directional synchronization between your CRM software and marketing automation system will keep both marketing and sales teams updated on recent customer activity, allowing each team to adjust their strategies to any changes as they occur.
  3. Does your company experience lost leads? Is every lead provided by your marketing team contacted by sales? If not, your organization has likely missed some key opportunities. Gartner reports that up to 70% of sales leads are not properly leveraged or are completely ignored, thus wasting marketing program dollars. Leads often fall through the cracks or are passed on due to a lack of a closed-loop follow-up process, or because salespeople perceive them as difficult or unqualified.
  4. Are your processes and terminology clearly defined? Are both the sales and marketing teams on the same page regarding what a qualified lead looks like, as well as what to do once they identify one? According to CSO Insights, only 1 in 2 companies say sales and marketing have a formal definition of a qualified lead. This is the first step in getting these two teams into alignment.
  5. Is your marketing team scoring your leads? Does your marketing automation software provide the ability to assign a score to all leads? If not, you’re missing out on an opportunity to measure the level of interest of each lead, as well as update lead lifecycle stages, move leads to the CRM and trigger notifications using marketing automation workflows.
  6. Is the sales team qualifying your leads? Is your sales team taking the extra step to ensure that the leads provided by marketing meet your qualifying criteria? If not, create a set of qualification questions, such as current situation, product of interest, timeframe, key decision makers, etc. This saves both time and effort that would be put toward a prospect that is unlikely to become a paying customer.

B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year (IDC). On the other hand, SiriusDecisions reports that companies with aligned sales and marketing teams achieve up to 19% faster growth and 15% higher profitability. Having a fully-baked sales lead process is the key to aligning these two departments for the good of the entire organization.  

Want to go from ‘half-baked’ to ‘fully-baked’? Download our white paper, “Your Sales Lead Process is Half-Baked. Learn a Better Way”.


A lot of businesses struggle when it comes to getting the best ROI from their CRM implementations. The usual complaints include phrases like

  • We implemented ‘XYZ’ CRM and our Sales haven’t shot up”

  • “My users are spending a lot of time in manual data entry”

  • “Our users are still using the old methods/tools of Sales”

  • “I am spending a lot on CRM subscription and not sure why”

  • “Our CRM doesn’t seem to show exactly what’s happening”

Sounds familiar?

It is exactly why we have gathered these useful tips from industry experts including CRM Search’s Karen D. Schwartz and Christopher Bucholtz from CRM Buyer. Using these, you can not only pinpoint what is going wrong in your CRM strategy but also see what can make your CRM ROI shoot up exponentially

So first let’s see why you fail in getting the optimal ROI from your CRM investment. You should ideally avoid these practices when working to maximize your CRM ROI:

1. Infighting between Sales & Marketing CRM

Industry experts agree on one thing: data is going to be the decisive factor between successful and unsuccessful businesses in 2017. Data is valuable when it is used to qualify leads for the sales department and in showing which marketing campaigns lead to closed sales.

But these insights can be missed due to the age old infighting between the marketing and sales departments. If sales and marketing don’t work together the insights from the data become useless. So the first thing to do is to get both departments in a room to map out common goals, and to discuss how to use the data to achieve their individual goals. And it is always useful to have mutual goals for both the departments to encourage them working together.

2. Acting on your Data

One of the foremost features of any CRM application is to create reports from your business data. The right CRM application can present data in an almost effortless pre-formatted report. But this analysis will do you no good if it is ignored. What should you be doing then?

Take the time to not only read the reports, but also to understand and ‘ACT’ on them when needed. If your data could speak to you in your language it would tell you one thing for sure “Act on what I’m showing you”. Most companies don’t, the ones that do succeed.  

3. Building “Relationships” with Customers

CRMs are excellent tools to connect with your customers and build long-lasting relationships. The experts warn you against assuming that everything is fine and well just because you’re connecting with your customer with a CRM. Building relationships with your customers is an evolutionary process. Be aware that customers evolve and change and your business may need to evolve and adapt to their ever changing needs.

So then the question arises: what are you supposed to do in order to maximize the ROI from your CRM?

1.Choose a Cloud-Based CRM Solution

All major CRM companies offer cloud versions of their software. Why should you choose this software as a service (SaaS) model? This simply means that you no longer need to deal with things like servers, software issues, and new version upgrades.

Not only do you save expenditure on having an in house system and IT expert (which cost much more than the subscription cost) at your business but also get great efficiency on your CRM system.

2. Integrate with Applications that Provide Value

Integrating your CRM with other useful business and social applications cannot be stressed more.

Such applications can include Marketing Automation, Accounting Software, Email tools (Like Gmail) plus key social tools, which allow your company to follow people, information, and groups on social networks, and capture real-time data.  

3. Allow for Mobile Integration

It is not possible to have a business without someone handling the Sales. You need to make everything accessible on mobile devices for your salespeople so they can work on the go. They can review correspondence, manage contacts, and accounts even when outside the workplace.

These integrations should also ideally work with back-office systems, social networks, and web conferencing. This makes you fully covered to tackle any Sales and customer experience challenges that you may confront.


Key takeaway!

Time and again we all read about the importance of becoming customer-centric? Is that the key to becoming successful?

Yes! Just look at Apple. Despite its size it welcomes customer criticism with humility and ‘ACTS’ on it. On the other hand the businesses that struggle are the ones that either do not listen to what the customer is trying to tell them or if they listen they fail to act on it. This is where a good CRM comes. It lets you achieve these goals quickly, efficiently and seamlessly. But this happens only when you take notice of the best practices that I have outlined earlier. Focus on them and you are sure to see your Sales pipeline overloaded with happy customers; after all this is exactly how industry experts help companies get the best ROI from their CRMs.


We're Here to Help!

Our experts can help you implement the optimal CRM solution that will result in the best ROI? Contact us for a free consultation session and find out how you can get the full value out of your CRM!

Not long ago, customer service was all about telephonic customer support and call center agents. But In today’s fast times, people do not want to wait for hours on toll free numbers and deal with clueless call center agents to get their issues resolved. Online chat support, even though online, still follows traditional approach to support and requires agents.


Online self support, on the other hand, is an alternative approach to the traditional forms of customer support and if implemented well, can definitely complement your existing support system, if not entirely replace it. 

One of the best ways of providing online self support is through a self service customer portal. Especially one that integrates seamlessly with your existing SugarCRM system to fetch or update all your existing customers data.
In this blog we will understand how such a portal will help you provide a better customer experience as well as reduce operational costs for your business.

Bring Down Operational Costs

As explained above, such portals are a great cost cutting tool. Across industries, empowering customers to do stuff on their own without any manual involvement has been a great way to cut costs.

Empower Customers With Knowledge

Self service portals not only solve the current problems of the customers, but also equip them with enough knowledge to solve their future queries as well. A well documented knowledge base goes a long way in preventing any future complaints or issues because the customers already have answers to their questions.

Create a Close Knit Community

Opening a forum in the portal can create a very useful community where customers can help each other on their own without the involvement of any company employee. Not only does it solve issues, but also creates bonding amongst the members.

Create a Personalized Experience

The usage patterns of customers can be easily tracked in the customer portal and combined with their personal info, a personalized portal experience can be provided to them. For example, the sections of the portal that are most relevant to the customer can be presented upfront along with greetings for important days like birthday, marriage anniversary, etc. Such small measures can go a long way in creating a “wow” experience for customers.

Get More Customer Recommendations
Satisfied customers will go out of their way in recommending products and services to other customers. A successful customer portal will enhance you brand image and create positive vibes.

Cross-Selling/Up-Selling Opportunity

Based on the customer's’ previous interactions, products or services matching their requirements can be presented to them in the portal. Thus creating avenues for cross-selling and upselling.
Creating a customer portal doesn’t necessarily have to be a costly or complicated project. At Biztech, we have used the power of SugarCRM and combined it with the most popular CMS WordPress to come up with a customer portal plugin that is both cost effective and easy to implement.

Let’s sit down and have a chat about sales data.
Maybe it’s just a bit messy. Maybe it’s totally decayed. Maybe it’s incomplete, or irrelevant, or you just can’t get to the bottom of it all. 
Either way, odds are: it’s costing you sales. 
Luckily, collecting, utilizing, and preserving your data is easier than you think. Let’s break down how the future of data can transform your sales potential, how you can beat back some of the biggest threats to your data’s integrity—and how you can turn those new data-driven insights into cold hard cash. 
Data is Your Sales Team’s Super Power
From email response rates, to direct sales—data is linked to your profits. 

In fact, 50 to 75 percent of a B2B marketing campaign’s success comes down to the accuracy of data. And in some stages of your funnel, clean data can net you a 25% higher conversion rate than your disorganized competition. 
Now, saying “who cares if my data isn’t perfect” is as good as saying “who cares about a HUGE potential profit loss.”
The answer to the second question is “everyone”. The answer to the first question should be the same. 
Here are just a few game-changing ways that you can turn big data, into big wins. 
Game Changer #1: Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is a crystal ball for lead qualification—and just about every other decision your sales team needs to make. Put simply: it’s taking the data you’ve built up in the past, and using it to predict who will buy in the future. 
Predictive takes your current customer database, mixes it with data from external providers, and gives you a holistic view of who your prospects are. Then, using machine learning, it funnels data through statistical models—continuously refining it into concrete patterns. The result? Nearly spooky insight into who your customers are, where you can find them, and when they’re ready to buy. 
Why is this a big deal?

The data that comes out of predictive analytics yields some seriously powerful patterns. They can improve customer databases, source net-new prospects, and give near psychic-insights into which prospects are ready to buy. 
Or, in a nutshell, as defined by Swift Capital:  
“We know 80% of our revenue will come from 20% of our prospects. And 80% of pipeline will come from 20% of our campaigns. Predictive identifies the 20%.”
Beyond that, predictive analytics is set to grow...and fast. A recent report suggests, within the period of a year, 36.8% of high growth companies will have invested in predictive. 
Hint: if you’re hoping to be a “high growth” company, this is where to look. 
Game Changer #2: Sentiment Analysis
If you think of data as a set of digits and demographics—you're missing some pretty big opportunities.
Introducing, sentiment analysis: data that reveals how your customers (and potential customers!) really think about your brand. 
Sentiment analysis software can extract meaning from millions of messages—revealing the positive and negative emotions behind the torrents of text. Now every email, social media message, or chat pop up, can be broken down—dissected by syntax, voice, and tone—and harnessed for a better understanding of your customer base.
Why is this a big deal?
Sentiment analysis hones the masses of inbound intel your company gets everyday. From that, it creates a nuanced portrait of your market, in a time where that understanding is critical. 
Looking forward, the companies that excel, will win on customer experience. Right now, of companies that deliver best-in-class service, 70% rely on customer feedback
So for a customer experience that gives you a competitive advantage—you’ll need a better understanding of who your customer is. And for that—sentiment analysis is the key.
But if emotional data still sounds a little “soft” to you, know that sentiment analysis doesn’t live in isolation. Pair these insights with behaviour models, and you can easily increase your predictive power—yielding more accurate revenue projections, better leads, and a higher sales volume. 
Game Changer #3: Pipeline and Data Visualization
Your sales data is only as good as the impression it makes on your team. Maybe moms who like you on social media convert better than the business owners on your newsletter. But if that insight is buried in spreadsheets, it might as well not exist. 
Collabsport Connect Pro visually represents contact engagement data—right on your dashboard. We’ve seen this feature boost sales’ teams accountability, and better define their goals and action items. 



One of our favorite new visualization tricks is pipeline visualization. When you model your sales pipeline, you see (literally) where your deals fall. Your sales team knows when to reach out. Everyone saves time, and you make money. 
However it’s modeled, data visualization is the key to understanding your CRM’s data—faster, more accurately, and more insightfully. 
Why is this a big deal?

As the wealth of data we have access to grows, data visualization becomes more and more important. Reports show that you’re 28% more likely to find timely information if you rely on visual data discovery tools—rather than a typical reporting dashboard. 
Ultimately, data visualization answers the question of: "I have the numbers—now what?" 
And that answer leads to smarter insights, more relevant action items, and in the end—an increase in sales. 
Inaccuracy is Your Sales Team’s Kryptonite
As the sales landscape changes, your team will rely more on data. And the teams who have a handle on their data, will have a clear competitive advantage. 
So it’s time for a moment of truth. Ask yourself: how accurate is my data? 
And before you answer—take a good look at where your data lives. In all likelihood, that’s your CRM. 
83% of senior executives claim their biggest challenge with CRMs is getting their staff to use the software. They're not wrong. Less than 37% of sales reps actually do use their company’s CRM correctly. 
Meaning: if your system isn't automated, it’s definitely not fully accurate. 
But even if it is, or your team is made up of flawless input robots, there’s a greater threat to your data integrity be aware of: decay—the pesky result of our shifting digital footprints. 
A prospect gets a new job? Their old email is mucking up your database. Someone signs up for your email list, but uses a nickname? You might be stuck with duplicates. 
Some estimates put the average annual database decay at 25%—meaning every year, a quarter of your records could be irrelevant. 
And with visualization, sentiment analysis, and predictive analytics changing the sales landscape—75% accuracy just won’t cut it. 

Here to Save the Day: A Healthier Database
So the bad news is: most companies are struggling to reign in their data. 
The good news is: once you reign in yours, you’ll have a leg up on the competition. 
Here are a few, easy ways to get ahead. 



1. Give your database a checkup. Keeping your data healthy means giving it a thorough diagnosis. At a minimum, take a look at your: 

  • Email Bounce Rates: Are they much higher than 2%? Are they increasing, or decreasing? 
  • Auto-replies: Are they mostly out-of-office? Or do many indicate a job change?
  • Last Touch Report: Check your CRM. Who hasn’t heard from you in 90 days? 6 months? A year? Those contacts have probably gone stale. 
  • Non-responses: Maybe they're just not that into you. Maybe their contact info, just isn't that accurate. 

Throughout this process, data visibility can make all the difference. Investing in software that makes bounce rates or non-responses clear, current, and easy to observe—can go a long way towards making database checkups painless. 
2. And do it regularly. Ideally, you should be monitoring and cleaning your database at least once a month. If you’re a small business—make sure to give it a thorough scrub yearly. 
And when we say scrub, we mean every single data point. Reports show the cost of dirty data escalates. It’ll cost you about $1 to verify a record as it's entered, $10 to scrub and cleanse it later, and $100 if you do nothing at all.  
3. Improve your CRM adoption. So scrubbing your data cuts you from $100 to $10. But if you want that expense down to a dollar per record—your data entry needs to be spotless. 22% of all reported problems to successful CRM implementation were people-related or linked to user adoption. Tools like Collabspot, simplify manual data entry by integrating your CRM with your inbox. Automating this process can save you time, and save your data’s integrity. 
4. Prevent duplicates. Duplicates are a plague every database. They waste your sales team’s time, as they sift through redundant prospects. And they skew the results of your emails, tests, and audience insights. Investing in software that automatically deletes or merges duplicate contents, could save you money and time in the long run. 
Next Steps
The future of sales is data driven. The present of sales is filled with data that doesn’t work. 
The companies that grow, are the companies that take data seriously. They’re the ones that harness it: to predict how and when prospects will buy, to mine how their customer base feels about their brand, and to visualize which action items will lead to success. 
To be a company leading the future of sales, look to your present CRM. And remember not to look away from it for too long.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can assist your company in everything from storing client data to getting the most from your sales meetings. But it’s offerings extend far beyond front-office applications and sales force automation.

Dig deep into your market with your CRM by applying the data you collect toward better understanding industry trends, seasonal shifts, emerging technologies and more.

Use customized software

One of the greatest aspects of utilizing a CRM is that it is not one-size-fits-all software. It can evolve with you and store valuable information, while helping you best manage leads and prospects.

Manufacturing firms have many moving parts and CRMs give you a bird’s-eye view of your industry. While customer data is crucial, having material stored about suppliers, vendors, affiliates, partners, etc. expands your knowledge base.  

Whether you want to check in with suppliers in one facet of the market or tap into vendor resources, your CRM gives you information at the click of a button. Your business isn’t cookie cutter and your software doesn’t need to be either.

Ironically, some manufacturing firms have had bad experiences with CRM because they fail to use customization. They instead invest only in the default version of the software. They see the feature list of the CRM that includes a range of modules available and insist on activating every bell and whistle.

Instead of a smooth, simple system for managing opportunities, the CRM becomes a tedious, productivity leaching pain. Just like on the factory floor, the best solution is usually the most efficient one.

Even companies with unique structures and pipelines can benefit from CRM. As an adaptable set of modular tools, CRM can be adapted to any manufacturing process, industry, sales cycle, or other factors. It’s simply a matter of embracing the flexibility and customization options of the CRM software.

Listen to customers

This is simple. Pay attention to your clients are telling you about their business. Plug in this intelligence into your CRM and then look at similarities and differences across the board. Maybe you have three customers that are considering entering a new emerging market. Or are struggling to sell one type of solution.

If you only had customer information in the individual minds of your sales team, you don’t see trends. You directly serve your client, but you are missing the big picture.

With predictive analytics capability, your CRM can forecast sales more accurately and better understand seasonal effects on your business. For instance, get the most from your sales and marketing teams by understanding when they are busy with customers and when they have more lag time for creative efforts.

It does not matter what industry you are in or the customers you serve, sales data should always be at the forefront in forecasting, strategic analysis, and planning. Your CRM can provide forward-looking reports that can breakdown financial trends, such as production capacity, production rungs, and raw material purchases.

CRM data can help to improve cash flow, predict sales lulls or spikes in demand, and reduce transportation and inventory expenses. Using CRM-derived data, your analysts can even craft strategies for reducing churn or increasing overall profitability.

Grasping what your customers’ needs are, their foothold in the marketplace and where you fit in, allows you to best serve your clients. It will grow your relationship with them, which not provides an increase in overall sales, but can optimize other aspects of your business as well.

Stay ahead of the curve by applying a CRM software to your business. Download ourManufacturing & CRM eBook to learn how to effectively manage your customer relationships to
increase sales, boost engagement and manage growth.  

Sentiment Analysis (also known as opinion mining) is quite a popular term in the current social media age. The explosion of user generated content on social media platforms is a goldmine for brands to understand the sentiment of their customers and followers.
But is sentiment analysis limited to social media monitoring?
To answer the above question we first need to understand what is sentiment analysis. It is all about determining the emotional tone and attitude of customers or users behind their opinions/view about a particular topic or product or brand. The reason why sentiment analysis is so popular in social media monitoring is because social networks are public forums and it is necessary to understand the overall sentiment of people towards your brand to be able to control or even change the sentiment from negative to positive.
But social media monitoring and sentiment analysis using monitoring tools is, by no means, the only way to do sentiment analysis. You can achieve the same goal, perhaps in a much better way, by conducting sentiment analysis surveys through SugarCRM. In fact, conducting a survey is perhaps the best way to understand the sentiments and attitudes of your customers by directly asking them open ended or opinion based questions, rather than relying on machine learning to mine sentiments from social comments. Machine learning can only interpret words but not the context in which they are spoken.
So how do you conduct sentiment analysis surveys in SugarCRM?
Here is a simple three step process to do this.
Step 1: Figure out a way to conduct surveys in SugarCRM.

Conducting survey within your SugarCRM system has many advantages over general online surveys. To do this you can either use a general web based survey tool and integrate it with SugarCRM using a compatible integration solution or use a survey tool like Survey Rocket, which is built specifically for SugarCRM and doesn’t need any third party integration tool.
Step 2: Prepare a sentiment oriented questionnaire.
If you want to understand your customers’ sentiment towards your products and services you can straight away ask them about whether they are satisfied with your products or not. But such a question will not give you an idea of the degree of satisfaction, and hence, will not help you in getting a sentiment score.
So your questionnaire for sentiment analysis should be different from any satisfaction survey. For example, you could ask a question like:
How satisfied are you with our after sales support?

And provide answer options like:

  • Disappointed
  • Somewhat Satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Very Satisfied
  • Delighted



You can assign a numerical value to each option for getting a sentiment score - positive integer for positive emotions and negative integer for negative emotions. You can also ask customer to rate you on a numerical scale, but keeping words as options gets better results as words can be easily associated with emotions and hence you will get more accurate responses.

Step 3: Send out the surveys and analyze the results.
Send out the survey to the right set of people whose attitude you want to understand. And once you have got all the survey results you can add up all the scores from individual questions in your survey and the consolidated score for each customer.
As you would have realized, in the above process, the key is to frame the right set of questions. The more variety you have in your questions and the associated set of answers, the bigger range of emotions you will be able to capture in your survey.

In our recent articles we explored the history of data integration and what it takes for an automated integration platform to deliver for business users.


Next, we’ll look at the top SugarCRM customer use cases for breaking the status quo of data integration using Bedrock Data. The goal is to help SugarCRM customers reap the most value from Sugar as their unified operating system across marketing, sales, and customer success.  


An underlying theme throughout these use cases is avoiding the Which system has the right data? conundrum. Aligning your data across systems helps ensure customers are being engaged most effectively,  avoiding confusion and wasted time from mismatched data between systems. 

Use Case #1 - Connect all lead sources to Sugar

You have leads coming from many different sources: your website, webinars, events, and email, just to name a few. An integration platform allows you to connect all of those lead sources to your CRM with real-time delivery which means:

  • You never need to upload another spreadsheet again
  • Your sales team can be more effective with timely lead follow-up
  • You can enforce consistency with how incoming data is tagged in your system (e.g. lead sources, lead source details)...which helps you be complete and accurate with your analytics on these leads. 

Use Case #2 - Provide visibility to reps in the CRM they are using every day

There are key interactions collected through marketing systems that provide insight to sales reps to help them have more contextualized, effective conversations with prospects.  


What was the last content on the website they engaged with? What was the last piece of content they downloaded? What was the last webinar they attended?  What event sessions did they attend?


These data points can be mapped to custom fields in Sugar, providing sales with visibility in the interface they are using every single day. And with your reps, that’s probably the difference between them seeing the information ahead of a sales call, or not.


Use Case #3 - Closed Loop Reporting through Sugar

Bringing historical marketing interactions into Sugar custom fields, allows you to leverage Sugar for closed loop reporting, connecting marketing interactions to sales results.


This type of reporting can traditionally get very complex. To combat that complexity, a great way to get the right reports is to  tag certain field such as:

  • Original lead source (where did this lead originate?)
  • Original lead source details
  • MQL source (what made the lead an MQL?)
  • MQL source details


Then, use Sugar to summarize the correlation between these values, and pipeline and closed won business. Bedrock Data’s connection of your marketing systems to Sugar provides you with the right feeds of data to make this happen.

Use Case #4 - Manage a de-duplicated database of prospects, contacts & customers

All of these use cases rely on this one - if you have duplicates in your data, you run the risk of making the wrong conclusions from your data, or communicating to someone incorrectly. If you have a record tagged as a prospect, but they are really a customer, you’re going to deliver the wrong message. If you have multiple records and someone updates their preferences, you’re not going to miscommunicate to them.


Deduplication has a couple parts to it. If you have duplicates in your CRM data, you want a way to rapidly review those duplicates, and clean and consolidate the data to a unique set of records. Then, on an ongoing basis, as contacts engage with you across multiple systems, you need to ensure the records are aligned across all systems, without duplication.  


Use Case #5 - Feed customer database to marketing systems for customer upsell programs

Pushing customer data from Sugar out to the various systems you’re using to engage customers (in a way that is easily segmented by account level data) helps you drive effective customer upsell programs. Most marketing automation systems can be used to score customers based on different upsell offerings, as a way to feed intelligence back to your account management team.


Use Case #6 - Align support & sales teams on support status for the customer

Syncing support tickets from a third party support system back to Sugar, provides sales and account management teams with visibility to help them prioritize and tailor sales conversations most effectively. Support data can also be leveraged to identify high potential customer advocates to target for customer advocacy programs via marketing and sales.


These are all things you can achieve with Bedrock Data, without writing a line of code.


Take full advantage of your Sugar instance. Let's have a discussion to align your marketing, sales, and customer success systems.


If you're an ISV looking to expand your app's integration ecosystem, reach out to me directly at

Humans love games. We challenge each other in countless sports, match wits in card and board games, and entertain ourselves with an endless variety of video games. From childhood to adulthood, and even into old age, games are universal part of the human experience across every culture.

With this in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that game-like mechanics and design ideas have found their way into other settings, including business contexts. By incorporating game-like systems into non-game situations, it’s possible to make even boring and tedious tasks more “sticky” — more compelling and motivating, that is — to keep people engaged with the job at hand. Handled correctly, this “gamified” system can even steer specific behaviors.

Gamification can be found everywhere: Loyalty card programs, frequent flyer miles, social media check-ins, and even progress-tracking apps are all examples of customer-facing gamified business strategies. But what about a situation where gamification is used by a business to improve results internally?

A “gamified” CRM can be used to improve sales processes, drive employee performance, boost motivation and improve revenue. Check out Intelestream's gamification white paper for more information.

In the context of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, gamification uses similar game-like design concepts to create business processes that are also more “sticky.” This kind of gamification is nothing new — sales organizations have used contests and leaderboards for decades — but always in a piecemeal way.

That’s why we’ve created Splash, our gamified “motivation engine” for SugarCRM. It brings all those pieces together.

Splash is a fully integrated gamification platform, incorporating a variety of game-like mechanics to the day-to-day activities you’re already doing in SugarCRM. Splash’s seamless user experience makes these gamified elements feel intuitive, improving user engagement. There are three core elements to the system:

Improved User Adoption: This makes the platform more “sticky” to users, providing incentives for users to log in, explore the system, and master common tasks.

Engage Employees: Using rewards, challenges, competitions, rankings, achievements, and prizes, workers (or other users) become more engaged with specific tasks and goals.

Drive Measurable Results: By rewarding specific kinds of behaviors — from hitting specific goals to completing a set number of tasks — management can create strong incentives to improve KPIs.

How does Splash incentivize user behavior? Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Earning points, coins and levels by completing challenges
  • Gaining status and recognition through leaderboards and competitions
  • Unlocking achievement badges
  • Competing in contests, both as an individual and as teams

Coins are a good starting point to talk about Splash’s version of gamification. Every time a user completes a pre-determined “challenge” within the CRM, like “close 5 sales” or “create 10 user accounts,” the system rewards them with a set number of coins. These coins can then be traded for prizes — these can be virtually anything, from a $10 gift card to dinner with the CEO — giving users an incentive to complete even more challenges. Along the way, users steadily increase their skill and experience with CRM.

Leaderboards are another kind of competition-driven incentive. Some users might keep an eye on the leaderboard every day, and strive to climb their way to the top. Even those users who aren’t interested in fighting their way to the top of the leaderboard can be motivated by this system, as no one wants to be at the bottom. Other metrics, such as overall rank, ranking by month or year, and ranking within a team, encourage even moderately competitive workers to put in a little extra effort.

What about users who aren’t motivated by competition at all? Not all games are about winning or being the best. There are plenty of games where the goal is to explore, collect, build, or collaborate. People play games for all kinds of reasons, and a great gamification platform uses every motivational tool available.

This brings us to another key concept: Achievements. They work much like challenges, but are more targeted to a specific outcome or skillset. In a support setting, for instance, a challenge could be something like “close five open cases.” Once the user has completed that task, they unlock a badge — a virtual merit badge seen on their CRM user page — showcasing their accomplishment.

Achievements like this are a major part of modern video game design, providing the user with both a goal to work towards and a kind of bragging rights when badges are unlocked. For people who are more motivated by collection than competition, achievements and badges can provide a solid incentive.

In addition to being seamlessly integrated with SugarCRM, Splash is also fully compatible with Hoopla, allowing leaderboards and other information to be broadcast to a livestream. Few things are as motivating as knowing your ranking will be shown to the entire office throughout the day. The Hoopla integration provides yet another tool for driving user behavior, and getting people to do what needs to get done.

Splash also comes with an administration interface, where administrators can configure and customize anything about the system, setting details like the point thresholds for levels or the details of specific challenges. It even allows control over the game actions within Splash, allowing elements from custom modules to be incorporated into the system.

This is just a glimpse at the many powerful features Splash brings to SugarCRM. It’s a seamlessly integrated platform designed to dramatically boost user engagement, encourage improvement in KPIs, and protect the company’s CRM investment. And, if that wasn’t enough, it can also make the using the CRM itself just a little more fun.

Splash is now available for purchase from the SugarExchange.

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