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2017

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

 

 

 

Here are some of the event’s highlights:

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Scott Alder, Channel Account Manager at Act-On

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

 

 

Jane Curry, CEO at Curry Young Consultants

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

 

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

 

 

My Two Bonus Takeaways:

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

2)    Never try Malört at a bar in Chicago.

 

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



-Jonathan Bach

 

Clint Oram Danine Pontarelli Jen Fabrizio 

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

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

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

Changing role of HR

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

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

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

How CRM can help HR to improve Employee Experience

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

Increased productivity and confidence level

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

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

Realistic sales forecasts versus targets

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

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

Reducing stress in Sales Teams:

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

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

Improving Sales processes from learnings in CRM

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

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

Faster and meaningful meetings:

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

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

Better coordination between Marketing,  Sales, and Service:

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

What is CRM analytics?

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

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

Why should businesses use an Analytical CRM?

CRM analytics

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

What can CRM Analytics accomplish for your business?

1. Marketing

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

2. Sales

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

3. Customer Service

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

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

SugarCRM as Your Analytical CRM

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

             

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

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

Key Takeaway

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

We are here to help

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

This task was solved within the presentation of sales rep productivity enhancement possibilities for PrimeTel (Cyprus), a national operator of the entire range of telecommunication services (mobile and fixed communication, IP TV, backbone, commercial and home internet). In the B2B segment, the company serves both large transnational companies and a large number of SMB customers.

Large customers are assigned to Key Account Managers (KAM), SMB customers are divided by geography and product. Thus, when dealing with large customers an account manager is responsible for interaction with all customers’ contacts, and when dealing with SMB customers, account managers may contact the same person regarding different products. Enhancing customer experience requires solving a range of tasks:

  • To provide a simple way of receiving data to get a holistic view on the Contacts with which the account managers communicate
  • To notify KAMs in a timely manner whenever a Contact joins the Account, takes a new post or quits, if this information was not entered by the KAM
  • To notify in a timely manner all the SMB managers who work with the Account and handle Opportunities/Leads about a new Contact joining the Account

The Hint service copes well with the data enrichment, however, it is necessary for managers to be quickly notified about changes that matter. To this end, there is a need to follow up the enrichment with the labor-intensive comparison between received and existing data:

  • Based on Contact’s data, from which it is possible to determine whether it belongs to a particular Account (for example, the name of the corporate web site, company code etc.), it is necessary to find if any such corresponding Account is in Sugar and if the Contact is linked to it. If the Account is found, but the Contact is not linked, one should:
    • link the Contact with the found Account
    • notify the manager assigned to the Account regarding the new Contact of the Account
    • in case of open Opportunities, notify managers of these Opportunities about the new Contact for the Account by e-mail and via Sugar Notification
  • If the Contact has quit the linked company, if necessary, one should:
    • Notify the manager assigned to the Contact about said Contact moving to another company
    • If there are open Opportunities on the Account and the Contact is specified as Opportunity Contact in Sugar, notify all of these Opportunities’ managers that the Contact has quit the company

Here are the reasons why Logic Builder (Sugar tool for visual design of data processing algorithms) was chosen to solve the task:

  • Whenever the company’s organizational structure or internal procedures change, notification-sending algorithm should also be changed; therefore, it is important to ensure the algorithms remain configurable by Sugar Administrators, not just developers.
  • It requires searching Sugar database for records of several modules at once (Accounts and Opportunities). For this reason, this task cannot be solved with standard tools, such as Workflow in Sugar Professional or Advanced Workflow in Sugar Enterprise, which limits the user to working only with the record, which triggered the process, and records directly related to it.

This way, by enhancing SugarCRM Hint with the Logic Builder possibilities, the customer gains operational and long-term advantages:

  • The automation of routine data processing operations after the enrichment positively affects User Experience and increases the efficiency of Hint integration
  • The reduction of reaction times to changes in both organizational structure and internal policies of the company thanks to the business logic being configurable by Sugar Administrator.
  • A decrease in the Total Cost of Ownership of the customized CRM solution, as the use of visual programming for Sugar enables the customer to:
    • Avoid the labor efforts of middle PHP developers on both the initial implementation stage (16 man hours) and following modifications (from 1 to 3 hours per each modification)
    • Avoid the labor efforts of a business analyst on drawing up the internal documentation on the design stage (6-10 hours) and following logic modifications (1 -2 hours per each modification) – as the visual nature of programming in Logic Builder allows it to be a form of business logic documenting in and of itself.

You can try LogicBuilder for free by stopping by our website. Here's the link.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. One seller to many buyers (buying team)

 

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

 

  1. Multiple sellers to many buyers (buying team)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

The panel of judges this year were:

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

Best in Class Winners

X-Ray Vision – Splash: Gamification Platform for Sugar


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

Teleportation – Appdome: Enterprise Mobility in Minutes


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

Clairvoyance – PandaDoc: Sales Docs Integrated with Sugar


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

Utility Belt – RT SalesMap: Google Maps Integrated with Sugar


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

Crowd Pleaser – 3CLogic: Amazon Alexa Integration



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

App Throwdown Winner: Splash by Intelestream

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

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

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

10. Love what you do.

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

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

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

9. C-R-M: Don’t forget the R.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Hint is already here.

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

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

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

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

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

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