Skip navigation
All Places > Partner Corner > Blog > 2020 > March

It’s official: we are living in a world where data is the most expensive resource*. The idea that data is the new oil may just be the secret mantra of the tech giants who are growing bigger.


Their approach and perception of data is not unique but the collection, analysis, and use is unique. A few years back, Apple established a research group called ‘Apple Customer Pulse’ where they reached out to a select few Apple product owners. They surveyed this group to solicit their opinions on current Apple products, and frustrations, and then Apple made modifications based on the feedback. 


This is Apple’s weapon to stay ahead of everyone - reaching out, listening, and understanding their customers, and then appending their products or services accordingly.


To help you stay ahead of the competition, we are going to talk about one of the ways to understand your customers, how to use that data to make business decisions, and how to craft marketing and sales strategies. 


Even with all the data analysis tools available, the survey hasn’t lost its charm because it is a better option to reach out to a customer directly rather than studying them secretly. Not only do you receive clear answers to your questions, but surveys also make your audience feel heard and valued. Collecting data is one thing, but understanding massive chunks of data to come up with answers to questions is another. Understanding the data you collect is where accurate survey reporting comes in. You can use a survey tool with reporting available in the marketplace or you can utilize the survey module in SugarCRM. The benefit of using a survey module integrated with your CRM is that it provides a 360-degree view of any situation.


Survey reports and data can help you:


  • Know your customers
  • Research the market before launching a product or service
  • Reinforce branding through content
  • Measure customer satisfaction


With all these things combined, you can supercharge your business by focusing on your customers and target market bringing success and a clear product roadmap.


  • Know Your Customers


There’s never a bad time to invest in building buyers’ personas for your company. It’s always better to have your personas ready before launching your product or business. While it is possible that you know, without a buyer’s persona you may miss small details, like their daily habits, lifestyle choices, beliefs, challenges or decision-making process, all of which can make a difference in how your brand is perceived.


Market research surveys provide demographic data to increase your customers’ knowledge, which in turn you can use for product development, content creation, tweaking the customer journey of your website, and more.


  • Market Research Before a Launch


It’s a sure way to fail if you launch anything without having an insight into what your customers want. It’s always better to test the waters before the final launch. You can do this by investing in a focus group and ask them to review your product or conducting a survey about your industry and competitors. The data collected will give you insight into how customers perceive your industry and what are the gaps left by your competitors. This information is highly useful not only to market better but also to increase your product effectiveness making it more compatible with the market.


  • Reinforce Branding Through Content


A survey report with all the data including preferences, perceptions, and traits of the target audience can be a goldmine for marketers—which is why survey reporting is so critical to any business. of your targeted audience. Through this data, you can understand what hurdles you will face in the market and consumer’s perception of your industry. This data can help you create content that is more targeted by refining language and understanding the priorities of your target audience. Additionally, through this data, you can further utilize it to create landing pages for lead conversion, FAQ pages for your product, and targeted email campaigns.


  • Measure Customer Satisfaction


While this is not a new point, it’s still one of the most important. We already know this and is one of the reasons why surveys are popular but it is one of the easiest ways to utilize a survey in your business. Sending a survey after a customer just purchase or after their interaction with your support team can provide helpful insight into multiple areas. Using surveys in this stage provides you insight into technical faults, problems during the checkout process, or experience with your support team. An added benefit of the surveys is that positive customer reviews can be used as social proof reducing potential new customers’ anxiety which is very natural before starting out with a new brand.

Knowing your customers can be your secret weapon to success. And a simple three-question survey can also help you gather all the right data. You can get started with Sugar CRM survey module simply by searching ‘survey module’ on SugarOutfitters. And before investing in the module, make sure it has features like survey reporting, survey automation, net promoter score, skip logic, and data piping features.


* Article published by The Economist in May 2017.

** Apple Customer Pulse referenced in appleinsider

We’re excited to announce SugarWest 2020!  We were originally about to announce our CRM Learning Roadshow across Western Canada in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.  However, with the precautionary measures in place across Canada we’ve decided to postpone the in-person events and launch our online webinar that we’ll be using as a spring board into the in-person events later in the year.


You can sign up for the SugarWest Online Webinar here.


The format for our in-person events will be a bit unique in how we deliver these events.  We're not just doing a presentation about the latest and greatest (and upcoming) products to Sugar.  We will be giving the attendees an interactive and hands on experience with Sugar themselves.  Using a classroom style event space we will be engaging with both clients and even prospective clients.  Attendees will get hands on experience walking through unique stories from a marketing, sales and service perspective.  They will get to try everything from Sugar Hint, to SugarBPM, to Renewals Console and Service Console.  They are going to see the game changing solutions in real time.


Our online version will be a 90-minute in-depth review of case studies on how Sugar is being used as well as an over of the SugarCRM Roadmap presented by Chris O’Connell of SugarCRM.


These past two weeks I've been sharing the Top 10 Reasons to attend SugarWest and here they are:


#1 - You want to know what SugarCRM has coming in 2020

The newest, the shiniest and the most exciting features of 2020 are what get us excited about Sugar every year. This year is no different and there are a lot of cool new products coming including a brand new integration tool from Sugar that will make integrating systems easier than ever before. There are also a ton of new enhancements coming in 2020 for the entire Sugar suite of products including Sell, Serve, Market, Connect, Hint, Discover and other new add-on’s.


#2 - You want a no touch CRM – no more data entry

Wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to enter data into your CRM again? One of SugarCRM’s four pillars is no touch CRM. It’s also our #2 reason: You want a no touch CRM. Yes, you’re not likely ever getting away from entering some things into your CRM but imagine that you had to put more information than you received when putting into a Google search. Sugar is on a mission to create a CRM solution that provides you with more value than what you have to enter into it yourself.


#3 - You want to have instant access to prospect info

The focus on sales today must be on the client themselves. There’s no more “spray and pray” that can be done. We need to be more focused on our efforts and we need to let the tools, like our CRM, drive more efficiencies for us. At SugarWest we’ll be test driving Sugar Hint and running through scenarios to show you how Sugar Hint can accelerate how you close deals faster.


#4 - You want to see what new innovations are coming

At #4, it’s all about innovation. In the past few years there’s been a shift from just being about “CRM” or customer relationship management but more so towards the full customer experience. Innovations that providers are coming up with are making it so much easier for not only sales reps to input information but also for customers to get the right experience at the right time.


#5 - You want hands on training

The #1 thing we hear from our clients is that they want more training. In the fall of 2019, we did a survey of clients across Western Canada and this was one of the most important requests that we’ve had from the survey. Hands on training with break out sessions is what asked for and it is what we are delivering.


#6 - You want to learn more about SugarCRM

Curious about Sugar?  What about the NEW Sugar?  At #6, there is a strong desire for our clients and prospects to find out what Sugar is about and what it can do for their organizations.  We will be working through the roadmap and learning more and more about what type of incredible impact Sugar can have on your organization.


#7 - You want to automate processes in your business

Automation is the wholly grail of CRM existence. If you want to automate processes in your business, then you need to attend SugarWest this year so you can see how automation is changing the way businesses execute incredible customer experiences every day.


#8 - You want to get the right marketing messages to the right people

At SugarWest we are going to be talking about several solutions that are shaping the way the customer experience is evolving. As a consumer, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot of noise when it comes to marketing messages coming your way on a daily basis. Marketing automation is the key to getting the right marketing messages to the right people because it uses data that you, the consumer or user, are collecting and sharing with providers.


#9 - You want to know what it CX / Customer Experience means

CX. Customer Experience. These are the latest buzzwords around the block when it comes to technology. What does it really mean though? I think it’s simple. It’s creating a compelling reason for your customers to do and to keep doing business with you. The whole end to end experience is what we’re after and it’s an important aspect that many organizations haven’t successfully integrated into their organizations yet.

#10 - You want to learn about the latest cloud innovations

2019 was an exciting year for SugarCRM as they added a whole suite of new products including Sugar Connect, Sugar Market, Sugar Sell, Sugar Serve and Sugar Discover. All of these products address some of the greatest needs of organizations including business intelligence, marketing automation, sales automation, customer help desk and enhanced email productivity suites.


You can see the full blog posts on our website here.


We’re looking forward to seeing you attend ourOnline Webinar as well as our in-person events to be scheduled later this year.

“We have finally done it! We attended meetings, toiled over designs, and delivered a new process that is going to streamline our operations while simultaneously improving our customer experience. We just need the team to adopt it, so we would like you all to... read this memo! Even better, the memo outlines the painstaking nuances to remember every day for the rest of your employment, or until we change the process again with a new memo, which we will. Our TPS reports will never be better!” - Bill Lumbergh, non-adopter of CRM


Peter Gibbons did not fail when he forgot to include the cover sheet on his TPS report. The eight (Eight? Eight, Bob.) bosses did not fail when they reminded Peter that he forgot his cover sheet. The failure was that Initech did not automate cover sheets to be included in their TPS reports once it became a new process. If they had, they would have never needed to hire eight bosses to deal with memo overhead, they never would have needed the Bobs to consult on their operations, Milton would not have been identified as a glitch in the system, and their offices would not have been razed to the ground.


Why Do I Need an Automation Strategy?

I am not here to insinuate that a failure to automate processes will result in a business’s collapse. I am here to say it is an easy pathway to building a workforce of inefficient, apathetic, quickly-angered-by-fax-machines employees. A successful automation strategy answers the questions "Is this good for the customer?" and "Is this good for the employee?" with the benefit to the company being a natural byproduct. By answering those questions, you create a strategy that liberates your teams from the mundane, repetitive, error-prone tasks. It frees your management team from the oversight and multiple corrective discussions they have to conduct to keep things running. Most importantly, that freedom allows everyone to focus on critical, rewarding responsibilities that increase job satisfaction and career growth.


What Should I Automate?

Seize your automation opportunities (not your employees’ red staplers) to build an improved customer experience. Here are the phrases for which you should listen to identify potential automation improvements:

  • “Log into…” - Any process requiring your team members or customers to log into multiple systems is ripe for automation. Integrations pay immense dividends when they facilitate the exchange of information and eliminate the frustration of navigating different UIs.
  • “You forgot…” - Human error is unavoidable, but you can mitigate its chances of occurrence. Once someone utters “You forgot…”, analyze why that item needs to be remembered in the first place. Can you automate a process to eliminate that need to remember and the encumbered overhead when someone forgets?
  • “Here is our process…/We have documentation...” - Avoid complacency with policies that work well for the people who have been in the company for five or more years. Revisit your processes as if you were new to the team or company. Are they intuitive or do they require knowing the right place to click or terms to search?
  • “Call Nina…” - Team members with institutional knowledge are great! Requiring direct communications with those team members to achieve critical tasks is not. No matter how good Nina is at her job in Corporate Accounts Payable, knowing when to interact with her directly requires training. Nina will greatly benefit from having a systematized method to handle requests, and if you automate well, you will not need to worry about your entire team adapting to a new workflow each time she takes extended time away from the office.


When Is the Right Time to Automate?

Now that you understand why and what to automate, determining when and when not to automate becomes critical. First and foremost, realize you cannot automate everything without sacrificing authentic experiences for your coworkers and customers. Preserve authenticity by focusing on automating the events people expect to happen, not the events requiring critical thought and emotional context. Once you identify the right events, prioritize them based on the following criteria:

  • Customer Impact - Are your customers suffering (e.g., long response times, disconnected selling process, etc.) because of the manual process?
  • Criticality - What happens if this process is done wrong? Is it a gaffe with minor impact to coworkers or customers, or does it put revenue at risk?
  • Frequency - How often is the workflow enacted? Is it once a quarter by one user or multiple times a day by an entire team?
  • Complexity - Could you track this effort via a spreadsheet with minimal overhead, or do you have extensively detailed steps to follow? How much time does the effort typically take to complete, and how much time, active and passive, would be saved with automation?
  • Stability - Does the process change frequently, or does it require minimal maintenance over time?
  • Scalability - Does the current operation align with your company’s forecasted business? Will it adapt if you exceed your goals?


How Should I Implement My Automation Strategy?

Select a system that natively supports as many of the functions critical to your automation needs and concentrates around your company’s day-to-day operations. CRM intrinsically meets these requirements. More specifically, SugarCRM offers an unparalleled suite of features and ability to configure the application. Combining SugarBPM, Customer Journey, Sugar Logic, and web logic hooks provides you the essential tools to eliminate operational redundancies.

  • SugarBPM - Approval flows, SLA management, and opportunity aging are just the tip of the iceberg of applications where SugarBPM elevates your operational capacity. SugarBPM provides a diverse toolset to map and manage your existing and future processes that most other CRMs cannot achieve without extensive customization.
  • Customer Journey - Customer Journey enables you to map the crucial stages from prospect to recurring customer giving your teams visibility where everyone is in that cycle. At each stage, you can automate key elements of that engagement to ensure a consistent, predictable experience. The results of that efficiency are improved satisfaction and opportunity win rates.
  • Sugar Logic - Whether you need to perform mathematical calculations, populate fields with specific data points, or conditionally evaluate real-time conditions to give users access to additional fields, Sugar Logic achieves all these use cases with a robust library of formulas.
  • Web Logic Hooks - Administrators configure triggering events per module to send data to external services for additional processing. This feature provides a code-free mechanism to communicate with other business-critical systems.

In the event you have a process that cannot be fully adapted with the above features, developers can leverage Sugar’s framework to implement powerful logic hooks, informative dashlets, and seamless integrations tailored to your exact specifications.



We laid out the why, what, when, and how to execute your automation strategy, so you can take the next steps towards energizing your team more than Hawaiian Shirt Friday ever could! You will reap the benefits of increased revenue, productivity, creativity, and job satisfaction all while eliminating the Miltons!


Contact us for additional expertise in propelling your automation strategy.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: