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Learn three strategies to consider to get your sales and marketing teams more closely aligned.

 

Sales and marketing teams share one common goal – to increase a company’s revenue. However, the similarities stop there, as these two groups are usually very different, both in temperament and in job responsibilities.

Salespeople are relationship people with a focus on the operations and activities involved in promoting and selling goods or services. On the other hand, marketing people are a combination of analytical and creative and focused on the processes or techniques of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service.

The marketing department is also charged with generating high-quality leads for the sales team. Unfortunately, sales will often complain that marketing’s leads don’t meet their standards. This sales-marketing conundrum is a warning sign of what we call a ‘Half-Baked’ sales lead process, where there is no real strategy to manage lead transfers. To solve it, here are three strategies to consider:

  1. Break Down Language Barriers – Sales and marketing departments often speak two different languages. For example, each one has its own definition of a lead. A “marketing-qualified lead” meets certain criteria set forth by the marketing department, while a “sales-qualified lead” adds to the initial stipulations set forth by marketing to help find the highest value prospects. The first step in getting these teams talking to each other is to begin using a common terminology and agree upon what constitutes a marketing qualified lead versus a sales qualified lead.
     
  2. Break Down Technology Barriers – Typically, the sales team works with a CRM database, and the marketing team uses a marketing automation tool. Often, these two tools are not synched, creating information silos between sales and marketing. To efficiently and effectively work together, marketing’s technology must seamlessly integrate into the CRM system used by sales, and the CRM tool must feed data back into the marketing database.
     
  3. Break Down Methodology Barriers – There must be an agreed upon procedure for what should happen when marketing sends leads to sales. Marketing should also have a clearly defined method for scoring leads, and sales must have a clearly defined method for qualifying those leads

Adopt a ‘Fully-Baked’ Leads Management System

According to Aberdeen, 90% of marketers say that lack of sales and marketing alignment keeps them from reaching their marketing objectives. This can be remedied by adopting a ‘Fully-Baked’ leads management system that breaks down barriers in the form of language,  technology, and methodology – tearing down the information silos that exist between sales and marketing teams, helping your organization to achieve faster growth and higher profitability.

Need to get your sales and marketing teams more closely aligned?

Download our eBook, “Solving the Sales-Marketing Conundrum: 3 Strategies to Consider”.

American Specialties, Inc (“ASI”), a Sugar and W-Systems customer since January 2016, was a featured presenter at this year’s SugarCon 2017 conference. The presentation, “Getting Independent Sales Reps and the Manufacturer on the Same Team”, was designed to promote how a successful CRM implementation could, and should, be executed, and to help provide insights to other Sugar customers going through similar implementations.

Avi Bar, National Sales Manager for ASI, and the architect behind their global CRM rollout did a terrific job outlining what a successful implementation blueprint should look like.

Let’s take a look at a few of the challenges that Avi, and ASI faced:

1000+ Users and 30 Territories Across the Globe

  • Challenge: In the manufacturing space, ASI works with independent sales reps who often times who represent other manufacturers. As you might imagine, this presents a unique challenge related to user adoption. Unlike traditional sales environments, ASI has no authority to mandate the use of their own internal tools, yet compliance is critical to overall success.
  • Solution: In order for ASI to gain full adoption, they needed to provide a tool that truly provided value to their reps, otherwise they simply wouldn’t use it. So, how did they do that? Well, they spent 9 months working very closely with the reps across the globe. They did this with one-on-one face-to-face meetings, calls, etc. with the goal of; 1) planting the seeds earlier on so the reps knew what was coming; 2) making sure their voice was heard and that they felt that they were part of the process; and 3) building specific functionality that would help them be more productive. On top of all that, they convinced the sales people that utilizing this new tool would have a direct impact on their ability to make more money, the sweetest sound any salesperson can hear.

Data Visibility and Security Across 100+ Teams

  • Challenge: With all these different reps/companies accessing the system, ASI knew they would have to convince the reps that their data was secure and visible only to those with the requisite permissions. Without it, they knew it would be unlikely that they would get the data input they were requesting.
  • Solution: Utilizing the Sugar built-in Roles and Team security (with a little bit of added magic from W-Systems), ASI deployed a sophisticated security structure that provided the reps with the confidence that their “proprietary” data would not be exposed to any vulnerabilities, or shared outside its own user-base.

Data Aggregation and Analysis

  • Challenge: With no systems in place prior to the deployment of Sugar, there was little data to analyze that would allow ASI to accurately evaluate performance
  • Solution: With the addition of Sugar, ASI now has the ability to furnish reports that allow them to better evaluate the performance of their reps. This gives them insights that they did not have before, which can now be used to help change behaviors and selling strategies.

Encourage Reps to Focus on Untapped Opportunities

  • Challenge: One area of long-term success for ASI is to sell to Architects during the planning phase, however, because these sales cycles are long, reps don’t like to spend their time there, they want low-hanging fruit…
  • Solution: ASI knew that if they presented these opportunities to their reps in small increments, they might be able to get them to focus some attention… They decided to integrate Sugar with a data services provider (“Dodge”) that automatically populates real opportunities in Sugar. All project details, customer accounts and contacts make it very easy for reps to quickly follow up and submit bids.

Training and Education to Aide with Adoption

  • Challenge: With a global, distributed sales force, ASI needed to make sure they provided a comprehensive training strategy to ensure adoption and compliance.
  • Solution: ASI developed and delivered live training in “easy to consume” sessions generally lasting no longer than 1 hour. From there, they created much smaller training “clips” (approx. 15 minutes) that they posted on a YouTube channel dedicated to Sugar training, and lastly, they opened up a Help Desk specifically to answer Sugar-related inquiries. This combination of training and support channels ensured that users were never left in the dark and helped them get optimal value from the tool.

These are just a few of the ways that ASI was able to follow a regimented plan for a successful implementation. As it turns out, past experience proved invaluable for this customer, and by sharing some of their experiences, ASI is hopefully your organization can find similar implementation success.

This article was originally published on W-Systems' SugarCRM Blog.

Today, the implementation of CRM software is nearly ubiquitous. In fact, a 2016 study conducted by CSO Insights found that 80% of companies are investing in CRM to drive sales productivity.

 

Successfully migrating CRM data is a big part of any CRM implementation project. The process of moving CRM data can be quite complex. Whether you’ve worked with CRM software for months, years or decades, you could probably still stand to learn a thing or two. Here are some things to consider before, during and after migrating your CRM data:

 

Pre-Migration – Scope your migration.  As an organization you should agree on what legacy data is valuable and critical to the new CRM system. Start by identifying the source of the conversion, then develop a business understanding of what that source data is being used for. Next, figure out if you’re doing a simple contact migration or if more complex data such as meeting history, call logs and emails will be included. Don’t gloss over the details, it can lead to expensive and painful realizations later in the project.

 

During Migration – Catch errors.  During the migration make sure you have a design that will report and log errors such as malformed data rows, un-matched or orphaned relational records, and sub process failures. No migration is perfect on the first try, and without logs you will be wasting a ton of stressful time trying to explain to the client what happened.

 

Post-Migration – Have your test ready. Be ready with how you will test the data migration upon completion.  Use before and after table record counts to demonstrate the completeness of the migration. Also, use before and after representative records to show specific, previously agreed upon records both in the data source system and in the new CRM system. Lastly, inspect each data element and verify that the data ended up in the expected location in the new system.

 

A Bloor Research Data Migration report found that nearly 40% of data migration projects were over time, over budget or failed. This may come as no surprise if you’ve ever been involved in a large-scale CRM data migration, as you already know how daunting these projects can be.

 

We have carefully compiled even more of our best practices in our new white paper, “Best Practices in CRM Data Migration.” Download it today to discover our proven framework for CRM data migration success.

 

And don't forget to check out all of our apps on SugarExchange!

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!

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of welcoming new customers, making sure their questions or issues are addressed, and offering new products and services as the needs become apparent. From welcome calls to user groups to training sessions, onboarding can take many forms, depending on the business. The process is widely regarded as a necessity for retaining customers and deepening their relationships, but many businesses struggle with both the organization of onboarding steps as well as their implementation across multiple departments. 

While many businesses fall short with a lackluster onboarding program, many more are using technology solutions like CRM to help them both implement and monitor the initiatives. When put to work as an extension of CRM's core functionality, a workflow or campaign centered around the new customer experience is a true game changer. Beyond the baseline contact and task management, the advantages of CRM become apparent when we look at data integrations, touchpoint automation, and cross-selling. In these areas, the system builds a safety net for new clients by ensuring a smooth and intuitive process where the business is aware of problems as they happen, no one falls through the cracks and gets forgotten, and opportunities to deepen a customer relationship are seized.

Integration and Automation

The billing process provides a great example of how easily customers can be overlooked. When new customers are invoiced and make a payment, this information is received and noted by the accounting department, and may not be visible to anyone else in the company. If that client is waiting on product delivery or if someone in the company should be reaching out to confirm that the client received what they paid for, the folks in accounting would have had to notify outside departments every time a payment is received. By integrating the finance data with other customer data in CRM, the company can open a window into what exactly is going on with that person and can make that information available to anyone with access to CRM (generally a much wider audience than those accessing accounting software). The customer service team can be automatically notified as soon as payment is received, triggering a customer care call or follow up email. By connecting employees with customers through the data, CRM helps make sure all clients are welcomed into the fold and have an experience that builds loyalty and satisfaction.

Cross-Selling

Businesses will state that "everyone is a salesperson," meaning that all employees should have their antennas up for customer needs and be willing to address them. This is great on paper but less so in practice, because selling takes a level of training and confidence that many employees just don’t have.  The onboarding process is a great time to start making some "soft sales" when customers are just learning what the company offers and are already receptive to the conversations around purchases and money. CRM helps warm up the sales conversation even further, delivering cross-sell recommendations to employees based on what the customer has already purchased and where their needs might lead them. By delivering contextually accurate notifications, CRM gives the business an opportunity to offer products and services to customers that are most likely to be well received.

Today’s businesses operate in a world where the margin for error with customers is very slim and where competition is fierce. The margins are even smaller in the fragile first days of any customer’s experience with that company. Ensuring receipt of the product and answering follow-up questions are the foundation of a welcome process that may include phone calls, emails, letters, or seminars and training. All of this can be a circus even for the largest, best-equipped company, and the prospects for smaller companies can be worse. Using CRM as part of an onboarding initiative will help manage the process by automating customer touchpoint notifications, displaying all of the customers’ information in one spot, and delivering timely cross-sales information. This technology behind the scenes will lead to a customer experience that is smooth, responsive, and attentive to their needs without being too pushy or too distant. The “just right” customer experience is hard to achieve but can solidify the customer relationship and create loyalty that keeps people coming back year after year.

This post was originally published on the W-Systems SugarCRM Blog.

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”.

By now, most professionals in the sales and service fields are well aware of the basic benefits of Customer Relationship Management. Unfortunately, actually getting your employees to use it is an entirely different beast. The fact is, people don’t like change. And when it comes to CRM adoption, there may be many reasons why salespeople resist.

 

  1. Control
    Some sales reps may feel a loss of control. They’ve done their job a specific way for many years, which has garnered them a great deal of success. The adage “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” comes to mind. In this case, it’s important to think with the end user in mind, then let the salespeople know what’s in it for them. This could be increased efficiency, closing sales faster and making more money in less time. It’s also a good idea to involve sales teams in the planning and implementation process of the new CRM system from the very beginning, providing them a sense of ownership in the success of the project. 
     
  2. Competence
    Others may experience concerns about their own level of competence. They may express skepticism about whether the new system will work or whether it will offer any improvement, but deep down they may be worried that their skills will become obsolete. For this reason, management should first identify the needs of each group of stakeholders within the organization, then commit to providing a wealth of education, training, and support for those that need it.
     
  3. Overwhelm
    Some salespeople may feel that entering information into a CRM system is just one more thing to add to their already long to-do list. In fact, change can often require more work on the front end, as there will likely be a learning curve while getting to know the new system, resulting in a dip in productivity, known as ‘the valley of despair’. However, it’s vital to stress that once the CRM system is in place and everyone is trained on how to use it, the sales team’s jobs will suddenly get a little bit easier, thanks to data that’s more up to date and easy to find. Moreover, the days of manual reporting are gone.
     
  4. Uncertainty
    You know what they say, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.” Many people would rather suffer through using inefficient systems, such as tracking their sales in Excel spreadsheets, than to take the chance on a new way of doing things that may or may not pan out. To overcome this fear of the unknown, management should present a clear vision for what the sales department should look like once the change has been implemented, and create a sense of certainty by laying out the entire CRM implementation process, with a clear timeline and milestones for completion. 

The amount of planning put into the user adoption process is directly correlated to the return on investment realized from any software implementation. In order for your CRM project to be successful, your sales team must actually use it. However, you must first get over a few hurdles that make employees naturally resistant to change, as well as follow a proven framework for fostering full-scale end user adoption within your sales organization.

Download our white paper, “Best Practices for CRM User Adoption” to discover 10 steps to realizing full-scale user adoption.