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When it comes to modern CRM technology, there's good and bad news. The good news is that CRM is now the largest software market. The bad news? CRM is now the largest software market. I know. Mind-blowing, right?


Let me break it down for you. Today, we have dozens of CRMs flooding the market, and while that means that users have more choices it also means that there is a lot of noise and confusion. Which CRM has the best price? Which one is more secure? How user-friendly are they? Which one will offer the best ROI?

With those questions in mind, we’ve created the CRM Impact Score survey that will help you discover how your CRM compares to other organizations. The CRM Impact Score calculator will help you see how effectively you are maximizing the use of your platform, and spark actionable ideas on how to improve.

Take the Survey

We base our findings on the 5 core components that we consider every CRM should have: user adoption, security, functionality, automation, and data quality. 

CRM 5 core components


Let’s dive into these components that affect how much value people are getting out of their CRM.

1. Stellar User Adoption

There are always ways to improve user adoption and to increase ROI. When it comes to your CRM, user adoption is one of the biggest challenges. The lack of adequate user adoption results in the failure of most CRM implementations (more than 50% failure according to Forrester). Visual representation of data is critical to get your employees to embrace your CRM and improve their efficiency. An improved visual interface combined with the quality data you migrate into your CRM will improve user adoption and productivity.

Here are a few tips to do so:

  • Access all reports in your CRM instead of spreading them out in separate software and spreadsheets
  • Limit the numbers of required fields
  • Designate a CRM champion to get team buy-in
  • Update all nomenclature to match internal lingo

2. Great Security 

As data privacy (GDPR) and cybersecurity measures are increasing, we found security has become an important factor for return on investment (ROI). Companies need to have appropriate security practices in order to be able to make sure that their CRM can be used correctly. Often, companies are sensitive about adopting CRM due to poor security practices. They’re nervous about storing sensitive data on a system that could expose them to risks. Here are some good starting points to improve security:

  • Set up access permissions based on roles
  • Implement password rules (length or character requirements, expiration dates)
  • Create a standard procedure for revoking access
  • Implement Single Sign On (SSO) or Two-Factor Authentification (2FA)

3. Valuable Functionality

What can your CRM system do? Can you add additional functionality? Can you automate a process, or add a feature that you need and would give you additional value? All of these are valuable questions that, once answered, will help define your CRM’s value to your organization. Improve functionality by:

  • Focusing on core functions of CRM rather than bells and whistles
  • Considering all departments that are using CRM and how functionality fits into their specific use cases
  • Optimizing over time instead of a plug-and-play approach

4. Business Automation

With the right automation, CRM can save businesses a significant amount of time and money. CRM has evolved from being just a big database to a crucial business automation tool. Make sure that your CRM works together perfectly with your marketing automation tool to achieve the automation of business processes that your organization needs so badly:

  • Look at CRM as an automation powerhouse instead of as a business Rolodex
  • Have an overview of the entire customer lifecycle and add automation for marketing, finance, customer, and support (rather than just sales)

5. Amazing Data Quality

A component that truly elevates a CRM from a big database to a customer intelligence platform is the ability to generate actionable insights. Quality data is paramount for any organization. If you don’t bring good data into your system then you won’t have reliable reports and analytics coming out of it. Be sure your CRM can apply artificial intelligence to recognize patterns in customer behavior and recommend actions for the best-predicted outcome.

Here is how you can improve data quality:

  • Look at integrations to boost ROI
  • Give CRM access to all customer-facing teams
  • Provide offline and mobile access to data to improve data accuracy
  • Create reports that check for outdated information

These five core components working together can create the perfect CRM system.

Concluding Thoughts

There are many other factors to take into consideration when measuring your CRM’s value and capabilities. But if these components are in place, your CRM should be working at full capacity.

Not sure if it does? Then don’t hesitate to take our CRM Impact Score survey here. Complete the test, and a member of our team will reach out to you to discuss your results and help you improve your CRM environment.

For any other CRM questions, please feel free to contact us.


This article was originally published on the W-Systems Blog.

June 1st marked the 15-year anniversary of SugarCRM, so we have dedicated the month to reminiscing on our experience alongside SugarCRM. As one of their very first Partners, and the SugarCRM 2019 Global Reseller of the Year, we wanted to share some of the reasons why our W-Systems employees love both SugarCRM platform and Sugar employees.

Below you will find 15 reasons why we love Sugar featuring some of our employees from sales, professional services, development, support, and marketing.


Here´s to 15 years and many more to come, SugarCRM!


With Love,


Reason #1: Tracking Support Cases to Help our Customers

Sugar keeps the support team on task and provides tools for tracking support cases to help our customers. With Sugar, we can schedule follow-ups, keep accurate notes of what was done, see links to important resources, and create custom reports and dashboards to fit each Support Specialist's specific needs.


– Fred Block, Support Specialist

Reason #2: Personal Interactions and Relationships

I love the ability that Sugar allows both W-Systems and our customers to build personal interactions and relationships. Software is great, but the fun comes from the relationships we develop with customers and the opportunity we get to improve their lives. 


"I once worked for a CEO that said our job was to change the world. At first glance, that´s a pretty bold statement until you realize if I can make this better, then the task gets done faster and perhaps the person is able to go home earlier, eat dinner with their family or make it to their daughter’s softball game. That is how we change the world, and Sugar allows us to do that every day."


– David Newberry, Customer Success Manager

Reason #3: From Small Businesses to Enteprise, Sugar Can Do It All

What I love about Sugar is that it allows us to meet customers where they are: on their own turf.

  • Small businesses that need opportunities and pipelines? Easy! ✅
  • SMBs that want sales, service, and a custom module to manage events? No problem! ✅
  • Large multinational global firms that need automation, integration, and sophisticated user roles and teams?Can do! ✅

Sugar gives all our customers a "home field advantage."


– Chris Meyer, Consulting Manager

Reason #4: Sugar is the Heart of our Marketing Department

I love that the heart of our entire Marketing department is found within Sugar. Normally you would hear this from sales, but not marketing. Within Sugar, I manage all KPIs and lead generation activities, content and event calendars, campaigns, social metrics, customer satisfaction reviews and so much more. I love demonstrating our marketing workflow and having prospects tell me, “We want the same thing!”,  because it reaffirms that what we are doing is something special, and worth duplicating.


– Sarah Friedlander Garcia, Director of Marketing


Reason #5: Limitless Sugar Customizations

From my point of view, the most beautiful part of the Sugar application is the fact that there are no limits to customizing it. As long as you have the technical prowess, the sky’s the limit!


– Bogdan Cataron, Development Manager

Reason #6: User Interface and Easy Navigation

As a new Sugar user, I find that the interface is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. I could quickly locate and identify the areas and tools that are useful to me. I also appreciate Sugar’s open source roots that have allowed us the ability to customize and create tools that are uniquely functional for each of our customers.


– Vanlexus Franks, Marketing Intern

Reason #7: Managing New Change Control Documentation in Sugar

I love that as we grow as an organization, Sugar grows with us and helps us run every part of the business. For example, while implementing ISO 27001, we were able to manage new change control documentation requirements fully within Sugar.

– Christian Wettre, President


Reason #8: Partner-Based Feedback Helped Build the SugarCRM Mobile SDK

Here's one thing I love about Sugar: their ability to collaborate with partners. When they were reworking their mobile app, we were able to work with the SugarCRM Mobile Development Manager on the benefits of Sugar customizations. As a result, they delivered the SugarCRM Mobile SDK, which enabled us to build wMobile for SugarCRM!

– Ionut Tonita, Director of Development


Reason #9: Sugar’s REST API Makes Data Integration Easy

I love that data Integration with Sugar is a straightforward process thanks to the easy-to-use REST API, which provides useful endpoints for accessing data and metadata. Also, the bulk REST API is very powerful when you want to send large amounts of data to Sugar.


– Dan Ciobanu, Director of Development

Reason #10: Module Builder Turns Sugar Into a Multi-Departmental Tool

I have always loved Sugar’s Module Builder, which allows customers to extend the application far beyond the realm of sales without having to write any code.


– Seth Howell, Client Manager

Reason #11: Innovations of the Past Translate to Those of the Future

I remember when I first used Sugar back in 2004, and I had never seen a drag-and-drop interface on a web app. I was blown away by that being able to move dashlets around the dashboards by simply dragging them and also placing fields on the layouts the same way. Sugar has continued to be an innovative product over the years, and I love that I am able to work with an application that continues to think of new ways to make the experience better for CRM administrators.


– Pat Pawlowski, Senior IT Specialist


Reason #12: Help Me Work the Way I Want to Work

What I love about Sugar is that it helps me (and potentially all Sugar users) do my job easier and better via efficiency. Sugar gives me the ability to easily capture information that helps make my future customer interactions more relevant and timely. And Sugar gives me the information I need to prioritize my activities through custom reports and dashlets that I can easily create on my own to help me work the way I want to work.


– Kevin Reichley, Director of Sales - Central

Reason #13: SugarCon and the Expansive SugarCRM Ecosystem

My favorite thing about working with Sugar has been going to SugarCon (now SugarConnection), and other events they host each year. I love the energy at the events and seeing how expansive the SugarCRM ecosystem is with products, partners, and customizations.

(Be sure to take a look below at our highlight reel from SugarCon last year!).


– Katie Liesmann, Marketing Manager



Reason #14: Robust Dashboard and Reporting Capabilities

What I appreciate most about Sugar is its robust dashboard and reporting capabilities. As a user it allows me to manage teams of project managers, consultants, engineers, and support specialists as they work to deliver dozens of complex projects across our entire customer base. This ranges from a single dashboard that gives a solid overview of our entire operations, to the most granular level of a single hour of time logged against one of our projects. As the Director of Professional Services for W-Systems, it allows me to uphold the promise to our customers that we can deliver the same incredible solution for them.


– Damon Hurd, Director of Professional Services


Reason #15: Custom Calendars, Detailed Analytics, Documentation and More!


The fact that you can take Sugar far beyond the realm of sales is something you won’t get from many other CRMs. Custom calendars, detailed analytics, document automation, and so much more—I think that what I love the most about Sugar is that is has enabled W-Systems to develop amazing customizations and integrations and grow as a business.


– Paul Scondac, Marketing Manager

Growing your business is a worthy goal and more often than not, a must - if you aspire to get beyond that barely-getting-by level.

But doing that can be terrifying because so many things can go wrong. That’s why you need great allies in researching and planning your next steps in order to succeed. So what can you do to turn your business into the income-generating powerhouse you envision? 

The most important step in turning your prospective buyers into buying customers has to be generating leads. But this can be tricky! Reaching out to uninterested people that you know very little about and that don’t know you, can become demotivating. But thanks to Social Media and smart CRMs, you can easily build up a customer profile, efficiently qualify your prospects and follow-up in a timely manner. 
Here is a list of great ways to help you increase your lead response. All of them are being successfully used by us here at W-Systems and other businesses across the world, and if applied correctly, they can work for you as well.

let's do this gif

1. Integrate CRM with Marketing Automation

As a business owner, you know how important your customer relationships are to your success. The idea of integrating your CRM system with a Marketing Automation software is certainly easy to agree with. But is it that simple?

It’s common knowledge that the Sales and Marketing departments don’t always get along. Sales teams swear by CRM, while marketing departments swear by Marketing Automation. As they’re both critical to business growth, they just need a way to enable knowledge exchange and to do that, they first have to figure out a sales and marketing system alignment. 

By integrating CRM with Marketing Automation, users can transpose marketing leads directly to an actual revenue number. Successfully integrating their unique capabilities can be a game-changer for your company.  Once these systems begin working together, they will provide your sales and marketing teams with lots of powerful factors that will lead to your company’s growth and success.

2. Implement a Lead Scoring System

We mentioned above the importance of aligning marketing and sales. But how can you know the quality and value of each lead? Which leads should be prioritized and followed up immediately, and which need extra nurturing?

Enter Lead Scoring, the missing link between marketing and selling. Lead scoring allows you to assign a specific value to your leads automatically thanks to your Marketing Automation, and then make this information readily available to your sales team via your CRM integration. You can rank prospects using a score that indicates their perceived business value and susceptibility to buy, in order of priority.

Missing piece on puzzle

Lead scoring is only possible when both marketing and sales departments agree on the ideal definition of a customer profile, establish a list of characteristics that are most important for that target customer and assign values to them - like company location, company size, how they interacted with your content, etc.. Once this is done, marketing can focus on generating qualified leads and sales can work to close them. Lead scoring enables salespeople to turn their attention to higher-quality leads and reduce the lead response time. Pursuing qualified leads can increase sales productivity and enable better revenue for your business.

3. Setup Email Notification Workflows

Workflows enable users to automate repetitive tasks to help increase efficiency and ensure business processes are followed. 

email automation animation

You can configure your CRM system to send email messages to users when workflow-related events occur. Here are some examples of how you could use this: 

  • Notify the assigned user when their leads’ scores get over a certain value (i.e. the salesperson gets emailed when a lead's score is over 30).
  • Notify the assigned user when a new lead is assigned to them.
  • Notify an assigned user when their lead participates in a high-value event, such as attends a webinar or downloads a whitepaper. 

4. Automatically Log Calls and Emails in the CRM

In this day and age, communication is everything and everywhere. 

woman checking mobile phone

Figuring out how to use communications solutions with your CRM is going to not only grow your business but also improve your customer success.

Many CRMs come with telephony integration allowing users to make inbound and outbound calls and they also enable voicemail and email automation. You can now record and automate calls, emails, or calendar directly from your CRM allowing your sales team to spend more valuable time talking to customers instead. 

5. Track Lead Response Speed

How do you measure your sales follow-up? Is there a tool that allows you to track lead response time in hours? 

the answer is yes gif

The answer is Business Intelligence (BI)! BI solutions enable users to generate reports that benchmark how long it takes to follow up with a lead that has contacted you either by phone, email or by filling out a form. 

If you want to convert more visitors into leads, it is important to respond to them as quickly as possible while you are still top of mind. By measuring your lead response time in your CRM, you can see how your team is generating more leads, how fast they reply, and which messages convert the most prospects to leads. 

Now that you’ve set up a way to track how your sales team operates when it comes to following up with leads in a timely manner, you can easily adjust their methods. For example, if your team usually generates more leads during morning time or in a certain weekday, make sure they respond to your leads’ messages or calls on those exact hours.

Concluding Thoughts

Give all of these solutions a try and let us know what worked best for you. We are always here to provide you with more information and help you find an effective solution for your company's sales & marketing needs.

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.


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. 

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