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Post originally published by FayeBSG Project Manager, Vicki Leopold 

Certifications. This is definitely a hot topic and can drive some very passionate discussions. It seems there are two camps – those who support them and those who don’t. Many will claim that certifications show only that one can study, take a test, and pass. They will argue that having the certification doesn’t mean that the certification holder can do his or her job any better than a person without a certification. Others will argue that having a certification shows a basic knowledge of the subject and shows that the certification holder was motivated to invest the time and energy to learn the material well enough to pass the test.

 

We fall into the second camp here at FayeBSG. We believe that a Sugar Admin Certification is a worthwhile investment of time. The exam tests a lot more than just one’s knowledge of basic configuration and screen navigation. Many of the questions cover scenarios of user and technical issues that occur every day, requiring an admin to troubleshoot, find, and fix the issue. Answering the exam questions correctly requires the knowledge of someone who has had experience with the product. You can argue that on a multiple choice test, one can simply guess their way through and pass, but it’s unlikely that any test taker is lucky enough to guess their way through 70 questions, many of which have answers that are very close to being correct or have multiple correct answers to choose from. It takes experience to get a passing score on this exam.

 

The bottom line is that holding a Sugar Admin Certification shows that you have more than a basic knowledge of the product – it shows that you also have experience as well, and that is valuable to you as a job candidate and to your employer. If you have the experience but don’t yet have the certification or don’t feel you need it, why not take the test anyway? It’s 90 minutes of your time, and you just might learn that you don’t yet know everything!

 

Participate in the Sugar Certification Program to validate your knowledge, skills, and abilities on Sugar best practices. Learn more here: Sugar Certification Program - SugarCRM 

Hussain Nasir

CRM for Restaurants

Posted by Hussain Nasir Mar 19, 2018

The restaurant industry heavily relies on human interaction and connection. Although customer relationship management is at the core of any restaurant business, most tend to shy away from adopting a CRM system. Try and imagine a solution that will allow your business to be smarter and help you provide a more personalized experience to your customers while integrating seamlessly into your existing processes and practices. Does all of this sound too good to be true? Well, here are five ways a CRM solution will help you turn this into reality.

1. Integrate existing technologies with your CRM

CRM for restaurants

In this day and age, most restaurants interact with their customers through multiple channels. These may include the restaurant website, social media, emails and other web based content. These channels allow you to obtain valuable feedback and learn more about your clientele. Using a CRM solution puts this treasure trove of data to better use. A CRM is able to effectively gather this information and produce highly personalized reports and analysis, all under one hood.

2. Keep them coming back for more

CRM for restaurants

Personalized reports lead to a more personalized experience for your customers, and that’s bound to be one that they never forget. This is the top priority for any restaurant. With valuable information like contact details, average spending, visit frequency and meal preferences at your disposal, your staff is able to better cater to your customers. Implementing a CRM solution, will also provide you with relevant information so you can better track and handle customer complaints.

3. Optimize your restaurant’s menu

CRM for restaurants

You are bound to have items that are popular than others. Some of these might be well received across the board, some may appeal to a more niche market while the rest may need to be scrapped from the menu altogether. With a CRM, you can monitor and analyze their sales data with great ease and accurately decide what course of action to take. This will not only allow you to boost sales by choosing what stays in your menu but also enable you to innovate more profitable items in the future.

4. Effective marketing campaign management

CRM for restaurants

By integrating marketing and operations data with your CRM system, you will be able to maximize profits by undertaking highly targeted marketing campaigns. With information like visit frequency and average spending, you will be able to approach your clientele with offers and promotions tailored to their needs. For instance, if some customers have not visited recently, you can bring them back using promotional emails. Alternatively, you can target regulars and heavy spenders with personalized discounts and incentives.

5. Integrate your CRM with a payment gateway

CRM for restaurants

To help you better manage your invoices and payments and reduce manual input, you can leverage CRM integration with a payment gateway like Stripe or Authorize.net. This will allow you to focus on more pressing matters like the quality of your menu and service, all the while providing a seamless and secure payment experience to your customers.

The Bottom Line!

A CRM solution provides numerous incentives to restaurant owners. It offers you various valuable insights that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. It grants you full control over your business processes, lets you build committed relationships with your customers and offer them a personal experience that they are unlikely to forget.

Your customers deserve the best. Click HERE to get in touch with our team of certified SugarCRM experts and get free consultation.

Both customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are powerful tools. But combined, they give your company full access to both front-office and back-office activities. In this three-part blog series, Intelestream dives into both the why and how you should connect these two systems.

This blog focuses on the benefits of integration. Stay tuned to blogs 2 and 3 for more information on what data to integrate and best practices to sync.

Understanding the Difference

CRM vs. ERP

The first step in understanding why you should integrate CRM and ERP software is to understand the difference between them.

While both systems keep track of information, they are designed to reach different goals. On the most basic level, CRM software handles your front-office activities, while ERP focuses on the back office.

Customer service and sales teams use CRM to track essential information about customers as they move through the sales funnel. It can also provide useful insights about the ways the sales team interacts with their customers, and provides hard data to managers in the form of reports and analytics.

On the flipside, your ERP system allows you to track customer activity. Sales reps check ERP if they want to know when an order was placed, what products were on the invoice, or what packages left the warehouse.

An ERP system may show some customer data, and a CRM system may show specific sales or details about customers. But in essence, these two systems don’t overlap much.

Connecting CRM and ERP Benefits

When these two systems are separate, you’re not getting a full view of your customer. And when customers call your sales department to find out the status on an order, valuable time is wasted as the sales rep contacts the back office, or tries to figure out an unfamiliar ERP system.

Whether you’re a salesperson or a technician, you need to be efficient.

Here are three of the biggest benefits to linking CRM and ERP systems:

  • They provide better opportunities for mobile applications.

A technician in the field does not have time to log into CRM and look up customer information, then pull up details about past orders and pricing from ERP. So these systems are in one platform, valuable information is now at the technician’s fingertips.

  • They assist with internal controls.

All of the data your team members need will be in the CRM system, which helps eliminate information silos. It also keeps employees out of systems they don’t need to be in (such as a salesperson going through the accounting system), just to find out details about a payment or quote.

  • They boost business intelligence.

 CRM has an opportunity forecast online, while ERP shows historical data, lagging indicators, and past orders. When your team has easy access to all of this information, they will be able to forecast more accurately.

Now that you know why you should connect your CRM and ERP systems, are you wondering what data should be integrated, or how to sync it? If so, check out the next two blogs in this series, which will be available on March 22 and April 5.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software, by definition, manages your customer relationships. It houses all the data points for your current and potential customers in one place. However, CRM capabilities extend beyond clients, and can also keep detailed data about partners, resellers, co-workers and more.

Satellite Offices

Large companies with satellite offices around the country, and even all over the world, have a lot of employees. If a person working in Phoenix needs to reach out a New York counterpart, a CRM system can make this a simple and informed process.

Resellers

Sometimes businesses work with similar companies that resell their products. Resellers would benefit from having access to a CRM-driven portal for registering leads and collaborating with salespeople.

Partners and Vendors

Similar to resellers, you frequently work with various people in different companies. From the person who restocks your coffee to a partner business, keeping a record in an easy-to-find place has merit.

Service Desks

CRM can also play a huge role in service desks. Do customers need a login to submit tickets? Do they want to see their past orders, or track the status of a current order? In an educational setting, where the “customers” are students, a CRM-like system might be used to manage courses or check grades.

In all of these situations, the goal is the same: Using all available data to create a 360-degree view of the customers. It doesn’t matter what the source of the data points come from — even third-party vendors can play a big role — the important thing is that all of this customer data is piped into a CRM system. The more robust the customer data, the better the relationship with the customers can become.

A CRM system can mean anything from a marketing-automation service to a back-end reporting tool for your customers and more. Learn your definition by checking out this informational white paper.

The Problem.

Reporting dashboards. They’re everywhere. They paint the walls of executive board rooms, they’re at the center of forecasting and budgeting discussions, and they sit persistently on the computer monitors of most managers.

They say, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” And trust us, there aren’t many who would disagree with that in our 21st century, data-driven world. But this obsession with sales metrics, and the visibility into those metrics, has led us to neglect the very reason we set out for that visibility: Improvement.

Take this scenario for example:
Jane, the Chief Revenue Officer of a global company, is responsible for 25% growth in new sales this coming year. She communicates this goal down the chain of command, from her national sales directors, to her frontline sales reps.

To improve visibility into this goal’s progress at each level, the company established a policy to make data entry mandatory: Enter everything you did into the Sugar or you don’t get paid.

Each quarter, sales leadership reviews these metrics, so the managers continue with their weekly reviews of each rep’s pipeline in order to report from the field. The national directors advise their managers to focus on selling the new product line, and the managers try to steer their reps in that direction. Due to this structure, the recommendations for course corrections trickle down from the top.

Sounds logical, right? Well, let’s check back in.
Most of the reps seemed receptive to the course correction ideas, but when it came time to engage with a prospect, they found themselves reverting to what is comfortable and easy to talk about: the old product. As the second quarter ends, sales managers realize they’ve become broken records. Each pipeline review is an uphill battle as they try to persuade their reps to focus on the new product line.

So, where did Jane go wrong? Nowhere, she just fell a little short.
Top down management and hierarchical reporting are fundamental in the business world, but are simply not enough in today’s hyper competitive landscape that all businesses face. It takes weeks, sometimes months, for these course corrections to be communicated effectively. With agility at such a premium in today’s world, that just doesn’t cut it

 

The Solution.

Now, no one is telling you to get rid of those dashboards—almost all of them are necessary. But they should only be used for strategic planning and direction. In addition, sales reps need a firm level of tactical support to execute this strategy. In other words, if Jane is looking for 25% revenue growth and relying on new product initiatives to get her there, relying on managers to bludgeon their reps over the head until the new product is sold is an archaic way to approach the problem.

To truly effect change on an organizational scale, each individual sales rep (who we all know is a creature of habit) must feel equipped to change him or herself. And with the modern workforce slowly adopting the millennial mindset, we must offer this equipment with a quick, easy, and consumable flavor.

What does this equipment entail and how should we deliver it?

  1. Information.
    If you want your existing reps to sell a new product or focus on a new vertical, they need to know how. If you want new reps to sell an older product or focus on an existing vertical, they need to know how. But in the world of instant gratification and shortening attention spans, they need to be served this information in bite sized chunks, in the rep’s moment of need. They need just-in-time pieces, rather than 6-month-long fire hoses of information and training. Also, the information must find the rep, because the reality is that most reps don’t want to change what they’re doing— never mind go look for that change.
  2. Real-time guidance.
    Retrospective course corrections are great, and they can happen every Friday at those pipeline reviews. But real-time guidance to steer the ship proactively is a true game changer. In context coaching, suggested next steps, and hyper-relevant training reinforcement materials can help the rep move the deal forward on Monday, making that Friday pipeline review, and those quarterly reviews, a lot more productive for everyone.
  3. Buyer Relationship Intelligence.
    We’re constantly searching for objective visibility into what our reps are up to, but wouldn’t it be nice if your rep had that same visibility into how their buyers were engaging. For a moment, think of your rep as a sales manager, and think of that rep’s champion buyers across the pipeline as their sales team. Painting a clear, objective, and comprehensive picture about each of these buyers is critically important for reps to maintain their pipeline. Because at the end of the day, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

In sum, the argument regarding sales strategy implementation methods should never be “top-down vs. bottom-up.” Instead, it should ask what tools and information can be implemented from the bottom-up to support initiatives that come from the top-down. Of course, the crux here is user adoption. It is important to roll out these pieces of support in a calculated fashion. Too much too soon, and your reps will be overwhelmed. Too little to start, and your reps might not be convinced of the value. With the Accent CRM Supercharger embedded in the Sugar platform, we can grow with you, giving your reps this support in strategic doses. The Accent modular approach to development paired with our crawl, walk, run implementation strategy, ensures your success at each step and brings your reps value with each phase.

If you wish to be successful in nowadays business, you need to both have effective lead generation machine and deliver positive Customer Experience. It's an axiom.

There are 3 typical destroyers of CX that are very often presented together with omnichannel lead generation processes:

  • Your customers get upbeat marketing messages even while they’re in the middle of a heated customer service issue
  • Your customers receive offers for products they already own
  • Your sales push customers who just "rejected" your marketing message

If you wish to deliver positive CX, you need to avoid such situation. It means you should integrate and coordinate your marketing, sales and service activities. Let's see all these cases in more detail.

  • Your customers receive offers for products they already own. It means that your marketing processes and customer information file are not integrated. You need to manage your target lists according to information about all customer's purchases by all existing channels. Don't forget about not completed purchases too, if the time from customer's "YES" to reflecting the data in the customer's file is quite long.
  • Your customers get upbeat marketing messages even while they have unresolved heated service issue. It means that your marketing processes don't use information about key service events. You need to add special trigger control for temporary excluding the customers with unresolved issue or case from the target lists. Don't forget to return these customers in the target lists after resolving the customer's issues, of course, in an automated way too.
  • Your sales team push customers who just "rejected" your marketing message. It means that your sales team don't have timely and convenient access to marketing campaign results by all channels. It's a typical situation when the customer communicates with the call-center (by chat, messenger or mobile app) after receiving marketing message by email. You need to integrate key events of marketing campaigns into sales dashboards for delivering the most up-to-date information for your sales people.

The simplest way to do all these improvements for small and medium business is to pass managing campaigns target lists to CRM system, collect & visualize all key events of marketing campaigns into CRM system sales dashboards. It resolves the challenge of omnichannels marketing but, of course, it presupposes some CRM system' customization:

  • bi-directional integration with you channel automation systems (email, messengers, push notifications, etc.)
  • implementation of some triggers into CRM system logic for including/excluding particular customers from target lists
  • visualization of key marketing and service events on sales dashboards

If you wish to know how it's possible to do it for Sugar and MailerLite, as an example of e-mail automation system, click here.

As the world continues to get more complex in every facet, we are starting to see AI become assistive to help people in their roles.  Utility companies can use drone imagery and thermal mapping in conjunction with AI data to detect and anticipate equipment failure. IBM Watson is helping doctors condense mass amounts of data into something digestible. Many companies are beginning to take advantage of the benefits AI systems can offer, but one thing remains the same, we are only scratching the surface.

 

For sales teams, there have been countless enablement tools that make big claims. Traditional AI tools typically use historical data to generate a “predictive” information analysis to help you shape future results. While that is a good first step, it falls short in a few ways. 

 

  • Not enough data to make a good assessment.

Data entry is not a highly motivating task.  While Accent Technologies allows for automated data entry, there may not be enough data in SugarCRM to make a good correlation to predict results.  That is not any one individual’s fault, it is a collective book of reasons why there may not be enough data. Nonetheless, the lack of data may be prohibitive in moving forward with today’s infant AI/predictive tools.

  • The world keeps changing.

Which means there might be enough data, but sales strategies are always changing. What is considered to be good business today may not be good business going forward.  Maybe the organization has paid for studies that are telling it to go in a different direction or focus in a certain industry or market. Or maybe you just need to make adjustment so your sales team can focus on more attractive business, low hanging fruit, more profitable business or beyond that. The point is that strategies change, and models have to allow an organization to create success first. Then machine learning can help amplify those successes throughout the organization.

  • Not having quality data.

For example, and as an exaggeration of the example:  if you had 100 sales people and they were all “A” players and they all forecasted deals 2 weeks before they were considered a “win” and subsequent closure of the deal, you may have bad quality data to be predicting future events on. This is, of course, an exaggerated example but it can go many different ways. Sales reps may be putting in more than what is real, potentially “forecasting” deals that may not be actually progressing. Additionally, reps might be successful in areas that may no longer be strategically valuable to the company. Whatever the case is, there needs to be a check for the quality of data.

  • The models are based only on historical quantitative big data (or just data).

What about the “thick data”?  The human insight that can’t be quantified.  Tricia Wang, a Technology ethnographer, discusses this at length and why it is important to combine big data with thick data so you can provide the lost context surrounding the quantitative findings.  This goes back to the point made in number 2. We have to allow adjustment of the models through machine learning or manual intervention.

 

The bottom line is predicting what might close and prioritizing opportunities are two separate endeavors. Probability should be taken into consideration, but other variables (both quantitative and qualitative) should also be considered. These variables can range from a number of different categories like sales productivity, sales performance management, compensation planning tools, optimization tools, coachability of the sellers, etc.

 

Accent Technologies has determined that long-term success requires short-term adjustments. We design our standard models with the capability to be flexible out of the box. This allows teams to make adjustments as they go through deployment or make strategic changes in the future. With a flexible algorithm that can be easily adjusted,  your human experts can inject that “thick” data into the equation which will ultimately bring you the most value . We also leverage different data sources to ensure there is sufficient quantitative data flowing. Understanding your historical data, where you want to go and how to get there, will lead the way in effective use of AI. Giving the steering wheel to the organization is a part of what we do and how we help companies execute their strategy. 

 

Come see a demo at SugarCRM’s Sales Kickoff!

You must be familiar with big data and the endless possibilities that come with it. However, today I would like to bring your attention to Small Data which, contrary to its name, just might be the Next Big Thing.

Lindstrom, the branding expert and bestselling author seems to share our opinion as he breaks away from the marketing herd in his new book titled, “Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends”.

Lindstrom believes that we have become so focused on Big Data that we tend to forget about the basics concepts and creativity. He defines Small Data, “as seemingly insignificant observations you identify in consumers’ homes, is everything from how you place your shoes to how you hang your paintings”. Therefore he believes that in order to mine and find correlations, one should perfectly master the basics, Small Data.

What is small data?

Small data is data that is small enough for human comprehension. It is data in a volume and format that makes it accessible, informative and actionable. [Wikipedia]
According to the small data group – Small data connects people with timely, meaningful insights (derived from big data and/or “local” sources), organized and packaged – often visually – to be accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyday tasks.

Difference between Big Data and Small Data?

Big Data is basically all about finding the correlations, but Small Data is all about finding the causation, the reason why. We can comprehend Big Data by reducing the data into small objects representing various aspects of large data sets (like charts and histograms).

 

Big Data

Small Data

Source

Data is generated from external sources i.e. Social media, device data, images, etc.Data is generated within the enterprise i.e. from CRM system, web transactions, and financial data.

Volume

Terabytes to Zettabytes.Gigabytes to Terabytes.

Speed

Real time.Near real time.

Variety

Structured, Unstructured, Multistructured.Structured, Unstructured.

Value

Complex, advanced, predictive business analysis and insights.Business intelligence, analysis and reporting.

 

Why Integrate Small Data with your CRM?

1. Get more personal

With small data you can get more personal both in terms of your ability to adapt your marketing and sales efforts to need of your customers and also in terms of the data your business CRM captures.
Small data allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns specific to different customer groups like B2B buyers and e-commerce buyers. You can get valuable insights into the visitor’s online behavior which allows you to choose the best channels to reach and engage with them. In short small data integration into your CRM can give a personalized experience at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

2. Get real time insights

With small data all the useful customer data is at your fingertips allowing you to make real time decisions. The information together with CRM helps you to understand the buying decisions of different prospects. Apart from improving the process of lead generation and sales, this also revolutionizes the way you market to your customers.

3. Get immediate Return on Investment

Being simple and manageable small data delivers results more quickly. Small Data together with the CRM allows the collection of daily information about the user behavior and then pushes this information directly to your sales and marketing teams. This reduces the time spent on compiling unnecessary data and also proactively improves your customer relationship.

The Bottom Line!

Experts at Forbes are now of the view – Forget Big Data, Small Data is driving the internet of things”.
Small data is real time, actionable data and can be easily collected within your CRM. Together, Small Data and CRM can revolutionize how you approach sales and marketing for ages to come.

Be part of the revolution. Contact us  for your free consultation session.

When launching a customer relationship management (CRM) program, you want to do it right. Your company invests significant amounts of time, energy and money on your software. There are 5 concrete steps you should take to ensure you get the most from your investment.

Looking for a quick hit list for reasons why your CRM fails and how to fix them? We’ve got you covered.

1. Identify your need

Diving into a CRM project without a game plan is a recipe for disaster. Most executives and employees can appreciate the benefits of housing all customer information in one easily accessible system. When it comes to actually implementing that CRM solution, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scope of what needs to accomplished. Like any big project, it helps to break things down into manageable steps and clear priorities.

Are you implementing a new CRM system? Answer the following questions:

  • What type of efficiencies am I looking to achieve?
  • What departments are involved?
  • Who should be the CRM champion?
  • What is the budget for this project? What are the most important tasks you want to accomplish?

If you are rebooting/upgrading your system, consider these questions:

  • Does your system meet your original needs?
  • Were there efficiencies not accomplished?
  • Are there breakdowns in the sales process you are hoping to correct?
  • What is the budget for this project?
  • What is most important in the reboot to change?

2. Choose your vendor

There are a lot of CRM software options on the market. Taking the time to figure out exactly what you want your CRM to do makes it much easier to find the right vendor. With a clear list of requirements — essential software capabilities, available modules, plugin compatibility, price points — you can quickly identify the perfect vendor for your needs.

When selecting your CRM software partner, consider the strength of the vendor’s product and their experience in the CRM market. Have they worked with companies similar to your size? Do they have experience with your industry, and understand how to integrate specialized tools like ERP or CPQ systems? Additionally, does the vendor’s corporate vision complement your own? What is the knowledge level of the vendor’s employees?

3. Understand the use

Once you have identified the right CRM partner, it’s time to think about how the system will actually be used on a daily basis. Who will use the CRM? Will it be primarily used by the sales team? Will customer service and marketing teams also need access? If so, what will their use cases be? How will the CRM integrate their existing workflows and tools? How can the system make their work easier, faster, or more efficient? As you craft your CRM plans, make sure to include ample time and budget to allow for user testing and training.

4. Create phases

It’s best to roll out your CRM implementation in phases.This allows you to slowly introduce key pieces of the CRM while also allowing for adjustments and revisions. If some critical element of a process or workflow has been overlooked, the entire CRM project won’t need to be halted while a solution is found. This approach also allows managers to gain insight into the process, identifying inefficiencies, areas where additional training is needed, or potential problems for the next phase of the roll out. This staggered approach to release also helps to prevent the staff from feeling overwhelmed by the new system, greatly reducing the odds of CRM failure through low user adoption rates.

5. Reassess and adjust

Once the new CRM is in place, it’s important to step back and assess the results. Almost all CRM projects require a few adjustments after their initial launch. By making a few tweaks to the system early on, it’s possible to save substantial amounts of time and money that would otherwise be lost to minor inefficiencies. This is also a great time to compare the current CRM product with your goals. Check back to those initial questions you answered about what you wanted from your CRM. If the CRM isn’t generating the results you hoped for, now is the time to find out why. In most cases, these problems have relatively simple fixes. Don’t be discouraged! The hard part — the actual CRM implementation — is done. Now, you just need to fine tune the results.

Get the most out of your CRM platform. Take a journey with us. Download our white paper about the power of successful CRM implementation.

Getting paid by customers promptly is essential for businesses as they need cash to manage their daily operations. Delays in payments could put businesses at risk of facing serious cash flow problems. While SugarCRM is a great platform to handle customer interactions to build excellent customer relationships, an out-of-the-box Sugar solution does not suffice when it comes to generating invoices and managing financial transactions.

The reason why SugarCRM has gained widespread recognition in the CRM industry is that it is highly flexible, scalable and extensible. Businesses have faith in SugarCRM since it provides them a centralized and unified platform to manage their complete operations. In order to make the payment handling process hassle free for our clients,  we have integrated Sugar with leading payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, SagePay etc.  Moreover, we have done some pretty awesome customizations that enabled them to reap the full benefits of Sugar. I will discuss about the payment gateways integration in detail in another post. Here, I am going to share a few of the customizations that helped our clients automate payment processes.

1. Credit Card Customization

Payment Handling Customizations in SugarCRM

The world is moving towards a cashless economy. With a surge in e-commerce and customers preferring to pay online, businesses cannot afford to lose out on potential customers by not incorporating this feature in Sugar. With this customization, the credit card details of the clients are saved in Sugar when they buy something for the first time. When clients place an order again, payment is automatically deducted from their credit cards. Hence, customers do not have to manually enter their card details every time they make a purchase.

2. Currency Customization

Payment Handling Customizations in SugarCRM

What if your company operates in the global market and has to regularly deal with international clients? Your CRM should be able to handle financial transactions in multiple currencies and this customization achieves just that. It allows you to easily and seamlessly convert financial information from one currency to data. This results in greater efficiency by reducing manual conversions and smoothens international operations.

3. Payment Module Customization

Payment Handling Customizations in SugarCRM

Businesses need to offer a wide range of payment methods to facilitate faster payments and attract more customers. There are statistics that support the fact that your conversion rate will increase if you offer multiple methods of payment.

This customization lets businesses accept credit cards, cash on delivery and cheques on their website. Not only does it make your business look more professional but also empowers you to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers.

Key Takeaway!

Sugar is an amazingly powerful tool but if you do not customize it, you are unlikely to get the desired ROI. Payment handling is an extremely important aspect of any business and therefore, care needs to be taken that the entire process is swift, secure and smooth. Whether you intend to integrate any payment gateway with Sugar or desire to get any module customized, you should get in touch with a firm that specializes in CRM customization. As SugarCRM certified partners, we will be more than happy to give you a FREE consultation session.

When launching a customer relationship management (CRM) program, you want to do it right. Your company invests significant amounts of time, energy and money on your software. There are 5 concrete steps you should take to ensure you get the most from your investment.

Looking for a quick hit list for reasons why your CRM fails and how to fix them? We’ve got you covered.

1. Identify your need

Diving into a CRM project without a game plan is a recipe for disaster. Most executives and employees can appreciate the benefits of housing all customer information in one easily accessible system. When it comes to actually implementing that CRM solution, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scope of what needs to accomplished. Like any big project, it helps to break things down into manageable steps and clear priorities.

Are you implementing a new CRM system? Answer the following questions:

  • What type of efficiencies am I looking to achieve?
  • What departments are involved?
  • Who should be the CRM champion?
  • What is the budget for this project? What are the most important tasks you want to accomplish?

If you are rebooting/upgrading your system, consider these questions:

  • Does your system meet your original needs?
  • Were there efficiencies not accomplished?
  • Are there breakdowns in the sales process you are hoping to correct?
  • What is the budget for this project?
  • What is most important in the reboot to change?

2. Choose your vendor

There are a lot of CRM software options on the market. Taking the time to figure out exactly what you want your CRM to do makes it much easier to find the right vendor. With a clear list of requirements — essential software capabilities, available modules, plugin compatibility, price points — you can quickly identify the perfect vendor for your needs.

When selecting your CRM software partner, consider the strength of the vendor’s product and their experience in the CRM market. Have they worked with companies similar to your size? Do they have experience with your industry, and understand how to integrate specialized tools like ERP or CPQ systems? Additionally, does the vendor’s corporate vision complement your own? What is the knowledge level of the vendor’s employees?

3. Understand the use

Once you have identified the right CRM partner, it’s time to think about how the system will actually be used on a daily basis. Who will use the CRM? Will it be primarily used by the sales team? Will customer service and marketing teams also need access? If so, what will their use cases be? How will the CRM integrate their existing workflows and tools? How can the system make their work easier, faster, or more efficient? As you craft your CRM plans, make sure to include ample time and budget to allow for user testing and training.

4. Create phases

It’s best to roll out your CRM implementation in phases.This allows you to slowly introduce key pieces of the CRM while also allowing for adjustments and revisions. If some critical element of a process or workflow has been overlooked, the entire CRM project won’t need to be halted while a solution is found. This approach also allows managers to gain insight into the process, identifying inefficiencies, areas where additional training is needed, or potential problems for the next phase of the roll out. This staggered approach to release also helps to prevent the staff from feeling overwhelmed by the new system, greatly reducing the odds of CRM failure through low user adoption rates.

5. Reassess and adjust

Once the new CRM is in place, it’s important to step back and assess the results. Almost all CRM projects require a few adjustments after their initial launch. By making a few tweaks to the system early on, it’s possible to save substantial amounts of time and money that would otherwise be lost to minor inefficiencies. This is also a great time to compare the current CRM product with your goals. Check back to those initial questions you answered about what you wanted from your CRM. If the CRM isn’t generating the results you hoped for, now is the time to find out why. In most cases, these problems have relatively simple fixes. Don’t be discouraged! The hard part — the actual CRM implementation — is done. Now, you just need to fine tune the results.

Get the most out of your CRM platform. Take a journey with us. Download our white paper about the power of successful CRM implementation.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software houses all your customer data in one place. Whether your sales team is primarily at the office, or out in the field, essential customer information is always at their fingertips. Thanks to this easily accessible data, your sales team has new tools to enhance every aspect of their work. It’s even possible for salespeople to check the status of prospects, identifying their exact placement in the sales funnel. That’s also great news for sale managers, allowing them to instantly track their team’s performance and determine where leads tend to stall out in the sales process.

There’s more to tracking sales performance than simply measuring the number of calls made and deals closed. The more customer and sales data you collect, the clearer the overall picture becomes. A CRM not only provides you with a system for tracking the “activities” of your sales team — calls made, emails sent, meetings taken — it also enables you to measure the “motion” of your sales efforts. This allows you measure the effectiveness and efficiency of any sales strategy or activity.

By tracking sales motion, you can see how many potential customers are being moved through the sales funnel by your team. For the first time, you can see something once thought to be impossible: Tracking the ‘untrackable.’

Instead of viewing performance in terms of a specific set of actions, tracking motion allows you to measure process over time, gauging the success of your sales efforts over weeks, months, quarters, and years. It also gives you a greater degree of control over the sales funnel itself. If prospects are stuck at a stage in the sales funnel, reps and managers can collaborate on ideas for moving them forward.

This new approach to the sales funnel can be baked right into the CRM itself, with the necessary tools and processes for tracking sales and activities and motions being put in place during the CRM design and implementation phases. These tools can provide the insights you need to win deals, create strong customer relationships, and develop strong strategies for the future.

Benefits include:

  • Better management of your sales pipeline.
  • Enhanced communication between marketing and sales teams.
  • Optimized demand generation efforts.
  • Greater insight into your sales operations.

To get a better idea of how these benefits truly work, lets take a look from the perspective of a VP of sales. Tracking motion within a CRM, allows the VP to know how many viable opportunities have become stuck in some stage of the company’s sales funnel and can easily track how long the opportunities have been lodged there. From there, the VP can determine if the opportunity is stuck there because the deal stalled out or if the reps didn’t have the knowledge or resources needed to move them along to the next stage. The additional information CRM software provides grants the VP the ability to make educated decisions, instead of shooting in the dark or hoping for the best.

By examining the sales process, it’s even possible eliminate these “logjams” before they happen.

Download our white paper for tips on measuring sales success.

Few things are as frustrating as going through the expensive, time-consuming process of implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system, only to see it fail. It’s an all-too-common problem, with multiple industry studies claiming failure rates between 47% and 63% for new CRMs. To avoid this costly situation, it’s important to understand how and why a CRM fails. If identified early, most of these issues can be corrected long before they threaten the entire CRM project.

Let’s take a look at the 25 most common reasons that a CRM fails, and how to fix them.

1. Lack of user adoption 
Low user-adoption rates are the root cause of most customer relationship management (CRM) project failures. This happens when your employees and other CRM users actively resist learning essentials of the system. Perhaps the CRM isn’t well integrated with existing workflows and processes, or the system is just more confusing than it needs to be. This situation can often be avoided by bringing end users into the design and user-experience testing processes, and by enhancing CRM training.

Looking for an innovative way to engage employees and improve user adoption? Check out Splash, a CRM gamification integration.

2. Lack of vision
One of the biggest mistakes companies make going into a CRM project is not setting specific goals and targets. CRM software is designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing it to be used in a wide range of industries and use cases. Without a clear vision of what you need your CRM to accomplish, it can be easy to lose focus over the planning and implementation process. The more specific your plans are for what the CRM — including how employees will use it in their daily work, and how it will improve your KPIs — the more likely it is that the implementation will be a success.

3. Thinking it’s just a technology solution
It’s easy for companies to get excited about the technology behind their CRM projects, but it’s important to remember that these software solutions should always be in service of enhancing customer relationships. The technology alone can’t improve those relationships. When the CRM’s technology is combined with the right workflows, operated by well-trained staff, and managed thoughtfully, the system’s full potential can be tapped into to generate powerful results.

4. Not putting the customer at the center
While CRM technology provides a wealth of tools for boosting the efficiency of your business, improving your processes, and providing insights into your sales cycle, its true purpose is to enhance your relationships with your customers. When a CRM is designed without your customers’ needs in mind — focusing solely on increasing sales KPIs, for instance — many of the software’s best features simply go to waste. A well-designed CRM starts with the customer right at the center.

5. Poor planning
Implementing a CRM system is not a simple task. It’s a multi-stage process, refining a general outline into clear workflows, software systems, data curation, user testing, and employee training. It’s not a process that benefits from trying to figure it out on the fly. Every moment invested in planning serves to prevent later confusion and frustration, ultimately helping to prevent a CRM fail

6. No plan for evolving
It’s no surprise that most companies design their CRMs with only their current needs in mind. A good business changes and evolves over time, creating new products and services for it’s customers. A good CRM needs to be designed with this growth in mind, allowing for expansion, refinement, and other future needs. This includes a process for identifying issues and improvements to include in the next iteration of the CRM.

7. Scope creep
Great ideas excite everyone who hears about them. A CRM project that seeks to improve sales pipeline management may be such a compelling concept that the customer satisfaction team decides that they want a piece of the project, too. Before long, everyone wants in. What began as a relatively small project now needs to serve the needs of multiple departments, and account for dozens of use cases. The project’s scope grows after every meeting, making it increasingly likely that the project will collapse under its own weight. Don’t let this happen. Clearly define your project. Once you have that plan, stick to it.

8. Too much all at once
One way to balance an expanding CRM project is to break up your implementation into manageable pieces. Planning the system is one distinct stage, for instance, as is user testing, design revision, and employee training. Trying to rush the process by combining or skipping these stages usually results in serious problems with the overall implementation. To keep the implementation process moving smoothly, it’s essential to keep each stage manageable, and with realistic timelines.

9. Lack of training
No matter how you decide to roll out your CRM software, it’s imperative that you fully train your team. CRM software can have a steep learning curve, presenting a challenge even for relatively tech-savvy people. Cutting down on training time might seem like a good way to trim the project’s budget, but in practice it usually results in low user adoption rates and increased risk of CRM failure. If you want your team to make the most of the CRM software, don’t skimp on the training.

10. Lack of support
In an ideal world, your CRM project would have a “champion” on staff to act as a software guru, cheerleader, and point person. If you don’t have a CRM champion, however, it’s absolutely vital to get a high level of support from your CRM vendor. Your team will always have questions about the system, and your software will inevitably need revisions and tweaks as your business grows and changes. Your CRM partners need to be available to help at every step of the way, not just at implementation.

11. Wrong vendor
Can your CRM fail simply because you chose the wrong partners? Yes! Some vendors take a cookie-cutter approach to their work, delivering a bare-bones CRM that isn’t customized to the client’s unique needs. If a conflict arises between their client’s business processes and their one-size-fits-all software, they prefer to change the business rather than modify their own code. A true CRM partner will always build a customized solution that fits your needs.

12. Choosing the wrong software
Choosing the right partner is important to your success, but so is selecting the right software. It can be tempting to choose the cheapest CRM software licenses, for instance, until you realize that customizing it to fit your company’s needs is often far more expensive than just buying the right software in first place. Other companies will make the opposite mistake, spending a small fortune on an expensive system with a ton of features that they will never use. Cost is important, but it should be a secondary consideration to finding the right CRM software for your company’s needs.

13. Too many bells and whistles
CRM software is designed with customization mind, with dozens of modules and add-ons that can be configured to work for countless possible use cases. Unfortunately, some companies make the mistake of trying to make use of all of those options at once, rather than only using those that are essential for their specific needs. A great CRM provides a lean user experience, only making use of those elements which are absolutely necessary. Why force your teams to learn systems they will never use, or add additional steps to a process that should be simple? The more intuitive and streamlined the user experience, the better the user adoption rate.

14. No measurable objectives
How would know if you have implemented a well-designed CRM solution? If it was failing, how would you detect it? Without the right metrics, there’s really no way to tell if the CRM is a success. Your CRM project needs clear, measurable objectives that can be easily tracked, analyzed, and evaluated. This allows you to make timely changes to the CRM itself, workflows, and even training long before the CRM is at risk of failure.

15. No executive buy-in
In order for your CRM system to have its best success, everyone involved with the process needs to be on board. While your sales and marketing departments may be able to easily grasp the value of a CRM, the advantages might not be as obvious to other departments. This can even apply to executives, who may focus more on the costs of a new CRM than on the benefits. It’s not enough for the C-Suite planners to acquiesce to trying out a CRM, they need to be 100% behind it. The better their understanding of the value the CRM brings to the company, the more invested they will become in its long-term success.

16. Look at your business through your customers’ eyes
The fundamental job of a CRM is to efficiently assemble customer information in one central location, and to make it easily accessible when needed. There are countless ways to organize this system, and typically this data is organized in the way that is easiest for the company, rather than the customer. In some cases — such as customer support — this company-centric approach isn’t always the optimal one. If your CRM is failing, it’s worth taking a step back to see how your customers (usually through your employees) interact with your CRM. You may find some surprising disconnects, roadblocks, and other frustrations that are only obvious when you work backwards from the customer’s experience.

17. Failing to involve end users
Your CRM should always be designed around the needs of the people who will use it most. A workflow that makes sense to a CRM vendor’s coder or UX designer might be bafflingly unintuitive or painfully slow to the salesperson, support desk agent, or data entry worker who has to use that system all day, every day. These end users are often the very people who ultimately determine if a CRM project succeeds or fails. If the system is poorly designed and implemented, those users will either avoid using it, or — even worse — use it in a way that makes the process less efficient than not having a CRM in the first place. By bringing these end users into the planning and user-testing stages, these headaches and costs can often be avoided completely.

18. In-house CRM coordinator picked randomly
Businesses often toss the job at the CTO or COO, as the CRM is a technology-driven tool. In some cases, the Director of Marketing or Sales may be assigned to the task, as CRMs are built around customer relationships. Another common choice for a CRM coordinator is a mid-level IT manager. There are better ways to select your CRM coordinator. This person needs to have the time, the ability to plan and a passion for the project. Learn more about choosing your CRM champion.

19. Bogus data
Your CRM software works because it provides insight into the customer data you collect. If your data is bad — corrupt, outdated, or just incorrect — there’s nothing that the CRM can do to make it useful. To get meaningful results, your data needs to be as pristine and complete as possible. Before you start your CRM project, make sure your data — and the methods you use to collect it — are in the best shape possible.

20. Employees don’t trust the data
It’s not always the CRM itself that causes CRM failure. Sometimes, the CRM’s data sources are to blame. A good example of this is incomplete or incorrectly entered customer data, which can make employees skeptical about the information in the CRM. If the wrong names or phone numbers are tied to prospect data, for instance, it’s not hard to see why a salesperson would be reluctant to rely on the CRM to make sales calls. If there’s a problem with how the data is getting into the system — poor data entry training, for instance — nothing you can do to the CRM itself will address this. Instead, workers need to be retrained using best practices.

21. Business and tech teams don’t work together
Every department in your company plays a vital role in the overall success of the business. At the same time, these departments also have their own priorities, considerations, and ideas about how to tackle any given problem. When a project comes along that crosses through multiple departments — like a new CRM — one of the biggest hurdles to success is often getting these teams on the same page to reach a mutually beneficial solution. This often often means breaking down departmental barriers, freeing data from dedicated department silos, and creating uniform (or at least consistent) processes for accessing and using customer information. Your business and tech teams may need to work together in new ways to make sure that everyone is getting the most from CRM software.

22. Team members don’t understand their role
From in-house office assistants to field sales agents, everyone the company will need to upload data to the CRM at some point. The processes for getting that data into the CRM, however, may be completely different depending on the use case. This needs to be reflected within the CRM interface, and it also needs to be supported by both adequate user training and documentation. When this support isn’t available, the CRM soon stops being effective. To get the most out of the CRM, each team member needs to fully understand their specific use case.

23. CRM is not the center of your business
Every business has specific tools — like email and spreadsheets — that act as the “center of gravity” of the operation. What happens when a more efficient tool, like CRM, disrupts the established workflow? It can create a situation where workers avoid using the better tool in favor of more familiar ones. Learn more benefits of having a CRM-focused center of gravity.

24. CRM is considered a one-time thing
A CRM system should ebb and flow with your business. A great CRM isn’t the result of a single, perfectly executed implementation. Instead, it’s created by ongoing refinements, revisions, and expansions. The CRM is never “perfect” because your business is always changing. If your CRM is failing, it might simply need to be updated and given a little room to grow. At the same time, a great implementation partner won’t abandon the project when the CRM is finally up and running. Instead, they will check in with you regularly, providing the ideas and support you need to keep the CRM healthy.

25. Attempting the process alone
A CRM system can catapult your company’s efficiency if you implement it properly. The best way to do that is to partner with a customer relationship management software expert to ensure you are engaging your employees and getting the most from your investment.

Looking for a CRM implementation partner? Intelestream is here to help. Call us at 800-391-4055 or contact us today!
And don't forget to check out our killer apps on SugarExchange!

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. –Benjamin Franklin

I will cut straight to the chase. There is a long list of reasons why SugarCRM has managed to establish its footprint in the CRM industry in such a short span of time. Loved by SMB’s to large enterprises alike, SugarCRM has always put its customers at the heart of its organization. Regardless of company size or industry vertical, SugarCRM has managed to transform businesses to drive profitability and increase customer satisfaction.

If that still does not answer the fundamental question why SugarCRM? Let me  share with you the top six reasons why SugarCRM is an optimal CRM solution for your business.

 

1. Affordability

SugarCRM has somehow managed to pull off the ‘More for Less’ value proposition in the CRM industry. Although SugarCRM no longer offers its FREE Sugar Community Edition, the other three editions cost way less than their counterparts. With all the core CRM capabilities that require a one time payment and no hidden fees and complexity, SugarCRM is an affordable CRM solution that you can blindly trust.

 

2. Easy to use

Choose SugarCRM for your business

With a simple user interface that is easy to navigate, your employees will not find it difficult to use Sugar at all. Sugar is known to have a high user adoption rate, a must have feature as it is ultimately the end users who determine the success or failure of implementing a CRM system.

 

3. Customizable

Choose SugarCRM for your business

No matter which CRM you purchase, a default solution will not empower you to carry out all your operations. The need for customization would always arise. You would like to get your SugarCRM theme, modules, dashboards, workflows, fields etc. customized to have a complete bespoke system that would serve as an all encompassing platform to manage your business. SugarCRM takes the lead in this area too. As an open source CRM, you can get Sugar configured according to your exact business needs.

 

4. Integratable

Choose SugarCRM for your business

Customizations would only get half the job done. To get 100% results, you need to connect your Sugar with all the departments of your organization through third-party plugins/integrations. SugarCRM allows you to virtually connect with any software that you desire be it marketing automation, sales automation, social media, payment gateways, data analytics, content management systems, ecommerce platforms, etc.

 

5. Reporting

Choose SugarCRM for your business

Sugar is extremely competent in comparison to other CRMs when it comes to handling large amounts of data. It lets you gather data from various modules to generate reports that give you an excellent handle on your analytics. In addition to the four basic reports, Sugar lets you create advanced reports. And even if that does not suffice, you can get custom reports built to analyze the wealth of information stored inside the database.

 

6. Deployment

Choose SugarCRM for your business

One of the most distinctive features of SugarCRM is the deployment options it offers. SugarCRM supports four deployment methods: On-Demand, Private Cloud, Public Cloud and On-Premise. You get complete freedom to choose from any of the four options and can always make a switch as your customer base grows and business evolves.

 

We are here to help

With Sugar by your side, meaningful customer relationships and excellent customer service are just a click away. So what are you waiting for?. Contact us to schedule a FREE business analysis session

We hear a lot about analytics or artificial intelligence.  But the question I have is, can you see it?  Do you know what it feels like when you ACTUALLY see it?

 

I equate the feeling to an experience I had this past weekend while surfing with a friend in Satellite Beach, Florida. We were minding our own business waiting for the waves to come in, when suddenly a spinner shark breached the surface of the water in full spinning mode. Picture a 4-5 foot (1-2 meter) shark jumping out of the water and spinning about 5 times.  What a sight to see!

 

The spinner shark was about 12-15 feet (4+ meters) away from us.  After the shock passed, we began to contemplate: should we get out of the water? We looked at each other and said “wow, that was cool,” and decided to keep surfing. 

 

Now picture yourself in the water with a shark VERY close and you can feel the vulnerability you experience with a new level of visibility. Yes, it was a bit scary, and it was definitely on our minds as we kept surfing, but being face to face with the dangers of the water made us more alert and conscious to pay attention to the water around us and not just the waves.

 

Seeing the shark in the water, is like finally experiencing the visualizations in SugarCRM for all the things that analytics companies claim. Accent Technologies brings this new level of visibility, supercharging SugarCRM, so the reps can be more productive and effective.  This level of visibility lets the reps and the managers quickly assess what is going on without sifting through spreadsheets or lines of data trying to filter and figure out what has changed on the opportunity from the last time they spoke.  It allows you to see activities and the effectiveness of those activities.


This is important for several reasons:

 

  • Analytics or business intelligence typically rely on historical data that is stored in Sugar. Accent leverages historical data but without requiring any additional data entry by the rep, it adds additional components like company specific standards that drive the desired behavior of the business.  This allows the reps to go after what the business decides are attractive opportunities and is always delivered real time. 
  • Additionally, our smart digital assistant, gets the reps aligned with the right activities and visualizations that help move those opportunities to the next step.
  • Powered by intelligent analytics, Accent delivers more accurate forecasts helping prioritize the right opportunities at the right time for better forecast accuracy. Algorithms based on different model types allow for the system to learn what is an ideal opportunity, what activities are most effective and visually representing what is happening in real time.

 

See the shark! Visualize the value with Accent Technologies and SugarCRM.  Stay tuned for our announcement and expect to see us on SugarExchange soon.