SugarCRM today released its Fall ’17 version of SugarOn-Demand, designed to help sales teams share data and work together more effectively.

“SugarCRM customers want innovation, but they also want predictability, two concepts that can sometimes be at odds with each other. Our new release schedule for the Sugar cloud offerings will help us innovate within a predictable release schedule, invest heavily in UX design, quality, and scale, and simplify cloud development and deployment,” said Rich Green, chief product officer at SugarCRM, in a statement. “The first example of our accelerated innovation is this new feature set packed into the Sugar Fall ’17 update. This update is designed to make the CRM, and the data within in it, more easily shared, organized and analyzed.”

The Sugar Fall ’17 release’s major updates include the following:

  • Shareable Dashboards for various modules, like leads, opportunities and accounts. Sugar admins can set up default dashboards for different departments and groups.
  • Drill-Through Charts to help users better understand what’s behind the numbers, faster. Users can double-click on a chart segment to reveal further details without needing to create a separate report.
  • New Email Module redesigned to provide a central view of all relevant email records. Emails are associated with accounts and contacts and can be organized by filtering, searching, and tagging. The new module also serves as an email management solution for emails archived via various services.

“The ability to easily analyze data within the CRM will help our company more effectively drive decisions in order to remain customer-focused,” said Missy Brooks, CRM administrator at Milsoft, in a statement. “Sugar’s new drill-through charts feature in the latest release allows us to explore the details behind the numbers. We can actively monitor our sales pipeline and new opportunities, without needing to create a bunch of separate reports.”

 

SugarCRM Inc., the company that enables businesses to create extraordinary customer relationships with the most empowering, adaptable and affordable CRM solution on the market announced today it has been named a visionary in Gartner’s 2017 “Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation.”

Gartner evaluated 16 vendors for the 2017 Sales Force Automation report based on each company’s “completeness of vision” and its “ability to execute” on that vision.

SugarCRM believes its improved position for ability to execute in the SFA Magic Quadrant is because the company has focused on making Sugar attractive and easy to use for sales reps, easy to configure and customize so it fits the organization’s unique business environment, and to go along with flexible deployment options.

“We are proud of the impressive pace and scope of product innovation across the Sugar product line, especially in mobile, UX and our advanced workflow offerings,” said Martin Schneider, head of evangelism at SugarCRM. “SugarCRM believes its improved position for ability to execute in the SFA Magic Quadrant is due to the company’s continued focus on making Sugar attractive and easy to use for sales reps, easy to configure and customize so it fits the organization’s unique business environment, and its flexible deployment options.”

Earlier this year, SugarCRM introduced Sugar 7.9 with a brand new Quotes system, redesigned from the ground up. It also introduced Sugar Mobile 5.0 with improved navigation and re-ordered tabs and elements to reduce the number of clicks needed to reach critical CRM data. Finally, SugarCRM recently launched SugarCRM Hint, the debut product from the company’s new relationship intelligence product line.

To read the Gartner report in its entirety, please click here.

Gartner, “Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation 2017,” Tad Travis, Ilona Hansen, Julian Poulter, July 13, 2017.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

SugarCRM has released a new feature that will save salespeople time Googling their prospects.

‘Hint’ is the debut product from the company’s new Relationship Intelligence product line. It lets end users provide only basic contact details (e.g. email, name, company) for an individual and then it automatically searches, tunes, and inputs the rest of the personal and corporate profile details for that contact.

Hint gathers and analyses customer intelligence from a broad range of social data sources so users can quickly and efficiently learn more about their prospects to establish a productive relationship, the company said.

The product is designed to increase productivity by decreasing the time salespeople spend on administrative work, allowing them to focus on substantive research, make calls and build business relationships to drive closings.

“For almost two decades, consumers have used the web to acquire information in a frictionless, simple and repeatable fashion. Contrast that with today’s business applications, where value is directly related to the amount of information provided directly by you and your colleagues,” said Rich Green, chief product officer at SugarCRM.

“With Hint, we are flipping the enterprise data model to that of the consumer world and placing more accurate and timely data in front of the CRM user at internet scale. This concept is the foundation of our new Relationship Intelligence product line and is leading the natural evolution of CRM, moving it from being a record of what has already happened to a customer-facing employee’s guide to the future.”

Future SugarCRM Relationship Intelligence products will rely on predictive analytics and machine learning techniques. These analysis techniques evaluate large data sets to reveal insightful patterns, prioritise opportunities, identify issues and make intelligent recommendations for next best actions in customer interactions and processes.

SugarCRM Hint is now available in the US and is due to be released in APJ later this year. It is available for an introductory price of US$15 per user, per month.

Contact InnoventCRM today to see how much time Hint will save you 1300 781 681 or info@innoventcrm.com.au

Anyone who has ever been responsible for CRM implementation has faced the employees’ resistance. In this article, we will examine the reasons for such reaction, possible methods for their elimination and impact of these methods on CRM project budgets.

While analyzing dozens of projects on CRM implementation and business processes optimization where I was involved as a business consultant and project manager, the following clusters of reasons have been identified:

1. Instinctive fear of changes
2. Unwillingness to increase the “transparence” of their own work
3. Inconvenience of use.

Let us examine each of them in more detail.

Instinctive Fear of Changes

It is quite common and less dangerous reason for resistance when implementing CRM.
Viscerally, we treat all changes, the nature and consequence of which we do not understand, as a potential threat. This is a normal defensive reaction of human consciousness, which is intrinsic for most people.

As is known, conjectures give rise to fears, and lack of reliable information gives rise to conjectures. It is the lack of information on purposes and methods of CRM implementation as well as the impact of CRM on business as usual that causes such a protective reaction from employees.

These fears only exist at the initial stage, when the company is implementing or revamping CRM. New employees who come after implementation of changes will take CRM for granted, and they will take rules for working with it in good part.

In order to minimize this factor it is necessary from the moment of making a decision and throughout the CRM implementation project to give employees the answers to the following questions:

1. Which goals must be achieved throughout the project implementation?
2. What employees will change habitual methods of work and why?
3. How will these changes affect personal income of employees and career opportunities?
4. What tasks will be easier to solve compared to the current state?
5. What new methods of work should be mastered and by whom?
6. What will the training of new methods of work look like?
7. What will be the change in performance monitoring system?
8. Who will assist in adoption of new methods of work when the project is over?

It is also important to provide employees with the opportunity to express their concerns and fears as soon as possible. This communication enables the company management and the project manager not only to reduce resistance but also reveal hidden risks of the project which more often appear when the CRM system is up and running which makes risks elimination cost the highest possible.

Unwillingness to Increase the “Transparence” of Their Own Work

This is less common but the most dangerous reason for resistance when implementing CRM.

Everyone understands that working with CRM requires a user to enter a certain amount of data about:

1. Contacts and history of communication;
2. Plans and results of work;
3. Assessing chances of deals successfully closed and giving assessment to causes of unsuccessful closing of opportunities.

The system will also impartially monitor the presence, amount and quality of data pointing out to various faults and gaps. Actually, this data enables management to tackle three important challenges of:

1. Optimizing CRM and CEM processes;
2. Insuring company against risks of Customers’ information loss in case of change or quit of assigned employees;
3. Assessing without bias performance of different employees and finding the “weak link” that decreases organizational performance at large.

It is the understanding of the fact that the work is getting transparent makes some employees seek for methods to resist changes.

There exist two reasons, different in their nature, which explain why employees try to make their work as much non-transparent as possible:

1. Irreplaceability;
2. Looking busy.

Irreplaceability

It is difficult to find a chief executive officer who has not faced, at least once, the situation when a particularly valuable account manager or manager in sales, marketing, or service issues an ultimatum: “either this way or I’ll quit the company”.

It is this very point when you realize that the problem is not only in loss of expertise and experience, but in loss of a considerable amount of customer data as well. This is because of a simple reason that the Customer information (from contact details to information on needs and business peculiarities) is in possession of this manager and the chances to restore it without his good will are zero. There is also a high probability that the employee will leave for a competitor and use the information as a stepping-stone. Here CEO faces the choice: to agree on blackmail or proceed with painful measures.

Understanding that knowledge one possesses about the customer is a way to increase their own value on the labor market, managers in marketing, sales and customer service often aim at limiting and minimizing data disclosure about their customer, which is accumulated during their work. No wonder that such employees perceive CRM as a serious threat to be eliminated by all means.

Looking busy

In many large companies, there are experts who are always busy with preparation of “great projects”. They create some hustle and bustle and hectic rush at work of related business units, continuously attracting attention to themselves from CxO executives to underline the importance of their work. It can last for years. When it comes to explanation of poor performance results, they crank out with a heap of unexplained arguments like:

Late receiving of information that was known to a colleague or employee of another department;
Not timely receiving of specification from technical department or “technical department messed up everything”;
Customer did not know what he wanted and just messed around with manager’s head;
Lawyers didn’t prepare timely or wrongly prepared the agreement/worked on customer’s comments;
Marketing failed to provide materials on market research/ competitive battlecards in time;
Service didn’t take into account the recommendations on the level of attention to customers’ requests;

And so on and so forth.

It is quite often that this situation comes around to sales managers in companies having complicated and long sales cycles, where several units are engaged in presale.

It is evident that the employees who found a comfortable place where they can get a suitable monetary remuneration or other reward, not for any reason whatsoever will be willing to document their work so that the opportunity to assess true reasons of failure impartially and honestly can arise. That is why they will strive tooth and nail to undermine efforts on CRM implementation into their work.

Unfortunately, it is possible to fight with “irreplaceability” and “looking busy” only with administrative measures, and only if there is a rigid will of top-ranking executives. If you did not get such support at the earliest stages, investments in the CRM are under a great threat, and the project manager risks getting the stigma of a “loser”. After all, once you make an exception for one employee, as one by one the rest of the employees begin to think: “Why should I follow these rules?”

The main complexity lies in that such resistance is never open and bears the characteristics of a work-to-rule strike. You will never hear such statements as:

1. customer’s information only belongs to me and it’s my private asset which is in my power to share;
2. I don’t want and I won’t share my information;
3. I will not enter information to make it clear what, in fact, I am busy with.

Thus, arguments of the third cluster of reasons as “inconvenience” will be often used to cover underlying causes for resistance. Once we have considered them in more detail, we will come to understanding of what characteristics you can use to tell true inconveniencies from contrived ones.

Inconvenience of Use

The most common reason for the user’s resistance to implementation and use of CRM is related with inconvenience. However, the concept of convenience/inconvenience itself is subjective, and what is convenient for one person with certain skills and habits will be inconvenient for another person.

CRM represents the class of informational systems that should be used every day and throughout the day. In this situation, a good user adoption certainly plays a critical role. Among the main factors that lead to inconvenience and obstacles in using CRM in daily work, we can point out the following:

1. Changing of habitual working mode;
2. Need for manual input of primary data to ensure normal work;
3. Multiple input of the same data in different systems;
4. Need to use several sources for the search of necessary data;
5. Non-availability of necessary data when out of the office;
6. Lack of an effective system of notifications;
7. Lack of ready-to-use reporting;
8. Lack of skills.

Further, we will consider each factor in more detail, their causes, and possible methods of their elimination and impact of these methods on CRM implementation project budgets.

Changing of habitual working mode

Let us start with the simplest factor that is related to habits and can be eliminated over time by forming new habits.

As any informational system, CRM will be handy only if it contains data and this data should be qualitative. The need in input of qualitative data significantly changes the common work structure. Let us have a look at the statistics of time allocation for tasks on working with data before and after CRM implementation, which our company managed to accumulate while implementing of more than a hundred projects.

statistics of time allocation for tasks on working with data before and after CRM implementation

As you can see at this chart, CRM implementation significantly reduces costs on the data search and transformation, but increases fourfold the amount of work on data input, sometimes even more. The user cannot help noticing it. It is evident that, in general, time saving is up to 10-20%. There is just one small psychological “but”: while the data search and transformation seem useful work to an ordinary user, data input is seen useless and necessary evil.

As a consequence, at the final stage of the project implementation, the following statements are often heard: “It goes without saying that it got easier and faster to search and transform data. Nice business it’d be if we didn’t have it at all. However, the fact that we have to spend significantly more time on data input is unacceptable. Do whatever you want, but we are not going to work this way anymore.”

To put down such “rebellion”, the strong will of leadership is required, as in two months users will get used to the system and start getting a discernable effect of system’s functionality. For this to happen within these time limits, it is highly important to minimize the impact of the following factor.

Need for manual input of primary data for normal work

Try using search, data conversion or report generation functions in the information system, which does not contain any data yet. The system will certainly work correctly, but you will get nothing useful out of it and you will have to first find the data in the old way and enter it, having spent certain time on it. You cannot benefit from it until later.

If it keeps going this way for a few days, you can bear it, but if it keeps going for more than 4-5 weeks, even the most patient person cannot stand it. This person will look for a way not to use CRM, providing the arguments like “I don’t have time to enter old data” or “I don’t have this data and the other person has it.”

As a rule, this situation occurs when transfer of inherited data was not stipulated in the CRM implementation project budget.

Regardless the apparent simplicity, this work requires considerable efforts and big scope of painstaking work on checking and merging data received from numerous sources, as well as performing data reclassification to comply with new classification rules. The more far-reaching changes in CRM processes and the more numerous sources are, the higher labor intensity and complexity of this work are. This article can take a significant share and sometimes reach up to 15% in the CRM projects budget.

Multiple input of the same data in different systems

Now let’s imagine that after entering data in CRM you need to enter the same data into accounting system, service system and God knows to where else. Any sane man will not like this work.

The most frequent cause of this state of things lies in mistakes made at the stage of analyzing processes that underwent changes. Consequently, the required level of integration with other informational systems was not anticipated at the stage of CRM design.

Nevertheless, it is important to take into account that the deep integration of several informational systems represents a difficult engineering task and it is not always justified with the project economics. Therefore, to minimize the users’ resistance to using the system it is necessary to carry out an analysis of business processes at the early stage of the project and identify whether there are employees who will have to enter the same information into different systems due to their job description. In case different employees enter the data, it is more likely they will not experience any worsening; however, the error probability substantially increases. If one person enters the data, he will be dissatisfied with a new work procedure, and the error probability remains rather high.

If you decide not to integrate systems you can do cost estimation of faulty data input risks. If you risk bearing considerable financial losses because of faulty input, the question of convenience/inconvenience takes a back seat.

Need to use several sources for the search of necessary data

This factor by its nature is very close to the previous one. The biggest inconvenience is the need to visually compare received data aiming to identify discrepancies or restore the timeline. As a rule, this is also a consequence of incomplete or poor-quality analysis and design.

At the stage of analysis of users’ work, it is necessary to study the needs in using data, which is accumulated in several systems and is stored in different “folders” in CRM itself. If you discover tasks that require constant look-up in several data sources for their completion, you will face negative users’ response.

So how can you eliminate this negative impression and at the same time reduce budgets on CRM implementation project? You should not necessarily provide the physical data migration from one system to another. It is sufficient to provide the possibility to present information about important business events within CRM. An example of such solution for SugarCRM platform is TimeLine Viewer, specially designed to accumulate and view important business events of both CRM and other informational systems of the company.

Non-availability of necessary data when out of the office

You actively used CRM working in the office and got used to the right information available with a simple mouse click. Imagine the feeling when you need to go on a business trip to hold as many meetings as possible with your current and prospective customers, and you are told that you will not have any access to CRM and you will not be able to use all wealth that you and your colleagues accumulated working in the office. Anger and hard feelings are the best words to describe your state at that time. The phrase “what a bullshit system” will be the most inoffensive in your vocabulary.

It is the possibility to provide access in any place that has made the cloud-based CRM a de-facto standard. However, if for some reason you cannot use the cloud deployment option, you will have to take care not only of availability of your data but also of the protection against unauthorized access after providing access out of the secure local network.

Lack of an effective system of notifications

Forgetting is a natural feature of human memory. It is good to have an assistant who remembers everything and timely reminds regardless of whether you are close or far away from him. Computer on the contrary does not forget anything, but not necessarily reminds you about coming events that it discovered while scanning data. Lack of notifications on coming significant events in CRM creates great inconvenience to users’ and, quite often, leads to financial losses.

To eliminate effectively this negative factor, it is important to distinguish several types of notifications:

1. Notification to the user who “logged in” and works in the system
2. Notification to the user who did not log in to the system.

As a rule, the out-of-the-box functionality of the most CRM products includes notifications about activities (meetings, tasks, calls) and process events that are tied to the date and time and only for users that logged in to the system. Setting of other types of notifications requires additional customization, but invested time and funds will pay off in spades. The creation of an effective system to monitor and notify about events when they are coming can constitute from 7% to 15% of the budget for CRM adaptation.

It is important to consider that the value of notifications is not only in the very fact of reminding, but also in how informative and concise the message will be. It means that the system of notifications must be constantly improved as it is used by trying out the text, its formation based on the data from CRM and links to CRM objects for quick access. To simplify the solution of these tasks on SugarCRM platform, we designed a special tool called Logic Builder, which allows you to quickly and flexibly manage data processing logic and notification feeds.

Lack of ready-to-use reporting

Reports are the final stage of a data life cycle. It is in the reports where raw data is transformed in useful information for decision-making. Can you imagine your disappointment when you can find required data in the system, but you cannot compile it in the easy-to-study and analysis report with one click? It does not only irritate but also significantly reduces the CRM adoption. To avoid this, it is necessary to anticipate work on description and implementation of reporting in the project plan and budget.

Despite being deceptively simple, the presence of reporting configuring tools does not decrease the time spent on this work, as you have to try out many times not only the content, but also, which is more important, data view formats.

The second aspect worthy to note for minimizing inconvenience in work with reporting is the possibility to dig into numbers from the report. If for specification of suspicious or strange numbers that you detected in the report you need to close or print out this report so that you can start another report or, God forbid that, you need to call a programmer, your patience will run out after three-four such iterations.

The possibility of drill-down data depends on the technological tool used in designing CRM that can affect the project budget. In addition to the license cost, the project budget should include an article on configuring a set of reporting for different users. By experience, this article takes from 15% to 20% in the budget on the CRM adaptation to business specifics.

Lack of skills

Finally, let us consider the factor on our list that has a significant impact on user adoption. It is lack of knowledge of the functionality. You will agree that it does not matter what functionality CRM incorporates if users do not know it or cannot use it.

This situation frequently occurs in the companies, which decided to save on training with the hope that the user instructions supplied with CRM allow them to master the system on their own. A good rule of thumb is that only one person out of 10 reads the instruction, and the reason lies not in readers’ unwillingness to read, but in the fact that instructions to the software are designed aiming at description of software functionality, but not at description of techniques for effective performing of processes which users are used to. Bearing in mind that to ensure the process work you should involve 3-5 system functions that are described in different parts of documentation, it is quite natural that few people have enough time and patience to read the documents from soup to nuts, and some of these documents contain more than 200 pages.

If you want to use CRM as efficiently as possible during the whole life cycle, you should take care of including to the budget of an article not only on initial training but also on development of a high-quality training toolkit. The more users and higher staff turnover you have, the more attention you should pay to the quality of training toolkits.

It is reasonable for companies with 50 and more users to develop video tutorials, which will enable to significantly increase the utilization of CRM. The budget on training and tutorials’ development commonly takes from 7% to 12% of the budget on CRM and its adaptation to business specifics.

Would You Like To Know More?

If you are willing to know how to effectively solve issues related to CRM implementation and CRM systems, call us on 1300 781 681 or info@innoventcrm.com.au

IT is not a subject that will ever go out of fashion. Technology evolves constantly, and the need for businesses to have stable platforms has never been higher.

Customer relationship management (CRM) company, SugarCRM, understands the need for software which is both simple-to-use and bursting with information, allowing customization and the best possible user experience. Larry Augustin, Sugar’s CEO, also knows the importance of familiarizing oneself with the digital landscape in this age of disruption; he speaks to Business Review USA & Canada about how to combat the fact that – as the company’s website states – ‘CRM has become too damn complicated’, and Sugar’s impact on the industry.

Firstly, tell me about your career background and key responsibilities within Sugar.

“I joined Sugar in 2005 as a board member and outside director and, four years later I assumed the role of CEO, a position I have been in for the last eight years. In this role, I am responsible for the company’s strategic direction and execution; this focuses around helping our clients to build a unique customer experience through great customer relationships.

“Prior to SugarCRM, I spent five years as an angel investor and advisor to early stage technology companies including JBoss (acquired by Red Hat), XenSource (acquired by Citrix), and SpringSource (acquired by VMWare). In my early career, I helped found and was heavily involved with the open source community.

“Outside the world of work, my education background is actually in electrical engineering. I have Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame.”

How is Sugar able to tailor its products to customers, ensuring their individual needs are met?

“No business is the same, so no business should be subject to a generic rigid CRM platform. We work closely with our customers to allow them to define CRM in their own way. We want to give businesses the tools to easily and quickly morph a blank canvas into their own masterpiece, and one which enables everyone across their entire organization to become a customer expert and make a difference.

“The customizations available to Sugar customers varies from custom fields, custom modules, to third party plug-ins. Simply, SugarCRM provides you with various tools to make Sugar your own and, allows you to continue to evolve in an ever-changing business landscape.”

In what ways has the company simplified CRM?

“We were keen not to play “feature wars” with our competitors and overwhelm users with a ton of bells and whistles they may (or may not) really need. Instead, we focused on creating a highly intuitive platform for building applications the way a business wants to. 75 percent of all CRM deployments fail because of adoption. Most CRM users hate their CRM system and won’t gain productivity and insights if that’s the case. This is why we focus on the core CRM features which users will get the most value from and that matter to them.

“As a result of this, we provide a simple and straightforward pricing structure. Usually, when it comes to CRM, the sticker price is only the beginning. For far too long, enterprise software vendors have gotten away with complex pricing models that make it very difficult to know how much your CRM is really going to cost. Our simple straightforward pricing means businesses can make their CRM initiative a strategic differentiator at a cost that works for them. Organizations should be able to make as many API calls as they want, store as much data as they want, and never be surprised by unexpected fees.”

What have been SugarCRM’s biggest achievements over the past 12-18 months? What challenges have you faced in this time?

“The last year and half has seen a lot of change for us. For one we’ve continued to bring in some great talent with Rich Green at Chief Product Officer and Karen Willem at Chief Financial Officer. Rich previously ran software at Sun Microsystems where he brought technologies such as Java to market.  He also ran Enterprise Products at Nuance where he created the technology behind Siri, and he was the CTO at Nokia. We’ve significantly accelerated innovation velocity under Rich and you’ll continue to see us invest more there.

“Karen Willem brings immense experience and leadership to us in the CFO role having held that position at multiple public companies including iPass, OpenWave and Brio where she lead the IPO.”

What technological advancements have you had to make in order to remain a popular choice for some of the biggest businesses in the world?

“Sugar is a unique combination of leading relationship capabilities combined with a highly flexible platform. With version 7 of our product we moved to a full Javascript front-end driven by a REST API back-end. That led the industry and makes us the fastest and easiest to use application on desktop browser or mobile. We’ve also continued to build on leading web-scale and big data Open Source technologies like Elastic, Backbone and PHP 7 that bring all of that scale and power to our customers. We’re not stuck on older proprietary technologies like some of our competitors.”

How are customer needs changing in the current climate of digital disruption?

“The digital revolution is driving a shift in how companies deliver a customer experience, as well as inventing new ways to connect with and deliver value to customers. Today, customers expect the same level of service from their banks as they do their shops, restaurants and couriers. No longer do customers discriminate, they form their expectations through comparing and contrasting brands – irrespective of the industry. This means the banking customer experience is pitched against the greats of services from the likes of Amazon and Starbucks.

“Also, customers are now more connected and knowledgeable than ever before, using an array of different digital channels to contact companies with questions and complaints. A report by Frost & Sullivan found that almost half of financial services customers use three or more channels in a year. Whether it’s websites, mobile apps, email, social media or in-person encounters, customers now have multiple channels available to them. Each one brings a further expectation from the customer to assume that the same level of service and experience will be provided through each.

“Simply, the days of a one-dimensional customer approach are gone. Businesses now need to be able to deliver experiences that feel personal, unified and memorable if they are to stand out from the crowd. This gives the companies a double challenge: growing their customer base in the first place, and then finding the correct solutions to meet the needs of their current customers who are more empowered, educated and connected than ever before.”

What do you believe businesses need to do in order to stay ahead of the curve?

“The companies that win in this era of empowered customers do so because they create better relationships with their customers. How do they do this? They understand the customer journey inside out, they are responsive, they are social and they provide a human touch.

“With customers engaging with businesses across multiple channels, each provides a different kind of interaction and a piece of a customer’s history. Businesses must make sure they have the systems and tools in place in to capture all the relevant information that is available across these platforms.

“By doing so, teams across a business can have all the information they need at their fingertips to build a complete picture of the situation and the customer they are dealing with. Important details like what the customer has bought from you previously and what posts they have liked on your Facebook page or what their last interaction with the company was, empowers businesses to respond and handle complaints effectively and efficiently. Simply, access to the right information about each customer, in the right context, at the right time will empower a business to innovate, and not only meet but, surpass customer expectations.”

What is your vision for the next 3-5 years, both for SugarCRM and the industry in general?

“CRM is evolving from a system of record to a system of engagement. What I mean by that is historically CRM systems were a data store; they were the database where customer data was consolidated. They were more about data in than insight. And they were more about command and control than helping the user connect with the customer.

“Where we have evolved, and the industry needs to go, is a system that gives you a lot of insight back and demands little from you in the way of data in. The system automatically pulls in data from systems both internal and external to your business. Using that data it helps your employees better understand the customer.

“Imagine a world where every time one of your employees talks to a customer the customer gets value out of that conversation and appreciates it. They are not annoying the customer with questions they should already know. They are sharing information that the customer cares about.  They add value, and your customers appreciate that.  And your employees get that insight without needing to spend their time doing data entry. That’s the world we’re creating.”

In your own words, what sets SugarCRM apart from competitors?

“At SugarCRM, we aim to be a company that our customers enjoy doing business with – that is why Sugar has the highest Net Promoter Scores in the industry. We believe in an open, accountable and long-term relationship with our customers that creates trust. We put a lot of resources and energy into being that true partner. In fact, it is a key to what sets us apart from our chief rival and the others within the CRM industry.”

For all your SugarCRM needs contact Innovent today on 1300 781 681 or info@innoventcrm.com.au

 

Sydney, Australia – May 17, 2017SugarCRM Inc., the company that enables businesses to create extraordinary customer relationships with the most empowering, adaptable and affordable CRM solution on the market, today announced the general availability of Sugar 7.9. The latest version of the company’s award-winning CRM includes a redesigned quote management feature that helps Sugar customers turn opportunities into closed deals, and closed deals into revenue. Sugar 7.9 is the newest version of the company’s award-winning CRM solution that delivers on a long list of innovations designed to help companies provide a superior customer experience.
 
The new quote generation and management application is easy to use, quick to deploy, flexible enough to configure for individual needs and extensible enough to integrate seamlessly into complex enterprise environments. SugarCRM has added features like drag-and-drop line-item reordering; “click-to-group,” which allows users to add and group line items easily; and new capabilities to export quotes so sales reps can easily show potential customers pricing options. Now, Sugar users can more easily edit and revise pricing options while negotiating with their customers.

“Sugar 7.9 provides a wealth of new features to ensure that companies of any size can exploit the fundamental values of CRM,” said Rich Green, chief product officer at SugarCRM. “With this release, we are focusing on innovating in the core CRM features that matter the most to sales and support professionals.”

Additional new features of Sugar 7.9 include:

Next-generation reporting – A CRM ultimately must provide detailed insights to all users across a company to focus efforts at strengthening customer relationships. Reporting is a key vehicle to observe trends and aberrations in order to prioritise actions to meet business goals. Sugar 7.9 brings the first of a series of improvements to the Reporting module.
 
Advanced workflow – Enhanced advanced workflow addresses more complex business use cases and also improves the overall experience of designing and updating processes for Sugar administrators. In the 7.9 release, we have added the ability to trigger a process based on fields changing to/from specific values, additional operators for evaluating text fields and additional variable user options for record assignment.

Performance – An improved data query framework provides significant performance improvements across all databases through query optimisations by enabling administrators to execute the same (or similar) SQL statements repeatedly with high efficiency. The updated framework also improves database scalability and security.

Sugar 7.9 is available today. For more information and to sign up for a free trial, please visit www.SugarCRM.com.

Contact InnoventCRM for all your SugarCRM needs on 1300 781 681 or info@innoventcrm.com.au

From enterprise-level companies to SMEs, CRM software adoption continues to grow at a staggering rate, particularly in mobile and cloud-based CRM system technology. And with good reason: sales teams with mobile CRMs achieve their sales goals at twice the rate of sales teams without mobile CRMs. In fact, 91% of companies with more than eleven employees now use some kind of CRM for sales, research, and customer satisfaction. However, initial CRM implementation does not necessarily mean complete CRM adoption. In fact, discrete departments (i.e., sales teams, marketing teams) often fail to fully adopt CRM software completely or integrate it into their sales practices, which means that data and research can be largely incomplete. If your sales reps forget to enter data, then the CRM is less useful for the sales, marketing, and research teams, and can affect your business more broadly.

However, enterprise-level companies are uniquely poised to drive CRM adoption. Larger organizations, with a lot of moving parts, multiple geographic locations, and distinct operational units, are best positioned to reap the rewards of a more comprehensive CRM adoption. Large businesses can most effectively benefit from shared data between accountants, sales reps, marketers, insurances providers, and the like. Even after products have been delivered, CRM software can still track communications, contracts, and invoices across distances.

More specifically, why should your company push for universal CRM adoption?

B2B and Enterprise Sales

A quality CRM system is the cornerstone of business-to-business sales. A sophisticated B2B CRM can closely monitor your sales funnel and make up a crucial element of your B2B sales strategy. B2B sales have many different strategic elements, from initial research and specialized contacts to contracts to customer relations that join sales, marketing, manufacturing, and management. A universally adopted CRM system can track sales from their first inauguration to long-term customer service. In addition, it can share opportunities between departments, illuminate areas of possible expansion for your sales team, and standardize customer support.

In addition, full CRM adoption can support innovative modes of sales. CRM adoption gives sales teams data from which valuable insights and potential buyer motivations can emerge. These insights must be accessible to a myriad of teams simultaneously, without interrupting the sales cycle.

Large-scale enterprise sales have a lot of significant variables. Broadly speaking, your CRM should be able to track large transactions for management, everyone who works with customers, and the customers themselves. Enterprise sales CRMs are designed with large, complex businesses transactions in mind. A fully integrated CRM can have a significant mobility function, working outside the office, which can be key for a larger sales organization. Cloud-based, mobile CRMs effectively take the office on the road, to the sales force, and to the customer base.

Full adoption of your CRM is a vote for customer-centricity

Deloitte and Touche found that business that work to be customer-centric were 60% more profitable than those that are not. Companies that adopt a customer-centric approach tend to be more insistent on a positive customer experience and more successful in retaining long-term clients. A universally adopted CRM allows your business to be more customer-focused and provide that positive customer experience. An integrated CRM prevents functional silos, which prevents data management and sharing. More broadly, brands must commit to central analyze, plan, and implement a clear customer policy. In order to create this policy, all of the distinct departments of your company must be able to view the full needs and histories of the customers to provide that better experience.

Increasingly, customers are demanding more seamless interactions across different channels, with web chat, social media, and mobile apps are increasing becoming the mechanism of choice for younger professionals. A sophisticated, well-integrated CRM can provide a cross-channel customer experience that is smooth and consistent.

Enhancing the customer experience even further

A solution like Tenfold which pulls data from all systems of record including your CRM, your digital analytics dashboard, ERP, and support management program into a single unified view can help you provide a seamless and retention-driving customer experience.

However, the quality of service and engagement you can extend to your customers can only be maximally enhanced if your data is complete and accurate. Your CRM is only as good as your data–and Tenfold helps you not lose anymore data while showing you info as needed.

Conclusion

CRMs are the most productive systems to manage sales, collaborate between departments, analyze data, and provide a customer-centric experience. However, CRMs can be unproductive or even a hindrance if they are not properly implemented. It is crucial not only to find the right CRM for your company but to assimilate it completely into your large-scale business strategies.

There are several simple but effective strategies that can make this universal integration easier and more effective for your business, including demanding significant employee training, creating guidance materials, and maintaining high-level user involvement. While it may take some time to sync the CRM to your business goals and management style, the long-term payoff will be efficiency and customer satisfaction.

For all your CRM needs contact InnoventCRM today on 1300 781 681 or info@innoventcrm.com.au

(Editor’s Note: the following is a guest blog post from Aki Merced, a community engagement and content marketer at Tenfold. The post originally appeared on the Sugar Community).

 

Data brings with it a treasure trove of usable information, and, since the dawn of the Digital Age, we’ve had more of it than we ever imagined. Consider this: Every online transaction, every GPS-enabled smartphone, every social media exchange generates digital data. Now, with the Internet of Things, even cars and refrigerators are contributing to the so-called data deluge. Over the years, technology has emerged to capture data, but, as data’s rate of growth continues unabated, businesses are now faced with a new challenge — how to use all the data they’ve collected.

These days, the entire C-suite finds common ground in figuring out how to evaluate and apply aggregated data successfully. Why? The opportunities are huge. Data is essential for retaining existing customers and converting prospects into new sales. In addition, a comprehensive view of customer data will help make new initiatives around delivering on customer experience a success. Indeed, properly managed, big data can create value and generate new revenue streams for manufacturing organizations. With an organization-wide strategy in place, big data gives businesses the power to inform better decision-making, streamline the supply chain, improve capital management, and even coordinate individuals within and outside of the organization for custom projects.

However, organizations flounder when they become overwhelmed by the amount of data available to them, and they don’t know where to start to make it useful. According to a recent study by Ernst and Young, 32 percent of respondents are overwhelmed by data, and while 81 percent agreed that data should be at the center of decision-making, only 31 percent have adjusted their operations accordingly. In today’s growing digital business world, companies that do not embrace big data, or know how to structure it, could see their competitive edge slip away and face extinction in just a number of years.

Clearly, businesses must understand how to use data to deliver insight that helps drive the customer experience and services offered. Therefore, the key to success lies in analyzing data by breaking it down into bite-sized, usable chunks.

Map the Customer Journey

When looking at implementing a data strategy, it’s important to align your internal business operations with the typical life cycle of your customers. This can be done through what is called a “customer journey exercise.” By mapping the customer journey, any organization can identify how a customer typically goes about making a purchase decision with the company. These exercises help to identify the areas where crucial customer data must be captured and puts a business in a position to continue to evolve and improve its services.

By perusing large amounts of correct data, businesses can extract customer habits, customer behavior and other significant patterns that can drive the personalization and efficiency of services.

Personalizing the Customer Experience

In the world of manufacturing, it’s easy to forget about the importance of delivering a personalized customer experience, but business can be won or lost on this very principle. There’s plenty of evidence to support this statement. According to a Walker study, customer experience will trump price and product by 2020. And, 86 percent of customers will pay more for a better customer experience. Today, any manufacturer seen to be slow in their response to changing customer demands risks losing business in an instant — equaling potentially millions in lost sales.

Data Analytics Creates Deeper Customer Relationships

Businesses with data at their fingertips and an ability to use it means they can deliver what customers need before they realize they need it. CRM technology is an integral part of this process, providing the tools needed to synthesize customer information gathered across channels and platforms, and turn it into insights that can be translated into actions, practices and processes. Having these insights at your disposal will in turn empower a business to build deeper relationships with its customers, and support the growth of the business through helping it to keep up with industry demands and improve sales and service operations.

With the manufacturing industry continuing to grow, factories are gaining momentum. Therefore, if manufacturers wish to capitalize on the industry impetus then they must arm themselves with meaningful data. Through this, quality customer experience can be ensured and a business’s ability to retain and attract customers can help boost business revenue.

Data truly is power, but only when it is usable and insightful. For organizations looking to avoid the big data deluge, tools are on hand to help them make the most of their data, rather than becoming overwhelmed by it. The right CRM system ensures data is big enough to provide important insights but simultaneously small enough to remain manageable, accessible and relevant.

For all your CRM needs, contact InnoventCRM today on 1300 781 681 or info@innoventsoftware.com.au

(Editor’s note: The post was originally published on InsideBIGDATA.com)

We only need to take a quick glance at global politics to realize how important it is to prepare for radical change and disruption.

Smart organizations are gearing up to respond to challenges we can’t yet imagine, and staying ready to evolve in a fast-moving global marketplace. This is exciting to witness.

But, we get the feeling that plenty of companies are still making technology choices based on what the herd is doing. Whilst this might offer a short-term feeling of safety, it’s just not the wisest course of action at such a challenging, disruptive time. Almost every industry is brutally competitive, consumers are empowered, and brands won’t be rewarded for mediocrity.

Technology will either enable or inhibit your business strategy. The best way to avoid being constrained by technology choices somewhere down the road, is to do some serious thinking (and in some cases, re-thinking) upfront. The question is, do you know what constraints to look for and how to avoid them?

We recently wrote an article about CRM choices. It suggests (and helps answer) a handful of questions to ask yourself before you decide on a CRM:

1) Do you really want to get on the bus?

This is an obvious but effective metaphor – choosing big name, proprietary software is like getting on a bus: you can’t deviate from the route and you get one-size-fits-all pace and service.

2) Should you choose your own ride?

If you want technical and functional flexibility, you should be able to run the CRM of your choice on your own choice of infrastructure. This means a public cloud of your own choice, private cloud, within your own country’s borders, on-prem and a hybrid combination of all these should be on the table. The bottom line is that the organization should have the freedom to implement the systems and architectures that best address their needs for security, regulatory compliance, and data integration.

3) Will you get what you really want?

Some CRM solutions are designed to stay uniform and closed, to make things easier for the CRM vendor at the expense of innovation and flexibility that helps your business. But shouldn’t your CRM adapt to fit into your organization, not the other way around?

4) How important is change to you?

Most CRM vendors cash in by setting up costly barriers to change (commonly called vendor lock-in). However, anticipating, and being open to, technical and cultural change is the one thing we need to weave into business strategy these days. Think carefully about the potential costs of change that aren’t made clear up front.

5) Is this all about you?

Many traditional CRM providers have branched out through acquisitions and grand ambitions. They have become too busy to provide the kind of service and attention you’ll want from a true business partner. Perhaps it’s a good idea to choose a partner who is 100% focused on the core CRM features that help your employees become better at their jobs and shares your passion for building relationships with customers.

6) Are you looking at the ticket price, or the whole cost of being a passenger?

Over time, you’ll want to evolve and improve your CRM. With inflexible solutions, any deviation from the status quo tends to rack up costs. So, make sure you work out how much you’ll be charged when you want to do things like add more users, extend CRM to mobile devices or use more data.

7) Do you want to invest in the destination or pay for the ride?

With status quo CRM, you pay just to get on the bus with everybody else. However, by breaking away from the status quo, you can empower employees to offer a different (and better) customer experience.

We hope these questions will help you think twice about getting on the bus!

For all your CRM needs, contact InnoventCRM today on 1300 781 681 or info@innoventsoftware.com.au

 

Analyst reports can be very valuable tools when making a software purchase decision. Analysts pour over tons of details, product roadmaps, and talk to several partners and customers of the products they review.

However, G2 Crowd does it a bit different – their rankings come 100% from users like you. The peer-review concept is gaining steam, and SugarCRM is proud that its users are so satisfied with Sugar the product that they drove us into the Leader quadrant in G2 Crowd’s latest rendering of its midmarket Grid for CRM.

Best_CRM_Software_in_2017___G2_Crowd

Again, this ranking comes from nearly 150 satisfied Sugar users – and nothing else. G2 allows site visitors to peruse thousands of reviews from real, verified users. So, we’re especially proud of this honor.

If you’re a mid-sized company looking for a CRM partner, don’t take our word for it, as the satisfied reviewers at G2 Crowd or contact InnoventCRM today for assistance with all your CRM needs – 1300 781 681