SugarCon Shows How Sweet CRM Can Be, Day 1

SugarCon Shows How Sweet CRM Can Be, Day 1
“Candy” by livingonimpulse

We had a really great time at SugarCon today learning about their CRM platform and ecosystem. For those of you who could not make it, it was a good crowd with fantastic speakers. Here are some of the highlights of Day 1:

Keynote 1

Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM, started things off with a message of “The Future of Business is Open,” vowing to steward an open, collaborative process of expanding the versatility of Sugar’s platform. This means creating a future in partnership, giving customers control of where the product goes.

He said that we all don’t know exactly where CRM needs to go; for example, five years ago, DiggSlashDot, and MySpace were “hot.” Should resources have been dedicated to the integration of those apps into CRM? Now they’re not hot anymore. But through an almost crowdsourcing method, an open partnership will most likely make it successful for the most participating organizations regarding where to focus. Normally, you would have spec’d an integration with these products.

In five more years, who knows. That’s why Sugar advocates open source – to best meet the unknown demands of five years from now. Sugar is happy that they have great momentum now, having recently won numerous awards such as OnDemand’s Top 100 Overall Winner and TMC’s CRM and Forrester’s placement in Leader Position for CRM in the Mid-Market, and attained over 800K end users.

They now run the application (Sugar6) in 22 languages, and has InsideView integrated for watchlist capabilities and all pertinent Internet-based data about a particular individual. Meetings are integrated with LotusLiveGoToMeeting, and WebEx. Sugar6 now embed process driven workflow right into the user interface. For example, a deal of a certain size that may require management signoff is automatically relayed to that management via the platform.

Session 1: Can you Really Live Without It? Why Integrated Marketing Automation with Sugar is a Must

Jesse Kliza, Director of Marketing at Apprenda spoke of his experience as a solely SugarCRM customer at first, but then as a user of Pardot‘s marketing automation on top of the CRM. He now can engage in full nurturing campagins that are time and activity based, activity tracking across multiple web properties and outside links, track and action on searches, specific page views, file downloads, and serve custom content based on either an ISV or Enterprise profile.

Session 2: SugarCRM Sales Analytics Made Simple with GoodData

Sam Boonin of GoodData spoke about getting a view of your data with pre-built, interactive dashboards that can track sales pipelines in minutes, and allow you to add or combine any custom data from SugarCRM, marketing campaigns, website traffic, product usage, customer support, and social media. One of the most interesting capabilities of their application is the ability to manage by exception. With exception reporting you can easily see red flags that need to be addressed. For example, by taking “snapshots” of where individual opportunities are in your sales funnel, you can tell which deals have been pushed back multiple times, indicating a “sandbagging” sales rep.

Keynote 2: Big Data and the Emergence of Social SellingSocial CRM: Understanding and Connecting with Your Customers

During this major session, Umberto Milletti of InsideView announced that SugarCRM users will get InsideView embedded in their seats. A Salesperson can have a real, relevant conversation because of the personalized knowledge he/she can obtain from InsideView. This was decided because customers are self-sufficient; they don’t necessarily need salespeople. You need to empower your sales team with the right tools the right information at the right time in order to get a buyer’s attention by focusing your knowledge gathering on them.

A Salesperson can now have a real, relevant conversation because of the personalized knowledge he/she can obtain from InsideView. A January 2011 study, “The Sales Intelligence Challenge,” by CSO Insights, determined that sales people using sales intelligence generate 17% more revenue than those that do not. This is a compelling reason to try InsideView if you are using SugarCRM.

Session 3: The Fully Integrated CRM

Bill Harrison of Epicom Corporation spoke about his company’s integration of applications like EchoSignHubSpotTwilio onto the SugarCRM platform. He emphasized how the CRM experience is so much better with additional implementations on top of your CRM platform; so many add-ons help improve effectiveness and efficiency. HubSpot is easy to implement but it’s a discipline to understand what it’s telling you and tweaking to improve results over time.

Session 4: To Social CRM and Beyond!

Esteban Kolsky of ThinkJar spoke about engaging communities into your CRM solution. You need a community management layer, a social analytics engine, an actionable layer unit, and a system of record integration layer. Social CRM does not replace anything – it is an integration of several layers. You cannot be a social business without being social. You cannot be customer-centric without collaboration without your customers. You must share knowledge (hence power) to get good things done.

Session 5: Transparent Collaboration:

Keith Casey of Blue Parabola spoke about in most enterprises, collaboration by the technical side of the business is different than the “business” (sales and marketing) side of the business. The problem when they have to work together is that you can’t get the right and complete information to all of the right people at the right time. For example a professional services firm of engineers may work on multiple projects for one customer and sales will be interested in how those projects are progressing; therefore they need to understand what is happening from a project management perspective. SugarCRM is great for CRM, but it’s not optimized for project management. Web2Project, which is great for project management, is not good for CRM. He explained how he has made the two work together for the benefit of all collaborators.

All in all, it was a great first day at SugarCon. Let’s see what’s in store tomorrow.

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