SugarCon Shows How Sweet CRM Can Be, Day 2

SugarCon Shows How Sweet CRM Can Be, Day 2
Gumdrops by terren in Virginia


No surprise, the second day of SugarCon was as satisfying as the first.

Keynote 1

Brian HalliganCEO of HubSpot started the day with the story of how he realized “inbound marketing” was the proper way to match your marketing efforts with a customer’s buying habits.  One of the most interesting things he shared was the list of the most popular keywords used that are linked in Google and Twitter.  He reminded the audience to use “strong” calls to action on your campaigns, and to systematically analyze your pipeline.  But the key thing to do is produce  lot of interesting content.  His “modern marketing system” includes Blogs, IM, SEO, PPC, Social, and Freemiums which link to landing pages that enable you to nurture and measure.

Your Marketing organization of today should look different from your Marketing organization of five years ago.  Marketers in the past “grew up” in PR and advertising, but you need new qualities: “Digital Native (growing up in the digital world), analytical, someone with “massive” reach (not a Rolodex), and a good content creator.  Your ability to create a strong inbound marketing organization is a strategic asset.

Laurence Buchanan of CapGemini then took the stage to speak about “taking a step back in time.”  Many of the ideas written about years ago in works like The Cluetrain Manifesto and the The One to One Future remain valid yet it has been very difficult to heed.  He reminded the audience that CRM began with a “command and control” ethos, but now the voice of the customer has grown stronger with the advent of social media. (We believe that a “command and control” outlook is still important when you think about how data is treated within the enterprise).  Later he agreed by saying it is important to think about command centers instead of contact centers that are empowered to respond to issues across the spectrum.  Think with agility.

Session 1: Marketing Automation 101: Why is This Stuff Hot and What’s in It for Me?

Michael Ward of Net-Results delivered a lively session on what marketing automation really does, in a fun analogy of flirting – have of flirting is paying attention to the object of your desire and the other half is adjusting your dialogue to “go with the flow” of what is important to that object of your desire.  The key is to stay interesting so over time you increase your chances of a date.

Unfortunately you can’t clone your best salespeople who know how to listen and stay interesting to clients – they know their customers and they know their customer’s business, so they know when the timing of the buying cycle is changing.  Marketing automation helps with the scaling of mundane tasks that allow your salespeople to focus on the “low hanging fruit” or people who are getting into the decision mode during the buying cycle.  It also does what current Email Service Providers don’t do – give you information about what happens after the “click” of an email – and this is huge to Marketers.

Calling your lead nurturing program a “drip” program is not the best word because a drip implies a one way conversation, which as we know is not how the world works nowadays with social media.  With a platform like Net-Result’s, you can create and track nurturing programs that deeply and effectively segment so you know who fits exactly into your ideal customer profile.

Keynote 2

Adam Blitzer of Pardot, with over 500 B2B customers now, spoke about what can make you “open” as a marketing enterprise.  First, open up your pricing.  The old model of pricing forces a buyer to engage with someone in order to obtain the information, which is often stressful and awkward.  You should be open because it allows self-selection on the part of buyers who can actually afford your product or service and won’t waste the time of your salespeople; in fact, the sales cycle may be shortened because of this openness.

Second, open your “idea exchange.”  No matter how hard you have tried, competitors already know more about your company and offerings more than you would like to them.  Being open shows that you are listening to your user community, and shows that you innovate.  Getting good ideas are obtained having your team seeding your content, encouraging input, and showing your community that you are involved and so should they be.  Reinforce good contributions by commenting on them quickly, and if you implement them, credit the contributor.

Lastly, open up your knowledge base.  Why that may sound counterintuitive, your content is keyword-rich and will enhance your SEO efforts.  Things like user manuals and case studies exhibit your support and services, once again, enabling self-selection of prospects who are actually interested in the subjects of your content.

Session 2: The Physics of Influence: Building, Nurturing, and Leveraging Your Best Kept Marketing Secret

Michael Wu, PhD, of Lithium Technologies gave a thorough discussion of influencers.  Influencers are not celebrities, they are not necessarily “top” in popularity.  Influencers are people with significantly greater ability to change a thought or behavior.  They help you drive effective Word of Mouth for your marketing and sales.  The effect of influencers is not the number of target they can reach; it is the speed at which they can reach those targets.

You can quantify the value of Word of Mouth.  Lithium created a  customer lifetime value model based on 12 social graphs and determined that acquistion of customers (measured by dollars) due to influencers is increased by 49.4% and acceleration of adoption is increased 7.5 fold.

Influencers are not universally of influence; they need domain expertise.  Additionally, they need the ability to transmit their knowledge through a social media channel.  The content of the knowledge must be relevant to the target audience, and the timing must be when the target needs it.  Channel overlap must be logical and sufficient, and the target must trust the influencer.

It is important to have a concentration of passionate consumers, in close proximity to each other.  That ensures an ongoing conversation, persistent content, ideation and innovation, so you must co-create value for them to use your community.

Session 3: CRM Made Profitable

Brian Briggs of ApexTwo and Chris Loncar of Flat World Knowledge discussed the integration of Silverpop with SugarCRM.  They replaced an email service provider with marketing automation because they had both B2B and B2C elements in their marketing, they needed support for dynamic content, triggering capabilities, and they wanted to perform lead scoring.

Their case study shows that despite a reduction in sales force by 40%, there was an increase in sales by 100%.  They shorlty realized that they had data quality issues, but they were able to clean them up thanks to the marketing automation platform.  Flat World was able to simplify campaigns, reducing 20 into 1; adjust lead scoring as needed, and was still able to continuously feed qualified leads to reps.

Keynote 3:

Doc Searls of The Cluetrain Manifesto fame, said that the next “wave” of the Internet will be personal – very personal.  With the explosion of social networks, sellers are being forced to relinquish control of data to consumers and will have to give customers more communication tools if they want to survive.  The paradigm of CRM will eventually shift to Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) as individuals acquire more power, but ownership of data may still be problematic.

Session 4: CRM Made Social – Integrating Social Media into SugarCRM

Jan Sysmans, Senior Director of Product Marketing at SugarCRM, enthusiastically told the audience that the CRM of tomorrow is already here.  He demonstrated how easy it was to incorporate all the leading social media platforms into the SugarCRM interface, thus providing salespeople with more information on a prospect.


All in all, it was a terrific event.  Allinio is very happy to have been part of it.  Here are some other notes.

Best learning opportunity – Meeting Michael Ward of Net-Results and seeing the great segmentation capability of their marketing automation platform.

Best non-conference related surprise: The Pied Piper Bar in the Palace Hotel, where the conference was held, has a giant painting of the same name by Maxfield ParrishThat was very cool.

Best add-on for sales users:  InsideView

Best door prizes – Four companies, including SugarCRMPardotEpicom and CBeyond were all giving away iPad 2s as door prizes.  And Allinio’s President and Founder, Joe Zuccaro, won generous Visa giftcard (he never wins anything!) Amazing generosity.

Thank you, SugarCRM!

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