SugarCRM has held Sugar Con 2014 in San Francisco where the focus was on revealing the strategy and feature additions in the coming releases. Over the last few years, the company has been consistent in moving towards an optimized user interface. It is also broadened its ecosystem with higher number of native integration with other popular applications in social marketing and analytic domains. The application is already a favorite among sales representatives across the world. However with the latest two stepped strategy the platform is bound to help increase user adoption even further, the reason being improved productivity, helping them achieve their sales target thus hence improving adoption. After successful implementation at IBM, SugarCRM is also targeting other enterprise customers. Also read – Is SugarCRM enterprise ready?.
Sugar Con 2014 reveals SugarCRM’s plan to have an intelligent and productive CRM for Sales Team
The two stepped strategy
We believe that strategy of SugarCRM has and would revolve around the following two dimensions. This is also because SugarCRM is trying to establish that it is ready for enterprises which have larger and more complex requirements.
Simplified User interface – The new user interface brings out all the data that CRM users would require in a single shot instead of having to click or navigate through multiple screens to retrieve the same. This is also in-line with 360 degree view principle of customer relationship management. Even if a CRM solution has information available but stored in multiple views, users will not necessarily navigate and there is a high chance that their interaction with the customer will be limited as per the information accessible in customer form / screen.
Analytic – The application is integrating with proven marketing automation tools (see below) to bring out the data on where the sales team could focus their energy on. Sometimes sales team spends hours chasing up opportunities and closing them before the commercial department finds it in feasible due to factors such as credit worthiness. If this information is available from the start along with automated scoring mechanism, the sales representative can very well focus and close deals more efficiently. In SugarCRM context, the analytic is fetched from external tools but still meet the Single Screen concept discussed earlier. Hence the users don’t have to navigate and get a complete snapshot of the customers in a single place.
Integration on Analytic front
As we mentioned, broadening of ecosystem by having in built connectors has helped SugarCRM gain access to enterprise customers. Having understood the long term focus of the company, let us look at immediate feature set for SugarCRM 7.2. Following are the tools which will get integrated with SugarCRM in this release.
Marketo is a well known marketing automation tools. Top feature of this tool is to increase lead capture, nurture them with regular automated feed and score them resulting in concentrated higher sales. This it won’t be wrong to say that it is one of the most comprehensive tools in this domain.
Most of the B2B sales happen on credit. The payment terms are decided by ratings for instance provided by Dun and Bradstreet. This integration will help Sales team members to identify risks involved in the sales process. Thus it would help them identify credit worth customers and ensure that their sales effort is justified right from the start.
Benefits of Above Integration
From our previous implementation experience, the above integration would help organizations implementing SugarCRM immensely by resolving the practical problems faced by sales representatives. The following are, in our view, the rationale behind the same
- Most of the companies implementing SugarCRM are using it for Sales and Marketing function
- The single user interface builds upon and strengthens the basic principle of having a 360 degree view of a customer.
- A sales rep has targets and any tool that helps him focus and achieve the same drives his usage.
What we would have liked and is missing
As much as we like the emphasis on making the sales team efficient and close more business, we also feel that after sales and customer service have been the weaker side of the application. This is also probably since many clients have sales and pipeline management as their key CRM need and not after sales. However considering that CRM application must be comprehensive, we would like SugarCRM to build features like Incident management, SLA management and comprehensive knowledge base.
With matured ecosystem and robust architecture the platform is set to capture the enterprise class customers in the coming times while strengthening its hold on small and medium size businesses. The long term strategy of the company is of course to support and enhance the feature set which are being asked by the customers. However it would a really nice if the company takes a stock of feature sets where it can improve further. Nevertheless the popularity of SugarCRM would grow as more and more companies around the world would appreciate the flexibility, openness and savings that it brings.
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