SugarCRM and Salesforce – Your Comparison Checklist

Guest post by David Hyman, Account Exectuive @ FayeBSG

 

Every business needs a CRM because every business is supported by its customers — and smart businesses are constantly looking for smart, efficient, and innovative ways to support their relationships with those customers.

 

You landed on this page because you know you need a CRM. You’ve probably even established your requirements and have a clear vision of how you want the CRM to work for you and your business. But which CRM? This is actually the topic of my upcoming webcast, which you can register for here: SugarCRM vs. Salesforce Head-to-Head.

 

There are hundreds to choose from, so let’s talk about two of the most popular: SugarCRM and Salesforce. Then let’s indulge ourselves by pitting them against each other in a side-by-side comparison!

 

It’s no surprise that our Sugar vs Salesforce webinars are among our most popular — who doesn’t like to see a heavyweight showdown? During my next webinar, we’ll be comparing the following platform features in a live side-by-side demo of both systems:

 

Dashboards

Your dashboard will always be the first thing you see when you login, regardless of which CRM you use. Dashboards are groups of dashlets (charts, lists, and graphs) that allow you to monitor performance across your business including marketing analytics, sales trends, case reports, and customer profiles. Users can create real-time Reports and Dashboards on any metric and manage access, without having to rely on Administrators.

 

When constructing a dashboard in CRM, a good place to start is by asking yourself:

  • What information do I need to prioritize?
  • What modules do I access the most often?
  • What reporting data is most important to me and my role?

 

During our webinar, we’ll cover the dashboard features of both systems, create a new dashboard, and show you how easy it is to edit them.

 

Leads

A lead in a CRM represents an individual or company that’s interested in what you’re selling, and requires further qualification before investing considerable time or energy in a sales cycle. During our webinar, we’ll show a live comparison of:

  • Creating a new lead in both systems
  • Converting a lead and the options available to you during the process
  • In-depth look at a lead record, including layouts, relationships to other modules, activity history, etc
  • How to log a call, meeting, or task
  • How to filter in List View
  • Sugar’s awesome Customer Journey

 

Accounts

An account in CRM is simply a company with whom your organization has a relationship — an Account can be a customer, vendor, prospect, competitor, etc. The Accounts module is generally seen as the hub for managing your company’s interactions with each company, while specific Account records will tell you everything about them, from purchase histories, open support cases, and contacts, to activity summaries and Google news reports.

There’s a lot to cover in an account record and we’ll be focusing on:

  • Account record layout/overview
  • Subsidiary accounts
  • Relationships to leads, contacts, and opportunities
  • Activity histories
  • Intelligence Pane (Sugar)

 

Other Stuff!

You and I will be spending most of our time together in a live demo of both systems, but there’s a few things we should talk about first:

 

Deployment Options: Sugar can be deployed in three ways, Salesforce in one. Does it matter? If so, to who? What are the advantages to both?

 

Support: Phone/email support and customer service portals are table stakes, so how do the support offerings differ? We’ll discuss.

 

Customization: Sugar and Salesforce will knock your socks off out-of-the-box, but that doesn’t mean every one of your needs are already met. Each system can be heavily customized, but in much different ways and at much different costs. We’ll discuss briefly each company’s approach to extending the functionality of your CRM.

 

Price: This is a big one, and when two systems are so similar in terms of functionality, it can often be a determining factor during the final stages of the evaluation and selection process. During our webinar, we’ll show you a few cost-of-ownership examples to give you a good idea of what it will cost to operate your CRM (hint: the TCO of one is not like other).

 

I hope this has helped you in CRM evaluation process and look forward to seeing you on my upcoming webast. 

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Save your sales forecast: How to get rid of deal slippage for good

You’ve seen it before: the red flags clogging up your CRM. The close dates that get pushed back—further, and further, and further.

The panic at quarter-end: your sales forecast is way off! You're going to miss your benchmarks! There are blocks in your pipeline and it feels too late to fix them.

What you’re dealing with is called deal slippage—and it’s one of the most taxing, and most solvable, drains on your sales pipeline.

 

What is deal slippage?

Deal slippage is exactly what it sounds like. You have a target close date for a deal that has gained some momentum, but then, uh-oh. The buyer's company hires a new CFO, a few emails go unanswered and a meeting needs to be scheduled and Voila! The deal slips into next quarter.

 

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Lack of communication usually means the deal isn’t going to close anytime soon!

So you work to get back on track. However, there’s a question of security. IT needs to audit before things can move forward. The deal slips another month.

Then your contact takes a vacation. The deal slips. There’s something in the terms that the new CFO doesn’t like. The deal slips. Legal needs to approve. The deal slips.

Sometimes, your deal slips because of lagging communication. Your emails aren’t making it to the company’s key decision makers—or your communication has become totally one-way.

But month after month, quarter after quarter, the deal slips, until, just maybe, it gets dropped all together.

 

Why does deal slippage matter?

Meeting your sales benchmarks and effectively allocating your team’s resources is dependent on your sales pipeline. The plaque on your sales pipeline is deal slippage.

When deals get pushed back, month after month, your sales forecast gets murky. Expectations aren’t met. Team morale is hurt and your potential customers are unhappy.

That’s right. More than anything, deal slippage hurts relationships with your potential customers. When you set a target close date, you set an expectation. If your product or service does, in fact, provide value to the customer, the problem they're trying to solve or the opportunity they're trying to capitalize on remains while the deal stays open.

Making sure the deal closes on time requires strong sales leadership. It’s a key part of a customer-centric sales culture. It impacts your reputation and your overall sales effectiveness. Because if you push a deal back too far, and it might not close at all.

To help you, we’ve broken the battle against deal slippage into 3 phases and developed tips for you to follow in each phase—so you can close on time, keep your customers happy, and develop a sales forecast you can count on.

 

Phase 1: Learn

Ask Tough Questions

One of the biggest ways to combat deal slippage is to make sure the deal is closable in the first place. Before you even start to even think about your target close date, ask:

  • Is the buyer aware of our pricing structure? Have they been introduced to this early on?

  • Am I in touch with the key decision-makers? Does my point of contact have any clout in this deal closing?

  • Are the potential buyers familiar with our solution—or do they require a lot of education before they purchase?

  • What internal and external regulations, checks, reviews, and audits will this potential customer have to go through before the deal is done?

  • Which of our customer’s departments have a say in how and when this deal is closed?

 

Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to give the deal an accurate and attainable close date. And you’ll be able to outline milestones, contact the right people, track progress, and flag potential hold-ups.

 

Keep an Eye on the Calendar

It sounds obvious, but when you’re looking at a deadline 6 months away, it’s easy to miss a few common delays. Before you set a target close date, consider holidays and standard employee vacation time. Christmas and New Year’s Day are international holidays, which many of your points of contact will take off. When working internationally, factor in holidays in your customer’s home country.

Maybe the company you’re selling to takes a retreat in August. Or has all hands on deck for a conference in July. Maybe they’re budget for next year is due quarter 3. Or maybe you’re taking some time off yourself in February.

Either way, knowing the external factors that could hold your close date back is essential for setting that target close date in the first place.

 

Phase 2: Plan

Make Your Close Date Sacred

You should be adjusting your sales strategy to meet your target close date, not the other way around.

That means looking at the customer buyer process, identifying verifiable outcomes, and making sure those milestones are being met in time to close on your target date.

To break this down: verifiable outcomes are just steps the buyer has taken to confirm where they are in the buying process. They’ve presented your solution to the team or they’ve confirmed their budget with finance.

Once you have these, work backwards. And adjust your milestones and communication patterns—rather than your target close date.

 

Write Up a Give/Get List

Preparing a list of “gives” and “gets” helps you move through all those pesky particulars at the negotiating table. Take a few seconds to identify some agreements or concessions that you might need to make in the last stages of your sales cycle.

Are you willing to shorten the agreement terms? Cut back on some fees or restrictions? What value does each of these “gives” have—and what, of equal value, can you “get” in return? Come prepared with your “gives” and “gets” in mind, and you’re more likely to close the deal on time.

Sales Performance International has a great cheat sheet for outlining your Give/Get list, to get you started.  

 

Build a Strong Connection

Your customers are people. They are facing their own stresses and obstacles throughout the buying process. Genuine rapport is a key to pushing them past their internal hurdles.

When a new executive wants to look at competitors again or their company imposes one last bureaucratic step, potential customers will remember you. They will remember how you reacted at each touchpoint and how diligently you worked to overcome obstacles. Building trust throughout the entire sales process despite delays and last-minute hiccups will encourage loyalty. And that loyalty will help you make the deal on time.

 

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Review your past deals and start to understand what communication patterns signal that a deal will close

 

Step 3: Accelerate

Remember: Time is Money

Think about the value the customer is losing every day they don’t buy. We’re talking about specific, big impact digits that are sure to light a fire.

This means first knowing the ROI your product will bring to your prospect—and making sure they know it too. Little concessions and agreements get turned around quickly when hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line. And motivating your customer to act quickly is easy when they’re reminded: “As this deal slips—so does my bottom line.”

 

Chase Small Wins

Sometimes, it just takes getting your foot in the door. It’s easy to get hung up on an initial deal size—the five year contract, the enterprise pricing option.

Instead, make the smaller sale happen. Once your customer trusts you and starts to rely on your product, it’s easy to land-and-expand. And as you start to upsell, you’ll find fewer and fewer roadblocks between you and your loftier end goal.

 

Remember Their CTRAs

You’re not the only one with deadlines. Why does your customer need what you’re selling? For what? Take the time to learn about big CTRAs, or “compelling reasons to act.” Maybe they need your product for a new launch, a particular event, a conference, or a presentation. Maybe they’re relying on what you offer to meet their own monthly or quarterly metrics.

All of those events have deadlines. Reminding a potential customer of how your capabilities will help with their big milestones can keep a deal from slipping.

So what’s next?

You won’t find a CRM without the footprints of deal slippage, and you won’t find a sales team that isn’t frustrated by all the delays. But by spotting the deal slippage in your sales pipeline, you’ve already taken a big step towards meeting your benchmarks, clearing up your sales forecasts, and building loyal, lifelong relationships with new customers.

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Spot the signs of deal slippage early

Luckily, Sugar users can use Collabspot Connect Pro to spot the signs of deal slippage early on so they can save the deal and update their pipeline accordingly. Contact the Collabspot sales team for a free trial.

 
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CRM Adoption Isn’t About Compliance

You’ve spent hours pouring over Capterra reviews and sitting through demos with pushy sales teams. You’ve spent weeks learning, customizing, and fully implementing your shiny new CRM system and you’re finally ready to unleash it to your sales team.

After a few days, it looks like only a few people have logged in and started to enter their data. No big deal, you can send out a reminder email.

After a few weeks, barely anyone is updating records. Nothing to be overly concerned with, a quick training video will do the trick.

After a few months, you look up and realize most of your team hasn’t logged into your expensive system in weeks and is back to keeping track of their deals using their old Excel template. Now… You’re a bit peeved.

If you’re reading this, you likely recognize this scenario. The excitement of a brand new productivity tool destroyed by a lack of adoption.

For shame.

I spend my days talking to sales managers that are experiencing the same issue. An overarching lack of user adoption that has many consequences. Decreases in productivity and collaboration which lead to a decline in sales, which lead to a not so fun year-end meeting with your boss.

What these otherwise brilliant sales minds fail to understand is that CRM adoption isn’t about simply changing technology or upgrading a process. It’s about changing a culture. Nearly 70% of CRM installs fail because these sales managers don’t realize that changing a CRM is about systematically breaking habits that some sales reps have had for years, and then instilling in them a process that’s 10x better than it was.

Your sales reps will resist change. They love their processes. If you ask them there is no better process in the world. So as a sales manager, you need to guide your sales reps to see the value they will receive out of your CRM, not the value you or your company will receive.

To lead your team to the waters of productivity you follow the three pillars of CRM Adoption:

The three pillars of CRM Adoption

People

  • Involve users
  • Choose a CRM ambassador
  • Invest in training
  • Reward early adopters

Consistency

  • Daily Consistency
  • User Consistency
  • System Consistency

Technology

  • Make it easy and intuitive
  • Ensure your data is clean and correct
  • Automate whenever possible


I’m sure you noticed that it never says create so many rules and regulations around your CRM that you create a culture that hates your CRM. Yep, let’s try to avoid that.

CRM adoption is about developing a sense of value and ownership of the CRM for each and every user. If you rely solely on beating people over the head with compliance rules, then you’ll end up with salesforce that is using your CRM out of fear.

This isn’t to say that there is no place for compliance standards and regulations. You shouldn’t lean on compliance rules however to be the number one way you obtain CRM adoption buy-in.