A war for supremacy has been waged in the customer relationship management (CRM) space that is ultimately a battle over which business unit CRM benefits the most.
SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin contends that Salesforce.com was essentially designed for the sales managers rather than salespeople. This matters because unless a CRM application is designed for salespeople, Augustin says the salespeople will resist using it because they feel that nothing about the application benefits them or their jobs.
At the SugarCon 2014 conference this week, SugarCRM previewed the forthcoming 7.2 release of its CRM application that features tighter analytics integration with applications from Dun & Bradstreet, Marketo and HootSuite along with enhanced support for tablet devices.
Augustin says that what ultimately distinguishes SugarCRM from other products, however, is that it is designed to benefit the way a salesperson wants to manage their daily activities. Because it is designed specifically with salespeople in mind, Augustin says the people who actually transact the sales are more likely to use the application, which then provides visibility into the sales pipeline that gives the business side the information that it needs. In contrast, when salespeople resist using a CRM application, the whole point of CRM is essentially defeated.
SugarCRM claims to have more than 1.5 million users at more than 7,200 organizations, with an additional 785 new customers signing up in the first quarter alone and billings on a year-to-year basis up 38 percent.
That, says Augustin, is only just the beginning. Usage of CRM software is about to grow well beyond the sales department. As CRM software becomes the foundation on which systems of engagement are built, Augustin says it won’t be long before CRM software is the most widely used enterprise application outside of the spreadsheet.
Ultimately, any CRM initiative is only going to be as good as the number of participants that embrace it. Given the number of users of SugarCRM these days, it’s clear that message is starting to resonate with more than a just few organizations.