SugarCRM, the company behind the most intuitive, flexible and open Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system available, released version 6.2.1 of their product suite on July 15, 2011 to much anticipation and relief. While the company released the highly anticipated version 6.2.0 earlier this year, it came with a great deal of anguish for customers upgrading from previous versions and many others were advised to avoid the 6.2.0 release in favour of the impending 6.2.1 revision, which would have the upgrade issues resolved.
What is Social CRM
Let’s first recap what “Social CRM” is, as it is a very loose term and can be interpreted in many, many ways. Social CRM, as with any CRM, is an activity. CRM system vendors provide tools to help people perform this activity. The same can be said for Social CRM. Social CRM however, is an outward-in approach to customer relations rather than the traditional inward-out view. Social CRM looks at a customer or prospect and how that person interacts with their social and professional networks both online and offline, their influence and influencers. The goal of Social CRM is to better understand the customer and what influences their decisions and habits. With this, you can evolve from a standardized interaction methodology to one which is all about the customer, and on their terms. Once the customer is fully understood, you are in a much better position to close deals.
SugarCRM 6.2 Social Integrations
SugarCRM was one of the first professional platforms to embrace the concept of Social CRM. As early as SugarCRM 5.1 back in August 2007 SugarCRM had the capability to engage in Social CRM with the simple ability to embed third-party websites and applications directly inside the application. This provided the ability to reference and research a customer’s social influence and interactions without moving away from the resources available inside the application. SInce then, SugarCRM Inc. has continued to invest heavily in Social CRM and has added the ability to, dynamically change the content of third-party websites based on information known about the customer; bringing information that is known about a customer straight into the CRM system, ensuring the data you are working from is up-to-date and providing valuable insight into the activities of the individual and company you are dealing with. SugarCRM 6.2 introduces a framework to connect to and integrate with just about any other system around, both internal and external. The platform has productised or included integrations with the following services:
- IBM Lotus Live
- IBM Lotus Notes
- IBM Lotus Domino
- Cisco Webex
- Citrix Online
- Google Docs
- Microsoft Office Outlook
- Microsoft Office Word
- Microsoft Office Excel
- Any IMAP compatible email service
On top of these integrations which are available through SugarCRM Inc. there is a vast partner and community network that can design and build highly tailored applications right into the SugarCRM platform, giving you even greater insight into the information systems you need to do business, all through one intuitive user experience. You can also build your own applications into the platform and it’s easy to learn how.
SugarCRM 6.2.1 is a fantastic application, hosted in the Cloud, that provides your business with the resources, knowledge, and ability to act on information from a wide variety of sources, in order to achieve the best possible relationships with your customers, and, as a result, close as many deals as possible.
For local Australian hosting, customised implementations, service and support, I highly recommend InsightfulCRM, based in Sydney, Australia.
How will you be using Social CRM? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.