10 Reasons why you need a CRM

Yes, it’s another 10 reasons why you need a CRM.  This time I wanted to focus on pain points that you are probably experiencing in your business today.  As we grow our businesses we’ll find that we are constantly trying to plug the leaks as they spring left, right and centre.  We’re big believers in CRM but why exactly what you need one?  Here are some key indicators that it’s time to implement a CRM in your business.

Before we start with 10 reasons why you need a CRM

If you have any other “reasons”, we would love to hear them.  Feel free to email us, tweet us or post a message below.

And here we go!

#1 – Your teams can’t remember everything, your CRM can

Are you finding that your marketing, sales and service teams just can’t keep track of everything?  I could imagine that you’ve seen some sales reps loaded with sticky notes across their work stations.  They may even have piles of paper lined up inside of their car as they go from appointment to appointment.  The CRM is designed to remember everything about the companies and individuals that you work with.  With your CRM you can track everything from notes, favourite baseball teams, favourite restaurants or the names of their kids.  The CRM is there to help you keep track of relevant information about your customers.

#2 – Your sales and service teams spend too much time searching for stuff

I’m sure we’ve all heard it.  You’ve asked your sales rep to let you know where things are at with ABC Company.  The sales rep quickly jumps over to Microsoft Outlook and starts searching for that last email he sent or maybe, the prospect sent to him.  He really doesn’t know without scouring through his email.  This is the way many businesses do it without a proper CRM working for them.

What really should be happening is your sales rep should be opening up your CRM (hopefully SugarCRM!) and simply searching for ABC Company.  With the click of a button your sales rep can be reading off the historical summary of all interactions with ABC Company.

Or better yet, you could simply look it up too.

#3 – You have no way to measure success

We live in a world of numbers and metrics.  Any successful business owner can tell you how important metrics are in their businesses.  Your CRM can become your hub of metrics and key performance indicators based on the data within your CRM.  Your CRM is your ultimate hub of information where you can tie in the data that your marketing, sales and services teams can input into.

#4 – You have no way to predict or forecast sales

Are you crossing your fingers that you will make enough revenue for the company in the coming quarter?  Your CRM can help you forecast out and project what your sales numbers could ultimately look like.  If you’re finding that things are a bit slow then maybe it’s time to run a campaign to boost numbers.

#5 – Your sales process is broken or non-existent

Do you have a sales process in your business?  What are you doing to track each stage of the sales cycle with your prospects?  Every customer goes through a detailed customer journey.  Developing these stages and identifying them as part of the sales cycle is critical to ensure that you get the right messaging and information to your prospects in a timely manner.

#6 – Your sales people are using sticky notes

When we talk about data import, many of our customers like to tease us about all of the sticky notes that their people have accumulated over time.  Unfortunately, we don’t do data import for sticky notes.  You could hire someone to do the data entry and that can do the trick.  If you’re finding your sales staff using sticky notes to stay on top of things then this is an obvious reason for needing a CRM.

#7 – Your sales reps rely on their Contacts App instead of Mobile CRM

Your sales reps are using the contacts app instead of Sugar Mobile.  This is another one of the 10 reasons why you need a CRM is so critical.  Your sales reps should be using the mobile app of your CRM to capture information while taking phone calls.  It’s also likely that the CRM is more than up to date than the Contacts App simply because everyone in the organization is updating the CRM.

#8 – You have no way to find out how many and what type of customers you have

Your CRM is not only a collection of tasks and sales tracking.  Your CRM should allow you to develop a comprehensive profile of your customers so that you can categorize and organize them in a way that you run metrics and reports to find out who your customers are.

#9 – You have no way to organize customers by account manager (unless it’s just a spreadsheet or more sticky notes)

Your CRM allows you to organize your accounts by account managers.  This allows you to develop specific accountabilities for each person on your team.

#10 – There’s no single source of information

Last and but not least for 10 reasons why you need a CRM, there’s no single source of information.  With a CRM, you’re bringing everybody together to share information in one location.  Many of the organizations that we work with find that their greatest challenge before getting a CRM is that they have no way of keeping tabs on the multiple CRM’s that have sprung up between sales reps.

Sales stage setup in SugarCRM

One of the first things that businesses do when they setup their CRM is that they setup their sales process inside of the CRM.  Your sales stage setup is a critical first step.  This allows managers to manage and build a pipeline for the business while giving tools to sales people to follow their individual sales progress.  This article we are going to walk through how to setup sales stages inside of SugarCRM.

Sales Stage Setup for SugarCRM Professional or Enterprise

The first thing that you need to consider when setting up your sales process is whether or not you are working in Professional or Enterprise versions of SugarCRM.  If you are on Professional then you are going to be driving sales stage tracking directly from your Opportunities.  If you are running Enterprise, then you have a choice to either do it through the Opportunity directly or at the revenue line item level.

Do you use Opportunity only or Revenue Line Items?

This is an important question that you need to ask yourself or work through the process.  At Eligeo CRM we emphasis going through a robust CRM Strategy workshop to ensure that know how you want your sales process to operate within SugarCRM.  The general way of looking at it though is that the Opportunity level gives you a fairly high level estimate of what amount you think you may achieve on a deal.  If you’re only selling 1 single type of product, this could make sense.  Your sales stage setup could be better off though if you wanted more granular information.  The revenue line items option allows you to track an unlimited number of individual products that roll up into one opportunity.

A great example of this is when you have multiple product lines.  You may feel like one product is 90% likely to close whereas you have other up-sell opportunities that may fit into this opportunity as well.  This can provide managers a better way of encouraging additional unit sales while also tracking performance of each individual product.  The opportunity is high level so it’s more difficult to track the progress accurately.

Create your Sales Stage Setup in Sugar’s Studio

The sales stage configuration is the same for both Professional and Enterprise.  First, you need to setup your sales stage configuration.  Check out our blog post on how to create sales stages for more information on this.

Find Dropdown Editor tools

Once you’ve determined your sales stage setup, we have two drop down lists to update in Studio.  To access them, you must be an administrator.

  1. Click on Admin from your profile when logged in as administrator
  2. Scroll down to the Developer Tools section.
  3. Click on the Dropdown Editor link.

Updating Dropdown Lists

Sales stage setup drop down list editor

If you’ve followed the steps correctly, you should see the screen as shown above.  There are a lot of lists in Sugar.  We need to find two of them but we’ll start with one first.  An easy way to find these lists is to do CRTL+F in Windows or CMD+F on MacOS.  This will pop up a search box.  The first one we are searching for is sales_stage_dom.

This should highlight in your browser, the sales stage drop down list.  Click on that link.

This is a very simple index of options that are available for you to customize for your CRM.  You can click and drag to re-arrange the order of the menus.  The small pencil icon will allow you to edit the label.  The minus sign will allow you to remove the entry.  This is the easy part and it is your chance to take your developed sales steps and drop them into this list.

You can click Save at the top when you’ve got your sales stages all setup properly.

Don’t forget to update sales probabilities

Sales stage setup different lists

When you searched for sales stages you probably noticed a few different results pop up.  We have a second list that we need to update once we’ve completed our sales stage.  Before we do that, let me explain the different sales lists.

  • Sales Probability – We’re going to get into this, but we use this for Forecasting sales percentages
  • Sales Stage – We just updated this one.
  • Sales Status – This is for Enterprise customers that are using revenue line items to specify if an Opportunity is in progress or completed.
  • Sales Status with Quote – This is to do with the Quotes module of SugarCRM.

We are focused on the sales probability.  So go ahead and search for sales_probability_dom from your drop down lists screen and click on it.

Sales stage setup for sales probability

This screen is a little bit different.  I want to talk about what sales probability has to do with anything in the CRM.  It impacts a few areas, notably the Opportunity itself as well as the Forecasting tools.

As you can see through the list of Sales Probabilities, the list matches up with the Sales Stage list.  This is by design because we want to associate the selected sales stage with a number, rather a percentage.

What we see is that if we make it to Proposal/Price Quote, we know that we have a 65% chance of closing the deal.  Conversely, if we are at Prospecting, it’s at 10%.  These numbers will need to be tweaked by you over time as these are just out of the box examples.  Every business will evolve this and learn the chances of closing at different stages.  That’s how we use it from an Opportunity perspective.

From a Forecast perspective, we’re using that percentage to allocate dollars to our forecast amount.

Example: We have an Opportunity with an Amount of $1,000 with a sales stage of Prospecting.  This means our active funnel is only $100 because Prospecting is 10% chance of closing.

Example: We have an Opportunity with an Amount of $1000 with a sales stage of Proposal/Price Quote.  This means our active funnel is $650 because this sales stage is 65% likely to close.

Update the sales probabilities

Now that you have an understanding of how probabilities work, you can update the table.  Simply make sure that the Item Name on your lists match up between sales_stage_dom and sales_probability_dom.  The label will be the actual percentage for probability.

Click Save and that’s it.  You’ve updated your sales stages.

Double check your sales stage setup in Sugar

Now that you’ve done the hard work and created your sales stage setup, it’s time to test it.  You can do these a few ways:

  1. Create an opportunity and change the sales stage to see that the Probability value is actually changing and updating.  There is a field called Probability % that is shown by default.
  2. If you’ve setup forecasting, you should be able to review these percentages within the Forecast tool.
  3. Create a report showing the sales stages.

Wrap Up

That’s it for setting up sales stages.  We hope you found this article helpful in getting your sales stages setup in SugarCRM.



Why choose SugarCRM?

For over 10+ years, I’ve been happy to use SugarCRM. When I first started using the open source community edition back in 2006, it was revolutionary. As you can imagine these days, you can find a CRM product on just about every google search that you do. There are simply a lot of options out there for CRM products.

I’ve always felt that the simplest approach is typically the easiest approach. We tend to make things more complicated than they need to be in our day to day business lives. I think CRM can be simplified by finding a product that can do exactly what it was designed for.

I’m also a fan of Salesforce and other products out there like Insightly, Nimble, Zoho and many others. They all have their own benefits but they are not the only products out there.

If you’re asking yourself, why choose SugarCRM? Then this blog post is for you.

Why Choose SugarCRM? Sugar Laptop

Why choose SugarCRM? It’s not Just a CRM

What I truly love about Sugar is that it isn’t just a CRM. Why choose SugarCRM? It’s because it’s a lot more than just a CRM itself. For our company, we’ve turned our CRM into a powerful business management tool. We have insights into projects, time tracking, client information and so much more in one place.

We’ve helped our clients do some remarkable things. Sure, we’ve done plenty of the straight of the line sales tracking scenarios. We’ve found that once our clients start using the basics, then start asking the question: what else can I do? This is where it gets really exciting.

Sugar is easy to integrate into just about any system out there. We’ve connected Sugar to legacy AS400 accounting systems as well as legacy in-house systems. Surprisingly, we’ve done it with plenty of ease as well.

The other great thing about Sugar these days is that they are innovating like crazy.  There are some cool things happening including features such as the Customer Journey Plugin.

Why choose SugarCRM? You’re choosing it because it’s not just a CRM, it can be your whole business operating system.

Open Source

In the mid 2000’s, whenever we heard the term open source, we thought free. This isn’t exactly the case, as it is is with Sugar, but that isn’t a bad thing. Sugar follows an affordable commercial licensing model but you get the full source code.

Let me repeat.

The full. source. code.

There are definitely upgrade safe ways of doing things in Sugar, you still want the latest and greatest updates. The source code access is huge. It allows us to really develop some creative solutions for your business without having to get overwhelmed with proprietary systems.

Sugar is built on other open source technologies and the standards are universal across the board. Sugar is ultimately a framework developed around CRM using the most popular technologies including Apache, PHP, MySQL, Elasticsearch, Handlebars and many more.

The other great thing about open source is that there isn’t just SugarCRM as an open source platform but a whole world of available open source plugins. From open source projects such as jQuery, Bootstrap and many others, there are many options without cost that can be brought into your Sugar platform.


Yes, there are costs even for open source. I realize that there are open source projects out there including forks of Sugar. I think those projects are great and have their own benefits as well as those of a commercial open source edition of Sugar. The key to paying for something is that you’re not only making a purchase but you’re paying for support, upgrades, enhancements and in some cases hosting of your CRM. It’s not just about the source code.

But with that said, Sugar has an incredible product that is half the price of the comparable Salesforce sales cloud offering. Salesforce is a lot more than just a CRM now. There are add on products for marketing, service, third party products and so much more. Sugar as a CRM and platform gives you a lot more flexibility and a price that is affordable.

The other key differentiator for Sugar is that you have the option of deployments. If you want to host with Sugar, you’re more than welcome to do so and are encouraged to do so. They offer a great product on a stable hosting environment so that you don’t need to worry about backing up your CRM or dealing with any upgrade issues.

On the flip side, you can host it yourself. If you’re pushing the data storage and capabilities of your CRM to really extend it then you might find some benefits to hosting it on your own servers. A number of our clients are finding themselves enjoying this flexibility so that they can more easily tie in internal systems including telephony and other operational systems.

There are many options out there, but SugarCRM definitely stands out for many reasons. We use Sugar internally to run our business. It’s not just about CRM but it’s a reasonably priced platform and a way that our business can operate effectively.


SugarCRM Announces Hint – Relationship Intelligence

SugarCRM has announced a brand new product today called Hint, their new relationship intelligence solution to help Sugar users know their customers better.

SugarCRM Hint, the debut product in the new SugarCRM Relationship Intelligence product line, reinvents enterprise applications, automating the gathering of vast amounts of customer information. Hint enables your sales, service and marketing professionals to get a full social profile of their customers with minimal data input. This new intelligence solution will lead to the natural evolution of CRM, moving it from being a record of what has already happened to a customer-facing employee’s guide to the future.

With Hint, Sugar users need to only provide a customer’s name and email address, after which they can:

  • Gather, analyze and display relevant customer intelligence from more than 70 data sources. Hint automates the search, tuning, and building of a personal and corporate profile for a contact.
  • Update a CRM record in one click to store timely and accurate information about a contact in Sugar for reporting and workflow purposes.
  • See a record of activity history with a contact, including all calls, meetings and email exchanges.

Hint gathers and analyzes customer intelligence from a broad range of data sources so users can quickly and efficiently learn more about their prospects to establish a productive relationship.

This new tool from SugarCRM allows you to have better relationships with your customers by understanding exactly who they are during the most important conversations.

Contact us today to learn more about how Hint can help your sales and service teams gather greater insights into your prospects and customers.

SugarCRM Outlook Plugin Updated

SugarCRM announced last week that version 2.4.0 of the Sugar Outlook plugin is now available.  The following features were added along with a number of bug fixes:

  • The side panel has received a variety of updates, including:
    • Key information for synced records is now displayed in Contacts, Calendar, and Tasks views
    • Lead records can now be created via the Mail view side panel
    • Users can now relate new records to the current record for specific subpanels using the “+” (plus) icon
    • The Emails subpanel is now available to display related emails
    • Users can now load additional related records or close the subpanel back to the default view using the Up and Down arrows in the subpanel
  • Users can now relate Outlook contacts, calls, meetings, and tasks to Sugar records via the “Mark to Sync and Relate” and “Save, Mark to Sync and Relate” options
  • Duplicate checking is performed across all modules where new Sugar records can be created via Outlook
  • Users now have the option to search and select an existing account record when creating leads in Outlook
  • The “Lookup Sugar Address” option now allows users to search and select Sugar contacts and leads as invitees to calls or meetings
  • The Sugar category in Outlook syncs to the Sugar record’s Tags field on the initial sync from Outlook to Sugar
  • Additional time frames (1, 2, 3, and 5 minutes) have been added to the “Automatically sync every” option
  • Users can now specify the logging level (e.g. Fatal, Error) to be captured in the log as well as select the log writer type (e.g. File, Windows event log)
  • The Outlook plug-in can now connect to Sugar by uploading your own SSL certificate
  • Users now have an option to have modules which are hidden in Sugar be displayed in the Outlook plug-in

SugarCRM Outlook Plugin is the cornerstone feature for users of Microsoft Outlook.  This SugarCRM Outlook Plugin Update provides more information and allows users to easily see pertinent information about their customers and prospects all from within Microsoft Outlook.

More information here.

Simple Lead Management Process

Building a lead management process can either be a very complex process or a simple process.  If you’re a small business, I would venture to guess that you likely have not even considered building a lead process at this point.  I’ve heard from a number of people how they have “a lot of leads” and they’re not even sure where they are supposed to start.  I recently spoke about this during a workshop and this diagram that I am sharing is the document I reviewed.

I like this document because it’s dead simple.  It’s high level but it also helps us build a foundation around how a lead management process should work.  Let’s take a look at the sample lead management process that I’ve put together.

Sample Lead Process

Sample Lead Process

This diagram is meant to be silly and straight forward.  I don’t think diagrams should be over complicated when it comes to describing how a small should define their systems.  This is a perfect example of that.  Each area has a certain focus and I’m going to describe each a bit more in detail. read more…

How is your competition using marketing automation?

One of the things that I find my customers love talking about is possibilities.  The possibilities that CRM and marketing can achieve for them.

If you’re not thinking about marketing automation, you should be.  Small businesses especially need to think about this more and more.  As technology continues to evolve you need to know that your competitors are flocking to the web.  The money spent on yellow pages in the past is being shifted to new ways of marketing.

Don’t get left behind.

But the question is where do you start?  There are so many things you could do but what should be the focus.

The quick hits are going to be email marketing and social media.  I’ve heard time and time again that it takes about 10 – 15 touches to a prospect before they will be engaged with you in service.

What is a touch?

A touch is anything from a phone call, to an email to a connection on LinkedIn.  Some companies will track every touch and run metrics against these to determine how long it takes to get a lead converted into an opportunity.  I don’t advise getting too crazy with this out of the gate but it is something that you should strive for.

read more…

Eligeo CRM in the news: One big thing Corby did to improve its sales process

The Globe and Mail recently did an article on Corby who recently implemented Salesforce into their organization.  Eligeo CRM was contacted for their opinion on how CRM solutions can impact how businesses can operate.

“It won’t happen overnight,” says Derek Major, chief executive officer of Eligeo CRM Inc., a CRM software consulting company in Vancouver. “I tell companies it takes three to five years to really embrace CRM as part of their culture.”

Click here for the full article at Globe and Mail.

Establishing selection criteria for your CRM

If you haven’t already downloaded it, make sure to download a free copy of the CRM Buyer’s Guide that I wrote.  It’s a great way to get insight on how to go about purchasing a CRM system for your organization or in some cases utilizing it to better evaluate what you already have.

In the CRM Buyer’s Guide I talk about establishing selection criteria for your CRM and the importance that it should weigh on your organization’s overall business strategy.  I like to compare the process of purchasing a home to that of finding the perfect CRM.  When you’re looking for a home you will typically sit down with a realtor.  The realtor is going to ask you a number of questions to help him/her to determine where to begin the search for homes.  Funny enough, if you’ve been looking for a CRM for awhile now you’ve probably noticed that there are a number of options out there that could probably rival the number of homes on the market at a given time in certain cities.  As a CRM consultant, we look to do the same process as a realtor would try to establish criteria for your home purchase.

read more…

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