What happens to companies’ marketing efforts in the age of internet reviews and social sharing? Consumers are turning to the wisdom of crowds online for the straight dope before making a purchase. A fancy and expensive advertising blitz could bring disappointing returns if the internet’s response is more jeers than cheers. Companies and salespeople will need a more direct line to customers to be heard through the noise, according to Larry Augustin, chief executive officer at SugarCRM Inc.
Augustin said that Customer Relationship Management is turning out to be a good candidate to fill this space. He told John Furrier (@furrier), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, that CRM can help companies create and maintain an authentic relationship with customers. The trust they build through this relationship can withstand the challenges online naysayers present, he said.
Ye Olde CRM
Augustin said the CRM of old was a system of record that helped little with customer engagement and also presented adoption issues internally. “The salesperson would show up once every two weeks, put their information in, and it was reporting up to the boss,” he said.
The problem is that these systems were not valued by salespeople, because they did nothing to help them close sales and bring in the bacon, Augustin said, adding that SugarCRM is ushering in the next-generation CRM.
“We think of CRM as the tool that helps the salesperson do their job. So you’re about to walk into a meeting as a salesperson — how can we help you prepare for that?” Augustin explained. He believes the next-gen CRM needs to provide actionable data on prospects to help salespeople get their game faces on. He said this represents a move from a system of record to a system of engagement.
B2B = P2P
“Even in the business-to-business world, you’re talking to a person. So it’s person-to-person engagement,” he said, explaining that salespeople must make a personal connection in order to be effective.
Augustin said SugarCRM has a service in beta right now that helps salespeople personalize their approach to customers in an instant. “This service effectively starts with an email address and returns what is a person’s profile based on email address,” he said.
He said they accomplish this by culling social data on customers. “What the person says on Facebook, what they say on Twitter, their profile on LinkedIn, any other social media, news articles even — pull all that together,” he added.
With this in hand, salespeople will have something relevant to say once they get a prospect on the phone, Augustin concluded.
Watch the full interview below: