Sage CRM has been granted the Champion position by Info-Tech Research Group, an IT analyst firm in their Vendor Landscape for CRM Suites for Small Enterprises. Sage CRM also gained the highest Value Score, providing the most bang for the buck of the products that were evaluated and earning the Best Overall Value Award. Among all the marks given by Info-Tech Research Group the exemplary marketing capabilities, ERP and social media integration and mobile support in Sage CRM were the most prominent.
Info-Tech Research Group Vendor Landscape reports recognize outstanding vendors in the marketplace assessing both their offering and strategy for the enterprise, paying tribute to the contribution of exceptional vendors in a particular category.
Evaluation weighed vendors and solutions on features, usability, affordability, architecture, viability, strategy, reach and channel. Champions scored high scores for most assessment criteria and offer excellent value. They have a sound market presence and set a trend for the industry.
Anastasia Shteyn, consulting analyst, Info-Tech Research Group comments, “Sage is a stable vendor with a strong partner network and solid product support. Sage is known for strong global reach, with a sizeable network of sales and support offices for CRM and ERP products. Sage CRM offers a host of deployment options, a modernized UI that provides a true mobile experience, and some social functionality that differentiates the product from competitors. Strengths include exemplary interactive dashboards, which provide secure access to various user groups and strong mobile capabilities (e.g. dedicated apps for tablets and crossbrowser HTML5 support).”
The Value Score indexes each vendor’s product offering and business strength relative to its price point. Shteyn said, “While maintaining exceptional vendor credentials, Sage CRM takes social seriously and keeps a modest price tag. Sage CRM has the lowest TCO on the market and offers the most bang for the buck, including a comprehensive feature set, usability, and architecture.”
Sage CRM 7.2 now has new and improved ways to increase employee productivity and help develop customer relationship. With its new social, mobile and business collaboration tools, the latest release of the global Sage SMB CRM solution empowers sales, marketing and customer service teams to better engage with colleagues and customers.
The improved mobile suite includes two new mobile apps for the iPhone and Windows® 8, which provide mobile sales teams with instant access to real-time data to assist them manage their business relationships, even when offline.
The Social CRM suite, which is now integrated with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, is further enhanced with the new social-style collaboration powered by Yammer. Sage CRM Business Collaboration powered by Yammer enables employees to collaborate Groups making business conversations concerning opportunities, leads and support cases more social and transparent.
David Beard, CRM principal, Sage CRM comments, “Sage CRM 7.2 has been designed with social, mobile and business collaboration technology at its core. We’re confident that Sage CRM 7.2 will boost sales team productivity, foster greater internal collaboration, and deliver better business insight. Providing SMBs with dynamic business insight and customer information that is easy to report on will make a big difference to companies looking to drive revenues, grow their business and achieve great success through exceptional customer experience, delivered seamlessly across all touch points.”
Also built-in with this release is smarter reporting with enhanced features to enable faster, secure, customized reports that are quickly populated with the latest CRM information. With rich new graphic charts and report cloning capabilities users can quickly create visual reports with interactive graphs, for at-a-glance business insight and informed decision making.
Training is Important in ERP Implementation Success
ERP software is helpful to companies in solving problems and overcome difficulties, but businesses must ensure that the employees are properly trained for ERP implementation to be successful. A new survey from the International Association of Administrative Professionals found that many office workers receive fewer hours of training from employers every year as businesses move toward cloud technology. Approximately 3 million employees in the U.S. are responsible for their own training, according to the results.
Impact of Technology on Training
A good number of companies surveyed reported they would make use of cloud technology in the near future, and 71 percent said mobile with cloud would account for all or most of the business operations. The growth of mobile technology has enabled the number of telecommuters to increase significantly in the past several years and these remote workers may not receive as much training as those who work in office.
Technology may enhance faster than employees can keep without assistance. Technology may advance faster than employees can keep up without assistance. Three of four administrative professionals reported their biggest challenge at work is keeping up with changing technology. Without assistance and proper training adapting to new systems can be troublesome. Employees cannot give their best out of new systems unless they receive proper training.
Get the most out of ERP implementation with training
Companies can gain more profits and enhance efficiency with an ERP system, but it is necessary for employees to receive complete training to fully recognize the benefits of the software. If employees do not have complete understand of software, they can be resistant to ERP implementation, according to IT Web. ERP software can make work easier and manageable, but first a good understand is a must of how it functions.
Employers must clearly communicate ERP goals to employees so everyone has an understanding of their role in the implementation. All members of the organization need to be on board with the process for an implementation to be successful, according to IT Web.
Managers should be certain employees attend ERP training sessions and practice before the system goes live, because any down time could be detrimental to the business. According to The Nation, employers assume that after ERP system is implemented workers will have a clear understanding of how to use the new information they can access.
Companies cannot become more efficient if users do not have a clear understanding of ERP software. Companies can only take benefits of ERP system if the software and employees work together. Once employees know how to use ERP software, they will not need as much assistance but it is important that they receive sufficient training in the beginning. ERP systems can allow companies to make higher profits and increase efficiency but employee training shouldn’t be neglected who will use the software on daily basis.
Healthcare IT will most likely make significant improvements in meaningful use in the next year based on recent research by Stollenberg Consulting. Meaningful use is the set of standards for the use of electronic health records. The advantages of meaningful use include complete and accurate information, better access to information and patient empowerment according to HealthIT.gov.
According to the survey health professionals complained about the difficulties in meeting meaningful use requirements were confusion and ambiguity about regulations, competing health IT projects and lack of resources such as funding, IT skill, talent and time. Healthcare is a quickly evolving field, so these are all significant concerns.
“Those hospitals that can successfully achieve meaningful use implementation will benefit greatly from the resulting updated systems, enhanced processes and increased data security,” said Shane Pitcher, vice president of Stollenburg Consulting. “While these challenges certainly impact hospitals of all sizes, they are particularly daunting for rural and community hospitals. To have the best chance of meeting meaningful use, smaller hospitals should develop an effective plan of action that unites IT, internal administration and clinical providers.”
The Stollenburg research revealed the biggest trends for health IT this year will be business intelligence and cloud computing. Both technologies could be beneficial to healthcare providers enabling them to be more efficient and reduce costs.
ERP can allow healthcare providers to meet meaningful use requirements
Many institutions are still in the early stages of utilizing healthcare IT, and some are not utilizing their data capabilities to full extent according to Healthcare IT News. Integration of both healthIT and an ERP system could be beneficial for healthcare providers.
Data is vital to doctors as medical technology advances. Better data analytics enables doctors to provide care to patients in a more efficient way. ERP software helps healthcare providers to gain better analysis of the available data. Organizations that mine their own data may improve quicker than those that don’t, according to Healthcare IT News.
Pitcher notes that health organizations must understand and meet meaningful use requirements before they can experience the benefits of better access to information. Electronic health records require a good deal of data storage and an ERP software makes records manageable and organized. ERP software would also allow different medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses and specialists, responsible for a patient’s care access the same records and avoid miscommunications and cease mistakes.
The future of health IT
IT systems for healthcare providers and meaningful use are still relatively new concepts, so there may be kinks to iron out in the next few years. Medical technology is evolving at a rapid rate, as well. Through ERP integration, medical organizations can improve how they utilize electronic health records. This can allow them to make better use of their data and potentially increase the speed of patient care.
Reducing risk is a major concern for global companies, but some businesses may be compromising performance and productivity by hanging on to outdated security strategies, according to a recent report from CEB, a member-based advisory company.
The report notes that modern work environments are usually collaborative, meaning they require a large transfer of information. Many companies have restrictive information security policies, which can inhibit the organization from maximizing its profits. CEB suggests companies need to shift from a risk reduction approach to a risk management focus.
“Most risk managers mistakenly believe their role is to reduce risk,” said Jeremy Bergsman, managing director of CEB. “Instead, the primary goal of information risk management must evolve from risk reduction to maximizing the business value of information. Risk management functions, including information security, legal and enterprise risk management, must work jointly to define the scope to be managed and the set of activities necessary for business leaders to successfully share responsibility.”
The study revealed large organizations could suffer from as much as $20 million worth of lost profits per year due to their information security policies.
ERP can Facilitate Information Risk Management
According to survey of executives, new uses of information are crucial to the growth of their business. A large number of employees admitted they violated information security policies because the restrictions were a hurdle to perform their jobs effectively. Companies need to figure out a way to keep balance between risks and replace outdated systems, enabling data transfer and information accessibility easier.
Growing and successful businesses use ERP software to help solve information security problems. Employees can easily access the data required to perform their jobs efficiently. ERP software is helpful in increasing productivity and prevents from losing profits.
Data is vital to make an email marketing campaign successful. Consumers are looking for a more personalized approach, and data can fuel this kind of campaign, according to Online Media Daily.
Amazon relies on data to send personalized emails its customers basing suggestions on previous purchases. Analysis of data also helps suggest other products that may interest a consumer. Amazon will sometimes introduce and unrelated products to see the reaction of customers, which can help expand sales in different categories.
“What is important is that you have to listen to their response,” Donald Parsons, director of global email at Amazon, told Online Media Daily. “If they don’t respond, don’t keep sending that message.”
Personal email messages are effective
Email marketing campaigns can be a way to test the waters and determine whether a particular message is effective, Retail Digital said. Most consumers are overloaded with emails and the common ones are unlikely to be opened. This method can lose effectiveness as customers become frustrated with impersonal messages that miss the point, whereas a targeted approach can develop a relationship between the company and clients and also build brand loyalty. Personalized email marketing can improve customer experience.
How to Engage Customer through Email
Approaching specific consumers groups can be a tedious job but data can simplify the process. Companies must initiate by creating a profile of the type of customer they want to approach, a Retail Digital stated. This is done by monitoring patterns and customer history.
Once the profile is identified, the specific segments can be targeted. They can approach customers who have looked at a certain product a number of times, visitors to the site who have not purchased or consumers who have not bought anything for a certain amount of time. For such targets, email options can be created. It is important for marketers to measure the conversion rates and number of sales from these campaigns to determine which messages are the most effective.
The message needs to be slightly different depending on the consumer, according to Online Media Daily. The first impression is important, so businesses need to pay attention to data.
“You have to shift the content based on who you are talking to,” Phil Davis, CEO of email service provider Rapleaf, told Online Media Daily. “If you segment, everyone can win.”
With the passage of time, additional behavioral metrics can be analyzed and marketers can continue to send messages. Customers should not be sent repeated messages to customers as they might use it to exploit brand discounts.
When email marketing gets successful, it can build brand loyalty and companies can grow on this. They can target loyal customers by sending personalized discounts, which ensures a costumer stays with a brand. Data plays an important role in businesses to understand customer base and maintain a more personal relationship with them.
Role of Mobile Devices in Online Shopping
The increasing use of Smartphone and Tablet technology has bought a change in the way consumers shop. An eMarketer predicts 15 percent of all online retail sales on mobile devices, with the majority of those sales expected to come from tablets.
Though it is unlikely that mobile devices will completely replace traditional computers, a research from the Consumer Electronics Association found that in households where both laptop and mobiles are used, people are more likely to reduce time spent on laptop. However, only few reported who would stop using a laptop in favor of a Smartphone or Tablet.
Unlike Smartphone, Tablet users can treat the device like a PC, according to Online Media Daily. Smartphone are helpful in research of a product before making a purchase, but Tablets can even capture the conversion rate. The eMarketer research found that tablets are mostly bought in use for ecommerce purchases. Retail websites have the highest tablet traffic, followed closely by auto, travel and hospitality sites, reported by Online Media Daily.
Importance of mobile technology for online advertisers
In the CEA survey, 85 percent of Smartphone owners reported they surf the internet and 89 percent check email on the device. For tablet users, 92 percent browse the web and 83 percent check their email. The amount of internet usage occurring on mobile devices could present a significant opportunity for companies that use targeted advertisements to attract potential customers to a website.
Shopping through mobile devices may switch some purchases away from stores. According to eMarketer, mobile devices drive significant ecommerce transactions because consumers aren’t restricted to regular business hours thus leading to impulse purchases since people don’t have to leave home to make a purchase.
Those consumers who research products or do shopping from mobile devices are very advantageous to retailers, because Smartphone in particular include information about the person, including geographical location. According to The Financial Times said, this information is valuable to marketers because they can target consumers with meaningful ads. Mobile ads can have a higher level of engagement than other types of advertising, such as desktop, print or television.
The FT reported 50 percent of the U.S. population owned mobile devices in 2012, so it is highly likely a majority of a company’s client base surfs the web from a mobile device. However, only 3 percent of all advertising dollars are currently spent on mobile. As the usage of Smartphone and Tablet is increasing with time, this form of marketing will gradually become more important with the passage of time.
Improve multichannel shopping experience with integration
Shopping methods have changed to a great extent in the past decade. The use of internet to research and purchase products has increased to such a level that no one would have expected d in 2003, according to ecommerce research from Corra.
Some of the findings on ecommerce included:
In 2003, phones with internet capabilities were less than 1 percent but presently 21 percent of ecommerce transactions are made through mobile devices. An average American household owns five internet-connected devices. Fifty-three percent of online retailers offer in-store pickup or flexible deliveries. In 2003, 83 percent of people were frustrated by their lack of understanding of ecommerce, and now 72 percent of people consider themselves expert online shoppers.
This is clear evidence of the vast increase in internet shopping in the past decade and is most likely to continue. The demand of consumers is complicated; many prefer a combined in-store and online shopping, so retailers had adapted their purchasing options. A successful multichannel approach will increase customer loyalty and boost revenue, according to The Houston Chronicle’s Small Business section. The increase of ecommerce options also helps a retailer extend his reach without opening additional stores in new locations. Ecommerce sites can be designed and developed with multiple currencies feature to attract foreign consumers. Consumers can shop at their own convenience and at peace of mind without worrying about the opening and closing times of physical retailers.
Integration can help retailers create multichannel experience
Turning towards to a multichannel approach could be a challenge for retailers. Switching to a multichannel approach can be a challenge for retailers. There can be a lack of consistency across different channels and customer information can become fragmented, the Chronicle reported.
A Business Management Software would be helpful to smooth the differences between separate channels. While giving customers more options to interact with the business, increasing loyalty and satisfaction, it can create complexity for retailers. But creating more options could ensure consumers are receiving a consistent experience no matter which channel they choose.
One risk of adapting a multichannel approach is that one can lose customer’s data if people shop in multiple ways which can be frustrating for consumers. A unified client database can prevent information loss or mix-ups. Tracking consumer information can also help retailers to identify purchasing patterns and target customers based on their interests. Companies can develop a better understanding of clients’ needs which allows them to adapt. Integration is key to the success of a multichannel approach.
Importance of Sales Training
The gap between a company’s intended message about its brand and its sales representative is increasing. According to Corporate Visions, a sales consulting firm, sixty percent of companies believe less than half of their sales staff is delivering the right product message.
This can develop a negative impact on a company’s sales goals. Proper coaching to sales representatives is very important and many businesses are falling short.
Tim Riester, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer of Corporate Visions said that ““This quarter’s survey results reveal a critical gap where marketing and sales teams need to come together to find a way to roll out new product messaging so it gets the necessary uptake in the field.” . “Product launch success is critical to a company’s success, and sales conversations are the key to making that happen in the market.”
Shortcomings Due to Inadequate Training
The gap between the message and what salespeople are actually relaying to clients is usually related to a lack of formal training. Some of the survey’s key findings on sales training include the following:
- Only 38 percent of respondents said they offer formal training to sales staff prior to a new product launch.
- 22 percent of respondents reported that sales staff lacked proficiency when delivering message.
- 27 percent said salespeople were encouraged to practice message delivery, but they were not required.
Proper and efficient training can ensure both sales and marketing teams that they are on the same page and that appropriate message is being delivered to clients. Launching of a product also plays a role in success of a sales strategy.