New Partners, New Business

Marina del CastellWith the advent of Data as a Service (DaaS), customers are now looking to connect their enterprise applications – master data management (MDM) hubs, marketing automation, HCM, CRM, ERP, BI and analytics platforms – to high-quality commercial data, insight and professional contacts. That means D&B is expanding its various sales channels, selling through different types of partners and courting distributors who can place the right content with the right kind of client. It’s worth taking a moment to look at who our new partners are, how we work with them, and how our new alliances are helping end customers.

Building on All Fronts

As companies strive toward a 360-degree view of their prospects and customers, our verified company and contact data become central to any CRM or marketing automation platform. Our best-in-class reference data becomes foundational to MDM practice.

Fortunately for D&B, enterprises are hungry for verified data from a reliable source. They want to inject D&B data into their business workflows. For example, giving sales reps accurate contact data in the company CRM system and helping marketing pros calibrate spend with the right audience target.

D&B is focused on recruiting the major ISVs to help us integrate D&B DaaS into their workflow applications and services – among them CRM and ERP platforms. D&B’s Global Alliance and Partners Solutions is partnering with companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and SugarCRM so their apps can consume and present D&B data and insight right within their UIs, so it’s easy for end users to use it in the context of their business.

Our Global AllianceNetwork reseller channel continues to evolve. Here we partner with the reseller already relevant in the partner ecosystem. The value-added resellers (VAR) deliver the packaged goods: ISV software licenses and solutions, D&B content and code. Support and managed services are table-stakes. VARs are increasingly instrumental in recommending and evangelizing DaaS with their customers. We have ongoing business relationships burgeoning in our AllianceNetwork: Symphony, CodeRight, Avanade, and 30+ more.

Integration Is King

Rapidly evolving technology platforms, business processes and policies dictate agility in a complex enterprise context. This is where system integrators (SIs) help. To quote Gartner, “the enterprise is under increasing pressure to drive integration work born of LOB SaaS, APIs and other business initiatives and projects.” D&B partners with SIs to bridge process, technology and usability gaps – and to reduce waste and increase customer value for D&B products and services.

Nourished, the SI can become an incubator for further collaboration, innovation and sales. SIs can have great traction with an enterprise client. Working with them more closely, we hope to create even greater value for our shared customers — and tap into more streams of derivative revenue. So ideal partnership framework is around collaboration and implementation rather than a straight-up product resell. This framework can accelerate time-to-implementation for our customers and deliver better value, sooner. Some examples of our fantastic SIs include CTS, Enapsys, SolidQ and A Hundred Answers Inc. – and we’re expanding our alliances to include businesses in non-U.S. countries.

Have no doubt the need for SIs is growing. My next post is going to talk about a fourth category of partner, a highly skilled data expert who both works with our clients and evangelizes our goods to users and user groups around the world. We call this a community of D&B Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). These data gurus have the skills to decrease time-to-market by driving D&B brand awareness, preference and presence — and to sharpen the cutting edge.

Image credit: Marina del Castell

Business in the Social Era: Every Employee Must Be “@Customer Expert”

ClintSugarThis post originally appeared on SugarCRM’s blog on Oct. 30, 2014.

Think you know who in your organization is part of your customer service team? Think again. The fact is that almost every employee is potentially customer-facing in today’s social era, compliments of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, to name a few.

Fifteen years ago, the customer relationship management dynamic was entirely different and much more finite. Back then employees in just a handful of departments engaged with customers through traditional channels — email, phone, chat or face-to-face. But the landscape evolved and direct lines of communication to customers have been extended to everyone in an organization — even back-office or “invisible” employees — via social channels. (Here at SugarCRM, for example, several of our engineers might blog for us, and these blogs are read and commented on by our customers.) This practice is not unique to SugarCRM. Many companies encourage their employees to responsibly engage with customers via Google+, Twitter or other social channels.

Unfettered access to a range of employees is a major benefit to customers who want to connect with company representatives apart from those in the marketing, sales or customer service departments. Today’s customers want to make a human connection with “regular people”, and know, like and trust those they do business with. Social media facilitates this type of connection. But the challenge is ensuring customer engagement is consistent and effective across the company regardless of which communication channel is used. It’s also important to provide value to the customer in each interaction, so having critical, up-to-date customer information at hand is critical throughout the customer journey.

In a recent article on ZDNet, best-selling author Paul Greenberg argues that customers’ voices, amplified by social media these days, makes them feel entitled to an amazing customer experience at the speed of light, and woe to companies that don’t give it to them. He also goes on to say that if companies want to provide an amazing experience, they really need to understand, and be in close contact with, their customers. They need to be engaged with their customers. What a concept!

So, how do you stay ahead of this challenge and create a customer-centric culture at your company? Here’s a start:

  • Choose a CRM system that extends across the organization to all employees. With traditional CRM systems, we see that they are typically relegated to users in marketing, sales and support. If CRM was extended to everyone in the organization, imagine the customer relationships that could be nurtured and imagine the level of customer satisfaction that could be achieved.
  • Pick a CRM that is social-ready with an advanced user experience. Sugar helps you manage all social interactions with collaboration tools and contextual intelligence within a single dashboard.  This turns every individual into a customer expert by uniquely personalizing their interactions, creating a 360-degree customer view and driving true customer loyalty.
  • Recognize that great customer service is not solved by technology, but rather supported by it. Truly becoming customer-centric may require significant cultural changes inside an organization. Invest in this initiative. By getting every potential customer-facing employee to understand the value that they bring to the organization as a brand ambassador, and equipping them with the tools and information to facilitate superior customer experiences, the results will be overwhelmingly positive.

In our hyper-connected world, it’s imperative that all employees have the same access to customer information to deliver a consistent experience and avoid appearing fragmented and siloed. In essence, all employees can/should evolve into “customer experts.” This is how you ensure customer experience integrity is maintained in the 21st century.

This mission has guided SugarCRM throughout its decade-long history — well before the social media wave hit our shores. The company was, after all, founded on the idea that customer relationship management is more than marketing, sales or customer support automation. We have always inherently championed the individual, and emphasized that each customer-facing employee (these days that means everyone with a Twitter handle or Facebook profile) should be empowered to create extraordinary customer relationships.


D&B Joins SugarCRM Partners in Munich

MurrayInActionThe digerati of Munich, Germany are celebrating the end of Oktoberfest with a whole new event: SugarCRM’s Global Partner Summit. I and my colleagues Vimal Vel and Murray Keiffer are excited to be here, rubbing elbows with our partners at SugarCRM and meeting both the Sugar channel partners we’ve already signed up and new European channel partners. The D&B AllianceNetwork is truly going global!

One thing strikes me as I talk to people here. They seem really tuned in to the value and use of data in CRM systems. Maybe it’s because the stricter privacy laws in Europe mean data isn’t so readily available, but business and IT people don’t seem to take high-quality data for granted. Whatever the reason, we don’t have to talk to folks here for long about the power of embedding great content  in sales and marketing workflows before their heads start to nod in agreement.

Earlier today, D&B’s Vimal Vel  joined Patrick Pahl, VP Alliances at VimalVelElevatorSugarCRM, on stage to talk about the powerful combination of the efficiency of CRM and effectiveness of D&B’s streaming business information and insights. It’s the shared value proposition that D&B and SugarCRM are looking to bring to even more organizations around the globe.

Why are D&B and SugarCRM such a great combination? Watch our new video, D&B for Sugar: Transform how you sell, market and serve customers, to find out more.


16 SugarCRM Channel Partners Join D&B’s Global AllianceNetwork

We’re happy to welcome 16 SugarCRM channel partners who have joined the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) AllianceNetwork since the launch of D&B’s native integration with SugarCRM in March 2014. D&B for Sugar provides real-time integration of D&B business content into Sugar, so users can access clean, enriched prospect, customer and opportunity data that’s been verified against our global database of more than 235 million businesses and 100 million contacts.

D&B’s new channel partners for SugarCRM include: (click on logo to learn more)

D&B for Sugar Global AllianceNetwork Partners

In addition to the above, the most recent channel partner to join the AllianceNetwork is Symphony, our first EU-based partner:

symphony-logo 150x34

Why join the D&B AllianceNetwork? Here’s what one of our new partners had to say.

“As a D&B AllianceNetwork partner, Technology Advisors is able to provide customers with continually updated business information about their prospects and customers,” said Sam Biardo, President of Technology Advisors, one of D&B’s AllianceNetwork channel partners. “Our customers view this tightly integrated intelligence as a competitive advantage that empowers them to carry out their sales, marketing and customer support activities more effectively than ever before.”

These channel partners provide a range of services, both in the U.S. and countries around the globe. They offer support, training, and consulting services for businesses looking to deploy a joint solution of SugarCRM and D&B commercial data. Businesses large and small can gain a competitive advantage by helping their sales and marketing teams stay focused on revenue-generating tasks while their CRMs keep customer and prospect data current and accurate.

The growing number of partnerships is a testament to the quality of the shared Sugar and D&B solution.

“The Sugar partner channel is an impressive group of resellers who clearly know their customers well,” said Stan Gorski, Leader of the AllianceNetwork group at D&B. “We at D&B are delighted to see their customers benefiting from the powerful business content that now streams into their Sugar CRMs.”

And SugarCRM has brought D&B data to a vibrant and growing group of innovative businesses that are looking at new ways to leverage their company data.

“SugarCRM and D&B complement each other perfectly, giving our common customers a CRM platform that supports more informed and intelligent decisions, shorter sales cycles, and greater overall customer satisfaction,” said Kevin Dunn, Vice President, Global Channel Sales for SugarCRM. “Our channel partners are always looking at adjacent technologies to help strengthen their value and further add to their differentiation, and I couldn’t be happier about the powerful solution our alliance brings our mutual partner community.”

Want to learn more about D&B for Sugar? You can watch a demo video of the joint solution or a webinar. And you can always fill out the contact form and we’ll respond with more info.

Better-Built Applications, with Data Inside

Janet_RamsdenNext year, 85% of Fortune 500 companies will fail to use Big Data to deliver a competitive advantage to their business, says Gartner’s Big Data web page. That’s a huge problem. And it extends beyond the enterprise to the mid-market, startups and every company in between.

The biggest roadblock is that companies are still trying to figure out how to integrate real-time data into bulky enterprise applications like ERP and CRM systems, so sales, marketing, operations and nearly every other business function can make better decisions faster.

While this struggle continues in much of the enterprise software market, there are a growing number of companies and developers who are building applications that are focused, from the outset, on providing real-time intelligence to end users, without a lot of integration hassles. SugarCRM is just one example. These forward-thinking companies are making actionable insight a reality by streaming high-quality data into their applications, giving people access to valuable insights as part of their existing workflows. The critical differentiator here is that data and insights are a priority, rather than an afterthought.

Today, businesses are deploying these next-gen applications faster than ever before – and with less hesitation. They’re seeking new and easier ways to finally take advantage of the data they have, and supplementing it with third-party data to create an even richer asset. So what’s causing this confidence in ‘alternative’ applications? A new faith in the technologies that have fundamentally changed how we work.

Consider the cloud. Red Hat’s CEO Jim Whitehurst captured this evolution best in this LinkedIn post:

I think of all of the CIOs I’ve been meeting with and talking to over the last six months. The conversations are really changing when it comes to discussing cloud. Instead of wondering if it’s safe or reliable, they’re asking me “How do I operate it?” or “How does this make the lives of my operations teams different, better?”

So many businesses leaders are asking themselves these questions – and are finally changing business as we know it to power smarter decisions. Are you?


Image credit: Janet Ramsden

Unlock Greater CRM Value with D&B for Sugar

Guest post by Martin Schneider
Head of Product Evangelism, SugarCRM

As someone who has spent the better part of his career in the field of customer relationship management (CRM), I can say that the one Achilles’ heel in the industry is still the lack of adoption of CRM software. When it comes to getting sales agents to use a CRM system, the issue is always around the perceived value vs. the actual value of daily use.

Management has always been on board with CRM software, because its data and dashboards provide great management-level visibility and predictability. But front-line sales, marketing, and support teams have been on the losing end of the deal. These users were typically forced to enter data that was, in their minds, less meaningful to them. The constant, manual data-entry paradigm of traditional CRM systems made lack of adoption epidemic.

Image for Martin's post 1But that antiquated notion of CRM is changing, and with this new approach comes a new layer of value that benefits all users – especially those front-line reps. Modern CRM tools like Sugar are dedicated to helping users move away from the drudgery of manual data entry and toward empowerment with tools that push data into their system with a few clicks.

D&B for Sugar solves data problems that have plagued CRM users for decades. D&B for Sugar can enhance the quality of existing data in the system by augmenting records with the most up-to-date and complete data available on people and businesses. This alone is huge: Research firm Gartner estimates that poor data quality costs enterprises $8.2m on average each year.

But the real value of D&B for Sugar is that it gives end users a CRM tool they actually want to use. Users can populate CRM records with the click of a mouse, saving time and effort – and driving productivity. Now, sellers spend more time selling, marketers spend more time finding and converting leads and support agents spend more time helping customers and creating extraordinary customer experiences that help business stand out in a crowded market.

Ultimately, it is an exciting time to be a Sugar user. With tools like D&B for Sugar, the days of manual data entry and poor data quality are over. Instead, users can focus on being more strategic with their customer-facing activities, knowing they have the intelligence they need to make better decisions, reach the right audience, and simply be more effective every time they engage with prospects and customers.

And management, the folks who embraced CRM more than anyone because it provided data, can actually rely on the data that comes out of their CRM because of the high quality of the data that’s now in their CRM.

Editor’s Note: You can also see Ginger Tulley’s guest post on the SugarCRM blog and the joint press announcement.