So, my all-time favorite thing about SugarCRM is…
The “AHA!” moments that happen when using Sugar. It is so easy to see a way to solve a problem or make something more efficient. Since Sugar is open-source, it is easy to modify to a new solution to a problem. The open API is what makes all of those things possible, and is my number one favorite thing about Sugar. It helps trigger and create the “AHAs” and the “I-can-do-mores” in this post.
That “AHA” moment definitely includes how I learned–and feel that I could run a business using only SugarCRM. I come from a liberal arts background, and there aren’t many Bachelor of Arts requirements that teach business management. If you are a small business owner and you are here because you are looking for your first CRM, check out the free-trial of Sugar. You don’t need to put any of your information into it first, but get a trial and look around. Just by doing that first step, I could connect a lot of little dots for how I can make my processes easier.
I know how to balance a check book. I thankfully learned that lesson in elementary school, but I never realized managing budgets can get tricky. In Sugar, I saw that I could create any possible expense and assign it to a customer, a campaign, anything. Any little administrative task is set up, right there, in the CRM, meaning all the little things I never learned with my liberal arts degree are set up for me to go “AHA.”
For example, I can create a contract from a quote. With an integration Epicom made, I can click a button and the information in the quote will be transferred to the contract template. Then, I can email it to the recipient. If I really want to get efficient I can get the EchoSign plug in, which allows the recipient to sign it electronically. Too easy.
I am a fan of how Sugar organized potential clients to customers. While playing with the system and the basic infrastructure inside of the crm, I got a lot of ideas to apply the same organization to my own projects. Applying it to Google+ was the most fun I had writing a blog entry. My only regret is that Google+ for businesses aren’t up-and-running yet.
There are tons of other things Sugar can do and tons of things to discover, which is why my favorite thing about SugarCRM is the “AHAs.”
I really love Pardot. I wrote part of my senior thesis about email campaigns, and I love learning to use the software I wrote about.
Yesterday, I learnt how to find the results from an email campaign. Here are the steps:
This is what the side navigation looks like, Click on Reports
This is from the Pardot Help page, but these are the things Pardot measures from your campaigns:
- Total sent represents the total number of emails sent.
- Total queued is the number of emails that are waiting to be sent. These emails have been submitted but have not reached the inbox of the prospect.
- A soft bounce is an email that is recognized by the recipient’s mail server but is returned to the sender because the recipient’s mailbox is full or the mail server is temporarily unavailable. A soft bounce message may be deliverable at another time or may be forwarded manually by the network administrator in charge of redirecting mail on the recipient’s domain. After five soft bounces, the prospect is opted out of emails.
- A Hard bounce is an email that permanently bounced back to the sender because the address is invalid. A hard bounce might occur because the domain name doesn’t exist or because the recipient is unknown.
- Total delivered is the total number of emails minus hard and soft bounces delivered. The delivery rate is the percentage of the emails that were delivered compared to the number that bounced (soft and hard).
- HTML opens represent the total number of times prospects loaded the images in the HTML version of the email. Many email programs (Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird) do not display images unless the viewer elects to see these images. The recipient can view the email (and even click on links) without the images loaded and not be counted in this number. In order to be counted in HTML opens, the viewer must load the images. Each open is counted separately, so if a prospect loads the images more than once, that will count as two opens. Review How are HTML opens measured?for more details.
- HTML open rate is the percentage of emails opened (with images, see above) compared to the total number of emails sent.
- Total clicks represent the total number of clicks for all the links in an email. Each link click is counted separately. For example, if a prospect clicks on two separate links in the same message, it will count as two clicks. If a prospect clicks on the same link on two separate occasions, that will also count as two clicks. Clicks on the unsubscribe link are not counted toward Total clicks; neither are clicks on the email preference center variable tag.
- Unique clicks represents the number of prospects that clicked on a link in the email. The Unique clicks category counts each recipient only once, so even if a prospect clicks on two separate links in the same message, or clicks the same link on two separate occasions, it will only be counted as one Unique click. Clicks on the unsubscribe link are not counted toward Unique clicks; neither are clicks on the email preference center variable tag.
- Total CTR (Click-through-rate) is the percentage of visitors who click on links contained in emails sent to them. With Total CTR, multiple clicks for a same link are counted.
- Unique CTR (Click-through-rate) is the percentage of visitors who clicked on a link (no more than once) contained in an email that was sent to them.
- Total opt-outs are the total number of prospects that no longer wish to receive emails from your company. They are automatically removed from future mailings. They are however kept on the list they are associated with. A user can be resubscribed if they visit the unsubscribe page or manually in PI. Clicks on the unsubscribe link are not counted toward Total or Unique clicks; neither are clicks on the email preference center variable tag.
- Opt-out rate is the percentage of users that have asked to be opted out of future mailings compared to the total number of emails sent.
- Total spam complaints are the total number users that have reported the email as spam. AOL and Comcast automatically opt them out of future mailings, while Gmail and Yahoo do not. If a prospect reports spam in these clients, they are not opted out and do not display in this report. They will however send any future mailing to their spam folder.
- Spam complaint rate is the percentage of spam complaints compared to the total number emails sent. Clicks per URL are displayed at the bottom of the report. Click the hyperlinked number to view a list of prospects who clicked each specific URL
It is amazing what I can learn, plan and do with this information.
I am starting to see the value of CRM behind contact and data-based services. I talked about my first step of using CRM as a Rolodex. This expands on that post.
Recently, I used different platforms for information and organizational collaboration, and had a technology “AHA!” moment. I can’t even imagine how our engineer’s brains work. Our engineers impress me with the solutions they develop, and the creativity behind the solution.
This is what was going on in my head,
I used two products that triggered this thought, an email list builder and a media/journalist email finder.
Both have tons, if not millions of contacts. Both need a clean CRM and database.
They need accurate information that can be updated or flagged by users. A way for users to know the last update time of the information. The updated content needs value. Both need simple and relevant searching ability. Above all, the information needs to reach its destination, and to have the opportunity for tweaks and growth.
My “AHA!” moment was that a CRM helps solve all the issues a data-based contact service faces, and that there are companies like Epicom that help solve these problems. Behind every great online service is a great, well-thought out, planned CRM.
And this doesn’t just apply to contact-based services. It is for small, online boutiques and stores to manage descriptions of merchandise. All possibilities can materialize with a great engineer and CRM.
I have been editing blog entries at Epicom for two and a half months now, and I just learned what VoIP means. For those of you also learning CRM, it means Voice over Internet Protocol or voice communication using the Internet.
So, why is VoIP important?
VoIP allows users to call nationally and internationally for cheap, since users only need an Internet connection and a computer. VoIP is not limited to voice communication. Most VoIP services incorporate video and text.
For example at Epicom, we partner with Twilio, a cloud communications platform. We recently used their voice and phone application to build a Click-to-Call plugin for SugarCRM. This plugin allows users to click on any phone number and initiate the call from their CRM system.
VoIP is important because it changes the way our society–our world communicates. It is becoming easier for all-sized businesses to work with people across the country and overseas.
It is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.
I was surprised to learn how VoIP applications are changing our lives. Technology is advancing what we are capable of as employees, as businesses and as people. It allows us to make life easier. better. cheaper.
Being able to click-to-call from the CRM reduces wasted time for sales, marketing and operations teams. It may seem silly but those little things improve the quality of life.
By cutting that time out of a persons day, there is more time for innovation and advancement.
Those two words, innovation and advancement, are the core of business. I just learned the meaning of VoIP, but as I read, I started thinking of the possibilities. I encourage you to think of how VoIP and technology can help your business. You never know what you could be over looking.