SugarCRM's CEO shares his vision for CRM industry
Summary: SugarCRM's CEO proposes that there are two areas of the industry that need to change focus: you have to remember the users are individuals and the way people buy have changed.
By Rachel King
NEW YORK -- Social media only amplifies the effects of customer relationship management -- a reality that many enterprises need to accept and build upon, according to SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin.
"The industry is actually growing faster than projections," said Augustin while speaking at the opening keynote session of SugarCon 2013 at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday. He noted that a few years ago analysts were predicting annual spend growth rates of seven to eight percent, but results are actually hitting closer to 10 percent.
As the CRM industry stands now, Augustin cited that there are approximately 18 million users of commercial CRM with $22 billion dollars in annual spend.
"We're in a vibrant, fast growing industry. Big numbers," Augustin summed up simply.
Globally, Augustin continued that there are roughly 3.6 billion email accounts with 18 million CRM users and 918 million corporate accounts.
He added that half of those accounts are customer-facing, rounding out to about 450 million people.
Augustin then proposed the following challenge for the CRM industry: For every one person using CRM today, there are 25 other people who face the customer and are not using CRM.
So why is there this gap?
Augustin argued that there are two areas of the industry that need to change focus: you have to remember the users are individuals and the way people buy have changed.
Previously, Augustin reflected that vendors could control the buying processing and messaging through marketing and advertising.
But that's just not the case anymore.
"Today, buyers don't just get information from the channels that vendors control," Augustin asserted. "They get information from their peers on the Internet. And when they come to us to buy, they're reaching out to us through multiple channels. Not just the ones we provide."
To reach those 450 million, Augustin posited that it boils down to answering three objectives: understanding the needs of every individual customer, empowering users to engage with their customers, and then delivering a consistent experience every time.
Augustin stressed that each customer matters, reminding keynote goers that it only takes one user with one YouTube video to go viral to make any kind of difference or splash.
Augustin concluded, "You can't drop the ball once now. You have to pay attention to every one of those interactions."
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