SugarCRM Taps The Web For Lead Info, Other CRM Data

The Cloud Connectors draw data from service providers' sites using Web services technology.
SugarCRM has introduced connectors to draw account and lead information from third-party Web sites into the vendor's open-source customer relationship management software.

The Cloud Connectors draw data from service providers' sites using Web services technology. Business-related sites currently supported include Hoover's, JigSaw, LinkedIn, CrunchBase, and ZoomInfo. Connectors for these vendors and others in the future can be downloaded through SugarCRM's marketplace for commercial extensions.

Web data is first displayed in an area called Cloud Views, where SugarCRM users can get a preview of retrieved information. Selected data from multiple providers can then be imported into SugarCRM. For example, a sales rep following a lead could use Cloud Views to check the social network LinkedIn to see if he has any connections at the company and to check Hoover's for facts and analysis of the prospect. Useful information can be merged into the CRM software.

In addition to Cloud Connectors, SugarCRM recently introduced Sugar Feeds, which are "Dashlets" on the SugarCRM homepage that provide status, alerts and notifications similar to those found on online social-networking services such as Facebook. For example, a team member can be alerted when a colleague creates a new sales lead or customer case or closes a sales opportunity. Team members can also leave status messages on ongoing projects.

SugarCRM offers in its community and professional editions pre-built Dashlets for viewing information from external Web sites. The open-source community edition is available at no charge. A 30-day evaluation copy of the professional edition is available on the company's Web site.

SugarCRM in August released version 5.1 of its CRM suite. The latest release included improved analytics, reporting and a new Tracker feature that enables an employer to monitor which salespeople are making use of the CRM software and what features are most frequently used versus those that are little used or ignored.