One of the factors that lead to the rapid growth at SugarCRM was the decision to operate the sales and marketing operations under a pull methodology, not a push methodology. Simply put – SugarCRM leveraged all of the activity and interest the Community Edition generated (and still does today) as well as other marketing activities and funnelled these into a lead pipeline in an automated fashion.
The idea is to harness the power of the web, as well as the ability to capture information and qualify leads more quickly – and turn those into hot leads for sales to close. It is less about “selling” to potentially interested parties, and more about helping those already interested navigate themselves into a successful software deployment. Sounds a little “motivational speakerish” but it’s true.
The model is logical, efficient and enables sales people to spend their time with people who already either know about your products and services or are further along the decision timeline than if you were to simply cold call. Yet, many software companies have yet to leverage this pull methodology. Instead, they are hiring expensive sales teams made up of whale hunters – going out and “selling” new customers that may have had no previous knowledge or need for the solution. It is an expensive and increasingly outdated model.
Now – the pull methodology is gaining steam. Companies like Hubspot have popped up to package up the concepts of inbound or pull marketing. The idea is to help traditional companies take advantage of social media, and web-based marketing to streamline their lead generation.
SugarCRM did not have the luxury of a Hubspot when it formed. But it has built up a very intuitive inbound marketing system itself. SugarCRM has plans to productize its internal inbound marketing system – stay tuned. This system – coupled with the social media Cloud Connector tools, can help any company shift from a push to a pull methodology. And while I do see a value in companies like Hubspot – I see even greater value in having all of this lead generation power right inside your existing CRM deployment.