SugarCRM Launches Hint, its First 'Relationship Intelligence' Release

SugarCRM today launched the Relationship Intelligence product line and its debut release, Hint, a technology that scours the web for personal and professional prospect information to help employees quickly prepare for customer calls.

According to Clint Oram, SugarCRM’s cofounder and CMO, Relationship Intelligence aims to takes sales, service, and marketing professionals beyond efficiently executing transactions with their customers and get them to the point where they can take extra steps to build rapport. "The vision here, for SugarCRM, is very much around bringing together Big Data that you already have in your CRM system and customer information that you're pulling from this new Relationship Intelligence service and layering in predictive analytics," as well as machine learning, "to guide you through your day as to what you should be doing next with your customer."

Hint, Oram says, focuses on supplying employees with information to draw from as they prepare to do business.The tool gathers and analyzes customer data from a range of online social sources—including public records, news sources, and government sources—so they can prepare for their interactions. End users can enter the email address and names associated with a contact, and the system automatically searches for available personal and corporate profile details before displaying them to users, who can also save the information and share it with colleagues in the CRM system. Cutting out this extra legwork of manually finding such information can be especially useful to lead-development or customer service reps who spend much of their working time on the phone, dealing with high volumes of customer calls, Oram says.

David Turner, CEO at Equipment Depot, called the tool a "game changer" in a statement:

"Hint is one of the main reasons we chose SugarCRM over other CRM vendors. It's a game-changer for our customer-facing employees, making them more efficient and productive while freeing them to build better business relationships. It's the perfect complement to Sugar's CRM system and we're very interested to see how Relationship Intelligence will change the way we interact with customers in the future."

Oram notes that Hint has been beta-tested by 100 of SugarCRM’s customers, Equipment Depot being one of them. So far, the feedback on it has been positive, with users reporting an average of 20 to 30 minutes saved on each customer interaction.

Oram highlights the advantages of the product's "unconventional" commercial terms. "Traditionally, data has been provided on a kind of per-record basis, and we're providing unlimited access to data based around the number of users licensed," he says. Hint, which runs on SugarCRM version 7.8 and higher, costs $15 per user per month. A service from one competing vendor for instance, can total $340,000 for 30 users, as the company charges $300,000 alone for a data pack, in addition to the monthly license fees; meanwhile, SugarCRM supplies a comparable package for $54,000. "Data doesn't need to be at the price point that it was in the past," Oram says.   

In the next 12 months, SugarCRM will work to enrich the Relationship Intelligence portfolio with products that apply advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to customer data to reveal patterns and insights that prompt users to act. "As we look ahead into the future, we see a lot of really neat opportunities to bring together all of that customer data—what's captured in the CRM database, email, text, phone, and external data sources—into one large data set, and then applying analytics on top of that to deliver a meaningful and product customer relationship, and guide users through what to do next," Oram says.

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