The growing number of influential Weibo commentators are increasingly opening their own online shops or promoting products.
SugarCRM says its 2013 sales rose 75% over 2012, and that the fourth quarter of last year topped off 17 straight quarters of growth in sales. It expects the growth to continue with a new version of its CRM software designed to let more individuals within a company interact with business as well as consumer customers.
SugarCRM Inc. says the market for customer relationship management systems has never been better. Although the privately held company doesn’t report revenue figures, it says its sales last year rose 75% over 2012, as it acquired new customers worldwide including sports equipment manufacturer Wilson Sporting Goods Co., United Kingdom-based medical equipment maker Egton Medical Information Systems Ltd., and electronics manufacturers Sennheiser Electronic GmBH & Co. in Germany and Samsung Electronics Colombia.
The company is also riding a rising demand for CRM applications, which are designed to help companies track the interests and purchasing activity of corporate buyers as well as individual consumers. Technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. projects that worldwide spending on CRM technology will grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 15% over the next several years, increasing from $20.80 billion last year to about $36 billion in 2017, Gartner analyst Joanne Morin Correia says.
SugarCRM, which is based in Cupertino, CA, is also riding on a $40 million shot of venture capital it acquired last summer from investment banking firm Goldman Sachs & Co., bringing its total venture capital to more than $116 million. Its other investors include venture capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson, New Enterprise Associates and Walden International.
SugarCRM is using its capital to upgrade its technology as well as expand further in markets such as the Asia-Pacific region, where it says 2013 sales rose 28% over 2012.
In November the company launched the latest version of its CRM technology, introducing the “Sugar UX” application interface, which the company says it makes it easier to create customer reports for use across smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. The new version also is designed to access a wider range of customer data, from purchasing history to activity across social media and data pulled from such external databases as company reports compiled by research firm Dunn & Bradstreet.
"The latest Sugar release includes an entirely redesigned user interface, one that offers an innovative take on personalizing the user experience across multiple devices," says Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group LLC, a consulting firm specializing in enterprise business software, who is author of the book “CRM at the Speed of Light.”
Pricing for SugarCRM ranges from $35 to $150 per user per month, billed annually, based on the amount data storage and other features and levels of technical support.
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