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BrainSell Technologies - Blog

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Finding Hope in the V-Curve – How Understanding the Coronavirus’ Economic Impact Can Prepare Your Business for Future Growth

These days it seems like all anyone can talk about is the Coronavirus. As it continues to affect schools, health centers, nursing homes, and the global economy, more and more employees are switching to remote work. And the media is taking advantage of it.

With an influx of information, statistics, and reports of the virus’ effect on not only the health of our peers and loved ones but the world economy, the outside world–and foreseeable future–are looking a bit grim…or are they?

I’m no psychic, but the global response to the virus is quite amazing. Though the stock market has plummeted and many businesses and institutions are closing their doors, there may be hope in the V-curve.

The V-Curve

As we’ve seen time and time again, both economic booms and economic slowdowns eventually come to an end. A mere three months ago, we were in a bull market, meaning all aspects of the financial market – stocks, bonds, real estate, currencies, commodities, etc. – were on the rise or were expected to rise. And then the virus emerged.

So, what is this other “V” word? The V-Curve!

“When you think about a V-curve, it is exactly like you picture,” says Andrea Eisfeldt, an economics professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. “You have a fairly sharp drop, and then a fairly speedy recovery.”

As a health shock is primarily driving the recession we’re now in, it will likely have a quicker recovery rate as opposed to an “L-shaped recession,” which has an even steeper decline and prolonged recovery.

As families and workers worldwide take precautionary measures and self-isolate, we’ve seen companies around the world react similarly. Conferences, events, festivals, and more are being canceled or postponed left and right. Sports games and entire seasons are either canceled or postponed indefinitely. And we’ve already seen the positive effects of these actions. Chinese hospitals are discharging patients, and temporary hospitals in China are closing down — and life is beginning to return to normal.

On social media, several have joked that due to hockey cancellations, Canadians have nothing better to do than to look for a cure – and in a matter of days, Sunnybrook Research Institute, the University of Toronto, and McMaster University were able to isolate and replicate the virus in a lab.

“The isolated virus will help researchers in Canada and across the world develop better diagnostic testing, treatments, and vaccines, and gain a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, evolution and clinical shedding,” the research team said in an official statement.

What Does This Mean for My Business?

In short, you can interpret this as — hopefully — the end is nigh. No, not the end of the world, but the end to this recession, pandemic, and international fear. While it may still be a while, there is hope that Wuhan’s success will be reflected here as well. And we should prepare for that.

As we enter the low point, please keep in mind that we will recover. Humans are, if nothing else, resilient. We will improve and learn from our mistakes, and hopefully never have to endure this pandemic again in our lifetimes.

So, when the recession slows and the economy begins to pick up, my question to you is: are you prepared?

As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” By preparing for the upturn of the economy through investing in new technologies, forecasting trends, and remaining optimistic to your clients and peers, not only can you position your company to bounce back but grow exponentially when the recession comes to an end. We’d like to recover from this recession with you, and we’d like to be part of the reason your company bounces back stronger than ever with the best technologies in place to succeed.

It might be a stressful time, but always remember that you are not alone, and you don’t have to go through it alone. At the end of the day, we are all human beings and not defined by our titles. So while we are not therapists here at BrainSell, if you find yourself stuck or need tech advice, we’re here for you. And maybe, somewhere down the line when the economy recovers, you’ll turn to us for your technology needs.

Has your company already switched to remote work? Here are some tips for how to enable your remote workforce to collaborate and be successful.


Publish Date: March 20, 2020

The Benefits of Migrating to Sugar Sell and Serve

In a recent webinar we explored the differences between Sugar Enterprise and Sugar Sell and Serve, shared the benefits of migrating, and provided an overview of the migration steps.

View the webinar recording:

Take a closer look at the slides from the presentation:


Publish Date: March 3, 2020

Salesforce vs. Sugar Sell: Is It Truly a David and Goliath Fight?

Without a doubt, Salesforce is a major player in the CRM market. Some could even say that they are the “Goliath” in the group. But while there are several CRM publishers of similar size (and value), that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the cream of the crop.

A variety of CRM publishers tailored for SMB and mid-market companies — Sugar Sell, in particular — are acting as “Davids” in the sector and making MASSIVE strides to provide alternatives for those looking to find the right CRM for them. But when you start looking deeper into the features, you start to hear and see a lot of the same things. In the end, there can be a lot of overlap between the two options. So, can it truly be considered a “David vs. Goliath” matchup?

Don’t believe us? Check out our definitive comparison guide to get all the details! You can find your own copy here, or you can click on the image below.

So, how’s your CRM hunt coming along? If you still need more info, check out our other Definitive Comparison Guides or connect with us to get a professional opinion!


Publish Date: February 25, 2020

Four keys to boosting customer lifetime value

At BrainSell we frequently talk to customers who need a better strategy to manage their leads and contacts in both Marketing Automation and CRM.  Unfortunately, too many businesses focus almost exclusively on getting NEW Leads and not selling into existing accounts.  This makes sense on one level because businesses NEED new logos to offset the normal attrition rates.  This is especially true for businesses that rely on recurring revenue. 

But the hunt for new logos shouldn’t overshadow the process for retaining and growing existing customers. 

Acquiring a new customer can cost you five times as much as retaining an existing one. And the probability of conversion between the two is enough to give anyone pause: new customers convert at a rate of 5-20%, while existing customers buy at a rate of 60-70%. 

These reasons highlight why customer retention should be a major factor in your marketing efforts. You’ll spend less to get more out of people who’ve done business with you before, which naturally leads to the topic of customer lifetime value (CLV) and why it’s an important indicator of success. 

Its weight in gold

The higher the CLV, the better your profitability will be. What’s more, a higher CLV affords you the luxury of making more accurate revenue predictions. You can calculate with greater certainty whether a customer will return if it has a long-standing history with your company. If your CLV is relatively low, it should serve as a reminder that you’re not doing enough to foster any sort of loyalty with past customers.

When you take the time to analyze CLV, it can tell you which customer segments and business areas are most profitable. This allows you to redirect your marketing and sales efforts for maximum impact. It also helps you make investment decisions to rectify deficiencies that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

One of the most common deficiencies for many companies is customer experience (CX). They forget that CX is the sum total of all interactions with customers, including post-purchase. The goal is to provide enduring value to customers throughout their lifecycle, and that means making sure they’re just as happy with their purchase on day 1,000 as day one. If you were to follow-up with a past customer and make sure he or she doesn’t have any additional questions, it can often lead to a deeper engagement.

In turn, that deepened engagement can translate into a larger deal the next time around, resulting in a higher CLV.

Besides, customer churn is a silent but very dangerous trend. If you’re not tracking this along with CLV, it could have disastrous consequences for your business. Think about what something as simple as an email can do to reassure customers that you’ve still got their best interests in mind. The expense is minimal, and with technology being what it is, you can provide the illusion of a one-on-one communication — plus the channel is totally measurable. You know exactly whether someone has opened the email.

That’s my very long way of saying: Focus on customer experience. You want to communicate with past customers regularly, personalize your messaging, and follow-up with anyone who you haven’t heard from in awhile. There’s a reason he or she dropped off your radar, and you should want to know why.

How you go about improving the customer experience will vary by target audience, but there are a number of tactics that can prove beneficial no matter the business. The following are often the best places to start:

  1. Dedicate the necessary resources. Chances are you’ve already got the data, but do you have staff capable of deriving actionable insights from this data? Pull together a team that can use sales data, market trends, competitive analysis, etc., to develop strong strategies to bolster CLV. Employ this same team to manage and measure the results of any action — be it to increase sales per order or sales over time. That way, you can adjust and adapt a given tactic should it not provide the intended outcome. This is next to impossible without a dedicated team, and the results will be just as half-hearted as your efforts.
  2. Leverage current relationships. All businesses are built on customer relationships, especially loyal ones. In fact, increasing customer loyalty by just 7% can increase CLV by upwards of 85%. With business-to-business (B2B), the potential is even greater. Consider this: if you’ve established a relationship through a certain business line, this connection could create inroads with decision makers for other business lines. It’s basically an opportunity to cross-sell to an existing customer. Quadrasystems, for example, taps its analysts to track customer engagements and identify opportunities where its sales team can reach out for customer referrals.
  3. Create brand advocates. One of the most powerful marketing channels you’ll find is word-of-mouth — with 74% of consumers saying it influences purchase decisions. If people love you, their adoration tends to multiply, which essentially increases the value of those folks showing you the love. But if you were to take it a step further and bring brand advocates to marketing events, what could that do for sales? You’ve got someone speaking directly to potential customers about the value of doing business with you. Not that you want to exploit their devotion, but their visibility could be beneficial to their business as well.
  4. Build a feedback loop. Customers want to feel heard. It’s as simple as that. Needless to say, take the time to ask customers for feedback. They will give it to you. Put a survey in front of your base and invite them to share their opinions on everything from customer service and satisfaction levels to ease of transaction and potential of repeat business. Just don’t use feedback as a ploy. Take the suggestions to heart, and adjust products, services, etc., to meet the needs of your customers. What they have to say offers real value to your business. You may actually learn something about what keeps them coming back — and what has kept them from buying again.

Ultimately, way too many businesses devote way too much time and money on acquiring new customers. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you should divert your entire customer acquisition budget to customer retention. You still need to fill that funnel with new blood, just not at the expense of your current customer base. These people and businesses are important. Treat them as such.

Originally posted on Microsoft’s blog.


Publish Date: February 7, 2020

Which is a Better CRM: Salesforce vs. Sugar Sell

You know you need to invest in a CRM platform, you just need to invest in the right one for your business.

It sounds easy enough but, with the onslaught of information out there, the decision-making process can be quite convoluted.

In a recent webinar we compared two options – Salesforce and Sugar Sell – and explored ways to help you determine which CRM is better for your business.

View the webinar:

Check out the slides:


Are you looking to implement a new CRM within your organization? We’ll guide you through the areas necessary to determine the value of each of your options. Contact us to schedule your complimentary CRM Value Assessment.


Publish Date: January 29, 2020

Free CRM and Marketing Tools: Are They Really ‘Free?’

Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) and marketing tools are necessary to be successful and competitive in any area of business. No matter the industry you hail from, I’m sure you’re always focused on growing the bottom line of your company and implementing the technologies necessary to do so. That being said, we know it can be overwhelming trying to research which technologies are best for you and your business. It can also be very tempting to choose one of the many free options that are available on the market today…But should you?

The ‘Free’ Options

Though saving money is important, saving money on what is arguably the most important tool for your entire sales process could end up costing you more in the long run. Especially since the purpose of using a CRM service is to ensure your sales process goes as smoothly as possible. So anything that prevents this will only end up costing you more money to remedy after the fact.

Free CRM and marketing tool providers know that anyone looking for a free option probably hasn’t done their research on different software options, their features, and functions. They are also most likely on a tighter budget than big enterprises and are looking to save money in any way possible.

A common tactic for those who create “free” software is to get you hooked with a free download, get you all set up, and then once you need access to a certain feature or function, you will be asked to pay. All of these pay-to-use features for your “free software” will really start to add up when you realize all of the possibilities this software can offer your business. But by the time you realize how much you’re actually going to spend or have spent on these added features, it might be too late. After all, time is money in the small business world, and you’ll have already invested quite some time into getting this free software up and running and integrated into your business plan.

Is My Data Safe With Free CRM and Marketing Tools?

As previously stated, CRM or marketing software is created to ensure your sales process operates smoothly. When properly integrated, your CRM and marketing tools will be the backbone of your sales process. So it goes without saying that data protection for these tools and services should be a top priority. Free software and open-source software (OSS) are big targets for hackers and thieves alike. This is because websites that offer their services for free likely do not have enough funds allocated for proper security measures.

What is OSS?

Open-Source Software (OSS) is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license where the copyright holder grants users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. In other words, anybody anywhere can take a look at the source code of the software. Trained hackers can look through this source code and easily find vulnerabilities and loopholes and can exploit them to gain access to your company data. Paid tools or closed-source software will keep their source code (and your company information) secured and out of the eyes of those with malicious intent.

Get What You Pay For

To be fair, there are some types of services and tools out there where the free option is totally safe and a perfect choice. However, your company’s CRM software and marketing tools are probably not something you want to take a shortcut on. Once you get drawn into a free CRM option, it can actually be a bit tedious and difficult to migrate away from them. Especially as their service and customer support platforms are almost guaranteed to be less-than-stellar if support is even offered at all! This means that questions about the software, guidance and tutorials, cancellation policies, and general help and support may be non-existent.

This is why if you’re just starting, it’s always best to do your research, ask a lot of questions, and stay away from the free options. If you’re currently using a free CRM and need to migrate to a better, more secure, all-in-one option, then any good cloud-based CRM provider should have a support staff dedicated to helping you migrate away.

How Do I Choose the Right CRM and Marketing Tools?

Choosing the right CRM for your business should not be based on cost alone. You should also take into account privacy settings, data management and recovery, support services, and features included in the different pricing options. It might be a bit of a long process in the beginning, but will undoubtedly save time and money in the long run, and help get your business on the growth enablement path.

Looking for free, unbiased advice on the right CRM and Marketing tools your business needs? Email us at or fill out this form and we will get back to you!


Publish Date: January 27, 2020

Drift vs. Zendesk Answer Bot: Which One Does My Site Need?

I was recently certified in Drift Conversational Marketing and found that a lot of customers had questions about Drift vs. Zendesk - two of the most popular support software options on the market today. Namely, what Drift and Zendesk are, whether you can use both at once, and the main differences between them. Soto answer these questions and make it easier on anyone researching the topic, I decided to create a quick cheat sheet — or blog post  about this very topic.  

What is Drift?

Drift is a conversational marketing chatbot that meets potential customers where they are at in the buying journey. According to a recent Forrester study, the modern customer has completed 68% of their research independently online, before ever talking to someone on your sales team. They expect to be able to engage and buy on their terms and timeline. Furthermore, they want a buying experience that caters to their needs. Drift’s chatbot technology functionally puts customers first by conducting human conversations to align website visitors with what they need and route them quickly to the right person on your team.  

So how does it work? First and foremost, Drift is a chatbot that lives on your website. It’s a conversational tool that is designed to match your website visitors with relevant content, identify intent, and convert conversations into sales. Each conversation begins with a play that focuses on what page they are visiting, who they are, where did they come from, and why they are visiting your website 

For example, if somebody visits your product comparison page, your bot can initiate a conversation by engaging them with a strong opener, understanding why they are visiting this page, and then recommending a next step. The recommendation may be something simple, like downloading a useful e-book (your chatbot can automate then send of content). The information collected can then be used to nurture this potential customer further. Perhaps they are ready to talk to someone in sales? Your bot can schedule meetings for your salespeople. 

One of the most appealing features of Drift is its ability to work after hours — it is, after all, a bot and not a real person. A lot of other bots will only operate during business hours. Outside of those hours it will disappear from the website. But Drift works 24/7 and can schedule meetings while you sleep. It’s also great at having conversations with people thanks to its ability to capture the human element and artificial intelligence that helps it learn from experience. This makes it easy to set up plays, provide information and resources based on where the customer is on the website, and easily book meetings. You can meet customers halfway, no matter where they are in their buying journey, while also eliminating barriers to help potential customers make a purchase.  

Can Our Customer Support Team Utilize Drift?

Not all visitors to your website are there to buy. Often, your current clients are stopping by to looks for support. Drift bots have many helpful skills that help automate support processes.  

If you already use Zendesk, Help Scout, HelpDocsetc. for your Customer Support platform, Drift can integrate directly to scan your help articles for useful answers to their questions. When self-service is insufficient, Drift bots can create tickets and connect site visitors to an agent. 

What is Zendesk?

So, what is Zendesk Answer Bot, and how does it differ from Drift? As previously stated, Zendesk can integrate with Drift. This is not a “Sophie’s Choice” situation where you must choose between one or the other.  

To begin, I’ll provide a quick overview of the platform. Zendesk is an omnichannel customer experience platform that provides a centralized hub for support activities from every place your customers contact you at (email, webforms, phone, web chat, social, ect). 

As you can see, there are three main sections. On the left, you have customer information. Depending on how your system is designed, you may have different fields, but this is generally how it will appear. You’ll see an overview (in this case it’s a General issue) and additional details, like the order number (#1002). In the middle section, we will see the ticket. Here, the customer is looking for the status of her order, which is relatively straightforward. But the inquiries can range from simple solutions — like pulling tracking and fulfillment information from e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Magento — to answering complex questions about specific products or software. Finally, on the right-hand side, you’ll find the various integrated apps, like Shopify in this example. However, it doesn’t just have to be an e-commerce platform or app. CRMs, onboarding processes, or time tracking, can also integrate. 

Zendesk Answer Bot is an AI powered support bot that works as a personal assistant to your support teams. It assists website or help center visitors by finding answers to their questions in your Guide articles before they are ever connected to an agent. Answer Bot is also multilingual and works across channels to help your customers self-service.  


Phone calls, chat, email, a contact form, or social media inquiries all create Zendesk tickets. Pretty helpful if, say, you run an e-commerce site that markets and sells on all major social media platforms. These types of sites usually have thousands of inquiries each day from various purchasing platforms. Zendesk is a great way to manage them. 

Answer Bot can function by providing self-service on your website. It responds to customers immediately and leverages your Guide knowledge base to curate answers to your customers questions. Plus, it’s powered by AI so it learns from its mistakes and makes better suggestions over time. If it is unable to assist, then it quickly creates a ticket and connects to a live chat for an agent to assist. 

Your agents will love Answer Bot because it frees up their time by deflecting easy-to-answer questions and it’s extremely easy to implement with 73% of early adopters agreeing that Answer Bot was easy to startup.  

The main differences between Drift and Zendesk

The most important difference between Drift vs. Zendesk Answer Bot is the fact that Drift is designed for sales conversations and marketing conversions, while Answer Bot is designed for assisting your current customers with self-service. 

Drift captures the human element of conversation with Artificial Intelligence and playbooks that you write. Answer Bot does not work through plays, which means it is quick to implement, but it is most helpful when it has a robust knowledge base to search through.

Drift has a longer onboarding period and requires a sound marketing strategy to implement.  

Help! Which bot do I need?

If your priority in adding a chatbot is to convert more websites visits into buying conversations, Drift is a no-brainer. It can do what Zendesk Answer Bot does, but with all the tools to create an awesome buying experience from your website.  

If you are interested in beefing up your Zendesk Guide with a bot that can quickly return relevant results from your knowledge baseZendesk Answer Bot is a proven way to help customers self-service quickly. 

Customer support is a must have, no matter the industry. But figuring out which software is the right one for you can be tricky. Luckily, we’re experts in the field, and you can feel free to email us at for a free consultation, to speak with an expert, or to get a demo of either of these pieces of software. 

Want to see Zendesk in action? Watch our webinar Transforming Customer Experience with Zendesk for a more in-depth look into how Zendesk works.


Publish Date: January 23, 2020

Leveraging Your CRM for Sales Enablement

I’m a huge fan of technologies that live up to what they say they do.  When CRM first hit the market, early solutions provided a central location for sales activities and opportunity management, and a central database of client and prospect interactions (assuming CRM was actually being used! – a topic for another post).  

Today, many CRM products have expanded to include marketing automation and support desk capabilities (think SugarCRM, Dynamics 365, or  In addition, many add on products have been created to increase the depth and dimension of many CRM solutions.  

What’s In It For Me?

However valuable CRM can be, the piece that’s often overlooked is the WIFM - What’s In It For Me? – for salespeople (or for other users who are charged client touches). In the 25 years I’ve been doing this the biggest gap in every CRM solution is addressing what will make the salesperson more successful and yearning to use technology that doesn’t feel like it’s a management only tool for data collection.

While the intent of CRM is to make the company more effective, which it does if properly planned, CRM doesn’t always optimize the salesperson’s day in the life. A salesperson’s biggest gripe!  That is, until the Sales Engagement platforms hit the scene.

Sales Engagement Platforms 

Sales Engagement Platforms are not bleeding edge or brand new for that matter, but they are becoming increasingly relevant because of how sales processes have evolved and how the sales engagement technology is improving. So what is a Sales Engagement software?  What the heck does it do?  

A Sales Enablement Platform (SEP) is what ensures that every salesperson on your team is executing the right actions at the right time. Think of it as a system of action for sales. 

The two software platforms I’ve been studying are definitely not the only tools, but are, in my opinion, the top contenders: and

I find that these platforms are really for proactive companies who are interested in real organic growth and whom want to optimize their sales efforts by optimizing human capacity.

Salesloft’s, Sean Southworth, says that Salesloft “is a system of execution behind an organization’s go to market strategy.”

I like to compare SEPs to a superhero analogy. Superheroes have the strength of 20 men.  Okay – a little bit of an exaggeration, however what I have found is that a single SDR (sales development representative) with a good SEP can now do what three to five SDRs used to do via a manual step by step in CRM software.  This is because even with workflows, a standard CRM simply doesn’t do what a SEP does.

Moreover, a SEP is truly actionable for anyone in sales (SDRs, Account Executives, and Customer Success Managers), and can facilitate both sequencing (Outreach) and cadence (Salesloft) management – though whether you call it a sequence or a cadence it means the same thing. 

Benefits of Automating Aspects of Sales

If you don’t already know, a sequence is a series of steps that a SDR will take to find a prospect via an outbound campaign.  These steps could include email, calls, and social engagement.  A sequence is a multi-step plan that lasts over a period which is automated. Yes, automated! Meaning the salesperson is able to engage prospects without having to search and manually execute tasks. Because of automation, salespeople are now able to manage 200-500 prospects or clients each, versus a traditional model in which salespeople struggled to manage 100-200 prospects or clients each.

I asked Matt Suliga from Outreach to explain – beyond the automated sequencing – how else Outreach makes his day-to-day tasks easier:

“Not having to remember if I followed up on one of the 100 emails I might send in a day. Being able to start my day by calling/emailing the people who’ve engaged with me versus going down a list of tasks. Not having to go back and forth between meeting times, just having that baked into my email. Taking anything which I write more than twice and turning it into an organized template ready to be inserted, as needed, into any email – Those are the ones that made me go, holy shit my job is going to be so much less of a pain in the ass from a process standpoint, now I can focus on selling.”

This is exactly what SDR’s, AE’s and CSM’s are constantly looking for in their CRM solution, and without this capability user adoption for CRM is a challenge.

Some other quick highlights that a Sales Engagement Platform will provide:

  • Sales Dialers
  • Meeting and scheduling baked in
  • Insights on prospects
  • Machine learning
  • Team stats – nothing like a bit of competition
  • Recording calls for coaching

And more is coming, as AI develops. Imagine AI and machine learning to optimize emails based on best response rates. Or providing insights into who are the most likely prospects to buy your product based on contact profiles. Or BOTs that handle questions and scheduling so that humans can optimize selling time.  Superhero status!

Do Sales Enablement Platforms Replace CRM?

Does this replace CRM? Hell no! – Your CRM system provides more dimensions and is your central repository that will provide opportunity management, marketing automation (which is different than what sales engagement provides), customer support and sales operations. Use CRM as your go to for managing data from each business unit and one place to “go see” 360 degrees of a company or contact.

The two platforms I highlighted, Outreach and Salesloft, integrate with Salesforce, Dynamics is in the works and we at BrainSell have completed a SugarCRM integration. Integrating SEPs with your CRM will not only help your salespeople spend more time actually selling, but will clean up your prospect lists and help you find the right kinds of clients. 

I’ll leave you with a final SEP analogy from Matt Suliga:

Personal Analogy - When I think of selling today, I think of trying to make Lasagna without a recipe and adequate kitchen. I can have great cooking utensils, a variety of high-quality ingredients and through trial and error, figure things out. But if I want my Lasagna to be perfect every time, taste amazing on a consistent basis, and always impress my guests, then I need the best recipe and kitchen program to ensure those results happen, and I can scale my amazing Lasagna from feeding a handful of guests to a full-service restaurant. ~ Matt Suliga


Publish Date: January 8, 2020

[On-Demand Webinar] CRM Solution Blueprint

Have you ever heard of building a house without a blueprint? No way. That’s crazy, right?!

The same goes for implementing a new CRM without a blueprint.

We get it. When it comes to new technology, most people want to skip right to checking out products.

But to see strong ROI and user adoption from your investment, you need a CRM Solution Blueprint — an action plan to drive the success of new technology.

Watch the recording to learn:

  • What a CRM Solution Blueprint is and why it’s valuable to your organization
  • How a Solution Blueprint helps you pick or migrate to the right CRM for your business
  • Real results of companies that invested in a CRM Solution Blueprint
  • And more!

 View the webinar:

Check out the slides:

Interested in  learning more about how a CRM Solution Blueprint can optimize your tech stack? Contact us to schedule a meeting. 


Publish Date: December 11, 2019

[On-Demand Webinar] CRM Comparison: Salesforce vs. HubSpot

86 of the 397 CRM options on G2 Crowd have a rating of at least 4 stars.

You know you need to invest in a CRM platform, you just need to invest in the right one for your business.

It sounds easy enough but with the onslaught of information and options out there, the decision-making process can be quite convoluted.

Check out our recent webinar comparing two leading CRM solutions - Salesforce and HubSpot - to get one step closer to identifying which CRM is the best value for your business.

View the webinar recording:

Check out the slides:


Publish Date: October 8, 2019

Sage Intacct vs. Sage 300c: The 2019 Comparison Guide

Sage offers several ERP and accounting software products to help you run your business. While the breadth of Sage’s product portfolio is wide and robust, Sage Intacct and Sage 300c remain two of the their most popular products.

We get a lot of questions about these two solutions – often in relation to one another. While they are both ERP and accounting solutions, they are very different platforms with different features.

  • Sage Intacct is a cloud solution with features more focused around:
    • Core accounting capabilities
    • Streamlining financial management
    • Versatile reporting
  • Sage 300c is typically an on-premise solution with features more focused around:
    • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
    • Multi-currency and multilingual functionality
    • Operations and process management

To help you better understand the differences between these two solutions, we put together this comparison guide.

Comparison Chart 

If you’re just looking for a summary of basic differentiators between these solutions, we developed a chart that covers fundamental information about deployment and licensing options, core functionality, additional functionality, and overall user rating.

Company Size & Type 

Sage Intacct is best for:

  • Small businesses
  • Medium businesses
  • Freelancers and solopreneurs
  • Start-ups

Sage 300c is best for:

  • Small businesses
  • Medium businesses
  • Large or enterprise-level businesses
  • International, multicompany and/or multi-entity

Industries & Verticals 

Sage Intacct is best for:

  • SaaS
  • Services
  • Nonprofits/Not-For-Profits
  • Medical Services
  • Food & Beverage

Sage 300c is best for:

  • Construction
  • Distribution
  • Education
  • Services
  • Business or Legal Consulting
  • Food & Beverage


Sage Intacct integrates natively with Sage CRM and (SFDC) – which is a big win for SFDC users who don’t want to go through the pain of custom integration for their CRM. For other integrations, Sage Intacct has a robust user-accessible add-on and application marketplace with integration tools, as well as a documented API for any team that would like to do a custom integration project.

Sage 300c only integrates natively with Sage CRM. Additionally, the platform doesn’t have a user-accessible add-on and application marketplace with integration tools, nor does it have a documented API. If you need to integrate a platform with Sage 300c, you would need to contact your third-party Sage partner to explore options.

Sage Intacct vs. Sage 300c: Not Quite Apples to Apples 

Comparing Sage Intacct to Sage 300c isn’t quite like comparing apples to apples – it’s more like comparing white chocolate to dark chocolate.

They are both considered ERP and accounting solutions, but they have different features, strengths, and intended uses. Similarly, white chocolate and dark chocolate are both considered chocolate (fun fact: white is not technically chocolate!), but they have different flavors, nutritional values, health benefits – and they require different baking techniques to be used in a recipe properly.

Looking for a Sage Intacct vs. Sage 100c comparison? Or need more information before you make any decisions? We’re here to help! If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our blog, let’s chat about your ERP and accounting needs and come up with a solution that’s best for your business. 


Publish Date: October 2, 2019

RXNT Case Study: How They Adopted Omnichannel Technologies & Established an Air-Tight Customer Support Protocol

We’re extremely proud of our clients and the partnerships we’ve formed with them. As part of our Customer Spotlight Program, we want to showcase their phenomenal businesses by sharing their stories of hard work and success.

Enter: RXNT!

RXNT is an award-winning SaaS and IT company for outpatient and ambulatory healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes. Learn how they embraced new CRM and customer service solutions, centralized their customer data, and became customer success heroes.

View the case study or click the image below.


Publish Date: September 26, 2019

How to Integrate Sugar Sell with Your Inbox: Email Archiving and Beyond

As a Customer Success Manager at BrainSell, I talk to a lot of salespeople about CRM – what they love and what they hate about it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that salespeople don’t like data entry. Between meetings with client and writing proposals, recording data in your CRM is a time-consuming responsibility that often falls last on the list of priorities. Since my job is to boost user adoption for our CRM clients, I’m going to let you in on the secret to data entry: email integration.

The easiest and most effective way to integrate your email with Sugar Sell is with a plugin or add-on. Sugar Sell includes great sales enablement tools, including its own out-of-the-box Microsoft Outlook plugin. Sugar Sell also offers several add-on email integrations that fit a variety of use cases. You can’t google a use case, however, so let me help you cut through all the marketplace noise and help you find the Sugar Sell email integration that’s best for you!

Sugar Sell Outlook Plugin

  • What it is: SugarCRM’s out-of-the-box outlook plugin
  • Cost: Free with Sugar Sell, Sugar Enterprise and Sugar Professional
  • What it does: This plugin provides a snapshot of Sugar data from within outlook, archives emails to Sugar out-of-the-box modules, and syncs your calendar between Sugar and Outlook.
  • Our review: This plugin works great to archive emails and sync calendars for businesses using Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, or Office 365 (Semi-Annual Channel). The downside is that all data is view-only and must be opened in Sugar Sell in order to edit. You cannot archive or view data from custom modules. This plugin provides minimal data creation points with a limited number of fields. It must be downloaded, installed, and administrated by individual users. No offline or mobile functionality.

Implicit FrontEnd

  • What it is: An Outlook Connector for Windows, Mac, IOS, Android, and OWA
  • Cost: $12.00/month (per user)
  • What it does: Implicit FrontEnd grants users full access to their CRM data from within Outlook. Users can browse, view, update, or create new CRM records directly in Outlook while it syncs everything with Sugar. Implicit also provides useful sales productivity tools – like converting customer emails into CRM action items, for instance.
  • Supported Platforms:
    • CRMs: In addition to Sugar, Implicit FrontEnd also works with, SuiteCRM, and SugarCE
    • Email Systems: Office 365, Exchange 2007-2019, Zimbra, Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 & Office 365, IOS, Android, and Surface
  • Our review: Implicit FrontEnd is an affordable plugin that makes up for deficiencies in stock outlook connectors for Sugar Sell and, such as support for CRM customizations, rules-based auto-email archiving, email templates, mail merges, team or role-based administration, sales productivity tools, and mobile use. It is the only email connector that brings the CRM right to your inbox, allowing you to view all CRM data. Users can manage almost all CRM maintenance and research right from their inbox, giving you real potential to boost the ROI of your CRM through increased adoption and reduced data entry.


  • What it is: An email connector for Sugar and Gmail
  • Cost: $15.00/month (per user)
  • What it does: Collabspot is a Chrome browser extension that integrates Sugar Sell with Gmail. It shows account activity and allows creation of new leads and related records directly from your Gmail inbox. It also comes with several sales engagement tools such as calendar sync, follow up reminders, email templates, analytics, and social media integration.
  • Supported Platforms: Gmail only
  • Our review: Collabspot is a no-brainer for companies using Gmail. Collabspot was acquired by Sugar, so you can trust that it will continue to align with the Sugar suite. Collabspot is a Chrome browser extension, so there is no offline or mobile functionality available. The calendar sync requires the creation of a Sugar Sell Google calendar, and calendar events must be shared with the Sugar Sell calendar to initiate the sync. Like most other email connectors, Collabspot enables CRM data entry upkeep, so you can create new records and convert leads right from your inbox.


Click to expand.
  • What it is: A server-side integration for a dozen of CRM systems – including all versions of Sugar – and five enterprise email platforms.
  • Cost: Starts at $9.95/month (per user)
  • What it does: Riva syncs Sugar Sell contacts, leads, contact notes, calendar events, tasks, opportunities, cases, and projects. Riva also includes functionality that helps drive adoption and increase sales. Some of these features include email-to-opportunity and email-to-case conversion, support for custom fields and custom objects, and auto-created contacts in the TO: and CC: fields of emails that aren’t already listed in Sugar. Riva also provides advanced integration and filtering rules for email attachments.
  • Supported Platforms:
    • CRMs: Salesforce, Dynamics, SAP, Oracle, Netsuite, Sage CRM, SuiteCRM, Goldmine, and SugarCRM
    • Email Systems: Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, Hosted Exchange, OWA, Ipad, Iphone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, G Suite, Gmail/Google Calendar, GroupWise, IBM Verse, IBM SmartCloud Notes, IBM Notes and Domino.
  • Our review: Riva really shines when it comes to complex integration requirements. It can solve sync challenges for calendars, contacts, emails, custom fields/customer objects, and hybrid messaging environments. Hosting options include global AWS data centers, multi-tenant cloud, on-premise, and dedicated-tenant private cloud. A server-side installation means that there is one installation and administration point, and users do not need to download plugins or mobile apps. Administrators can leverage sync policies that apply to individuals or teams. Your sales and service teams can save time by dragging and dropping into Riva’s SmartConvert folders, which automatically create opportunities, cases, and quotes. Riva’s folder system also gives users a quick view into records assigned to them. Riva is trusted by thousands of companies globally, including 15 of the largest banks in the world. With a near 90% customer satisfaction rating, you’ll be in good hands – and you might boost user adoption, increase sales productivity, or reduce data entry as well.

Comparison Chart

Product Feature Implicit FrontEnd Plugin Sugar Sell Plugin Collabspot Riva
Available for use with multiple CRMs and Email Systems      
Sync Outlook data with CRM: Contacts, Calendars, etc.
Sync CRM data: Accounts, Opportunities, Cases, Leads, Quotes etc.      
Create and Update CRM Records from Outlook Limited Limited
Full Access to all CRM Data from within Outlook Limited    
Full Support for Custom Objects or Modules & Custom Fields Limited    
Email Side-Panel
Manual Email Archiving  
Rule-Based Automated Email Archiving      
Email Conversation Thread Archiving      
Email Templates and Mail Merge      
Centralized Team/Role based Administration and Configuration      
Web Browsers Integration      
Integrated Document Archiving from Word, Excel and Acrobat Separate Separate   Separate
Sales Productivity Tools    
Cross Platform: Windows, Mac, OWA, Mobile, Ect.    
Server-side installation and centralized administration      
Mixed Mode Access
(Tethered for Real-Time Access and Non-Tethered for Cached Data/Offline Access)
Suitable for complex email integration requirements and customizations Limited      

The Bottom Line

Integrating and syncing your email with your CRM is crucial to reducing manual data entry and boosting user adoption – but email connectors are not one-size-fits-all. Use this guide to select a tool that can boost your team’s productivity and redirect their energy away from tedious tasks.

Still have questions, or want to see a demo of a connector? Let’s chat! Contact us and we’ll dive into your CRM needs.


Publish Date: September 25, 2019

Tetley Harris Case Study: How They Increased their Pipeline by 1,100% with SugarCRM

We’re extremely proud of our clients and the partnerships we’ve formed with them. As part of our Customer Spotlight Program, we want to showcase their phenomenal businesses by sharing their stories of hard work and success.

Enter: Tetley Harris Food Group!

No doubt you’ve encountered Tetley Harris products. They are largest private-label tea packing company in North America. Their brewing tea, coffee and cold brews have graced millions of shelves and countertops for more than 150 years. Learn how they increased the number of sales opportunities and improved the accuracy of their customer database!

View the case study or click the image below.


Publish Date: September 18, 2019

Screw the brand! It’s all about the plan when it comes to CRM. (Part One)

CRM is one of the most difficult types of software to implement. We like to think of implementing CRM as partly art and partly science.  You will need to think creatively and analytically to develop a CRM success strategy. 

After 25 years of working with CRM systems, I’ve learned that there’s only one hard-and-fast truth: it’s not the brand of CRM, but the roll-out plan for implementation that makes your CRM successful. Many CRM developers may not want you to believe this, but CRM adoption is about more than product. You could buy the most cutting edge and popular CRM tools out there, but if you don’t understand how to leverage the functionality or if it doesn’t compliment your business needs, it’s going to create even more challenges for you.

Think of it this way. If you want to look good for an important business meeting and you purchase a new blazer, you may still look bad even if you buy an expensive Armani suit.  Maybe Armani clothing isn’t cut in a way that compliments your body type. Maybe available colors clash with your skin tone or your shoe wardrobe. Maybe you look a million times better in a discounted suit from Sears. Going with a big brand isn’t always the best plan.

In today’s digital marketplace big brands dominate our feeds, and paid advertisements on media platforms. Some of the largest brands in the CRM space spend nearly 50% of their revenue on marketing and brand building. This means that some vendors are spending millions (sometimes billions) of dollars’ worth of marketing efforts to get and keep your attention. Many people are influenced by these expensive (and effective!) efforts. A product with a huge marketing reach does not always make for a successful implementation – but a solid success strategy always does.

Without a CRM success strategy for your implementation, you’re at high risk for:

  • Poor user adoption
  • Low ROI
  • Paving cow paths or automating ineffective business processes
  • Negatively impacting your career or losing your job

One of the reasons people focus more on brand than on a successful implementation strategy is the fear of risking their careers. They figure they can’t go wrong if they choose the most cutting-edge tool on the market. But here’s the thing: you can still fail even if you choose the best tools on the market. Not to worry! You can create a personalized step-by-step success strategy for CRM implementation that matches your business goals.

Next week in Part Two of this blogpost, we’ll dive into a foolproof methodology – the S.M.A.R.T. approach – that you can use as a guide for planning out your CRM implementation strategy.


Publish Date: September 13, 2019

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