As we know, Sage CRM is moving its’ value proposition to one of the “integrated Sage CRM & Sales, Marketing and Service modules of the Sage Business Management Solutions”. This is designed to speak of CRM capability within our range of accounting products (the aforementioned Business Management Solutions, or BMS for short) available around the world.

Skilling up a Sage company’s ecosystem of marketing, sales & service teams to talk “modular CRM within a BMS” requires careful consideration of people, processes and outcomes, across the ecosystem of both direct & indirect operations.  A region that has successfully transformed its organisation to successfully sell integrated CRM is Sage Spain.

Based on the performance over the last couple of years, we would like to share the story of how this part of the organisation transformed their approach to marketing & sales. We believe they provide an excellent example of best practice for other Sage regions. This article forms the first of three, where we first consider the overall strategic challenge, followed by the marketing & sales changes undertaken in support of driving increased CRM sales to our customers. 

We hope you enjoy and take useful suggestions from this series. My thanks to the contributors for their considered opinions and to Dayana Peraza, for bringing the stakeholders & words together to form the Q&A.  Any errors are mine in transcription.

 -= David
CRM Principal

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[David Beard]: What was the problem you identified with direct sales?

[Dayana Peraza Puente]: Sales people were focused on selling ERP. They didn’t feel confident with the different approach to selling Sage CRM. For them, it was easier to convince a customer to buy accounts than CRM. In addition, they had a single sales objective (not by product) so sales people didn’t have any reward for selling CRM (or consequences for not selling it).

[David Beard]: What was the challenge that was set for you (Sage) & how did you approach it?

[Dayana Peraza Puente]:Pushing sales representatives "away from their comfort zone".  To show the opportunity of selling CRM, I made the following points clear:

  • Demonstrate for them that Sage CRM is an attractive way to do more business (from product, as well as services and training).
  • A customer with two products is more likely to be loyal to the Sage brand and produce further sales.
  • I would help sales people focus on making their budget for CRM sales.

In addition, we provided an incentive for selling CRM (part of their variable linked to CRM sales). I also made sure that I was providing commercial support to ensure deals were compelling for the customer & tracked all the opportunities,

[David Beard]:How did you align this with indirect sales, marketing and professional services?

[Dayana Peraza Puente]: We split leads between indirect & direct sales. My objective was to boost both of them. Marketing did a nurturing campaign (Personal Training) while I worked on sales campaigns, to focus on achieving our budgets.  We trained more resources (presales and consultancy).  And, as a result, we have had license revenue growth of 75%.

[David Beard]:What challenges are still to be solved in future?

[Dayana Peraza Puente]:We are growing very fast and we will need to adapt the organization again - for both new people and new ways of taking value to our customers.

[David Beard]: What was the problem you identified with indirect sales?
[Carles Ransanz Benaiges (Indirect Sales)]: A lack of confidence about product (features knowledge) and support from the business.

[David Beard]:What was the challenge that was set for you (Sage) and how did you approach it?
[Carles Ransanz Benaiges]: To increase the number of certificated partners, of cross-sold customers and have a double-digit growth rate.  We created a committed team of partners who lead the business and set an example for the rest of the Channel. We have been doing several meetings where this team have shared their knowledge and experience.

[David Beard]:Has the partner relationship changed; how do you see their role (sales/implementation)?
[Carles Ransanz Benaiges]:We aiming at establishing a win-win situation with our partners. Creating these performing partners has allowed us to develop new ways of managing the relationships with their business and ours.  Our license revenue growth has been 30% and we have more certified consultants and a greater number of customers with ERP and CRM working together.

[David Beard]:What challenges are still to be solved in future?
[Carles Ransanz Benaiges]: To replicate the model for all the channel.

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