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 United Kingdom & Ireland (UKI).

We continue our story, moving on from part two to see how the UKI organisation transformed their approach to marketing & selling CRM modules. Having worked closely with the team (assisting in the design & delivery of programs), I believe the UKI story proves the value of first uncovering challenges, then working across teams to apply pragmatic & compelling reasons for the business to enact the strategy. The results, I believe, are plain to see as you will read below.

This article forms the third of the four, looking at the marketing & sales changes undertaken in support of driving increased CRM sales to our customers as well as where to next for the program.

We hope you enjoy and take useful suggestions from this series. My thanks to the contributors for their considered opinions & bringing the story to life. Any errors are mine in transcription.

-= David
CRM Principal

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[David Beard, CRM Principal, Sage CRM]  Tell me more about the new integration.

[Peter Day, Channel Enablement Manager, Sage UKI]   Having a better, more robust integration (which became known as the "Sage 200 Connector") was fundamental to the overall sales & attachment metrics laid out by the business. A new connector was scoped out, with lots of input from Sage200 development team, Customer Support, Channel Enablement and Business partners themselves. As that connector came close to release, we worked with yourself to develop and deliver a series of education / re-energising sessions that convinced these previously "burnt" partners that this time it was different and it was better. Importantly, we not only spoke to the partner principals about the sales imperative but also ran technical workshops for the technical people at the partner organisations to ensure they saw the changes & believed they could make it work in their daily lives. Over the course of 2 months, we spoke to 100's of people with a terrific response to the approach & a belief in the potential.

Of course, there remains on-going work with yourself & the larger Sage CRM team to build expertise in sales narrative about the “why CRM matters” and “how CRM is used in business” – linking to new strategic direction of the Sales, Service & Marketing narrative. We are planning new education & campaigning activities as we speak, building the momentum right into FY17. 

[David] So, what advice would you give to other Sage operations around the world to help align activities for success?

[Peter] Ensure that internal measures (KPIs) are connected to the overall business objectives. I worked across all our internal teams to ensure they understood & could support of main attachment goals. I also believe you need  to come at it from a positive angle, showing where & how everyone can benefit & providing evidence of it working as you move through (e.g. lead closures, sales revenue, attachment metrics, etc.).  

You really need to be visible with success & communicate with with stakeholders at every step of the way. And recognise it's a "marathon" - it takes time to bring change through; this is not just a one-off "sprint" for a quarter's worth of revenue. It's a fundamental re-thinking of how our product needs to be sold.

By the way - one thing I didn't mention earlier: Another major win was getting agreement from our commercial colleagues to have a compelling offer for the channel as we rolled out the product & process changes. Obviously, we aligned the commercial offer with the new BMS messaging but, specifically, we made our “suite offer” (i.e. a licence that could be used for financials or CRM module functionality) price as close as possible to the "financial only" price. This, we believed, was critical to overcoming that "2nd phase" delay of buying CRM licenses. Our future goal is to ONLY sell “suite users”, highlight the success of what has worked & keep this price story extended beyond just “an end of quarter offer" and such like. For me, our team, it's critical that pricing should be connected to the strategy of “business management system”.

----- Next time: It's been quite a journey, where to next? -----