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).

Following on from part 3 of our story, we look at how sales of Sage 200 product have been transformed through a better 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 is the last of our four, where we look at the marketing & sales changes undertaken in support of driving increased CRM sales to our customers.

-= David

CRM Principal

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[David Beard, CRM Principal, Sage CRM]   What challenges are still to be solved in future?

[Peter Day, Channel Enablement Manager, Sage UKI]   Obviously, the initial sale success (“customer’s view to improve process X”) needs to be followed up with a successful implementation, to realise the promise of the sale. We want to have more partners developing “implementation packs” – delivering phased success modules (e.g. CRM for sales for 5 people, to deliver business success, aligned to a customer's business) then move on to the next.

I believe we also need to see a much better focus on the account management process - from partners & any collaborative conversations from Sage. We recognise that partners may want to split implementations in smaller pieces to suit both customer's requests (time available, change processes required, etc.) & partner's needs (getting their implementation work well planned, etc.) but it has to be coupled to a more thorough account management process, delivering more & more value from the Sage 200 investment over time.

Also there are still a chunk of internal people are still not 100% engaged with enablement program – possibly due to changes in structure, new roles, etc. So, I would like to see more proof of the products truly working together – e.g. more features in one part of the overall product that could be used across a customer's business. Perhaps features that are currently "in" the financials piece" that could be better "surfaced" inside the CRM modules and thus made available to tell the “business management story” to the largest set of stakeholders within a customer. I know the Sage 200 connector offers a great framework to do things like this & I think we should do more messaging / marketing to our market to make partners realise the potential.

[David]   Finally, where do you see things going longer-term?

[Peter] I see four main areas:

  1. All marketing that goes out from us & our partners MUST be BMS messaged “wall to wall” - remove any concepts of separate products

  2. I'd love to see "in-product" (200 financials) marketing for the CRM (SSM) modules, so customers can self discover.

  3. Even deeper account management processes with partners & their customers so as to drive the further phases of SSM project deployment.

  4. Ensure that enablement functions cover both C4L & NCA. Peter & myself are attached to a new customer acquisition (NCA) team and, while that makes sense, we should really take the learning from what we've done so far & apply them to new / follow-on sales to existing customers.

We hope you have enjoyed and will be taking useful suggestions from this series.
My thanks to the contributors for their considered opinions & bringing the story to life.