We are in Summit season.  The Sage Summit tours are in full swing.  As I write this the Sage Summit has just finished in Melbourne in Australia and the German and South African events are just about to start.  https://www.sage.com/sage-summit/

I want to take this opportunity to share with you now some of the work that we have been doing to prepare for the next version of Sage Integrated CRM.  This will be Sage CRM 2017 R2 that is due to finish development at the end of this month. I am not going to do a "seek peek" at the new features because I don't want to spoil things for my colleagues who are showcasing the new software during the Sage Summit tour.  But I do want to highlight the continual work that we are doing to ensure that colleagues, partners and our customers have the best possible experience of learning about Sage Integrated CRM. 

Our focus for eLearning within the Community is very much the sales, marketing and service modules for Sage Business Management Solutions.  You know as well as I do that we offer out of the box integration with a whole host of Sage accounting solutions.

It is important that you feel confident that you know everything you need to know about what we offer.  Put together the sales, marketing and service modules are a fully integrated CRM that extends the power of a Sage Business Management Solution right across a business, giving end-to-end visibility and trusted data so that our customers can make informed business decisions based on accurate information at all times. 

In the picture above I’ve just listed some of the countries that I know where Sage CRM and Sage BMS implementations are used.  Our customer ranges from mining Companies in Botswana using Sage CRM with Sage 300 and a manufacturer of plastic grass based near Bournemouth in the UK using Sage CRM with Sage 200.

This diversity of industry and geography is a huge strength for our product and allows us to draw on case studies all over the world when developing new eLearning materials.

The recent release of Sage CRM 2017 R1 certainly caught our communities imagination.  There is growing interest in the integration story.  Since the release of Sage CRM 2017 R1 we have seen the active number of users on the Sage CRM Community increase from just under seven thousand a month to more that eight and a half thousand.  That is a jump of just over 25%.  

The Community is here to help you educate your customers.  We aim to make the content fresh, live, accessible and directly relevant to the integrated CRM proposition.

In new material Sage CRM is explained and presented as the sales, marketing and service modules for Sage accounting systems.  One very important way of doing this is through our monthly partner focused webinars.  Other ways are through the new eLearning videos, blogs and all the other resources that cover commercial and technical education.

Each of these resources can be taken and used by you and your teams to build your team's competence and confidence.

I mentioned the ongoing live training that we deliver.  The community hosts a regular series of live monthly web based training sessions that are designed to inject education and knowledge into the channel around the concepts of CRM within the context of integration with a Business Management Solution.  See:  https://community.sagecrm.com/e-learning/default.aspx 

These short free web lessons aim to engage attendees with the sales potential of the CRM modules within the big picture of accounting and back office systems.   In these sessions we do a lot of “thinking & linking” to other resources (e.g. blogs,  eLearning, online help & more).

So when you see a newsletter like this land in your email inbox then know that this is a highly relevant piece of education that will help you tell the story of integrated systems to your customers. 

Let’s equip our sales colleagues so that they can feel confident when cross selling and up selling the sales, marketing and customer service modules.  

The eLearning provided through the Community isn’t just commercially focused.  I actually spend most of my time researching and working on technical education elements.

When a new release like Sage CRM 2017 R2 comes out there are going to be changes in the system.  These changes may require new ways of working to allow customisation to operate like in previous versions.  These changes get documented in the Help Center but by writing blog articles we support professional service consultants and developers so that they have all the information ready for them as and when they need an example of how to customize a system for a customer.

 

The articles we write are easy to follow and very detailed.  When they involve an illustration of a scripting technique most will have code that can be cut and pasted into a test system or have a link to a download.

The aim is to make life as easy as possible for those involved in implementation of Sage CRM within an integrated environment.

One of the changes we have introduced that will make life easier for both customers and partners is to start publishing videos onto the official Sage Support and Training YouTube channel.  


There are a number of advantages for us to use this.

  • The site is fully searchable.
  • It allows us to associate videos much more easily with Sage BMS videos.
  • The quality of video resolution is better through YouTube than on the existing video platform.
  • We can easily embed YouTube videos within Community articles (as above).

All in all this means we will be providing an even  better experience for learners as they access eLearning through the community.  I mentioned earlier the big increase in active users on the community.  One of the drivers for this has been the increased visibility of the eLearning resources.   The number of community users accessing eLearning (https://community.sagecrm.com/e-learning/default.aspx) over the last quarter has jumped by 30%.  This is very welcome news and is further evidence that people want to learn about Sage CRM because it is a great way of adding value to Sage accounting implementations.

Sage CRM 2017 R1 saw the release of new and updated SDK resources.

 

The key resources were revised code snippets for JavaScript and C# and example projects.  These can be downloaded from the community right now and dropped into Visual Studio.   There is actually a whole new library around Self Service and a new and updated version of the SOAP web services test harness written in C# that can be used to learn how to program with the web services interface.  Sage CRM 2017 R2 will see further new resources being created for partners and customers.

You can see that we have been busy within the Community and we have more to do to support you make Sage CRM 2017 R2 a success.

So what else do you need?

Let me know and we will work with you to create the resources that will assist you in improving your customer’s experience.