Continuing from on from part 1, we talk with Sage Canada's top performing partner, Atlantic Data Systems

[David Beard, CRM Principal, Sage CRM]

Why you think you are a top performer in Sage 300 – I am thinking about ideas not only around the product but also customer needs, the evolution of business IT, business trends, etc.

[Calvin O'Driscoll, Practice Manager, ADS]

The customers we work with are coming to us because of two things: First, a recommendation from other customers - which is always great - but that's only part of the story. The second, bigger, reason however is they know they HAVE to more with technology – to be competitive, grow and/or become leaner with people. I think as technology permeates deeper into everyone's personal life, people come to the realisation there must be better ways of using technology in their business life.

We are also finding that we are picking up more customers because of our size. This is particularly important in our region of Atlantic Canada (which is a big place!). Sure, we can do remote support BUT there are times when you need to be on site - particularly in the early project start-up mode, where you need to be ‘on the ground’ to set up the relationship. With physical offices across the region, we have the scale to meet that need - sure, we could save a lot money if we all worked from one location but the customers need us to be local.

What would you say to other Sage partners who are yet to properly engage with modular CRM – general advice as well as what to NOT do, the skills required, etc.

We notice that customers are way more tech-savvy these days. They ring us, primed with research (either at their desk or via their peers) & they are asking many more specific questions. Fortunately, due to our size & experience, we are broad in both our domain – accounts, technology, CRM and vendor knowledge so we have the answers to almost every question.

We always LEAD every conversation with subject of CRM when we talk to customers & prospects. We just KNOW that CRM functionality can be put to use in ANY company – in all sorts of ways. At it’s most simple, it’s contact management. For others, it’s supplier management, it’s ticketing (internal or external) and so on. For us, it's using our domain & product knowlege to consider HOW WIDE the CRM product can stretch to & meet a business' problems. We find we generate the most value for all parties when we configure the product further than the standard out of the box – using the idea of CRM as a platform – to shape the boxed product to fit. My best people just ‘think CRM’ whenever a business problem is put to them. While the journey may start small (e.g. simple contact management) it always evolves as CRM becomes a foundation of their business.