Previously, we talked to Jon Luning about his experiences as a long term Sage CRM partner. Moving on, we talk about lessons for partner business' when it comes to successful CRM
How about PEP - what has working with Sage CRM meant to your business?
Well, some of my lessons from many years of working with Sage CRM: You need to provide a solution that matters, you must put yourself in the shoes of the customer & understand the true nature of the challenge. Sage CRM provides great core features (communications, marketing, sales, service, etc.) which make the process of interacting with customers intuitive & easy to deliver. But there is an entire set of other things in most business - e.g managing vendors, keeping a watch on deliveries & the like - which can be equally & easily deployed using the core. There are so many opportunities for customers to quantify the benefits of CRM, in all sorts of areas – not just the obvious ones like sales management.
On that quantification point: If I have a new engagement, whatever we provide to the customer - from initial contact onwards - has to have an return on investment (ROI) associated with it – however loosely mapped to begin with. Starting with just 'entry level' CRM means it is a low investment & risk to the customer - we can implement a solution that delivers ROI very quickly. As I was saying earlier, we aim to address a specific problem – and the narrative that accompanies follows this idea of "here’s what we are going to do, here’s what the outcome will look like & let's review the results together".
What tips would you share with other Sage partners who are yet to help their customers with Sage CRM?
I have a few ideas, if I may
- Get in front of the customer – see where they work & how they think – a reflection on the customer’s culture. Find out what really is going on with the business processes & data flows.
- Do not view your company as simply a vendor of software – you are there to solve problems in a collaborative way.
I see still a lot of resellers who are ‘old school accountants’ - they don’t see software delivery and/or development as a necessary detail in their business. They need to look at their competitors - who get the story of technology as leverage for business success - and figure out how they can capitalise on it, or realise their customers will go elsewhere. If, as a partner, you decide that 'doing CRM' is your way forward, then I have two more pieces of advice.
- After doing your diligence, invest in your people & have them be the best they can be for your customers. Everything we do is fixed price BUT to do that, you must be aware of your capabilities so you can deliver & make money while your customer receives the solution he needs.
- Keep it manageable - for a lot of reasons. The customer is running a business and they are bringing you in to solve an issue. Their business is not implementing software, so you cannot take people down that path – it will be a guaranteed failure.
My thanks to Jon & the larger PEP team for their insights & candid thoughts. As ever, any errors are mine in transcription.