The purpose of the call :
” to connect with our business partners and it is a result of my desire to communicate more with you. I look forward to speaking with you during this session. Please make every effort to attend.”.
The group call started around 1:05 PM and clocked out almost exactly at 1:15 pm ET making this possibly the shortest Sage all hands conference call that many had attended.
One commenter on the Sage LinkedIn group noted publicly “It ended so abruptly that I had a picture in my head of Pascal staring at a pile of note cards he had just dropped and ending the call in a panic”.
Still, by my count I’ve already met (twice) and heard from the new Sage CEO at least a half dozen times more than the prior CEO who was widely regarded by partners as distant and impersonal.
Whether it takes an hour or 15 minutes to deliver a message – what should matter is the message and not the time spent in idle chitchat.
So what was the message?
There were three topics:
With respect to organization new hires were introduced and, similar to SAP’s explanation, Pascal refuted that executive level departures of the past year or so were anything more than typical attrition while noting the overall departure rate was about 8% which he described as within normal expectations. He quickly added that he can’t guarantee more would not leave and that nobody should panic if another 8 were to depart. It was unclear whether this meant executives but lets hope not.
Joe Langner, SVP of ERP and CRM, was introduced. Joe is a recent recruit from Ellie Mae where he was an EVP and Sales Exec for the past 7 years. Initially I asked Sage if Joe was a replacement for Laurie Schultz who left in July 2011 but Sage PR indicated that Joe was in a new role on Pascal Houillon’s executive team that has responsibility across both CRM and ERP. Dan Wilzoch, heading up CRM, will report to Joe as will the eventual ERP leader.
Joe’s stated goals were to drive business strategy for ERP and CRM. He lives in Northern California and next Monday he’s in Irvine.
– Recruit VP Sales Marketing
– Recruit VP Sales CRM
Several promotions have been made and Pascal Houillon spent a few minutes congratulating the newly promoted executives.
Branding was quickly discussed. There have been several detailed conference calls with Sage EVP Dennis Frahmann covering the re-branding in pretty good detail. After the conference call I received contact from Sage PR asking that the new product name chart which was has been publicly distributed to the channel (and is found publicly in a Google search for Sage Product Naming Grid) not be posted online. I’m unsure if this means that the final product names are still being voted upon or whether Sage just doesn’t want to confuse the market.
On the last branding partner call Sage Marketing EVP Dennis Frahmann indicated he would be out of the office for the next few weeks which likely explains why there was not much re-branding content during this call.
The last point discussed was pricing. Sage partners should expect some unspecified changes to Sage’s pricing. This will be announced to channel partners within the next three months and should be ready to roll out “within a year”. No further details were mentioned but Houillon did indicate except for maintenance renewals 50% of Sage North America customers never purchase anything additional during the year – something he seems determined to fix.
Best guess at this new pricing initiative would be some type of expansion of Sage’s existing perpetual payment plans – monthly, annually – perhaps tied to registration codes that expire and must be renewed or the software cannot be fully used. This is speculation but it’s long overdue as some customers have made a game of buying Sage software maintenance, canceling maintenance and then re-purchasing again when they are forced to upgrade.
The call ended almost exactly 15 minutes after starting. There was no question and answer period as many on the call had been expecting. Partners were urged to send questions via email to Joe Carroll – Sage’s Senior Director of Product Marketing.