After all, if the perpetual grumblings of partners are to be believed, big software companies only care about their largest partners.
Sage is working hard to dispel that myth. And they’re doing it largely by actions as opposed to photo opportunities and press releases.
As I noted in a post last year when I wrote about the Barbados conference held in December 2010:
Sage has about 6 partners in Barbados. They have 250 customers. Yet Sage made a trip during the busy December time to meet with customers and partners to discuss the products and how they can improve.
Sage just made another trip. This time the destination was Jamaica. The topic was again partner awards plus classroom
Sage took another week out of their busy schedule to arrange a Caribbean Partner conference in Jamaica. The agenda included nearly a weeks worth of Sage Consulting Academy as well as a Sage CRM Boot Camp.
The five day Caribbean partner conference kicked off with an award dinner on Sunday November 6, 2011 followed by two week long sessions – Consulting Academy and Sage CRM Boot Camp.
According to those in attendance the classes had about 19 in attendance and were very well received.
Participant Shelldon Chin-See of Orbus Technologies Limited of Kingston Jamaica , Sage’s Highest New License Sales winner – Caribbean Region for 2011 – had this to say:
In respect to the conference, it was an eye opener and a course I think ALL consultants should partake in. Before the conference, I was always puzzled why some tasks and projects were priced by the hour when it made more sense to do them by fixing the price, since we know that the customers will always question the number of hours it took to complete. Also, why were we, as consultants, continuing to make certain decisions for customers without compensation or getting their explicit permission.
After attending the conference and “sitting at the feet” of Ed Kless, I realised that my feelings on these matters were not strange and that they have a basis in good consulting practice. The knowledge dispensed by Ed was invaluable and would allow me to become a much better consultant than I am today.
Bill Delgado, Sage Partner and President of Reading PA based Keystone Software added:
As you are aware, In order to call Sage for support in the near future, they required certain certifications. Being a MAS consultant for well over 20 years I found this to be a real PITA. I was not happy having to take time away from work as well as the expense of travel and loss of revenue. In addition, I was told that the classes would be held Monday and Tuesday from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm and Wednesday from 7:00 am until 4:00 pm.
Needless to say, prior to registering for the class I was not a happy camper. However; when I went to register, I noticed I could register for the class being held in Jamaica. While the above mentioned pains were still valid, being able to travel to Jamaica and make it a mini vacation made it a bit more palatable.
Once I arrived in Jamaica, I started to forget the pains. In addition, attending the class was a pleasure. Ed Kless has a great knowledge of the subject matter that he teaches. In addition, his enthusiasm is second to none and this enthusiasm permeates to everyone in the class. The subject matter was relevant and taught in such a way those 12 hour training days seemed to fly by. (Well maybe not fly by J)
What’s worth noting is this conference went off largely behind the scenes with a minimum of fanfare. This wasn’t an event “for show”. The only way I stumbled across it was some images via social media.
In short this is Sage walking the walk. Connecting with partners who they’ve always indicated are the lifeblood of their company.
While the partner group in the Caribbean might not be producing sales material to Sage’s earnings the company still took the time to fly in VP of Channel Management Tom Miller and SR Director of Partner Strategy Ed Kless – along with their ace events team (Suzanne Spear and Kimberly Dorony) as well as Rob Lawson who is a 9 year veteran of Sage CRM Sage for a full week conference and educational boot camp.
Does this mark a change for Sage? A move perhaps to embrace the smaller consulting firms and welcome them with as much enthusiasm as they welcomer larger million dollar club winners?
For some partners that part may remain to be seen. It seems clear the message Sage is sending is that all partners matter.