A group of approximately 100 Sage partners (panelists pictured above left to right- Moira Goggin (Chismet Consulting – event co-organizer), Mary Abdian (Macabe Associates) , Doug Deane (DSD Business Systems) , John Hoyt (Hutchinson and Bloodgood), Bill Kizer (xKzero)) gathered today in Lake Forest California. The group was split about 50/50 with some consultants attending in person and others remotely (web ex) for an in-depth discussion of changes that have been rolled out to the Sage eco-system (margins, certifications, subscription pricing, partner compensation).
Top of mind in the conversation were discussions about Sage selling directly to existing customers and specific terms of changes that accompany the recently unveiled Sage subscription pricing model.
When asked about Sage’s new rules of engagement which seem to green light selling direct to existing customers, Sage’s VP of Channel Management, Tom Miller, remarked ”we have a bunch of under-served customers” and that not all partners are equally as dedicated as those in the room and in some instances Sage have needed to step in and make the sales because an existing partner lacked the capabilities.
One unanswered question centered around a new Sage policy that discontinues margin on the recently announced subscription type plans (effective 4/1/2012) for a customer who changes partners. The margin no longer is paid to the originating partner (which is how it presently works) and is also not paid the to acquiring partner ( a change from Sage’s current policy which continues paying margin to the acquiring partner).
This seems to be a change designed to stop Sage partners from transferring or selling customers to other partners who because of their sales tier may generate a higher margin on those renewals. Sage’s Tom Miller did seem to indicate the policy wouldn’t preclude consultants from selling their customers upon retirement – though the exact nature of the policy still seemed a bit hazy and difficult for Sage to substantiate. At one point while describing the change as due to “fair reimbursement for value delivered” Miller chided a panelist for laughing at his reasoning.
Amongst changes Sage’s Tom Miller hinted at was an upcoming new partner program to offer more to partners who sell more service than product.
Event hosts included Altec’s,Kevin Dudevoir, Kerry Gardner, April Blankenship, Allison Alonzo and of course Brandt Morrell. Paul Cannon & Nicole Laurier of Fisher Technology provided a Kindle Fire. Kim Hogan from Fujitsu offered a mobile scanner.