Sage To Off-Plan Customers: We Want To Be A Business Partner With You

This e-marketing campaign is making the rounds to former Sage customers in an effort to convince them to come back to Sage Business Care aka software maintenance.

In the series of videos (see link below or click the main image above) Sage makes some effort to explain the distinction around why a customer would be paying both a partner for support and Sage. In the opening video stating ” Sage wants to be your business partner”.

You may recall that Sage changed their plan offerings in early 2012 so that direct Sage phone support was a component of all maintenance plans. Previously customers could choose to purchase software maintenance only which included upgrades but no Sage telephone support for technical issues.

Some background channel chatter is that Sage now may be marketing against partners in certain circumstances by bundling phone support into all contracts instead of making it optional.

There are a number of separate videos – some of which seems to be tailored based on customer responses to questions about whether the customer is presently using a business partner or not.

Sage has been pretty clear in their intent to reach out directly to past customers.

Expect to see more of this happen for cross-selling of strategic products like Sage CRM , FAS, X3, etc.

Depending upon who you speak with you’ll get a different story about whether partners will be awarded margin for these types of sales.

My gut says that if Sage makes a winback or cross-sell direct that there won’t be any margin paid to a partner.

I’m not so sure that I disagree with that either. Partners have had the opportunity to cross sell and pursue win back. If Sage has to take a lead position in driving the business then why should they compensate a partner (unless of course there’s a material role that the partner plays).

There’s A New Story – Sage Business Care

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Comments

  1. Wayne, responding to your last statement:
    A. Because my customers are MY customers; I brought them to the party and convinced them to buy Sage;
    B. Because I already consult with MY customers about staying current and adding Sage products; (I haven’t received a satisfactory answer about how Sage knows what I talk about, and to whom);
    C. Because when I sell something to MY customers, Sage gets a piece of MY action.

    If Sage tries to sell products directly to MY customers and cuts me out, it will tell me exactly how much they value our relationship. I’m not sure that channel partners are saying these things loudly enough and often enough. We can’t assume that the decision makers either know, or give sufficient weight to, the partner’s opinions about their stake in the game, so everyone needs to speak up, and keep speaking.

    • I don’t disagree – and if as partners we have used our best efforts to move a customer on plan there should not be any problem with Sage trying to sell a maintenance renewal since they presumably would be unsuccessful.

      The atmosphere is not more palatable elsewhere. SaaS providers have similar sales targeting and they truly control the customer by virtue of hosting the ERP.

      My takeaway? The era of break/fix and simple on-demand per call support is going away.

      As consultants we must change with the times and not expect the software developers to stay with older practices.

  2. All’s fair in love and war (and channel management).