Cross-Sell 101

Sage is on yet another cross-sell initiative.


Remember that cross-sell vs new license sales have increasingly been a focus with every shift of Sage management regime.

It started back in the Taylor Macdonald days with MAS 200 –> MAS500 upsell (and FAS). It happened in the Lori Schultz days with the MAS 90 –> EES promotions.

Now it’s happening in the current administration’s days — though this time with more refinement and backup data.

Today’s cross-sell is a little more sophisticated with sheets of (big) data that portend to tell which customers are good fits for a product and Sage is not waiting to see if partners agree. From what I’ve heard if you are a partner with under 50 customers don’t expect Sage to be marketing alongside you – expect them to be marketing around you.

The outcome on this is going to be really simple – though it’s going to take at least a year to fully analyze the results.

Money talks. Bullshit walks.

What I mean is that either Sage is right and sells a lot more add-ons direct. Without channel partners. And in that case we’re going to see much more of this sell direct. Or, if there is not a resulting increase in sales we are going to see another management re-organization.
These re-organizations tend to go in 3 year cycles.

The current administration’s three year ticker is up in 2014 though it’s arguable that  they’re only here on orders from Mitch & Murray — so I’m not entirely sure heads would be on the block  if earnings growth (separate from those realized via fee increases) failed to meet expectations.

The real people with skin in the game are  all the front line VP types who are being paid big bucks to execute and cross-sell with, over, around the channel.

If they succeed – you will see more of their tactics.
If they fail they will likely be fired.

Personally I think Sage has more issues with cross-sell than an internal sales team will resolve. The products have not worked as well together as they should –  and therefore partners have been more reluctant to sell them and be left cleaning up mess (to some extent I believe we’ve seen this play out with CRM).
If Sage were smart – and could afford them – they’d move quickly to grab vendors like Avalara and/or enact some way that they collect transaction feels or % of revenues from all integrations sold.

TL;DR –  (aka Too Long – Didn’t Read / Summary) – Sage is simply in the midst of yet another cross-sell initiative. It’s very similar to past efforts though a little more refined with data analysis and better organized internal sales teams. If this process does not increase in meaningful new sales they’ll probably scrap it just like the last two initiatives.

Wayne Schulz is a consultant who writes about the ERP industry and technology related news.