New Sage channel chief to treat solution providers differently

Nina Smith, Sage Software‘s (LSE: SGE) former chief marketing officer and newly appointed president, business management division, told CDN Now yesterday that under her watch solution providers will be treated differently.

In the past, Sage’s channel network, which ranged between 4,500 to 5,000 partners in North America, were treated all the same whether they brought in $20 million in revenue or they managed to sell just $5,000 worth of products.

Smith decided this approach needed to change after completing a 10 city, 10 day tour called the Fresh Talk Tour where she engaged with many of the company’s reseller partners.

“I was a phenomenal experience, and a good opportunity to get close with partners and talk to them about our commitment to the channel and our focus on collectively growing our business,” she said.

The tour had stops in Toronto and in Vancouver, where Smith was on hand for the grand opening of Sage’s new R&D facility in Richmond, B.C. The new facility will be home to about 450 employees and help the company further develop and introduce new business solutions for Canadian businesses.

Smith added that the partners also did not treat Sage differently because of all the acquisitions the company made during the past five years, such as Accpac, Tecton Products and Creative.

The Fresh Talk Tour will lead to a new channel program, Smith said. The new program will be officially launched during its Insights Partner Conference in Washington, D.C. on May 12.

The new program will have a partner advocate component to it, where top resellers will get an inside rep that will help them navigate through the company. A partner portal site will also be developed for the channel where all the information for solution providers will be housed.

“With all the products we have we want them to carry all, but they can’t go to so many different places to get information,” Smith said.

Sage will also designate one internal executive to become a customer champion as a way to build loyalty. This person will also be part of large group. She added that portfolio positioning with the channel and future road maps will also be part of the new channel plan offering this May.

“I have a vision. Partners are our face to the customer. If we are going to service our customers and make sure they have a great experience then we have to make sure we have great partnerships,” Smith said.

Late last year Smith said that Sage had a long way to go before it could meet customer needs. She made that statement because the company still needed to integrate the many businesses it acquired. Today, however, Smith’s goal is to get closer to the customer through the help of the channel.

“Some times I have to take a step back and understand that it’s there customer too,” she said.

A common strategy with a common road map she believes will help both Sage and its channel get closer to the customer.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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