Sage unveils five new channel programs

Nashville, Tenn. – The strength of the North American economy is being credited with Sage Software’s decision to release a slew of programs at its annual Insight Partner Conference here.

“Partners are telling us the economy is great and people are out looking to buy business management software,” said Taylor MacDonald, the company’s executive vice-president of channel and sales operations. This, along with a much stronger Canadian dollar, are among the reasons for the new additions.

They include the Fast Track for Consultants program, an updated 100/100 plan, a Fast Track for Growth 2007 agenda and new marketing and lead generation programs.

Gail Wilson, president of Markham, Ont.-based solution provider Gail Wilson & Associates Inc., agreed with MacDonald. She said 2005 was the best year her company had, with a 20 per cent growth rate over the previous year.

With more small and mid-size businesses upgrading from Y2K and buying more business management software, Sage believes more people will be need to implement the solutions being sold. To that end, it announced the Fast Track for Consultants program, which combines training and education on recruiting to develop new consultants for partners.

“Experienced consultants do not grow on trees, and if you hire someone from another firm you have not added to the skill set of the industry,” MacDonald said.

By not having well-trained staff, partners slow down the sales cycle, and that impacts Sage business and partner business, MacDonald added.

The 100/100 and Fast Track for Growth 2007 programs got a US$1 million cash infusion from Sage. The 100/100 program helps select partners find, hire and train 100 field staff in 100 days, while the Fast Track for Growth 2007 plan provides resources and educational tools to partners who acquire new customers. In this program, partners receive US$8,000 worth of direct training and service benefits for a fee of US$5,000.

Sage also boosted its Partner Marketing Resource Center with more customized marketing resources, a new Webcast Lead Builder for leveraging the more than 600 Webcasts the company hosts each year, more than 60 lead-generation Webcasts per month, a marketing assistant tool that offers partners 31 marketing packages.

According to MacDonald, about half of the co-op funds earned by Sage partners are not being used. “That is not acceptable,” he said. MacDonald said he wants to drive up the co-op funds usage rate to 90 per cent next year. “I do not want to leave any more money on the table,” he said.The partner marketing resource center displays a partner’s available co-op funds on log in. From there Sage informs partners on at least four marketing programs right from the opening Web page.

Partner generated leads have a three-to-one chance of being closed, MacDonald said. This percentage is better than any other type of lead generation program available.

Every time a prospect sees one of Sage’s Webcasts on a partner site, that lead comes back to the partner.

Wilson said this is an excellent lead generation program for very little money.

“These programs help us build our business. Sage has given us the tools to grow our business,” said Wilson, who has been an Accpac dealer since 1983. Accpac was acquired by Sage in 2003.

She hopes the Fast Track for Consulting program will help her. Wilson is now looking to hire an internal sales rep, since she is the only one doing sales.

“Canada is doing extremely well,” she said. “It was like a water tap, and with that we will be adding more consultants.

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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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