May 15, 2009, 4:16 PM — In light of today's economic hardships, Sue Swenson, the president and CEO of Sage North America, is encouraging the channel to "get back to basics" to ensure customers receive "exceptional customer experiences."
That's the message Swenson delivered to the channel during her opening keynote speech at this year's annual Insights Sage Partner Conference in Nashville, TN.
Swenson said especially during these tough times, a lot of companies, hers included, are going back to basics to find out what customers really want.
Over the past several months, Swenson said Sage has remained focused on four key areas as part of its ongoing commitment to help deliver exceptional customer experiences. These areas include employees, customers and the channel, financial and strategic.
"(Partners) need to understand what (they) need to make (their) businesses successful and stick to that," she said.
First and foremost, Swenson says Sage has been working to ensure its employees are working towards goals that link back to those of the company. This, she said, includes making investments in the company's key leaders so they can then go out to support their teams in the fields, she adds.
"We recognize we have a lot of work to do to meet customer expectations," Swenson said. "You're (partners) the faces to customers and we need to continue to work together to ensure the end to end experience is the best it can be. That's why we're working to simplify our partner program to standardize margin tiers to cross as many products as possible and we're also working to put more rewards out that encourage new growth."
Sage's financial goals for this year branch out into three key areas Swenson said.
Maintaining and growing the company's installed base revenue, bringing in new customers and increasing Sage's efficiencies are the company's main financial priorities now.
Particularly in the small business accounting areas and also the mid-market ERP space, Swenson says there are plenty of partner opportunities out there in the North American market today.
As an example, she said the company's extended enterprise suite portfolio has been gaining a lot of traction in the marketplace because customers are attracted to the lower total cost of ownership that the solutions provide.
Perhaps most importantly though, Swenson advised partners that especially in today's market, the key opportunity is with Sage's existing customer base. Getting in touch and keeping in touch with customers is imperative to maintaining solid partner-customer relationships and recurring sales, she added.
"Today, the opportunities are with our existing customers and tomorrow, it'll be with new customers," Swenson said. "That's how we can continue our growth because without new customers, we can't grow this business."
And to prove that it too is also experiencing hardships, Swenson said Sage North America announced 500 job cuts last week.
"We're in difficult times now," Swenson said. "But I'm pleased with the progress we've made last year and are working towards this year. We still have lots more to do, so we're committed to working hand in hand with you, our partners and delivering on our promises."