Sage North America has announced that both its Sage North America Partner Program and its Sage Global Partner Program, have been reinvigorated and reworked to both deliver a greater investment from Sage in its channel. They also provide a firm commitment from Sage to its partners that the experiences of the recent past, in which Sage moved away from its channel, are behind them.
“One of the big changes we have made is a clear and absolute commitment to the market, and from what Sage has done in the past,” said Rich Spring, executive vice president and chief revenue officer, Sage North America. “Partners can have confidence in the commitment that Sage is making now.”
Spring acknowledged that Sage had fallen off as a reliable partner earlier in this decade.
“Over the years we had distanced ourselves from having strong partner relationships,” he said. “This is a re-embrace of partners in a very significant way.”
Spring said that the move back to a strong partner focus stemmed directly from the appointment of Stephen Kelly as CEO in November 2014, which has led to channel-friendly executives being brought in this year. This includes Spring, who was a Senior VP at Symantec for almost two decades, and Jodi Uecker, Interim President of North America, who was prominent at Sage in the last decade, but who left under the previous CEO.
“It’s a different mindset now,” Spring stressed, emphasizing that being partner-driven was a top priority. “It’s a big change.
“We also did a tremendous amount of research in redoing the programs, including competitive program analysis, leveraging of consultants and other external resources, and dialogue with our Advisory Council,” he added.
The two Sage programs revised – the Sage Global Partner Program and the North American Partner program – are tightly aligned.
“The Global program covers our global cloud products like Sage One, Sage Live, Sage X3 and Sage Impact, and is important for our ISV partners,” Spring said. While there had previously been multiple, regional programs here, they have been consolidated into one, and simplified.
“Harmonizing the multiple programs out there was important,” Spring said.
The basic structure of the North American program, which manages Sage’s VAR business partners and accountant partners, is not being changed. It is now organized around five key strategic objectives: market share growth, revenue growth, customers for life, transition to subscription and partner value creation. Spring said that the new goals will bring significant changes partners will like, including that the program now makes it much easier for partners to make money with Sage.
“The program defines how partners can make money with Sage, which we see as a valuable differentiator for us in the market,” he said. “It’s a starting point to a whole series of commitments Sage has made to engage more robustly with partners.”
“The framework and primary construction of the North American program remains the same, as partners are familiar with it,” Spring said. “Adding new customers and aligning partner growth with Sage become key objectives, however. There is also a big emphasis around gaining new customers for Sage and a new premium reward for that. Some rewards are greater, including margin opportunities around subscription. We have also made changes to reward partners more quickly, so they receive benefits faster.”
Partners will also find the North American program makes it easier to do business with Sage.
“We have simplified how we calculate things in the program, and made them much simpler to understand,” he said. “We have also significantly increased our investment in our partners, including delivering more MDF.”
Another form of investment is improved training resources allotted to Sage Academy.
“It now has a more robust set of content and more focus to help partners be successful,” Spring stated.