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Sage looking for partners to bring in fresh customers

The software firm is stepping up support for its channel to encourage the generation of new customers

Sage is increasing the support for those partners looking to change their business model with a view to encouraging more of its channel to acquire fresh customers.

The firm is facing demand from users for support for mid market and cloud-based solutions and needs more partners to get into a position where they are happy going for those opportunities.

The business intelligence and accounting software player has a large global channel base, with 1,600 partners in the UK, and has increased the account managers that can help guide resellers to new business opportunities.

Jennifer Warawa, EVP partners and alliances at Sage, said that the relationship that its account managers had in the past with partners was usually transactional but it had changed the approach and increased the training to make sure those people could offer resellers a different level of service.

"The partner account model was more transactional we need to advise, to be strategic, and to help them through the transformation of their own business," she said.

She added that helping the channel change its business model was not something that could be done with just a webcast or a booklet and it needed to talk to people face to face and take a more personal approach.

Sage is also identifying those partners that could become the next top level players. "Some of those with the highest potential are not the highest performing right now...but they could exceed the high performing in a short period of time," said Warawa.

Asking partners to bring on board more customers is not an unachievable ambition given the current dynamics of the market.

"There is the white space of business using nothing but Excel or a shoebox [to store documents in]," said Warawa "There are also small businesses that are growing and looking for mid-market and enterprise products. There is a lot of business to be had."

As well as going for fresh opportunities Sage is also encouraging partners to focus on vertical markets or to develop a specialisation, for instance in business intelligence.

In the UK the same support will be available and Lance Gilmour, VP Partners and Accountants, Northern Europe at Sage, said that it was also encouraging a focus on vertical markets, with education being one of the areas they are keen to make in-roads into.

"It is incumbent on us to help them with advice and guidance as well as creating new products," said Gilmour.

Sage is not alone in urging its partners to sell more and generate new customers with most vendors also grappiling with the same issues.

Last week Riverbed launched a fresh channel programme that put the emphasis on performance with partners being rewarded for new customer acquisition as well as greater penetration of the installed base.

"There has to be a complete mindset shift because the market has moved from capex to opex and we are thinking through end to end about what is happening in the market and what it means for our partners," said Giovanni Di Filippo, vice president EMEA channels and sales at Riverbed.

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