Channelnomics

Sage Using Big Data to Enable Partner Sales

Sage North America, the business software subsidiary of British Sage Group PLC, is bringing the power of Big Data to the channel, arming solution providers with tools to identify existing customers for high-probability horizontal or cross-sell opportunities.

The business analytics and sales guidance tools come with a refresh of other Sage channel enhancements, including expanded market development fund (MDF) programs and customer awareness and education programs.

The core of the Sage channel push is the customer scoring tool, which rates existing customers to identify license usage, business needs and probability to buy. The tool is designed to identify which customers are most likely to buy on-premises licenses or cloud-based services. The use of analytics as a sales driver takes the guesswork out of where solution providers should prioritize their sales and marketing resources.

“We’re taking advantage of the business intelligence that we already have to empower our partners to be more prescriptive and effective through cross-sell efforts,” said Joe Langner, executive vice president of midmarket solutions at Sage North America. “With this, smaller businesses can leverage the power of Big Data without having to be a data company.”

The use of Big Data as a sales and marketing tool is not new. Large enterprises and vendors have been using business analytics to measure the results of marketing campaigns and sales programs for years. The advent of more powerful Big Data software solutions has made business analytics more accessible and actionable. The convergence of Big Data and cloud computing brings the power of number-crunching down to the midmarket and, potentially, small business level.

In the channel, business analytics software is already in use. Ingram Micro Inc., for instance, has an entire business intelligence division charged with identifying trends and market opportunities to boost vendor sales through the channel. At last week’s PartnerWorld conference, IBM Corp. encouraged business partners to not just sell Big Data solutions, but embrace the technology themselves to improve operational performance.

The Sage program is among the first crop of channel programs to institutionalize Big Data as an enablement tool. The utility to solution providers is tremendous, as its focus isn’t on the total addressable market, but rather  the accounts being serviced. Solution providers overlook cross-sell opportunities within their accounts, which is ironic because existing accounts generate more and less expensive sales than uncovering and closing new accounts.

By giving solution providers a tool that assesses existing customers, identifies business software needs and tracks their probability of buying another product, Sage is taking the guesswork out of its partners’ go-to-market equation. In theory, this tool should provide Sage resellers accelerated sales without a huge increase in costs. The attachment of incentives and MDF potentially enhances the Big Data tool.

The new Sage tool is something solution providers and vendors should watch. If proven effective, other vendors will adopt similar implementations.

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