Customers are our biggest priority, and with Salesforce, we can re-imagine how we engage with them and deliver our products.”

- Stephen Kelly, CEO, Sage

Sage doesn’t just want to win new customers; it wants to keep them for life. To deliver a consistently exceptional experience throughout the customer relationship, Sage is bringing its people, processes, and products together across the globe for the first time.

As part of its new ‘One Sage’ business model, the company is transforming its approach to customer relationship management (CRM). In three years’ time, instead of 21 different CRM systems, there will be just one: Salesforce.

“You can grow a company so much faster now than 20 years ago,” explained Sage CEO Stephen Kelly. “To survive in this world, we need to have consistent access to accurate data in a nanosecond. Salesforce brings greater visibility and agility to our business, and unlocks the potential for real-time analytics and data insights.”

Embracing the cloud and digitalisation

Like many of its customers, Sage began as a startup. It now provides business management software and services to three million customers around the world. “We work with a thriving community of accountants, partners, developers, and entrepreneurs, the engine room of economies around the world. Staying close to our customers is second nature to us,” revealed Kelly.

As part of its global transformation, Sage is also embracing cloud and digital technologies. In December 2015, the leadership team launched Sage Live, a revolutionary subscription-based business management solution with accounting at its core and which provide access to real-time business information.

Giving customers the power to grow

Sage Live is purpose-built for ambitious small and mid-sized businesses that are hitting the limitations of their current accounting solution and which need a better way to run their business. This solution frees businesses from these constraints and gives them the power to grow while minimising the complexities of scale.

Built natively on the Salesforce App Cloud, Sage Live sparked a new approach to customer engagement at the FTSE 100 company. As Salman Syad, EVP Business Transformation, explained: “In the legacy software world, sales, marketing, technical support, and product development can work in silos. In the SaaS world, everyone has the opportunity to collaborate and work together.”

Real-time visibility of customer support

Sage has established Customer Business Centres (CBCs) in Dublin and Atlanta to enable a collaborative approach for global products like Sage Live. “The centres will establish a new benchmark for customer support and service, and help us build deeper life-long relationships,” said Kelly.

From qualifying leads and closing sales to answering customer queries and managing renewals, Salesforce is fundamental to the success of the CBCs. “With Salesforce, we have real-time visibility of how the CBCs are performing, and can ensure our teams are working in unison,” added Salman.

Adapting the sales cycle for different entry points

As soon as a potential customer makes an inquiry or requests a trial for Sage Live, he or she is tracked in Sales Cloud or Service Cloud. “We’ve defined a seven-stage sales funnel, but not everyone starts at step one,” explained Jennifer Warawa, Executive Vice President, Partners, Accountants and Alliances at Sage. “With Sales Cloud, we can see exactly where a prospect is in the sales cycle and what we need to do next.” Furthermore, Sales Cloud helps Sage to connect with our billing platform so that all changes in functions, such as pricing, are reflected in Salesforce for the CBC Sales team to quote.

The CBC teams and wider business can also see how sales volumes are shaping up on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. “The sales reps have built their own scoreboards in Sales Cloud, and are constantly making tweaks to improve their experience,” revealed Warawa. “The ability to make changes on the fly is amazing.”

Building strong and successful customer relationships

Sage’s new model means that prospects are treated like customers from the very outset. “For us, it’s not about sales transactions, but personal relationships,” explained Salman. “At Sage, we make a commitment to the customer for life.” For example, every time there’s a new release of Sage Live, the company’s success coaches make sure a customer is taking advantage of the latest functionality.

Sage has also established an early warning system that highlights customer satisfaction levels and expected renewals. “With Service Cloud, we can track a customer’s entire history and experience in real-time,” added Salman. “In an SaaS model, customers expect an immediate response; they don’t expect to have to wait days.” Service Cloud also captures customer feedback, which the development team uses to drive ongoing enhancements to Sage Live.

Collaboration on a global scale

To ensure customer queries about product functionality are dealt with promptly, the CBC teams use Chatter to collaborate with their colleagues in development. “Chatter knocks down doors and barriers in seconds,” revealed Salman. “Instead of waiting weeks for a query to be resolved, a developer can respond in real-time.”

Sage rolled out Chatter to every one of its 13,000 employees in the space of just 60 days. There are now more than 1,500 groups around the globe, inspiring colleagues to share information and ideas. “Chatter will be fundamental to driving our One Sage culture,” said Salman. “It helps our people build global relationships and share successes regardless of their location.”

Warawa hopes to achieve similar levels of collaboration across Sage’s partner community. Sage has established a Global Partner Programme that will harmonise and simplify new and existing relationships. “We are looking at how Community Cloud could help transform the way we collaborate with partners around leads, marketing, and certifications,” added Warawa.

As the One Sage journey continues, Salesforce will provide the company with the visibility of performance and productivity it needs to continue to grow on a global scale.

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