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Meet the vendors: Duncan Wood, product manager, Sage CRM

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13th Jun 2008
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Duncan Wood, Sage

As product manager at Sage CRM, Duncan Wood works with all the stakeholders of Sage's CRM products, both internally and externally, in terms of what is available now and in the future, to help them achieve their CRM goals. This involves connecting with partners and customers to establish their CRM needs in the UK marketplace and working closely with Sage's global CRM team to prioritise these requirements into the worldwide roadmap.

Duncan shares his thoughts on Sage's products, CRM customers, product integration and technology ROI with MyCustomer.com.

MyC: What products are you in charge of and where do these sit in the Sage CRM stack?

DW. I am in charge of Sage CRM and Sage SalesLogix for the UK market. They are both are aimed at small to medium-sized businesses. Sage CRM has a focus on integration and Sage SalesLogix has a focus on deep and rapid customisation abilities but both provide award-winning CRM functionality which can be readily adapted to business needs. Sage is fortunate in having very experienced business partners who can assess a customer’s needs and decide which is the correct solution. There are also migration packages available so a customer can upgrade their CRM solution or ACT! contact management solution.

MyC: Who's the ideal customer and in what type of company/department do they work?

DW: The ideal customer is a business that is looking to improve its profitability, revenue and competitive advantage in their marketplace. Our CRM solutions would suit a small to medium-sized business (SMB) and our products are based on a detailed understanding of the unique needs of SMBs. In that way, we deliver purpose-built, flexible CRM solutions that help you achieve your objectives quickly and with a low total cost of ownership. Our CRM solutions can be easily adapted for any company or departments so the majority could use the functionality out of the box with minor configuration or they could customise it to meet their specific vertical sector needs.

MyC: What are the main business drivers for selecting your product?

DW: The common business drivers for selecting our CRM products are:

  • Sage’s unique knowledge of SMB CRM needs.
  • Sage’s experienced business partners in SMB CRM deployment.
  • The need to improve customer satisfaction and customer retention.
  • The need to improve revenue and profitability by selling more efficiently.
  • The need to improve marketing effectiveness.
  • The need to have a single view of the customer.

    MyC: How important is integration to the modern customer?

    DW: Integration is key for customers. By sharing information between functional areas, businesses can enjoy greater efficiency, experience fewer errors from re-keying of data, and increase service levels by making it easier to give accurate, timely information from across the business to customers.

    MyC: How easy is integration with other products, both from Sage and non-Sage eg accounting, ERP etc?

    DW: Sage recognises that integration of CRM to ERP products is becoming more and more important. Over the last two years, Sage has launched its business management suite strategy with the Sage 50, 200 and 1000 suites catering from the small business to bigger more complex business. ACT! is the contact management solution in the Sage 50 suite and Sage CRM is the CRM engine in both the 200 and 1000 suites. Sage CRM and Sage SalesLogix both provide a great toolset for our Business Partners to provide integration to non-Sage solutions.

    MyC: What are the main issues that potential users of your products need to consider before implementing?

    DW: I think the main issues that potential users of our products need to consider is how to implement their solution successfully. Fortunately, our experienced business partners can readily assist, guiding the customer to the best possible implementation.

    MyC: How do you measure the success of a CRM implementation?

    DW: Our CRM solutions are designed with small to mid-sized business in mind and aim to give a rapid ROI. As a whole, there are many ways of measuring the success of a CRM implementation:

  • ROI figures based on increased revenues and profitability against the cost of the CRM project and ongoing ownership costs.
  • Improved customer satisfaction rates and improved operational efficiencies for customer services, for example, closed call rates.
  • Increased lifetime value of customers where the profitability of the relationship is calculated over time, where the factors are cost to acquire, cost to serve, length of relationship and average spend.

    MyC: Ultimately, what do you believe is the key factor in successful CRM implementation?

    DW: I think one the key factors is deciding on what your objectives are and how you can measure them. The most common answer is ROI as a measure. But that is not the only answer, and part of the project should be to decide what metrics suits your objectives. There are many customer success stories on our website for both Sage CRM and Sage SalesLogix.

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