Ask any mid-size business owner what they want from their business management software and they’ll say: forward-thinking technology, immediate availability, plenty of choices and a great price. In fact, the mid-market (typically defined as companies with more than 20 and fewer than 1000 employees) are some of the most demanding customers out there. Unlike small companies who recognize that their budgets limit their choices, or large companies who have the patience for future-oriented investments - mid-market buyers want it all. They want it now. And they want it cheap.
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What Mid-Market Customers Want
For over 20 years, ACCPAC has been focused on the mid-market, so no company is more in touch with this large but finicky customer group. These businesses want everything that Fortune 500 companies have: fully integrated systems with accounting, CRM, manufacturing, HR, warehouse management and more. But they insist on easier, faster implementation and a compelling price. Only ACCPAC delivers a full suite of value-priced, mid-market ERP applications that offer out-of-the-box integration, with a selection of database, operating system and deployment options. ACCPAC VARs are positioned to deliver on that mid-market wish list: technology, choice, availability and value.
ACCPAC further supports it channels by delivering innovative and profitable partner programs. Kevin Cumley, Vice President of ACCPAC Solution Provider Forepoint, one of the “Killer VARs” featured this month, says, “There's no way we'd be a ‘Killer VAR’ without ACCPAC.” Like ACCPAC's many other business partners, Cumley notes that ACCPAC’s end-to-end systems give medium-sized businesses a competitive edge.
No ‘Vendor Lock-In’
Under President and Chief Executive Officer David Hood, a former ACCPAC reseller himself, ACCPAC is committed to delivering integrated business management applications that address the realities of today’s open computing environments. A core tenet of ACCPAC is to provide freedom of choice. “Customers want options. They don’t want to be locked in one way of computing - or into a high-pressure pricing model that grinds away their profit. Sure, many clients run their shops on Microsoft products, and we support them. But a growing contingent are opting for Linux, or choosing DB2 over SQL. And many who aren’t interested in changing this year will be thinking about a change next year. We’ve made sure our clients have options now and in the future.”
ACCPAC is the leader among SMB (small-to-medium) business management applications vendors in supporting various technology platforms. In addition to Windows support, ACCPAC was the first SMB enterprise resource planning vendor to embrace Linux, the open source operating system rapidly gaining acceptance around the world for its low cost and stability. ACCPAC’s accounting products also support a range of databases: Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2, Oracle, and Pervasive SQL. ACCPAC’s unprecedented bundling agreement with IBM enables ACCPAC to provide DB2 as a standard in its products at no charge.
Cumley comments, “The great thing about being an ACCPAC partner is that we can meet all of our customers' varied requirements and give them real choice without going to another vendor. This is what mid-market businesses want and it makes it easier for our operations.”
Cumley's clients range from a four-employee dentist office, operating ACCPAC Advantage Series’ Discovery Edition, to several divisions of Fortune 500 corporations using ACCPAC Advantage Series or Pro Series’ Enterprise Editions, plus end-to-end solutions for their special needs.
Mid-Market ERP - or CRM that Knows Accounting
While competing vendors have bought an assortment of disparate vendors and slapped the same label on their products, ACCPAC has built a suite of applications that tightly integrate to handle all of a company's 'end-to-end’ needs. The suite encompasses the accounting foundation plus warehouse management, manufacturing, human resources, e-commerce, and customer relationship management.
ACCPAC CRM in particular is quickly generating success for ACCPAC Solution Providers. Coming off a series of industry awards including “Product of the Year” from Customer Inter@ction Solutions magazine and a top rating from InfoWorld magazine, ACCPAC CRM offers the full complement of sales force automation, marketing automation and customer care functionality with unprecedented integration to back office accounting - integration that competitors talk about, but ACCPAC is actually delivering now.
“The maturity and completeness of ACCPAC products - and their level of integration - give it an edge into new companies,” says the Aberdeen Group. “Its integration capabilities outshine Best (Software) and many others with multiple sets in their product fold.”
ACCPAC CEO David Hood says “Accounting focused VARs understand the value of integrated business processes like no other, but we’re also capturing the interest of CRM specialist VARs and others because we deliver what we promise and it’s real and complete today. The customer wins attest to it.” Indeed, sophisticated companies, such as Avis, are increasingly turning to ACCPAC CRM and its 100% web-based approach to keep offices connected, improve and expedite service, and reduce internal operational costs.
Vendor as Marketing Agency - No Charge
Equally important to good technology is the working relationship a vendor brings to the table with its channel. ACCPAC’s recent top ranking by VARBusiness Magazine is testament to the years of channel focus ACCPAC has invested. VARBusiness recently awarded ACCPAC's reseller partner program its top “Five-Star” award for 2003 for ACCPAC’s excellence in helping resellers improve their businesses. ACCPAC is the only SMB accounting vendor so honored.
At the heart of ACCPAC's reseller partner initiatives is a “Hands-Free” program in which ACCPAC handles all the major business building chores -- developing prospect lists, fielding direct mail, managing telemarketing campaigns and then providing resellers with lists of pre-qualified sales leads. Operating like an on-tap marketing agency, the program takes tried and true campaigns and tailors them to the reseller’s brand through a few simple on-line selections.
“Untold is unsold in business software, and ACCPAC tells the story for us so we can sell ourselves. They are making the difference in our success,” says Ben Hanan of Hanan Consulting, an ACCPAC reseller in Los Angeles.
Hanan has doubled his reseller business since 2000 -- growth he attributes in part to ACCPAC's marketing support. A Hands-Free direct mail campaign he ran earlier this year is driving more results with six qualified leads in the hopper, one closed sale and negotiations underway with two “very interested” prospects.
“The funny thing is that I had bought a prospect list, but was too involved working engagements to do anything with it myself,” Hanan muses. “So I turned it over to ACCPAC and they delivered business right to my door.” He says the whole process took him less than an hour. He uploaded his list to ACCPAC’s website, visited their marketing website where he clicked his way through a selection process and the project was up and running.
Powerful Marketing, Powerful Sales Support
ACCPAC’s business partner programs go far beyond marketing support, offering both inside and field based sales managers, a strategic sales group on call to help close large business, a Professional Services Group that works with resellers to fast-track training and implementation, ACCPAC University’ for on-line training and certification, and online resource centers that arm resellers with sales and marketing tools -- from pricing calculators to demo scripts and on-demand video demos. “The depth of available material is astounding,” says Hanan.
Hanan, Cumley and EZ-ACCESS president Lisa Parr could work with other vendors, but believe ACCPAC is best for their customers and their businesses. “David Hood has been able to create a vision for ACCPAC that includes complete solutions for customers and for resellers,” says Parr. “He was a dealer himself, so he knows what we need to succeed.”
Making Partnership Count
Hood acknowledges his channel experience is an asset. “A lot of companies just don’t get it when it comes to the mid-market. Our resellers are on the front line, dealing with customers daily. They’re proud of their customer relationships, and we’re proud of their talent and success. We do what it takes to drive their business into the future,” he says.
“We drive results,” says Hood. “We provide our channel and their clients with a full range of applications: end-to-end solutions for SMBs that match the capabilities typically found in only the largest enterprises, but priced to meet mid-market business budgets and that can be implemented in record time.”
Coupled with powerful partner programs, it makes ACCPAC a formidable mid-market competitor and an attractive partner for both its current and future resellers.
“It's not just that we are providing superior support,” Hood says. “The other players are not even close.”
Copyright 2003 ACCPAC International, Inc.