Sage North America’s new executive vice president of midmarket and CRM solutions, Joe Langner, sees his greatest challenges as improving communication with partners and customers and educating them about the company’s evolving brand and product strategies.

Since joining the company in October, Langner has spent the majority of his time speaking with top partners and customers, and assessing the job ahead of him. He views Sage’s strong customer base and customer-centric approach to business as assets for the company.

For him, the job entails helping the company grow through business intelligence, customer relationship management, connected services, and a transition to the Web.

“Sage is in a transformational stage,” he said. “We are returning to growth, but we can do better. Focusing on fundamentals and initiatives with [the] brand are very important. This isn’t just about changing product names. That’s the tip of the iceberg. We need lots of communication to partners and customers, and we hope to educate our customers and get a higher return on our investment. Everything should be thought of as coming from Sage. We have solutions for many customers they may not know about, and we hope over time we build broader awareness.”

Langner came to Sage in October, partially filling a role once held by Laurie Schultz, the former senior vice president and general manager of midmarket ERP, who left in July. Prior to joining Sage, Langner helped develop Ellie Mae—a provider of enterprise systems, including an online network, software and services, for the residential mortgage industry. He held executive positions there, including EVP of sales and client services, chief operating officer and chief sales officer.

He believes his experience at Ellie Mae will be essential in his new role at Sage, as well as his rebranding efforts at Dun & Bradstreet, where he served for 16 years in instrumental roles, including general manager of small business solutions.

“We were under-leveraging the brand [at D&B] too, similar to Sage,” he said. “We introduced a new branding strategy similar to Sage—leveraging the brand, exposing ourselves to the market such that we could monetize the value of the brand rather than multiple products. My work there led to a 270 percent growth in their stock. I am going to look to implement similar philosophies and practices here.”

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