Sage appointed Marc Scheipe president of Sage North America in February, making his interim regional president role permanent and helping perpetuate the company’s “customer for life” strategy.
“For me, I’ve been with the company for three years and fulfilling this role on an interim basis for the past four and a half months,” said Scheipe. “I think about the vision, the strategy—they sound grand. We set out the vision and strategy more broadly, but we are almost into the more execution phase of that strategy, bringing it to life.”
Sage aims to retain and attract entrepreneur and small to medium-sized business customers, according to Scheipe, by honoring the promise made at Sage Summit to not sunset any desktop solutions.
“We are ensuring existing customers we will continue to be relevant,” Scheipe shared. “We will allow that group to continue to enjoy and use the products they’ve always used… We’re minimizing the amount of things we sunset. I can’t think of anything we are sunsetting that hasn’t been done already.”
This means a continued focus on its major product lines, Sage 50, 100, 300 and 500.
“The traditional accounting and ERP software products we have in the market, and users enjoy, we’re continuing to invest in. I know a lot of companies and people have invested the time, people, resources and training around them so we’re sensitive to allowing those customers—some are really comfortable with desktop—to stay on-premise and not force-migrating them.”
Scheipe recognizes “other companies are vocal about going to the cloud,” a destination the company offers access to in its pure cloud solution Sage Live. And continuing the company strategy of satisfying all customers, Sage released 50c, a cloud hybrid of its small business offering, earlier this year. While still a desktop product, 50c automatically syncs to the cloud, prompting customer response that has been “tremendously positive,” according to Scheipe, and strong sales numbers thus far.
When it comes to Sage’s value-added resellers, Scheipe concedes recent feedback has been less favorable. “We were pretty candid at Sage Summit that we had some work to do to strengthen the partner ecosystem. I want to be very clear, we recognize that our partners are absolutely needed if we’re going to realize growth, jointly realize growth. We’re going to continue to strengthen the relationships and continue to focus on doing everything possible to regain the commitment, investment and trust.”
Sage provided its top partners with co-marketing money last September to “put money behind the words.”
The company is also forging ahead with its symbiotic relationship with the accountants, “a great partner of ours…whether an influencer for potential customers, or they influence us in what customers and partners are thinking.”
While the relationships with partners and accountants rely on consistency, Scheipe acknowledges Sage’s internal leadership has appeared less so.
“Internally, there have been comments on executive turnover,” Scheipe said when asked about the recent transitions, his included. “The perception is there has been a lot, and I’m not going to deny there hasn’t been turnover.” But, he continued, mentioning long-time executives like EVP managing director Connie Certusi, who has been with the company for 21 years, “we actually have some stability in the leadership team. I would prefer to continue to grow and retain talent, which is my intention.”
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