Sage North America CEO Sue Swenson urged her business partners to continue to focus on building what she described as an “extraordinary customer experience” during a keynote address at the company’s Insights 2010 partner conference.

Swenson noted that the company has learned several lessons from its partners and customers during the down economy, primarily how to focus less on selling products and more on what partners and customers need.

“The recession gave us an opportunity to look at the very basics of what our customers need, and I think we are in a better position now to deliver on that,” she said. “We learned that what customers expect from us is not always what we think it is. We need to deliver on the basic pains that they have and not make things overly complicated for them.”

She outlined the basic “company roadmap,” focused on Sage’s employees, reseller channel, and financials, but more importantly the customer.

Swenson stopped short of specific details on strengthening or growing the channel, but noted that cross-selling would be an important part of channel partners’ and the company’s future success, especially in North America.

“Since the second quarter of 2009 we have seen an increase in overall revenue performance, and North America has played a significant role in that growth,” said Swenson. “We may still be down overall, but there is progress in [license] renewal and cross-selling. We definitely have more work to do, but you [partners] are definitely a key part of that roadmap to finding new ways to make the customer experience better.”

Swenson also admitted that brand recognition has improved since she became CEO in 2008, as much as 33 percent overall, but she noted more could be done internally to continue that growth.

“When I first came here, there was a broad patchwork of vertical brands, and I’m not critical of that, but it is time for a change,” she said. “It’s not easy to become one face from being a federation of business units, but it is happening. The key to this change is to make this company a more collaborative environment. That is a key focus for us.”

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