Resellers have expressed uncertainty over the benefits of Sage’s new hosted CRM service, launched last week.
The vendor described Sage-CRM.com, which operates through a browser interface, as a hosted version of its CRM mid-market edition. However, the service, which is charged at £50 per user per month, is designed for businesses with 20 users or fewer.
Gerry Carr, marketing manager for CRM solutions UK at Sage, said the vendor will host the service directly, but added that resellers will be credited with a percentage of each annual service contract they generate on the firm’s behalf.
“This adds strings to our partners’ bows. Existing CRM partners will earn 20 per cent of the total sales value and non-CRM resellers, for whom a SageCRM.com sale may come as a result of other customer discussions, will earn 10 per cent,” he said.
However, Martin Hamill, managing director of Sage VAR Clarendon Accounting Solutions, claimed that Sage’s direct salesforce is actually its biggest competitor. “Sage will sell anything up to the medium-sized sale directly and is our largest competitor. Twenty per cent for a hosted CRM sale is a bit low compared with box-based sales that can potentially earn us 40 per cent,” he said.
Carr hit back, claiming that the vendor was in no way devaluing channel partners’ importance or limiting their revenue-generation opportunities. “In no way will Sage move into direct sales in non-hosted environments. Partners cannot host this CRM service for security and quality-of-service reasons,” he said.
Nigel Hudson, business development director at TSG, said: “In principle this sounds good.
“It could play into the same space as Salesforce.com and will appeal to small businesses because of the relatively low costs involved, but we don’t really understand the relative benefits of a hosted solution.”
Separately, Sage has also announ-ced plans to create a global business that will see its suite of CRM products sit under a new brand dubbed Sage CRM Solutions.
Last week, Sage posted a 13 per cent increase in pre-tax turnover to £777m, in line with market expectations for its year ended 30 September (CRN, 24 October).
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