ERP vendor Unit4's new head of alliances, Bob Bacon, has made speeding up engagement with customers and partners a priority, he told CRN. Bacon intends to quicken the engagement with customers with the hopes of closing deals faster.
"I am trying to get momentum, pace, speed and energy into the way we engage with partners and to then duplicate that into the way we engage with customers," he said. "In all our interactions we are going to strive to be highly efficient."
Although Unit4 competes with vendors including Oracle, SAP and Salesforce, it is very selective about the market sectors in which it operates.
"We have three chosen areas we focus on: the public sector, commercial space, and education. We are not trying to sell to every business under the sun," Bacon explained.
He joined Unit4 in March from Zensar Technologies, an Indian systems integrator. His role is to build on the company's relationships in the channel.
"I want to establish the channel as an integral part of the way we operate. My role is to make partners feel that they are connected to the company as a team, grow their revenues incrementally and make sure we have a high level of customer satisfaction in doing so," he added.
Unit4 was founded in 1980 and is based in Holland, with around 4,000 employees globally.
Bacon said he will not change the channel programme already in place but will be "more rigorous" in its implementation.
"We will be putting in place a firm business plan with each partner. I think the way you go to market now, with social media, means you can be spritelier. We become more agile and quicker in what we do," he explained.
"Everybody knows that in years gone by it could take three to four years to implement an ERP across a system, but now with the cloud it is just not like that. Now is an ideal time to be in sync with what the market is doing and to respond to what the market wants."
Bacon admitted that there could be conflict between channel partners and Unit4's direct sales team, but he hoped the addition of a deal registration process will minimise conflict.
"If I live in the real world then there could be conflict in some cases," he said. "However, we are trying to have transparency with our partners and through this we hope that risk would be minimal."
Unit4 partner G7 Business Solution's development manager Julie Munt said that she has already noticed an increased focus on the channel from the vendor.
"Unit4 have never really worked with partners that much and then a few years ago they brought out their partner policy. But for the first year they were really trying to find their way, having never worked with partners before. One thing we can categorically say is that since Bob has come on board it does seem to be moving in the right direction," she said.
"I know that Bob intends to pass some leads straight over to the partner, and then obviously the partner can get engaged straight away, can do their own quote and manage their own services. The approach Unit4 is taking with partners gives Unit4 wider routes to market and hence a quicker turnaround."
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