Hand Up

Hands up for Customer Retention in FY24

Tue, 14 Nov 2023

Anne put her hand up for a panel discussion at the Sage FY24 Partner Kick-off event in Sydney.

Sage Australia held their FY24 Partner Kick-off event in Sydney today. Anne represented Orchid, just before heading off to the equivalent Sage Africa event in Cape Town. She was asked to join a panel discussion and Q&A session, with this as the theme:

"Leveraging Technology Partner Solutions to increase retention and revenue for Sage 300"

Anne referred to studies by Sage Asia and Sage North America showing a direct correlation between the number of add-ons a customer has and their longevity. In short, more add-ons lead to "stickier" customers.

We asked her to expand on this, with a focus on the contribution of Orchid’s solutions.

In our August article, we took a bit of a swipe at the way the term Digital Transformation can be misused and overhyped, so perhaps it was karma that our follow-up questions returned to this topic.

Q: What customer trends have you noticed regarding Digital Transformation?

Whatever definition you prefer, it's true that recent events have been transformative in terms of the ways businesses make use of digital solutions to increase flexibility and minimize disruption. I think today's customer priorities are closely aligned with the amplified focus on remote and flexible working.

Two areas that have attracted a lot of attention are Collaboration and Automation, and as it happens those are both areas that Orchid’s solutions are strong in.

Orchid faced the same challenges as many of our customers when we locked down the office in early 2000 and moved to fully remote working. Established tools like VoIP telephony, a VPN, and Office 365 gave us a solid foundation, but that was just the start.

As users of Sage 300, we were in the unusual position of being able to take advantage of our own software to help smooth the transition.

It’s no coincidence that the Orchid products that have continued to sell most strongly are the same ones we now rely on every day to run our business. A few examples:

  • We now make full use of Document Management Link to organize and access invoices, purchase orders, etc. from within Sage 300. We have completely stopped printing and filing paper documents, and our expensive printers are now gathering dust in the office.
  • We’ve developed custom Extender scripts, and made good use of Extender’s Workflow capability, to automate internal approvals and other day-to-day business processes. This allowed us to move away from informal and manual approaches, which often required face-to-face interactions.
  • We use Process Scheduler to automate the execution of recurring jobs, so we no longer need to depend on the availability of specific staff to kick them off. That includes automatically refreshing Info-Explorer cubes and emailing them to our leadership team, so they have up-to-date insight into our business performance, no matter where in the world they happen to be.

And it should go without saying that we use EFT Processing for all our vendor payments, so we haven’t needed to visit a bank branch or post a cheque for years.

Q. Have these trends created new opportunities for Business Partners?

Absolutely. Initiatives to support remote working have made it easier to sell our modules, as well as add-ons from other Sage Tech Partners that address collaboration and automation needs. 

More often than not a sale of one Orchid module leads to others. In fact, the average Orchid end-user site has more than two of our modules. Selling additional add-ons into existing sites is a win-win-win for the end user, the business partner, and the ISV.

We’ve often received partner feedback that customers would have long since outgrown Sage 300 but for Orchid’s products, so this certainly contributes to the retention story.

Sage 300 has an extraordinarily loyal customer base, and I’m sure that is largely due to its fantastic ecosystem of add-on modules, and the great support Sage Business Partners give their customers.

We love it when partners use Orchid’s products to help close a new sale, but it’s also a thrill when we hear that a user has had Sage 300 for years, but has just become aware of us, or just discovered a need for one or more of our modules.

This shows there is still plenty of opportunity out there to generate revenue by better servicing the existing customer base.

And of course, the Sage Intacct version of our EFT Processing module has been on sale for over a year now and has proven very successful. So it’s great that we can also stay involved with end users and partners who have started shifting their focus to cloud-native solutions.


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