On Sage’s Customer Loyalty Program

NB: This is for Sage Partners only. The rest of you can hit delete.

The Customer Loyalty Program is perhaps the best program that we (Sage) have available. I am constantly surprised at how few partners take advantage of this free program. All you need to do is Enroll in the Sage Customer Loyalty Program by September 16, 2011.

The program provides you access to a powerful surveying tool that will be deployed to your customers With this vital information you can develop strategies to improve customer retention and loyalty.

Here is a Top 10 list developed by Diana Waterman who runs the program for us.

Top 10 Reasons why you don’t want to miss out on the CLP

  • You’ll find out how your customers really feel about your organization.
  • There is no cost to participate because Sage is picking up the tab.
  • Sage’s third party vendor administers the survey on your behalf.
  • You’ll have access to a dashboard that will enable you to view results from each of your individual clients.
  • You can customize your survey by selecting from a bank of additional survey questions that match your business offerings and add them to the standard questions.
  • See how you stack up against your peers and compare yours ranking results against overall partner benchmark for the product lines that you carry.
  • You’ll get a Customer Loyalty Program Workbook that will help you understand the concept of the Net Promoter survey, the scores, and how to make the most of it for your business.
  • You can compare your scores year-over-year.
  • You have an opportunity to win one of four President’s Circle Customer Excellence Award spots for the highest promoter scores in an eligible product line category.

We only off this program once per year. Don’t miss the September 16 enrollment deadline. Complete the Customer Loyalty Program online Enrollment Form today! Log on to the Sage Partner Marketing Resource Center and select the Partner Programs tab.

If you have any questions about the Sage Customer Loyalty Program, please contact  Diana Waterman at 703-443-6584.

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On Angie’s List Pricing (or how NOT to price in one easy lesson)

Last week, I surfed into Angie’s List, a site which allows people to exchange information about local services providers like carpenters, yard services, etc. I knew it was a paid membership site, and I was curious about the pricing. Long story short, I did not sign up for a membership.

This morning I received the following email from them with the subject: Oops! We meant to give you a bigger discount

image

So, let me get this straight. Angie’s List does a poll that indicates that 80 percent of companies do not have the confidence in their product or service to stand by a price they have given a prospective customer. In other words, they are liars – their “price” was not their price! Angie’s List then decides that rather than being an indication of a problem, they adopt this policy themselves.

In addition, they cast doubt upon all the vendors who use their service and tell me that they (Angie’s List) are liars (their price was not their price), but that they would really like me to sign up with my PayPal account and get even more off. Ahhh, no thanks!

Have I missed anything?

On the Occasion of Rob Johnson Leaving Sage

imageAs many of you are aware of by now, my friend and colleague, Rob Johnson has decided to leave Sage and join Avalara (the lucky dogs).

Early today, our partner programs team had our last call with Rob at the helm. With their permission, I am sharing some of the content of this call.

First up was myself, playing (in my bang on the keyboard style) one of my and Rob’s favorite songs, Corner of the Sky from the 1972 Broadway musical, Pippin. (Please excuse the clunkers.)

Next up was a poem written by Joo Sohn DeView entitled: Our Lifetime Friend. Each member of the team took turns reciting the stanzas.

Remember your team and never forget,
The first time you became our boss and we met.

Youthful Christina has really come a long way,
She’s managing programs and taking care of a baby all day.

And what about Ed whose ideas were so grand,
Talented is he, he was even in the Sage band.

And sweet Diana who took pictures of you sleeping,
Now she is sad that you’re leaving and weeping.

And your dear friend Joo who always gave you a hard time,
Is now struggling to write a farewell poem for you that will rhyme.

Who could forget your “y’alls,” kicking your own ass, and nightly ice creams?
We really did have more fun than all of those other teams.

You really enjoy your girls, running and public speaking,
A replacement for Sales Academy we’ll need to be seeking.

You’re leaving a legacy of a boss who really cared,
Your hopes and dreams of soaring you happily shared.

You are entering a new chapter in your life that’s exciting,
We are eagerly anticipating the next book you’ll be writing.

Good bye dear friend, we will miss you a ton,
You’ve inspired us with your optimism and our hearts you have won.

Only one day left as our boss but a lifetime friend,
Our exciting time together will finally come to an end.

We’ve shared many laughs, frustrations and tears,
But through it all, it was the best time we had in years!

Then Diana Waterman, presented Rob with a customer shirt she had made on all of our behalf for him.

image

The front of the shirt depicts Rob, asleep in the back of Diana’s car while dreaming of a Robism, “Two thumbs up!” This was taken at Summit as they went out to an early dinner with him.

Lastly, we all said our “farewells” including Christina Parra, our programs specialist.

“There’s no crying in software. Talk to y’all next week,” Rob ended.

Rob, thanks! ‘Nuf said.

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Economics Made Simple Resource Guide

Many thanks to the Allen Area Patriots for having me as a guest speaker this week. I hope they enjoyed the session.

First, here are the slides:

 

As a follow up for them, I have created a short, but deep list of resources for anyone who might want to dig a little deeper into the topic of economics.

Books

On the Web

Blogs

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Digital Electric Meters and the Future of Energy Pricing

In the not too distant future, many of us will have the option of switch from our standard analog energy meters to digital ones. Along with this will come the ability (depending on the level of deregulation in your state) to purchase energy in different ways.

For example, you will be able to control the energy usage of major appliances such as air conditioners, washers, dryers, etc. This will allow you to load balance your electrical usage. You will be able to set a budget for say your air conditioner. When the price of electricity goes up, the thermostat will automatically rise so you do not spend as much.

Even better, if and when battery technology improves, you will be able to purchase more energy in the evenings at a lower price and store it for use during the day when prices are higher. It is very cool stuff.

One possible additional benefit will be to allow you to purchase you electrical energy from different sources, or at least from different plans based on provider. This would mean that you could buy a “green plan” which will tell your provider to purchase more from green or alternative sources on the grid. Cool huh?

Now, what if I told you that these green plans will cost two to three times the traditional plan. Would you opt for the green plan? Why or why not?

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The Diamond Planet

A recent cosmological discovery got me thinking once again about the what George Gilder and others term the materialist fallacy. From a Reuters report from last Thursday:

An exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard in an undated image courtesy of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. REUTERS/HandoutAstronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard.

The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.

Materialists, including many of my Libertarian friends who favor a return to the gold standard, will have to conclude:

  • This planet is more wealthy than we are. After all it is a diamond with the mass Jupiter.
  • We would be better off if this heavenly body were to break free of its orbit and be sent on a path to impact (or maybe just orbit) the Earth. Perhaps T. Boone Pickens and DeBeers can concoct a plan to (as they say in the Beltway) “effort” this.
  • The really good news is that there are likely more of these throughout the galaxy and universe for it is only recently that we as a species have been able to detect these orbs.

This is materialist wealth creation at its finest!

Side note and bonus material:

I am not sure why, but my brain was reminded of this classic Bugs and Daffy cartoon. Enjoy!

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Sage Rebranding: My personal test

Much has been written on the announcement at Sage Summit 2011 regarding Sage’s decision to rebrand our products in an effort to increase the overall brand awareness for Sage here in North America.

I see the merits on all sides of the argument and do not intend to add anything that has not been discussed in other places. I do wish, however, to propose my personal acid test which, I believe, will be a reflection of the ultimate success (or failure) of this endeavor.

Last week, I traveled to Vancouver, BC to deliver the Sage Consulting Academy. After arrival I meandered through the line at Canadian Customs and Immigration and upon my arrival at the desk, the agent asked who my employer was. I replied, “Sage.”

“Sage? Who?” he asked.

“Accpac,” I restated.

“Next,” the agent called.

So, the test is simple. I know our rebranding efforts will be a success when I travel to Canada and am admitted expediently when replying, “Sage” to the question regarding my employer.

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Blinded by Labels

In the past week I have been in meetings where a) the differences between the “generations” at work, b) Myers-Briggs tests, and c) PDP tests, have all been cited as the basis for decision making. In my opinion, they might as well have just added zodiac signs.

Over the years I have found these “tools” to be, at best, slightly amusing parlor tricks and, at worst, weapons used to psychologically maim people.

An example – one person retorted when I expressed my views on this hokum – “My profile says I need clear direction when given an assignment. I need to know why. When my boss gives me a “why,” I always do better on the assignment.” Really? Is there anyone who prefers to kept in the dark and doesn’t benefit from understanding why?

Do you see my point? This stuff is most universal assertions packaged in professional gobbledygook (thanks Michelle Golden for reintroducing me to that word). They are the business equivalent of, “I am a Scorpio, as a desert sign, I like long walks on the beach.”

The problem here is that these labels (Gen X, Gen Y, ENTJ, ISFP, High D, Low C, Aries, Scorpio) blind people to the truth. The best example I can give you is politics.

Last night I post this story and graph with the following comment – “Attention Republican/Conservatives, your party is not in favor of smaller government.”

My friend, John, replied, “Why would a well-paid, well-pensioned, government employee favor smaller government? And even if it’s their ‘platform’, why would anyone actually believe them?” Great point!

My reply, “For the same reasons that Democrats/Liberals believe that their president was going to end the wars – They are blinded by labels.”

Labeling people does not promote good decision making, it promotes blindness to the truth.

For the record, it is “on premises”

As the computer industry continues to evolve into more of a cloud centric model, I want to officially express my concern about the confusion between the words premise and premises.

It is my understanding that a premise (singular) is a set of one or more declarative sentences (or propositions) in a logical argument. Whereas a premises (also singular, while being the plural of premise) is the land and buildings together considered as a property.

The word, premises, in this latter context, is always used in the plural, but is singular in construction. For example, a single house or a single other piece of property is premises, not a premise, although the word, premises, is plural in form as in, "The server is located on the customer’s premises" and never "The server is located on the customer’s premise.”

This is a crazy construction in English where one word has two distinct meanings. I believe we should be referring to “on premises” solutions and not “on premise” solutions.

I have no problem with the shortened moniker of “on-prem,” but “on premise” is just plain wrong unless you are referring a premise of operation. For example, “We bought a hosted solution on the premise that it would be a lower total cost of ownership.”

It seems I am not alone as I found this reference written in 2009.

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