So first… this is a thank you to Dave Greene for pushing me to write this blog. Honestly, it’s been something I’ve wanted to do, to connect in a more « me » way to members of the Sage Accountants Network and I appreciate Dave for dropping the challenge on me (especially on LinkedIn where the pressure to say yes was undeniable!) Second, I’m a Marketing Manager for the Sage Accountants Network so I’m going to give you all a bit of backstage access « pre-show » if you will. Having said that, I’m not going to – now or ever – replace the role your account manager plays in your day to day business with Sage. As much as I’d like to think this blog will change the world, I’m never going to be able to replicate the genius that is Mark and Emilia.
The other thing I’ll say is “everything I say can NOT be used against me” in a court of law… or any other venue for that matter. I’m giving you a glimpse into things that I work through, questions that I have, things that I research or just tips or suggestions I can offer but it’s all just a glimpse. Just because I say it doesn’t make it true and just because I say it, doesn’t make it right. (Note: You will not hear me say that very often so remember it. For the most part I like to live my life in a “Kim is right” bubble.)
So with those technicalities out of the way… let’s talk about the Partner Locator Tool, shall we?
The Partner Locator Tool as near as I can tell has been the hot button topic for SAN members since the dawn of time. Or at least since the abacus met the computer. It’s not a pretty thing on the front end, but let me tell you that beast aint pretty from my side of things either.
I inherited this project from someone else, who inherited from someone else, who inherited it from somewhere else… see where this is going? I’ve seen a million versions of how the tool should work and I’ve done a lot of research from the customer’s perspective to prioritize how the tool should work. It’s interesting, some of the partner feedback about what they want to say isn’t relevant to customers looking for a consultant and at the end of the day it’s my job to get that tool to drive leads to the members who are on that tool so that’s what we tried to do in the design phase.
Now, the tool is well beyond my recommendations at this point. In fact, we’ve been testing the current tool in our QA environment. The new tool has two definitive things going for it and I must say I’m grateful to the web and IS teams for their commitment to get us this far! My two favorite pieces are:
a) it’s integrated. No more manual processes! That’s huge in terms of managing this tool and making it scalable. You renew your membership, you stay on the tool. You join the program, you get put up on the tool. You opt out of your membership, you’re removed from the tool. All quite seamlessly (as I understand it at this point.)
b) No more crazy tick boxes about things customers don’t want to know about. All in all, you’ve been given lots of free form text space to tell your value proposition YOUR way. You can include any information you want, whether it be the services you offer, the associations you belong to or even include a customer testimonial!
Now we’re not launch ready yet… but it’s coming. It’s so close in fact that we meet weekly for testing and to discuss next steps. I can’t wait to get the Partner Advisory Committee (PAC) members profiles in there for a test!
What’s missing from this first phase?
To be honest there is one piece I would like to have addressed soon and that is “Partner Portal integration”. Long term the plan will be for you to manage your own listing on the fly through the Partner Portal. We’re not quite there yet but due to demand, we’ll push forward and work on that piece later. In the meantime, you’ll provide us with your listings through a web form and our Web Manager will make changes as necessary.
Now I could go on and on… but it’s a little preliminary. I just wanted to share for you where we’re at on this project. Stay tuned! More to come SOON!
Now I’ve broken my own rule here about how people read on the web, and about a suitable length for a blog post (more to come on Kim’s web rules later) so I’ll sign off for now.
Marketing Manager, Partner Programs