I recently sat down with Taylor Macdonald, Senior Vice President, Channels at Sage Intacct, to chat about the channel team’s recent growth, what the Sage acquisition means for the Sage Intacct channel, and the exciting things they have planned for 2018.
Brittany Benson: Thanks for chatting with me today, Taylor! To start, can you chat a bit about the evolution of the channel team and the evolution of our partners?
Taylor Macdonald: Sure! So we started seven-plus years ago with zero partners. Today, we have over 100. We have the highest number of top 100 partners of anyone in the middle market. And we grown from bringing 0% of the company's new revenue to over 50% of the company's new revenue, including the IAP program.
We started seven-plus years ago with myself and Diane Murray, who retired at Sage Intacct. Now we have 28 people, we've built an incredible team over these seven years, and only three channel team members have left Sage Intacct that entire time.
When you look at the tenure of the people on the channel team, they've come to Sage Intacct, they've loved being here, they love working with our partners, and they continue to perform at a high level. That's at the heart of what success that we're having.
The philosophy at the start of everything we do is how do we make our partners successful? We 100% believe that when our partners are successful, then we're successful. It's not any more difficult than that.
Brittany: Awesome. And can you delve into what is top of mind for 2018 for the Sage Intacct channel program?
Taylor: Of course, Brittany! So for 2018, top of mind is: number one, to continue our meteoric growth that we've had over the last two or three years. Secondly, now that we're part of Sage and we're Sage Intacct, to go and add a number of their partners that meet our qualifications who want to become Sage Intacct partners.
We've had unprecedented demand since the acquisition was announced, and we've seen those partners hit the ground running. And one of the normal things that comes with growth is trying to help our team and our partners scale. Again, when you're growing 30, 40, 50 percent a year, lots of processes and the like help make those things work better.
Brittany: That’s phenomenal, Taylor. What do you attribute this incredible growth to? It seems to get better year after year…
Taylor: We've got a great number of now long-standing partners who are very successful selling, implementing, and taking care of their customers. They've been doing it for three, four, or five years, and so they have great experience. They know the product. They know the technology. They know where Sage Intacct fits, and so they're very, very good at finding opportunities.
The second part of that is that these new partners that we've recruited over the last 12, 15 months are the fastest group to really become productive. And then other growth drivers are: the Sage Intacct product, four releases a year, the stability of the product, the features, the functionality, or more.
Then there’s also the support from other areas of the company, whether it be Susan Vincent's partner services group, or Joanne Wilson's support group, the marketing group, all the other groups helping Sage Intacct partners be successful. It’s truly a team effort.
Brittany: That’s fantastic to hear. And our channel program, historically, has the best of the best partners. Can you share what we look for when Sage Intacct is considering adding a partner to our channel, what qualifications that they need to have, and the standards that Sage Intacct has for them?
Taylor: The most important thing when you look at bringing on new partners is to find partners that have been successful in other endeavors, that have the ethics and integrity, and even comparing them to what our other partners look like. It's partners that want to get involved quickly and make a difference that are successful. Sometimes we get partners that are just too small, that aren't going to be successful, that we're better off, for them and for us, not going down that path with them.
Brittany: That’s great detail. Are there any success stories that you would like to share on some of our partners that have joined the program? This can be recent or long-term…
Taylor: There are three immediate ones that come to mind: Marcus Wagner joined the partner program five and a half years ago starting with four or five people, and today employs 55 people. His firm is only focused on Intacct, and is a four-time partner of the year. They’re absolutely fantastic.
David Furth at Leap the Pond would certainly be another one. He’s a long-time implementation partner, has been our partner for probably three and a half years, and started with three or four people. Today, David employs over 20 people.
And then there’s a new partner, Kerr Consulting, who just signed up, came to Advantage with nine attendees, and are very motivated. They sent seven or eight people to product training, and are likely to close multiple deals this quarter.
So I think what it says is that the partners who jump in, do the things that we suggest they do, and work hard will find real success. It's never easy to immediately be successful. But if you do things the right way, you will have success.
We had a call this week with the Sage global channel team to take them through our partner enablement program, Lisa White's program. We took them through all the things that we do for new partners, and their jaws were just wide open because they saw all the things that we were doing to help new partners be successful from product training, sales training, marketing assistance, coaching, co-selling, Susan Vincent's team with 24 free hours, and so on. It just got to the point where one new partner said, “If we fail it's our own fault, not Sage Intacct's.” That’s just a testament to the level of support Sage Intacct provides, and how committed we are to every single partner in the channel being wildly successful.
Brittany: That's great to know. Would you consider those incredible offerings things that set our partner program apart from other organizations' programs?
Taylor: I think what really sets our partner program apart is the philosophy behind it: making sure that you have the right partners in the program, going and supporting them whether they're a new partner or an existing partner, our whatever-it-takes mentality, and then I think it's a testament to the quality of the channel team. Most of them are ex-partners, they know what it's like to be a partner, and they have managed partners before for other firms. What you get is the best of both worlds: you get a great product, a great channel team, great partners, and that's pretty unstoppable.
Brittany: Fantastic. And in regards to the acquisition, I know people are curious…will the partner program change at all? And if so, what can people expect to see now that we are a part of Sage?
Taylor: Sure. Certain things will change, and they'll change for the better because there are other people out there in the Sage ecosystem doing things that we can learn from. Sage has committed to keep the fundamentals of the Sage Intacct partner program exactly the same, not changing what we do, how we do it, how we choose partners and the like, and still being as selective as possible, and doing all the things that have caused us to be so widely recognized.
But what comes with that that is great is that for many partners, both Sage and otherwise, who when we were a smaller company where they didn't know who we are, they didn't have the luxury of perhaps being able to get in and kick the tires so to speak, they've come out of the woodwork now that we have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval being part of Sage and being part of a $2 billion publicly traded technology powerhouse.
Brittany: It sounds like you are very excited about the acquisition and look forward to what's ahead!
Taylor: Absolutely. And actually, there are 15 former Sage people at Intacct, and seven or eight of those people are on my team.
Sage is the only company that is focused exclusively on the needs of global mid-market companies. And when you look at our competitors, they're either after very small companies or after very large. And we're the only ones in that middle ground, and that makes it very exciting.
This is an incredible time to be a part of the organization; there are multiple opportunities for growth this coming year, and it is an absolutely fantastic opportunity that Sage presents to help us grow faster than ever before and become recognized as a worldwide leader.