Sage staked its claim on a slice of the blossoming customer relationship management (CRM) market at the launch of its new CRM division in Dublin yesterday, saying that it was the only software player in Ireland with the skill and pedigree to see an implementation through.
The pedigree was reinforced with the acquisition of CRM specialists Delta Systems back in August. Company founder David Larkin, now general manager of the new Sage division CRM Solutions, said that 11 years of experience at Delta, working in a market that started life with contact management and sales automation products, made the new business unique in its ability to understand and advise customers.
TNS research, commissioned by Sage, revealed that only 6pc of Irish companies had implemented a dedicated CRM product. Sage MD Liam Mullaney predicted that the Irish market would take off in the next 12-18 months and that Sage would have a big part to play because it offered a strong portfolio of solutions.
“Our range of products and channel partners allows us to meet the needs of every type of business in Ireland,” he said. Made up of Act!, Sage CRM MME (formerly ACCPAC), Saleslogix, GoldMine and HEAT, as well as a hosted solution, Mullaney said the portfolio was about offering customers a freedom of choice and he criticised competitors for lacking comparable expertise. “A lot of people who don’t really know what they’re talking about are blagging their way into CRM,” he said.
He also acknowledged that there was still a lot of confusion from the customer perspective: “It’s a blur to many people who just don’t understand what it’s about.” Larkin picked up on the point saying that in the early days “a lot of time was spent selling the religion before we could sell the bibles”, a situation that still remains true for many customers today.
While Larkin stressed that every customer implementation of a CRM solution is different he said a typical mid-range deployment would require an initial investment of between €1,200-€1,500 per user and around six weeks to get it up and running. CRM Solutions provides consultancy and advice to ensure that the customer’s needs are met with a ‘best fit’ solution.
Pictured: Liam Mullaney, managing director, Sage Ireland, and David Larkin, general manager, CRM Solutions
By Ian Campbell