Archive for Sage Summit

Social CRM Session Highlights

Posted in Session Summaries with tags , , , on November 11, 2009 by ryanzuk

Brent Leary presented Social CRM trends during his morning session at Sage Summit today. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author and blogger. His presentation covered a variety of useful advice for small and mid-sized businesses looking to incorporate social media into their marketing and sales strategies.

Brent discussed a logical way to think about social networking: create compelling content that, through sharing, sparks conversations on the social Web – these conversations create friends, and some of these friendships over time can turn into meaningful business relationships based on common interests, needs and goals.

He also explained that communities – and how they openly share and benefit from information – are what drive Social CRM. These communities help give traditional CRM a Social LIFT – Lift being his acronym for Listening, Inspiring, Facilitating and Transforming. You participate in such activities to create and retain long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with customers, regardless of what social media tools or technologies you are using. (“Social networking isn’t about the technologies, it’s about people connecting and conversing.”)

Then Brent compared the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns’ uses of social media. The Obama campaign, as many are aware, exhibited the most thorough and innovative uses of social media. For example, Obama’s campaign officially made about 2,000 YouTube videos for sharing which encouraged an additional 442,000 citizen-generated You Tube videos. The campaign also developed an iPhone app which guided users to contact and influence their voting friends in the most heavily contested battleground states. And the rest, as they say, is history. Brent co-authored a book, Barack 2.0, with more specific details about how social media participation played a key role during the 2008 presidential voting season.

“If you want to improve customer experience, facilitate a great community experience” was the key theme resonating throughout Brent’s presentation. He talks about this and other social media concepts regularly on his Social CRM Blog and Sage will have a replay link from the live Webcast of today’s presentation available soon on the Sage SalesLogix Community at


Todd Richards of Entertainment Lighting Services Inc. – Sage Customer Award Winner (Innovation)

Posted in Customer Interviews with tags , , on November 11, 2009 by ryanzuk

Todd Richards, Chief Financial Officer for Entertainment Lighting Services, Inc. discussed his business and shared some thoughts about the Sage Summit customer conference here in Atlanta this week.

Entertainment Lighting Services rents and sells lighting equipment used to support television, theatre, film and red carpet media events. A time-elapsed video of ELS assisting with setup of the Late Nite with Conan O’Brien stage is available here.

Entertainment Lighting Services received a Sage Customer Award this week in the Innovation category for its use of Sage MAS 500 Enterprise Resource Planning. Noteworthy among the company’s accomplishments with Sage MAS 500 are reducing inventory shrinkage by 50% and month-end closing process from four weeks to five days.

Richards says one of his most memorable experiences with Sage is the amount of time he doesn’t have to spend with support, and when he does need something he appreciates the knowledge of his Sage business partner, Information Integration Group, Inc.

As for Sage Summit, Richards has benefited from the general business sessions this year, having focused on attending specialized classes last year. He also participated in some round table discussions this year which were helpful for networking with other Sage customers and hearing how they are managing  business challenges similar to his own.

Effective Leadership – Guest Post from Marshall Lager, Third Idea Consulting

Posted in Conference Update, Guest Posting with tags , , , on November 11, 2009 by ryanzuk

I got a little bit of a surprise today in the Sage Summit breakout sessions. I was covering BB01, “Effective Team Leadership,” for a friend who couldn’t make it there due to a scheduling conflict. Normally, I wouldn’t be anywhere near a session like that because it’s outside my normal practice–I focus mostly on community use of social media, and the interaction of a business with its customers. Plus, as a self-employed consultant with no plans to hire staff, I didn’t hold out much hope of getting personal value.

Still, there was something in the description (“how leaders achieve bottom-line results through people”) that intrigued me. I showed up a few minutes late because I foolishly misremembered the room number–I was in the wrong building–and session leader George Hedley already had the group in full swing. I found a seat in the corner and dutifully started taking notes. At first I thought I was hearing yet another lecture by a motivational-speaker. But as I listened closer, I realized that some things are universal, applying to any project and any number of people. Here are a few of Hedley’s key points:

“People won’t change unless you do.” Makes sense to me; one of the definitions of insanity is trying the same thing repeatedly in hopes of different results. If your team is not meeting its goals, look to what you’re doing before you try to correct them.

“When you play Follow the Leader, you have to have your eyes open.” This goes for leaders as well as their teams. A person with closed eyes will lead others astray, and following with closed eyes doesn’t prevent stumbles. In an effective (if trite) demonstration, Hedley had the group follow instructions to fold and tear a sheet of paper with our eyes closed. The results were predictably scattered.

“When you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.” This was one of several references to golf, in this case the driving range. Improvement in play comes from playing the game, keeping score, and seeing instantly what you’ve done right or wrong–not from smacking balls as far as you can.

What does it all mean?

Measurement is one of the keys to effective leadership. Leaders must have a vision of where they wish to lead, but the only way to connect that vision to results is to measure. This also provides the team with clear expectations of what they need to do and how they stack up against those expectations.

In the end, I realized that even a team of one needs leadership. Choosing a goal, identifying the steps needed to reach it, and measuring the progress is pretty much the only way to operate that makes sense. I’m glad I went to this session, and I never would have on my own initiative.

At least that’s my impression of the session. I’d like to hear what some of the other attendees got out of George Hedley’s session on effective team leadership. I’d have asked when it wrapped up, but it was the last session before lunch, so the crowd looked hungry and cleared out fast.

Marshall Lager is  founder and managing principal of Third Idea Consulting LLC, a firm founded to provide advice on the confluence of customer relationship management (CRM), social media, and brand management. He can be reached through his Web site and is @Lager on Twitter.