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“This year I plan to be very disruptive..."

“This year I plan to be very disruptive. We're going to really make a name for ourselves and make the other guys sweat!”

So says Wayne Goss, SugarCRM Asia Pacific regional sales director, of his plans for the New Zealand market.

Goss, who has made several visits to New Zealand in recent weeks, says New Zealand companies big and small are seeing the value in customer relationship management software, and he's bullish about the company's future here.

New Zealand is the second largest Asia Pacific market for SugarCRM, with 1700 users here – considerably behind the 13,500 users in Australia – and was the fastest growing region for the company last year.

“The capacity to grow is here, there's no doubt about it,” Goss says.

“If you look at global IT spend, the ANZ region normally represents 4-5% of global IT spend, as a reference point. If we think about the fact there are 20 million users of CRM globally – of which SugarCRM has 1.5 million of those – 4-5% of that should be about one million users of CRM in ANZ.

“We have 15,000 across ANZ. So there is huge upside for us.”

While smaller companies are looking to automate their CRM and move away from spreadsheets, the larger companies and enterprises are keen to improve customer satisfaction and retention.

“We're seeing a lot of focus on that of late,” Goss says. “It has bubbled up to front of mind in business – customer loyalty, customer retention is becoming more and more important. People are finally waking up to the reality that acquiring a customer is far more expensive than retaining one.”

SugarCRM will announce a 65,000 user global deployment at CeBit this week, Goss says.

But he acknowledges that cracking the enterprise market, where he says there he's seen 'a huge shift towards considering Sugar', could bring its own problems, with Goss acknowledging the company will need to build up its system integrator ecosystem.

“Here in New Zealand we have three partners [Holistec Systems, Business Applications and Integration and CloudTech] who are very effective at servicing the market in its current state.

He says he's 'not interested' in adding resellers, but will look to augment the current channel with services capability.

“The challenge we are going to have is how quickly we can grow the services capability within our existing channel, and do I need to augment that with additional SI capability. And I think the answer is yes, I will have to, because we are going to run out of capacity here if I don't recruit regional SIs.”

However, Goss is at pains to point out that the SIs would not be resellers, in the sense of selling Sugar software, instead providing services capability to augment and assist the existing channel. He points out too, that Sugar has 'a massive professional services organisation' – 'our insurance policy' – traditional focused on the IBM relationship and which it can call on to fill any services capacity shortages.

“The deep CRM competency will still live in the existing channel and we will continue to leverage that. I see a more teaming approach around a regional SI and our exisiting partners who have the depth.”

Going niche

Goss says the strategy is very much around optimising the existing channel, and a focus on building stronger vertical capability.

He notes that one Australian partner has carved out a solid niche for themselves in universities, and Goss has been talking with local partners about doing similar.

“More and more clients are more interested in business process outcomes than in buying a piece of software, a platform, etc. It's really about being ablet to speak their language and address their business problems and deliver business solutions that deliver outcomes.

He says customers need to work out how to leverage their core competency around CRM and augment that with other things that enable clients ina particular industry to be successful.

“In the case of universities, how do you wrap the tools and capability around the core CRM function to best enable student prospecting, student management, and post-university continue to nuture them through to the alumni and start prospecting their children.

“It's not about selling them a CRM software license. It's about really building up their business process.”