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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 111

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October 2, 2020

#111 PJ Bishop: Why Ecosystem Success Is Measured by More than Sales

PJ Bishop, Vice President of Partners, Accountants and Alliances: Africa and Middle East at Sage, explains why Sage is reengineering the entire way they measure ecosystem success.

When you want to test the health of your ecosystem… 

You need to look at more than sales.

In this episode, PJ Bishop, Vice President of Partners, Accountants and Alliances: Africa and Middle East at Sage, explains why Sage is reengineering the entire way they measure ecosystem success.

PJ explains:

  • How to reengineer a partner program to prioritize more than sales
  • How Sage is sourcing skills from local universities
  • The benefits of operating a global business in Africa

Reengineering Partner Programs to Go Beyond Sales

    With today’s ecosystem market, providing a great customer experience doesn’t stop after the business is won, it’s a constant. PJ ensures that customers remain loyal by tracking NPS and CSAT scores with consistent surveys, which prove to be key indicators of who will renew partner programs on an annual or monthly basis. Especially with SaaS solutions, clients can switch off services practically at a moment’s notice, so understanding how the customer is feeling about the product is just as important as driving sales with partners.   

    This includes everything from the largest enterprise customers to the smaller businesses as well. The question now is, how do you attack and defend at the same time? The answer lies in how you manage your ecosystem. PJ goes beyond sales by taking a careful look at what partners Sage is including in its programs, and verifying that they are selling the right offerings upfront while also considering suitable ISVs and 3rd parties to finish the job. 

How Sage is Sourcing Skills from Local Universities

    PJ is an entrepreneur at heart, and with Sage launching a marketplace in Africa in the near future, the time to encourage growth is now. He helps create a nurturing environment for startup ISVs to find their footing and make a name for themselves, but doesn’t stop there. PJ and Sage believe they need to go right to the talent source: local universities and colleges. 

    Sage provides a whole curriculum to students by offering its cloud accounting software for free. This provides students and recent graduates with the necessary skills they need to join the partner ecosystem right out of school, and helps Sage easily recruit within specific regions or specializations since there’s a common understanding of certifications and requirements for degrees. Considering how the pandemic has shifted most practices to the virtual space, engaging with universities this way also ensures a healthy talent pipeline.  

The Benefits of Operating a Global Business in Africa

    Operating a global business of course comes with many complex and unique challenges, but Sage solves this by maintaining high standards for its partners around the world. PJ shares that Sage charges a fee upfront that comes with unlimited training for any member on a partner’s team. This helps create a highly-skilled ecosystem that is available to customers. One key piece of this equation is that Sage is located in South Africa, which is both a financial and time-zone advantage on the world stage. 

    Ultimately Sage aims to be far more than simply a people or payroll system, but an end-to-end solution for customers. With that in mind, PJ shares a bit of advice: rather than fixating only on your market, look wider than your region for talent, skills, and relationships, and embrace the new way of working in a SaaS marketplace.


To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about alliances, he can be reached by: