VAR Program: A Work in Progress
Read this article at Accounting
by Carly Lombardo
New York (November 2003) - With the ongoing addition of products in
areas as diverse as CRM, HR, and warehouse management, Accpac International
continues to simultaneously evolve its Solution Provider Program to accommodate
this broadening portfolio.
Our goal is to make [the program] a one-stop, all-inclusive program
to train, certify, and support partners on all levels, says Kerry
Lemos, director of North American sales.
To achieve that, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Accpac created a menu approach
whereby resellers could simply add products to their existing reseller
agreements, as opposed to signing many different contracts. In addition,
training was incorporated into the pact, and marketing support was beefed
up with the addition of new Hands-Free marketing, advertising,
and telemarketing programs. These additions are critically important
for the resellers, since they enable them to get up and running with a
product quickly so they can be profitable right away, explains Lemos.
For example, Accpac guarantees first-year margins of 40 percent.
Accpac, a subsidiary of Computer Associates, touts an end-to-end business
management solution. At its heart are two accounting packages: Advantage
Series, with both disk- and Web-based elements, and the open-source-code
Pro Series. Building on these are modules that address customer relationship
management, warehouse management, point-of-sale, manufacturing, electronic
data interchange, human resource management, and voice and fax networking.
The Solution Provider program currently has 1,100 resellers and is adding
anywhere from 20 to 45 more every two weeks. According to Lemos, the main
product choices among resellers are the two core accounting packages,
with Accpac CRM gaining momentum. Our program is designed to provide
options. Resellers can focus on a single product line such as Accpac Pro
Series accounting or Accpac CRM, or they can sign up for any number of
other applications, up to and including a complete end-to-end solution
portfolio, says Lemos.
Program pricing ranges from $495 to $5,995 per product set. A reseller
can focus exclusively on Accpac Messenger for $495. However, authorization
for Accpac CRM is $3,995, and for Advantage Series or Pro Series, the
price is $5,995. Annual renewals range from $250 to $750 per product set.
A Solution Provider must hire a minimum of one Certified Consultant to
serve as the technical service and support person, and one Certified Sales
Consultant. Both are required to receive the appropriate training from
Accpac and pass an exam. A Certified Consultant can be certified for more
than one Accpac product set.
New York City-based Net@Work completes
50 Accpac deals per year, and receives a 50 percent margin for all new
engagements and 35 percent for upgrades. President Alex Solomon notes
that that means the company can offer its customers not just accounting
packages, but also warehouse management and CRM.
Solomon explains, Were working with a client on an older version
of the accounting package, and weve modified the new source code
and tied it into online business orders that are now able to flow into
the accounting system. Weve also added CRM and warehouse management.
Over the years, we keep adding pieces so that a customer can spend an
entire lifecycle with Accpac. The end-to-end solution allows the client
to grow without having to turn to different vendors.
Within the Solution Provider Program, there are five margin levels,
ranging from Bronze to Premier, with designations based on annual net
Taking on a new product is a significant investment, so we ensure
that the return on investment is fast and easy. For example, we guarantee
first-year margins of 40 percent. We kept our annual sales target levels
for resellers at the original levels so resellers who brought on more
product sets could very quickly reach top margin levels, says Lemos.
Premier partners must have an annual purchase level of $150,000, for which
they receive a 50 percent margin. Bronze partners, who face an annual
purchase requirement of $10,000, get a 30 percent margin.
Resellers receive a full range of demonstration products for each product
authorization for sales presentations, support functions, and for internal
use. Accpac also assigns resellers an account manager to help develop
sales opportunities through training sessions, seminars, trade shows,
joint sales calls, and direct mail. Additional sales and implementation
support is provided through the Strategic Sales Group, the Pre-Sales Group,
Pre-Sales Technical Consulting, and the Professional Services Group.
The Strategic Sales Group assists in large-scale prospect opportunities.
In the past year, weve done 17 implementations. Five have
come directly from Accpac, with three more captured as a joint effort,
notes Colin Chambers, president and CRM specialist of San Diego-based
Not surprisingly, Chambers swears by the Strategic Sales Group, which
helped him close on a $200,000-plus deal that had been in the works for
over a year. We were working with a midsize software company that
produces software for the security market. The deal was to integrate CRM
with the accounting package. CRM Systems created order entry to
serialize the software products, and a quoting mechanism for the sales
team, and established technical support that can look up serial numbers
to see if users are eligible for support.
The implementation of the 90-seat CRM system is under way. Chambers comments,
We worked hand in hand with Accpac to land this deal.
Generating New Business
Accpac prefers that its resellers spend more time selling and implementing,
and less time worrying about finding new sales leads. The remedy: Hands-Free
marketing programs that address advertising, telemarketing, and trade
Net@Work has successfully completed several Accpac marketing campaigns.
Accpac continues to develop great marketing collateral. The Accpac
pieces work well because theyre not product-focused and dont
come across as a sales pitch, says Marc Mandelbaum, director of
marketing. Its a great fit for us, as our approach to new
business lead generation is non-product-focused, but as an expert in the
field selling our services rather than products.
Mandelbaum notes that Accpac has a direct mail campaign that offers a
free copy of the 39 New Ideas of CFOs booklet as a give-away. Net@Work
internally created and designed an email version of the campaign.
The reseller then rented 5,000 email addresses, targeting business owners,
CFOs, finance VPs, controllers, and accounting directors and managers
in the New York area. We had 300-plus prospects that requested the
guide within two days of the email, recalls Mandelbaum. Weve
signed four on as new clients, and are actively working to close business
with twelve others. He notes that even for those that only opened
the email but did not respond (the open rate was 38 percent), we
successfully branded Net@Work as an objective systems consultant, educator,
and provider of IT and business needs.
Accpac also provides a more traditional Cooperative Marketing Program,
which provides Solution Providers with product credit when they promote
Accpac in their own campaigns. At the end of each month, a co-op credit
is calculated based on 5 percent of that months purchases. The credit
is then available for a six-month period. Net@Work, its worth noting,
was reimbursed 75 percent of their cost for the email prospecting campaign.