With over 15,000 attendees and 35,000 online live stream viewers, Sage Summit 2016 really hit a chord with a wide variety of business owners, including ones that are already using Sage products.
There was so much I got to experience in Chicago, including my fantastic interview with Robert Herjavec and Daymond John from ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, but one of my personal highlights was connecting with our customers first-hand.
I spoke to a handful of Sage Live users, all from different entrepreneurial backgrounds, but they all had one thing in common: they use Sage Live to improve their business.
Sharing their story
Imparting their Sage Live experiences with me were Stephanie Morgan, owner of audio and video solutions company ICS Plus, and Amanda Styles, a database manager for non-profit Literacy Action, a heart-warming cause that helps people learn English and develop vital life skills.
I also spoke to Benedek Kokenyesi and Chris Federspiel of Blackthorn.io, a technology company that uses Sage Live for their own business, but also implements Sage Live in their Payments 360 application, helping their small business customers process payments.
Simplicity and efficiency
One of the first things I picked up on during our conversation was that they all had previous experience with cloud accounting software. However, I soon learned that they all switched to Sage Live as they believe it is the right tool to help move their business forward.
“We began moving a lot of our business functions over to the cloud a few years ago using the Salesforce platform,” Stephanie told me. “We completely fell in love with the business model and what it allowed us to do and the next step was naturally for us to get our accounting in the cloud and Sage Live was a perfect fit.”
“The biggest difference between Sage Live and our previous accounting solutions is that it didn’t integrate well, it required someone to go in and run the reports and ultimately it became difficult to share between businesses functions in a meaningful and timely way.
“The automated reports and the features of Sage Live have sped up our business in an incredible way because we are able to get tailored information right when we need it.”
Redefining the market
At Sage we strive to be the market leaders in accounting software, so it’s always affirming to hear our customers, like Benedek told me at Summit, explain how Sage Live is opening up new opportunities to their business.
“The way Sage Live does dimensional accounting is very new to Salesforce and that allows us to also tap into small businesses where they don’t have many resources available to set up a complex accounting solution.
“Therefore, we can also use our application with Sage Live in a way that makes it super easy for people to automate their processes, essentially going from leads to cash, so that’s why we love working with Sage Live.”
As Benedek was talking, his fellow co-founder Chris was nodding approvingly beside him, and he went on to tell me why he thinks Sage Live is bridging the gap between some important business processes.
“You can sell the biggest deal in the world, but then there is still work to be done to get that money in your bank account.
“Sage Live really helps to automate general ledgers, manage invoices, handle purchase orders and to handle that whole process of budgeting and forecasting. That’s why we coupled up with Sage Live, to help businesses manage the whole payment process, to really create the full story and to close the loop around the whole business process.”
As well as striving to be market leaders, Sage is committed to taking corporate philanthropy to the next level, so it’s great to hear how our Sage Live is helping non-profits give to the community by allowing them to spend less time managing business processes.
According to Amanda Styles of Literacy Action, “Integrations are so key, and the more we can automate and simplify our processes, the more we have time for other things.
“The efficiencies that can be gained from Sage Live can help free up the time to help businesses make important decisions.”
Amanda has been using Sage Live for just over two months now, but she knows that it will play a valuable role for her non-profit as it journeys from start-up to scale-up.
“Our non-profit is now at a $2 million budget and we need to be able to keep better track of all the donations that come in and we really believe that Sage Live can help us do that.
“Our Board of Directors and Executive Director have high expectations that we will be able to keep an eye on our budgets, and with Sage Live well be able to use the dashboards and let them know how much money is coming in and how we are using that money.”
It’s so refreshing to see how Sage products are making a positive difference to our customers’ livelihoods; however, for me the key in the follow-up to Sage Summit is to not just soak it all in, but to make an action plan for how you’re going to apply what you learned to become better and take your business to the next level.