B&L information systems and FDM4 accelerate their business with the Progress Partner+ program and Progress® OpenEdge
The Progress Partner+ program: turning ideas into revenue-generating opportunities
The mission of the Progress Partner+ Program is to help Progress’ 2,000 partners maximize growth, increase revenue potential and drive new opportunities. Through a variety of empowerment programs designed to help partners achieve their business, technology, sales and marketing objectives, partners are realizing remarkable bottom-line results.
The best-in-class Partner+ Program, recently awarded a 5-Star Rating by CRN, offers partners constant access to experts to solve business and technical challenges, and a wealth of resources, workshops and tools to help them meet customer needs, grow and sustain profitable businesses, and achieve long-term business goals.
The following two case studies show the Partner+ Program in action, demonstrating how two Progress partners, B&L Information Systems and FDM4, have leveraged the Program to achieve dramatic business results.
B&L information systems optimizes sales and marketing strategy, achieving triple-digit growth
For over 14 years, B&L Information Systems has relied on the Progress OpenEdge Integrated Development Environment (IDE) as the underlying “rock-solid” platform for its Odyssey ERP application. North American-based B&L provides integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) for over 400 customers across five countries. Their Progress-backed ERP enables metalcasters to drive increased efficiencies and improve profitability.
In an effort to increase revenue while continuing to deliver added value to its customers, B&L transformed the traditional on-premise solution to the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. With the help of the Progress Partner+ Program, B&L was able to release the SaaS model in just three months; the results were both immediate and dramatic. The Odyssey SaaS application model outsold B&L’s traditional model by 300% in the first year and has realized a revenue increase of 880% over the past four years.
“The Progress Partner+ Program has provided us with a variety of strategies, tools and tactics over the years to help improve our sales, marketing and management techniques.
As a result, we quadrupled the number of deals we closed this year and reduced the average sales cycle by 50%,” explains Matt Gacek, Vice President of Business Development for B&L Information Systems. “Those results are a direct result of the Partner+ Program. We are now asking the right questions and addressing our customers’ needs using the most impactful means possible, like software demonstrations, new marketing materials, integrated campaigns and more.”
Last year, the company made the decision to eliminate its traditional on-premise model altogether and move to a 100% SaaS model. However, B&L found the change to be more challenging than anticipated, primarily because many of the company’s prospects and customers don’t fully understand the benefits of SaaS. B&L once again turned to the Partner+ Program for help.
“Through conversations with SaaS experts, workshops and access to Progress Partner Development Funds (PDF), we were able to quickly get our marketing materials where they needed to be to support our new business model and educate our market,” explains Gacek. B&L also had Progress conduct a win-loss analysis to identify where the company needed to make changes to improve the sales process. “That win-loss analysis drove a lot of changes for us. We realized there were some major adjustments we needed to make to our communication strategy – both how we talked about our product and in the information we provided.”
For example, the company recently updated its website, brochure, sales collateral, and produced a number of new pieces, including a competitive corporate overview, customer success stories and a disaster recovery data sheet, as well as launched an integrated marketing campaign with an industry magazine that included an on-line case study. Using the Partner Development Fund, B&L was also able to place an advertising campaign in a strategic publication that was previously too expensive.
“The results of our work with the Partner+ Program over this last year alone have been remarkable. We have already closed nearly five times as many companies with 352% more bookings in the first half of this year versus the same time last year. And, we have achieved those results with 1/3 the sales resources,” stated Gacek. “We received 50 leads alone from the two case studies we produced with Progress, of which, we’ve already closed two of those leads, and we fully expect to close another four or five.”
Gacek says with just 34 employees, only three of whom are currently in business development, this level of transformation would not have been possible without the support of the Partner+ Program. “We just don’t have the budget or resources to make these major changes on our own. Partnering with Progress has enabled B&L to be far more strategic and sophisticated with our approach to sales and marketing. We have been able to move into new markets and take advantages of new opportunities. The Progress Partner+ Program has given B&L the resources and support needed to grow our business beyond expectations.”
Over the past 14 years, Gacek says he has grown to appreciate Progress more and more. “When I compare my experience with other technology providers, Progress stands out clearly ahead of them all. Their people, their levels of expertise, their recommendations have always been spot on. Progress’ tools, market intelligence, and partnership program are unmatched by any other provider I know of.”
FDM4 transforms sales approach, accelerating sales and increases competitive edge
For over 20 years, FDM4 has relied on Progress OpenEdge to build competitive, scalable, high-performance applications for leading global manufacturers and distributors. Today, industry leaders like Shark and alphabroder, rely on FDM4’s integrated ERP, WMS, eCommerce, and CRM applications to support thousands of users and stay ahead of the competition in fiercely competitive markets, such as Consumer Products, Fashion, Apparel, Footwear, and Industrial parts.
Since first implementing Progress OpenEdge over two decades ago, FDM4’s business has changed dramatically, expanding internationally, branching out into new industries and developing a full suite of competitive solutions. “With Progress OpenEdge we have the agility and flexibility to move forward and adapt to trends without any major technology changes. That enables us to get to market far more quickly than our competitors.”
FDM4 believes its product is far superior to those of its competitors. But when the company recently found itself failing to close on a number of strategic sales opportunities, it decided to take action. “Like a lot of successful companies, we fell into some bad habits with regards to our sales process. We took for granted that our great reputation and industry-leading technology were enough; however you still need to follow the proper steps to close a deal,” explains Mike Cutsey, President, FDM4 America Inc. “We needed to make some changes, but we weren’t sure where to start. That’s when we turned to the Progress Partner+ Program.”
Cutsey and his top sales executive attended a sales enablement workshop at the Progress Software headquarters. “The Progress Partner+ Program sales enablement workshop completely transformed our approach to sales,” says Cutsey. “It made us see things in a whole new light.”
Prior to the training, FDM4 had no formal sales plan in place to manage the sales process and communication with the customer. They tended to jump into the product demo and pricing discussion without understanding the customer’s true needs. “We realized through this workshop that the root of our problem was in our failure to give the customer a compelling reason to justify the cost resources required for our solution. We tried to sell a product rather than a solution to their problem.”
The Partner+ Program sales enablement workshop gave FDM4 the tools they needed to optimize their sales approach and develop more successful customer relationships. “We came away from the workshop with a six-step process to successfully manage the sales process from introduction to close,” explains Cutsey. “We have moved the focus of the conversation from ourselves and our product to our customer and their pain points, and our conversations are now far more engaging and productive. We realized that by taking the time to truly understand their challenges, needs and goals, we could then map the benefits of our solution back to those specific requirements. Through this collaborative approach, the customer fully understands the value of our solution – how it can optimize their business, drive revenue, reduce costs and put them ahead of their competitors.”
Within just three months of completing the workshop, Cutsey says both he and FDM4’s sales force are far more confident, comfortable and in control during the sales cycle. “We now have a plan that we all follow; we know what steps need to be taken and when to move the deal forward. There is no more guessing,” says Cutsey. With a 6-12 month sales cycle, Cutsey says it will be some time before he can quantify the benefits of the sales enablement workshop. But he says the program was so empowering that FDM4 is working to resurrect some of the larger deals the company failed to close in the recent past.
“We are essentially reverse-engineering what we did wrong in previous opportunities. We are reconnecting with those prospects and the outlook is good; there is high interest. I am absolutely positive we will close a few of those opportunities this year because of our new sales approach.”
The skills and best practices FDM4 took away from the workshop are also giving FDM4 a competitive edge. “Not only do we have the best product, but we can now prove it.”
Cutsey says the support they get from the Partner+ Program on a number of levels delivers continuous benefits. “Not only do we have access to programs that can help us optimize our business and operations, but we also have the opportunity to collaborate with Progress business and technology experts. That level of access and interaction is not something you get with most large technology vendors. The value we receive from the Progress Partner+ Program is truly priceless.”
For more information
To learn more about the Progress Partner+ Program, visit www.progress.com/partners or download the Progress Partner+ Program brochure.
About B&L Information Systems
B&L Information Systems is a global leader in providing integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) for metalcasters. For over 35 years, B&L has used their deep understanding of the specific challenges and problems of foundries and die casters to create an ERP solution which matches the way metalcasters operate, making it easier to learn and use. With Odyssey, metalcasters will maximize their resources, minimize costs, and make better decisions faster. www.blinfo.com
About FDM4 International Inc.
FDM4 International Inc. is a leading provider of integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Warehouse Management Software (WMS), eCommerce Web Solutions (B2B/B2C), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Executive Dashboard solutions across a variety of industries, including Fashion, Apparel, Footwear, and Consumer Products. www.fdm4.com