Sage Brazil - Internal Communications Campaign

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Company: Sage, Americana, São Paulo, Brazil
Company Division/Group: Sage Brazil
Company Description: Founded in 1981 in the UK, Sage is the world leader in management software for small and medium-sized businesses. Established in 23 countries and with more than 3 million customers in all its area of activity, in Brazil, the company arrived in 2012 with the acquisition of four local companies.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign/Program of the Year - Internal Communications

Nomination Title: Company's Internal Communications Initiative: Sage One

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Summary

After analyzing the market, Sage detected the opportunity to offer to entrepreneurs and local accountants a product already consolidated in 12 other countries as part of its portfolio: the Sage One, an online software for electronic invoices emissions.

At that moment, the competitors were complex showing low rates of usability and high prices. In the meantime, the Government’s free system – Sefaz - did not operate entirely online.

The gateway, however, would be to offer a simplified product and add the advantage of being entirely online, offering unlimited support to customers.

The scenario seemed favorable, but the results after the first few months of the product launch were not satisfactory. Despite all the marketing investment in the first 6 months, each sale was very difficult and the software could not take off. It was necessary to rethink the entire strategy and develop a new and disruptive value proposition.

Goal
Supported by the President’s company, Jorge Santos Carneiro, the company transformed Sage One into a mission: instead of reducing expectations, it chose to raise the requirements. As a result, the initial target of 700 units sold in the first year (FYL16) was replaced to 10,000, a much higher number, which represented the great challenge of bringing Sage's first global owned product to Brazil. Moreover, the challenge would only increase in the following fiscal year (FYL17): 100 thousand units.

Much more than new product’s sales, the challenge of selling 10,000 units of Sage One represented even greater meanings: the launch of the first product under the Sage brand in Brazil, and the entry into a new segment of small and medium companies considering the prior client’s portfolio in Brazil was basically accountant companies.

Strategy and Tactics

The new approach was elaborated with a “startup bias”, in order to give agility and break paradigms.

The pilot project was assembled with the entire board’s engagement. All of them were placed on the front line and were considered equally responsible for the project’s success. The directors and the marketing team went to the streets. Instead of contacting potential customers directly, it was suggested to change the sales’ strategy and influence the accountants and thus, gaining scale. Through visits to accounting offices, some insights came out. The main one was the innovative disruptive proposal to offer a digital certificate - which conceives legal authenticity to documents - embedded in the product without any cost, which no other competitor offered.

In addition, employees from all areas of the company were summoned to be "Sage One Ambassadors", with goals and established work fronts.

Another initiative was the creation of a special "All Hands" for Sage One, an internal weekly meeting to discuss the goal accomplishment and the product sale’s goals with all colleagues in the company. During these meetings, everyone is encouraged to propose solutions to the obstacles presented, so an action plan could be set up and the problems solved on time.

The perception of the President’s personal and the leadership engagement aligned to the internal communication campaigns for employees’ encouragement and for them to be part of the solving problems agility reinforced the mission of all colleagues to transform the Sage One into something more: to make a real difference in the clients’ daily routine .

Results

With the new strategy ongoing, the outside inputs implemented and with almost total engagement among all the teams, Sage reached more than 10,000 customers before the deadline. Currently, there are more than 138 thousand Sage One customers all over Brazil.

Considering the success, currently Sage brand is disseminated by the software itself, transforming its clients into company’s ambassadors.

Sage One, after overcoming the troubled beginning, has become a success story and the real proof about how necessary is leaving the traditional systems in order to achieve results. Now in 13 countries.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

- Consolidated product in 12 countries
- Simplified and effective software, but with no market entrance in the first six months
- New strategy adopted with startup bias
- Engagement of all directors of the company
- All Hands weekly meetings for integration and troubleshooting
- Change from the initial target of 700 to 10,000 units in the first fiscal year
- Intersectorial teams took the streets: "Sage’s Ambassadors"
- Target leveraged to 100,000 units in the following fiscal year
- Currently, there are 138 thousand customers in Brazil (before the deadline)
- Product firmly consolidated in its 13th country.