Posted by Jack Evans on Sep 10, 2019 11:00:00 AM

90 Minds, a member-only group of 200+ North America ERP consultants and solution providers, invited our own Pat Scherz to join them for a 15-minute interview on who's a good fit for CIMcloud, how we fit in with B2C solutions like Magento and Shopify, and what makes us different.

Topics: Partners, Sage ERP, B2B e-Commerce, ERP-Integrated eCommerce

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For nearly a decade, CIMcloud has been an active member of the 90 Minds group. In case you’re not familiar, 90 Minds is a member-only group of 200+ North American consultants and solution providers (like us) collaborating online to deliver exceptional customer service for their ERP and CRM customers. A majority of the members have strong roots in Sage 100, and much of the conversation is pertinent to that community.

As a long-time member, we were asked to join the group’s President, Jerry Norman, to share some insights about what’s new with CIMcloud and why we’ve partnered with so many of the group’s members to help their Sage 100 customers with their eCommerce needs. 

If you like to listen, press play on the video button below (because the interview was conducted in audio only, no video will display, so you don't get to see Pat and Jerry's smiling faces, but you can hear them). If you prefer to read, the entire transcript is included below for your reading pleasure.

90 Minds CIMcloud Interview Recording.mp4 transcript

 

Jerry Norman:
Hello, everyone. I'm Jerry Norman, president of 90 Minds, and I'm pleased to present the latest edition of our Affiliate Insider series. Today we have Pat Scherz, the Director of Sales and Marketing for CIMcloud, by Website Pipeline. And he's going to talk to us about their CIMcloud product and how it benefits Sage 100 hundred customers and our 90 Minds consulting members. Hello, Pat.

Pat Scherz:
Hey, Jerry, I appreciate you having me today.

Jerry Norman:
Oh, it's great that we can make this connection here. You folks talk a lot with with a wide variety of sage 100 customers. What kinds of customers are particularly good prospects for CIMcloud? You know, these guys looking to do e-commerce and which might be better off exploring other ways of integrating e-commerce with Sage?

Pat Scherz:
Absolutely all of them.

Pat Scherz:
Ok. No, no. In all seriousness. So the standard response that we're giving on sales presentations, we go down the path of discussing what our target market really looks like. For the most part, we are targeting B2B organizations, product centric, based in North America. They've either never have tried e-commerce in the past or they might have an existing e-commerce platform, but they might need to streamline the internal fulfillment operation by having some type of Sage integration built and put in place, or they've just completely outgrown their existing e-commerce solution and they need something that's more scalable or more of an enterprise level solution. But bigger picture, it really just boils down to companies that have a significant B2B style operation and have customers and products and they want to continue doing business with those customers. Those are the customers that are really good candidates for the CIMcloud B2B e-commerce. Essentially, if you're not presenting self-service options to your customers in today's age, you're running the risk of potentially losing them to another vendor, that is. So those are the best candidates for CIMcloud.

Jerry Norman:
All right. So what? So as you say, B2B customers trying to do integrated e-commerce with Sage 100 are your best prospects for this. So what are the differences? What makes B2B different than B2C? I mean, isn't e-commerce e-commerce?

Pat Scherz:
Yeah, I know. That's a great question. And I'm glad you brought it up.

Pat Scherz:
So first, it's important to really look at the behavioral differences between a B2B buyer and that of just an end consumer or B2C style buyer. Right. So B2B audiences are really seeking efficiency and expertise when they're going through the buying process while consumers like yourself and myself, we're looking for something that's more likely to give us a deal or provide some sort of self benefit or entertainment is always a good one. In addition to that, B2B purchase processes tend to be driven more by logic and financial incentive. So with that in mind, it becomes much more evident when you're looking at it through that lens that what we've come to know is e-commerce and the tools out there and really just what the paradigm seems to be. It's all really built for individual consumer audiences. B2B has somewhat been forgotten about and it's something that's really growing, you know, as of the past decade, so to speak, trying to catch up with that retail market. So because of that, that's what we look to fill in the industry. That's the gap that we try to solve, continue to solve day in and day out. And that's where essentially a majority of our focus, time and energy really goes.

Jerry Norman:
So if I'm hearing this right, you're saying that the sales process and the customer service elements of B2B are more complicated than what we usually do deal with with B2C whether, like you say, they're just buying consumer stuff. And so your integration helps B2B customers project that then through their e-commerce site?

Pat Scherz:
That's correct.

Jerry Norman:
OK. Now, given that a lot of B2B customers are also dealing with B2C, so they might already have a B2C site going with say Magento, and yet they're selling through dealers for a portion or all of their stuff. And maybe they also need to be selling through an Amazon site as well. How does that work? Can it work?

Pat Scherz:
Yeah. So this is actually a very common scenario for us as we go down the discovery process and talking to different organizations. So we've built our application in a way that leverages the key or core component of our product, which is an underlying piece of software that acts as an infrastructure within the Sage 100 syncing framework, so to speak. That's a portion of our product. And from there, what we're able to do is deploy our solutions and a number of different segments. So most frequently what we'll do is we'll allow the organization to continue using the benefit of their existing B2C e-commerce platform like a Magento or Shopify. And we'll actually leverage our API environment to connect order data from that site into Sage 100. And then what we do is we can also deploy our B2B customer portal that leverages more of the specific tools that's in line with the scenario or the behavior traits that we discussed earlier within that user group. And oftentimes we work with the customer to build it in a way that mimics the look and the feel of that existing site. But we just drop a link on that home page and allow customers to log in through a username and password request and it directs them to their own specific portal. So it all looks streamlined and through one application. But that way the client can then take advantage of their investment of the existing B2C site and also deploy that B2B customer self-service portal through CIMcloud.

Jerry Norman:
So you're you're feeding the Magentos and the other stuff, you're basically integrating that in through your your website and through that main website, making them all look the same, even though they may be separate elements with same look and feel and integrating that data back and forth with Sage.

Pat Scherz:
That's right. A good example of this, let's say that a customer has an e-commerce site built on Magento. They're selling to a retail segment that may only make up 25 percent of their revenue because they started out in the B2B space. OK, let's say they start doing about five hundred orders a month on that Magento style B2C site. Well, in the current infrastructure, what they're probably doing is having to hand key all of those orders into Sage 100 to fulfill. So there is an operational gap there that they're trying to close. What we allow our tool to do is take that data and automatically populate sales order information into Sage 100 so they can better streamline fulfillment process.

Jerry Norman:
Ok. All right. You manage to do them both. Very good.

Pat Scherz:
That's correct.

Jerry Norman:
And you've mentioned when we've talked before, you've talked about some employee tools, some sales management tools that you make available through the CIMcloud product to be used, particularly with the B2B stuff. Could you tell us some about what those are about?

Pat Scherz:
Yeah, absolutely. So this is the most exciting portion of the CIMcloud product for us and really what drove us to create the new product line, CIMcloud. So unlike a standard retail audience, B2B customers expect to be catered to by sales and marketing teams. Those transactions really require involvement from both customers and employees. And what we've come to realize is that both parties need visibility into customer specific data, all of which is typically locked down in their ERP such as Sage 100. So with that, we decided that the access to the data was more critical for B2B organizations, not the standard CRM tools that are out there today. CIMcloud focuses on providing functionality to employees really centered around ordering, quoting, invoicing and also on high level sales reports and metrics to provide insight into productivity. In essence, we are providing a business, a single platform for both customer facing employees and customers. And so within that platform, which is built right out of the box to integrate with the businesses critical data that's locked down and Sage 100 or their existing ERP, we are able to drive more efficient and accurate interactions and transactions while also having those interactions documented and stored in a meaningful way for leadership teams to analyze and really better understand how they are doing business today and where they can make improvements. And if you think about that, that is really the underlying reason as to why the original CRM software category was created. CRM was not created at a time where most or all transactions were online and customers were able to order from their phone or view their order status or shipment tracking information. And because of this, we begin to understand why most CRM applications fail for B2B organizations. Here at CIMcloud, we believe standalone CRM applications and this is a bold comment, but this is what we've seen. Those applications with limited to no integration tool into existing ERPs, no opportunity for customers to really interact with the rep in that same application, those are dead end roads.

Jerry Norman:
Ok, so that makes sense. So they're using basically a kind of a common framework here with or where you've got a customer, B2B customer dealing with your orders or service is looking at the Web site while a rep on the on the Sage user side is also doing the same thing. So you guys Website Pipeline's been known for quite a while in the Sage channel. I think it's nearly 20 years as integrating website e-commerce into Sage. And you've got a reputation for a pretty solid, pretty solid product I think it's fair to say, but you also have a reputation for being a bit on the pricey side. How do you compare CIMcloud pricing to the pricing, say, for other e-commerce solutions for Sage?

Pat Scherz:
Yeah. So this is an interesting topic. So looking at price, it really depends on a couple of things. Most pragmatic buyers, which most B2B owners and leadership teams are, will buy based on two conditions. One, is it a good deal? And two, is it good value? We almost never have an issue in working with potential customers on the good value side when we walk them through the product, the standard ERP integration, the tools for complex B2B transactions and our standard install on deployment of e-commerce and or CRM, right? The good deal side of the equation is a much more different and really the more common discussion we have. Again, tying back to the first part of this conversation and what most people have come to know about e-commerce is they realize those products, the features and proposed costs are completely missing the complex needs of B2B because it's a B2C transaction style tool. And as you can imagine, more complexity typically requires a more robust application and very experienced skilled professionals to build and deploy successful e-commerce and CRM ERP integrated solutions so you don't jeopardize the value. One of the ways we handle this discussion is to convey an apples to apples comparison of other solutions out there, which is what these pragmatic buyers are really doing when trying to determine if something is a good deal. If you start to piece out all of the different software applications needed out there for a tool similar to what CIMcloud provides, the cost analysis becomes much, much more clear. So once we're able to do this, those price objections typically become much less imperative. Now outside of that, what we have been working on recently as an organization and our product team is streamlining the economies of scale, so to speak, to give more options to customers if they are looking to deploy an e-commerce and/or CRM application. So that I don't know if I'm going to touch on it, but that's definitely something I would like to hit on, on what we're doing there to accomplish this scenario.

Jerry Norman:
Ok. So I think that's you've we've talked to offline here about your fast track program. That's the new thing that I think is basically a scalable sort of deal that lets people start simpler and then expand if and when they need to. What's that about?

Pat Scherz:
Yeah, that's exactly right. So that ties specifically into what we were just discussing. So what we realized I'd say over the past six months is that for the customers that were trying to determine if this e-commerce craze, so to speak, or customers being able to essentially do business on their terms, they're trying to determine if that's going to be something that would work for their business. And what we wanted to do was create a lower barrier to entry to get that style of product built at a lower risk or lower upfront investment for the customer and then be able to easily use our solution and the way it's built to scale up with that customer as it grows. So essentially what the fast track option for our product is a much quicker time to deployment by using just raw product data and information coming from Sage. And we've eliminated the burden for the owner of the website or the organization to go in and do the entire content prep and upload for their site. So if you've ever built just a generic e-commerce catalog and cart with images and descriptions, it's very, very time consuming because in the sense of trying to focus on that style of sales organizations through an e-commerce site, you apply that to the behavior of a B2C customer, where you want the images to look as pristine as possible, you're trying to entice them to purchase. But the B2B customer is very different. They are wanting to come into a an online ordering system and get in and get out as soon as possible. The need for the specific content that's really polished is not as severe. So we've created this opportunity to use our deployment system and syncing framework and application to essentially do all of the work through the software and allow the customer to go live with that product without having to wait for their internal team to get the rest of the content uploaded to the site.

Jerry Norman:
Right. So you're basically providing you do get the ordering and the infrastructure sort of of the website done and released without worrying about the graphics very much. Basically treating it like an internal catalog and sales tool kind of help get things started. Good. All right. So finally, we're running out of time here. How does CIMcloud work with Sage partners these days?

Yeah, so good question. We have a dedicated Channel team specifically focused on maintaining and expanding those relationships with resellers across the country. So the team is structured to provide an extension to the resellers, consulting and sales groups at the end of the day to better service their customers. We want to provide supplemental information on what we can do to help organizations grow their business or compete better within their industries, and we have a dedicated team that responsible for making sure that we are providing partners what they need and the tools in their tool box to go out and potentially discuss what that organization is looking to do from an e-commerce perspective. And it always helps to have some knowledge share with the resellers in the community. Right. So it's always good to do that, especially the trade shows we have throughout the year, and there might be a few cold beverages that are being tossed around. That's always a good time.

Jerry Norman:
I know you, you're big supporters of the Sage community out there with trade shows and such as well. So and you've been a big supporter of 90 Minds from almost the beginning, I think. So we do appreciate that. Well, I think we're we're out of time here, Pat. You've got a big product. We tried to cram this into about 15 minutes. We'll have our Affiliate Insider presentation for our members only here next Wednesday at 9 a.m. Pacific, noon Eastern. That is August 28. I will be presenting the details on this. I've had some experience with CIMcloud with a particular customer and try to give a expand on some of the ideas you've had here and go into some others in terms of our experience, of our experience with that. And so for now, thank you for listening and you all have a great day.

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