SAP Partner Management
With more than 20,000 SAP Partners listed out there, I have often wondered if SAP Partners know exactly how they should manage their relationship with their assigned SAP partner manager to maximize their SAP partnership value for maximum ROI, which comes at substantial cost.
It has always piqued my curiosity as to what the SAP Partners actually expect from SAP. Obviously, they want to make ever increasing amounts of revenue.
SAP Partners are expected to prepare a business plan with quantified business targets, which get stored ‘in the system in the sky’, but I have never seen the opposite, is there a business plan prepared by SAP that represents a commitment of what SAP will deliver to the SAP partner. In short, what is SAP's obligation with regards to their partners. Does it have a performance metric?
For the amount of money it cost to become a SAP partner these days, that seems like something that could and should be improved.
Types of SAP Partnerships
Of course, there are many types of SAP Partnerships, including:
- Service partners
- Hardware partners
- Application development partners
- System Integrators
- SAP Channel Partners
and many others. all of whom have their own unique sales process and sales methodology.
Many SAP partners hold more than one type of partnership.
Few aspiring SAP partners have a dedicated person who ensures they, the partners, are fully optimizing the SAP partnership.
SAP Partnerships Require Management!
As someone who has put together many, many Virtual Account Teams (VATs), including the SAP and non-SAP partners who I thought could help me win the deal, I think I have some insight into how and where a SAP partner, whether an old hand operating at global scale or a newly signed partner, should focus.
10 of those areas include:
- SAP Account Executives
- SAP Leadership team
- SAP Partner Manager
- Industry Expertise
- Thought Leadership
- Go-to-Market Planning
- Territory Account Planning
- Event Sponsorship and Activities
- User Group Membership and Leadership
- Competitor Positioning
Differing Business Partnership Management Expectations
In my experience, regardless of partner size, there are significant differences in both the expectations of SAP in each of these areas and the partners with regards to partnership management.
There are also wide, regional differences in both what an individual partner can actually do in each area.
So how can you better leverage your SAP Partnership?
It all comes down to relationship, relationship, relationship, and communicate, communicate, communicate.
At the relationship level, it may not be obvious, but you need to ‘adopt’ an Account Executive(s) (AE) or Client Engagement Manager (CEM), and make sure you are the first member of the team he wants on his winning team.
No matter which type of partner you are or which channel you work in, be it Large Enterprise (LE) or Small and Medium Business' (SMBs), direct or indirect, you need to have a clear, executable strategy to generate new leads.
These leads can be Net New Customers or Existing Customer based leads, but as a partner, you make yourself more valuable by bringing new business to the table, and you strengthen your negotiating position as well as your perceived value to SAP.
As a Senior Sales Executive with a 20 year history of building out the SAP Partnership eco-system in some very dynamic environments, I believe actionable advice as to how to leverage the SAP Partnership is needed, as well as development of plans to achieve superior performance, is critical.
If you already have more leads and sales than you can possibly deal with, then great, you’re ahead of the curve.
However, if you think there is room for improvement in your approach to SAP partnership management, or not quite sure how to leverage all the tools and resources that you have available to you as SAP Partner, then we can help with our SAP Partner Sales Advisory Services, focused specifically on helping you leverage up your SAP Partnership.