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Is This Just a Fling, or Are You Ready to Commit? Evaluating the Future of Your Sales Relationship With SAP

Highlights from the latest In the Know With iO Office Hours with GVP Sales Coaching Mark Crofton

Watch the full session with Mark Crofton here

So, you participated in SAP.iO Foundries, met with various SAP executives, and got your solution listed on SAP Store. You are ready to engage with the SAP machine to help drive revenue for your company, and the deals should just be flowing in… right?

Not so fast….

After your 3-month fling with the Foundry program, it’s time to pop the question (to yourself): are you in this for the long haul? Do you have what it takes to master enterprise sales with SAP? And most importantly, are you and your startup up for the challenge and long journey ahead?

Account Executives (AEs) and You

Why is it so challenging to get to the next level and sell with SAP? Why won’t they get back to your emails? Why aren’t they flocking to your SAP Store listing like lovebirds to sell your solution?

An SAP Account Executive puts the customer front and center, with dozens if not hundreds of products to sell. In addition to focusing on the customer, AEs are being bombarded by dozens of other people, from CX specialists trying to sell them solutions and Sales Ops trying to give them data, to compliance and implementation teams. Everyone wants a piece of an SAP Account Executive, but they are only paid to listen to their customer (and their boss, of course!).

So how do you get a piece of the action, catch the eyes and capture the hearts of SAP AEs?

Make it Easy & Feed the Machine

Find 5–10 deals in your pipeline ideally with SAP customers or prospects that you are working on, find the respective AEs to those customer accounts and introduce them to the customer or bring them the deal. This will accelerate the adoption and learning of the AE so that they understand your solution, and even tell other colleagues about it. Remember: AEs get compensated for selling your solution, so you need to make it seamless! Deals are the leverage you need to get the conversations and the mindshare!

Perfect Your “Pitch”

Come prepared, make sure you did your homework, and understand the value you bring and your solution’s sweet spot. Here are some tips on what to share for your first meeting with an AE:

  • Explain where your solution can be plugged in. Is the solution global, regional, can it be sold to anybody?
  • What are the characteristics of a good prospect for you? What industries, what IT landscape, what other SAP solutions should be installed?
  • Show how your solution is the right solution for this customer. Be specific about why your application is the right solution for this particular customer. Show research and POV that solidifies the tangible value this customer can expect and why your solution is a perfect fit.
  • Focus. Even if you can sell in five industries but you are the strongest in two of them, focus on those two!
  • Show your customer success! We aren’t talking the slide full of logos. Show the value your customers are getting, explain the business challenge you are working on and why it important to your prospect, and share the impact and consequence of customers not using your solution. Show customer use cases with SAP or similar customers to establish trust and credibility to establish deals.
  • Speak the SAP Language. Share what part of the business you align with. Do you sell to HR? To sales? What SAP solutions do you have? What Line of Business in SAP does your customer align with? Share about the average sales cycle, what the average deal looks like, and average time to revenue. Feel free to use SAP branding as well!

Avoid These Things at Your First Meeting

  • No need to demo your solution just yet!
  • No need to share company details such as investors, number of employees, or origin story etc. This can come later.
  • Don’t talk about solution parts that aren’t part of SAP ecosystem.
  • Keep the initial talk to 10 minutes!

Now that you have a taste of what it takes, it’s time to ask yourself some critical questions to help you make the right choice:

  • Do you have the appetite to sell to large enterprises? Can you sell to large enterprises? Think longer deal cycles, several stakeholders, and complex work cycles.
  • Do you need SAP support to scale or can you do it on your own?
  • How sticky is your solution? Is there a lot of synergy between your solution and SAP customers? Does your solution work well with SAP, and are your customers asking you connect with SAP?
  • What’s your opportunity cost? What are you not doing/ missing out on by spending time with us?

So… do you want to play? Are you ready to commit to a long-term relationship with SAP?

Are you a startup interested in working with SAP.iO? Contact us here!

Looking for more resources to help you leverage your partnership with SAP? Check out the one and only AlumniHub!



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Stephanie Horwitz

Stephanie Horwitz


I lead global value creation for SAP.iO & I am the creator and host of “What Should I Do With My Life?”