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Business Suite 7.0 – Evolution of SAP CRM Sales features and expectations for future releases – Part I

The Blog has following main sections:

  • Expected CRM focus areas for a correction economy.
  • How these focus areas are improved upon by CRM 7.0
  • Process areas where SAP will probably enhance capabilities in future releases

Expected CRM Focus areas for a correction economy:

Gartner in Feb 2008 came out with a paper (ID: G00155599; How to Prioritize CRM Technology Investments in Different Economic Climates – Feb 2008) clarifying the CRM areas which should be in the focus for a correction economy. I took the liberty in interpreting the generic CRM mind map referred there in terms of SAP CRM components  and arrived at the following diagram – capabilities marked in Blue in figure 1 are the ones which should be our focus area for customer satisfaction and retention, operational efficiency and revenue growth in current economy.


Figure 1 – CRM Mindmap 

For each of the focus areas we shall look at enhancements delivered by CRM 7.0 and new enterprise services. Then we shall list out some of the expectations from project experience.

Some of the major focus areas for Sales processes and technologies according to Figure 1 are:

1.       Account Management – Focus on contact and buying decision management of the customer.  

·         CRM 7.0 provides features  –

o   Flexible categorization of customers integrated with easy search (user defined account classification, account life cycle, possibility to have different buying center for customers in the business partner itself and integrating the buying center with opportunity – they were existing in CRM 2007 but further improved upon in CRM 7.0)

o   Rule based employee assignment

o   Time dependent relationship management

·         Related Enterprise Services  bundles applicable are –

o   Integration of different systems –

§  Integrated content validation and duplication check with outside applications

§  Integrated internal  duplication check

§  Post processing of result of data validation and duplication check

§  Creating and changing business partner data of ‘Names, addresses’; ‘relationship’ , ‘Marketing attributes’ from external application

·         Areas where we may expect some more movement in future  –

o   Providing service interfaces for tracking changes

o   Tax classification creation from external system

o   Operating hours (business hours, business appointments)  creation and changing asynchronously from external systems

o   Importing Notes in the communication data

o   Creation of new payment cards. Assignment of existing payment cards to a new business partner is possible.


2.       Opportunity Management – Manages diverse information for a specific opportunity along with competitive positioning and organization best practices. Assisted by several tools like ‘pipeline performance management, sales methodology etc.

·         CRM 7.0 provides features  –

o   Pipeline performance management –

§  Ability to set overall revenue target , by product/CRM product category, units by product and units by product category

§  Ability to use actual sales volume by product/ product category, units volume by product/product category and total sales volume

§  Simulate opportunity changes and what-if scenarios to close the gaps and option to save opportunities with changed values.

§  Maintain individual churn rates

§  Opportunity Item list view helps us see  all opportunity items (may be filtered by material and time period)

While some of these functionalities were there in CRM 6.0, they are more matured now.

o   Credit check at opportunity management – credit checking at this level gives early overview to the customer’s credit situation without consuming credit availability.

o   Pricing at header level for opportunity document – Allows to enter overall discounts and surcharges and the pricing becomes more realistic

·         Related Enterprise Services  bundles applicable are –

o   Standard Enterprise Services for reading, creating and changing opportunities are available

·         Areas where we may expect some more movement in future  –

o   Getting Opportunity closer to a proper sales document by for example having status based conversion into quotation/ contract/ sales order. For example opportunity of line item 10 of two million pieces can be converted into a contract for one million and a revised priced quote for another half million without going into creating different documents

o   Sales BOM explosion at the opportunity level  will give better input to proper planning

o   Integration of pipeline performance management with opportunity planning – this will provide a truly end to end integration of planning at different levels

o   Similar to campaign what-if scenarios we should be able to simulate expenses and zero in to profitable opportunities. It can be worked around with pricing now – however, a standard capability will help


3.       Pricing Management – Pricing execution and deal management become important to ensure that policies and pricing rules are complied with, and revenue leakages are mitigated. This function includes complex contract, rebate and price agreement management.


·         CRM 7.0 does not provide any major core enhancement in features

·          Related Enterprise Services  bundles applicable are –

o   Standard Enterprise Services for searching, reading, creating, changing and cancelling sales pricing are provided. Also available is output of sales pricing to 3rd party applications for condition optimization.

·         Areas where we may expect some more movement in future  –

o   Elementary price optimization and decision support inbuilt within sales process – for example while creating a quote we should have a manual option available to say past sales prices for similar customers.


·         CRM 7.0  provides features –

o   Mass change of Rebate agreements

o   Mass create of Rebate agreements

o   As of SAP CRM 7.0, a Business Add-In (BAdI) is available that enables you to determine texts for the rebate settlement document in a more flexible way, using text determination. The new BAdI enables you to modify or enhance the content of the communication structure for rebate settlement text determination. Texts can be determined from various sources, for example from preceding business transactions.

o   As of SAP CRM 7.0, a Business Add-In (BAdI) is available that enables you to map fields from the structures of the rebate agreement header and rebate agreement item, to the rebate due list header structure. Moreover, you can map business partner data. This BAdI is mostly relevant in the context of enhancements.

These changes are more cosmetic in nature.

·          Related Enterprise Services  bundles applicable are –

o   Additional enterprise service provided for bulk entry, confirm and cancel rebates from external systems as well as  search, read, release and simulate customer rebate processing

·         Areas where we may expect some more movement in future  –

o   Rebate processing – CRM rebate processing is advanced in features compared to ECC rebate processing. However, integration with ECC invoicing is an issue. We should be able to use CRM rebate processing with ECC billing. Similarly CRM settlement documents from ERP billing needs to be handled

               Contract  (We shall focus on Sales Contract only and not on usage based  contract, service contracts or any other industry specific contracts) 

·         Areas where we may expect some more movement in future 

o   Complex contract management has many industrial flavors. Most of the enhancements will happen in the industry specific contract management area.  For example let us take medical devices/pharma industry. For GPO contracts we have current options of using Vistex (partner solution bolt on). This as of now works with ECC only. There should be future  focus on using CRM’s Contract Lifecycle Management working with Vistex to make CRM a uniform leading customer facing system.  

Before ending this BLOG let me raise a question to the readers. In many organizations volume order is executed via EDI. Though CRM has the same IDOC processing capabilities, generally people are resistant to use CRM for EDI order processing. To me this lack in user adoption can be mitigated with SAP’s clear communication on direction. I am yet to find a proof that ECC can process EDIs better than CRM. Rather there are many benchmark studies done by SAP which shows CRM’s capabilities in volume order processing. So keep thinking about it.

In  the next BLOG we shall talk more about  EDI processing capabilities in CRM along with some other important areas like :

1.       Sales Compensation

2.       Telesales including call center management – CTI – Genessys/AMC vs. BMC – which one is preferred when?

3.       Web shop – basic functions like incompletion log etc. is very difficult to make work. Should be a focus area for improvement.

4.       Billing processes – CRM billing vs. ECC billing – What is the future direction – delivery related billing in ECC, non-delivery (service) related billing in CRM. Credit card management for service billing is a welcome functionality

5.       Sales Analytics – How we can better use IIR (Interactive reporting) vis-a-vis BW analytics

Till then Good Bye and shall wait for your feedback..

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Writwik,
      I am a product manager in CRM, responsible for Sales Contracts. I am interested in discussing with you the future of Sales Contracts. What do you mean with "There should be future focus on using CRM's Contract Lifecycle Management working with Vistex to make CRM a uniform leading customer facing system."?
      It would be nice if you could contact me (
      Thanks, Regards