I was fortunate enough last week to be able to speak with a former SAP VP of Sales, Pete Martin. He managed field operations in his region which included sales and pre-sales. Pete spent 5 years at SAP before he founded EntryPoint Consulting. His consulting company, which was founded in 2003, resells SAP solutions to US based middle market companies and business units of the Fortune 1000. They focus on SAP CRM and mobile applications, an area where they have a lot of experience. Today mobility is a big issue for his customers.
Pete was involved in one of the first mobile SAP CRM implementations. It did not go well. Why?
- SAP did not have a well defined interface for CRM at that time. There was about five different ways to interface with it and this caused confusion with all involved.
- SAP did not have a strong mobility roadmap or good guidance at the time.
- It was a case of you don’t know what you don’t know.
- Broadband internet was not widely available and connection and synchronization speeds were slow.
- The customer wanted to download huge price books and massive amounts of customer data which bogged down the system.
- The client wanted to replicate their ERP on the mobile devices – not good.
After this first painful experience, Pete and his team stepped back and studied the mobility space for about three years. However, in 2009 they lost two SAP CRM sales because they did not have a strong mobile SAP CRM offering. This pain motivated them to jump back into researching good mobile solutions for SAP CRM. Pete says that now 100% of SAP CRM sales prospects are requesting mobile extensions. It is no longer an option. A mobilized version of SAP CRM is a requirement.
They looked at a lot of different MEAPs that worked with SAP. There were several things they wanted from a mobility partner:
- EntryPoint sells to medium and large companies. They need a solution that can scale from a few dozen users to a few thousand. They needed a partner that could support both of these markets and be priced to work in both.
- They looked for a mobile provider that had already successfully implemented mobile SAP CRM solutions at a large company. They wanted to see a full production environment already in place. The partner they chose already had a successful mobile SAP CRM implementation with one of the largest global CPG companies.
- They wanted a mobile provider that was not overly complex. They were looking for a simple and elegant architecture that was easy to implement and support.
- They wanted to partner with and learn one mobile solution that could be broadly implemented across many different business processes.
- They wanted a mobile provider that “partnered” well. Some mobile providers are large and small partners get overlooked. EntryPoint wanted a mobile partner that wanted them.
The end result was that EntryPoint Consulting selected SAP Partner, Sky Technologies as their mobile SAP CRM partner. They are now confident in telling customers they can have a mobilized CRM in 90 days.
Mobility is a big focus for EntryPoint Consulting in 2010. Why?
- SAP customers are asking for mobile solutions and mobile extensions to their business processes.
- Sales prospects are all asking for mobile extensions.
- When EntryPoint Consulting promotes events around mobilizing SAP CRM they get BIG responses.
- They lost two SAP CRM sales last year because they did not have a good mobile solution provider and plan in place.
- SAP field sales is asking EntryPoint about their mobile solutions and plans. Pete wants a good answer.
I asked Pete what he thought about SAP’s current mobility strategy and he said, “In markets where products and technologies are changing fast, it is hard for SAP to keep up. They are simply too big to be nimble. It is best for them to partner for mobile solutions today.” In a follow up statement he added, “SAP’s sales teams are still a bit confused by SAP’s mobility strategy.” It seems there is more to be done to evangelize SAP’s mobility strategy and plans internally.
Pete also shared his thoughts on what SAP sales teams could learn from other CRM vendors. He said other vendors had learned how to sell to mid-level, line of business folks successfully. This according to Pete, is where CRM is sold. SAP sales teams are great at the C level sales process, but have historically been troubled when selling to the line of business. “If the VP of Sales can’t connect to the CRM with his/her favorite mobile smartphone, the sale is lost,” said Pete.
To read additional articles from the Mobile Expert Interview Series see below: