SAP - Sales Distinction of the Year



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Company: SAP, Newtown Square, PA
Company Description: SAP is the world leader in enterprise applications in terms of software and software-related service revenue. Based on market capitalization, we are the world’s third largest independent software manufacturer.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Distinction Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Distinction of the Year - Computer Software

Nomination Title: Improved Account Planning Leads to Great Success

Tell the story about what this nominated organization achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:


SAP is one of the world’s fastest growing enterprise cloud companies, with 335,000 customers in 190 countries across virtually all industries. We’re successful because we keep our customers’ success at the center of all we do. But managing our tremendous growth as we further develop and acquire new cloud products and scale operations globally is challenging.

Sustainable sales growth is especially challenging as our product portfolio rapidly expands, in part due to acquiring new companies and integrating multiple sales forces – each with their own way of doing things. Complicating this further was a resource-intensive, inefficient account planning process that too often led to low-quality, low-value sales opportunities, stalled deals and lost revenue.

We needed a complete overhaul to equip our Account Executives (AEs) and their support teams for success.


Over the past 18 months, multidisciplinary sales teams used “design thinking” (human-centered, iterative problem-solving) to create a new account planning process—one that optimizes the sales experience for both customers and sales teams and is based on three core principles:

1. Cloud- and data analytics-based, reflecting SAP strengths and strategic priorities
2. Customer-centric, using identifying products most likely to drive their success
3. Consistent globally, using a single sales methodology adopted by SAP

Our new approach gives sales and sales support teams worldwide a powerful six step process:

1. Kick-off: Prioritize accounts, build timelines, set guidelines and resources and begin planning
2. Exploration: Research customer to better understand their imperatives, operations, and people
3. Ideas & Insight: Identify, assess and articulate new ideas to innovate, transform, and/or improve customer’s capabilities
4. Customer Collaborative Playback: Validate and refine new ideas together with customer to achieve jointly understood roadmap and development plan
5. Game Plan: Finalize overall plan, defining all new opportunities, development roadmaps, action/pursuit plans, and customer engagement standards
6. Game On: Execute plan, steward results and course-correct as conditions change

To support the process, the team also developed a mobile-enabled Account Planning Tool with revolutionary new capabilities. It is SAP’s first single-source tool for all account-related information and documents, and the first accessible by all account team members, including senior sales leadership.

Easy-to-use dashboards provide views into all account data, including products a customer has purchased and new products that might benefit the customer’s business. Advanced data analytics allow Account Executives and customers to see product recommendations based on what other SAP customers in a given industry have purchased, similar to Amazon algorithms. Predictive data analytics even give AEs insights into what their customers are likely to purchase based on inputs including industry, company size, previous purchases and other factors.

Ultimately, Account Planning empowers both AEs and customers with data-driven decision-making, itself a key benefit of the data collection and analytics that cloud technology enables.


Our single Account Planning methodology and one-stop tool has provided a scalable, mobile-accessible and fully visible account planning process across all regions and products, and has been hailed by sales professionals and leaders at all levels. With results like these, it’s easy to see why:

- Globally, comparing results from opportunities won using Account Planning to those won using our previous selling approaches (measured from July, 2015 through November, 2016):
• Opportunities are 61% less likely to become discontinued or lost
• Cloud opportunities are 23% less likely to stall
• Deals in pipeline (underway) are 132% bigger
- Data accuracy and access has improved account coverage (value and number of accounts with real opportunities) by 300%, also with significant revenue implications (as yet uncalculated)
- ~75% reduction of effort on account planning data acquisition, preparation and interpretation, realizing $15.8 M/year in efficiencies
- Regionally, in EMEA we conservatively estimate that Account Planning increased close rates by 50%, for an additional $475M in sales revenue annually

We look forward to seeing continued and additional measurable benefits for SAP and for our customers moving forward.