The End Of SAP Relationship Management
Blog Nomen Nescio

The End Of SAP Relationship Management

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and relationship management is history. Different SAP salespeople come and go. What remains is uncertainty.

I have a great team working in our headquarters and in all our subsidiaries. As CIO, the question of personnel is even more important to me than the question of on-prem or on demand. The best technology is useless if you have a high staff turnover.

I am proud to say that we have created a very pleasant working environment. The only one disturbing it is SAP.

Back in the days, we had one SAP salesperson who knew our history and all our contracts and could organize meetings with executive board members if necessary. This showed us that SAP still cared about us as a customer and relationship management in general. Now, many departments complain about ever-changing SAP salespeople with little experience who only want to reach their own quota.

It’s hard for my team to talk to them and discuss our wishes and needs if they know nothing about our history or our company. However, we’re beginning to notice a pattern.


Don’t get me wrong, there are still experienced SAP salespeople out there. They have experienced many different strategies inside their own company in the past few years. Most of them don’t understand SAP anymore, though.

Revenue and sales instead of relationship management

SAP was all about solving customers’ problems and treating them as equals. Now, it’s all about revenue and sales. SAP CEO Bill McDermott transformed the company into a sales-driven organization.

There’s two ways in which SAP salespeople try to reach McDermott’s high revenue goals. One, through dubious interpretations of licensing fees and contracts (Indirect Access); and two, through selling unnecessary and often unfinished products that nobody needs to fulfill the sales quota.

Licensing fees seem to be the primary revenue generator at the moment. Many salespeople probably only reached their sales quota through Indirect Access. The possibilities to interpret it are endless.

Many customers save themselves from Indirect Access by signing a cloud contract, which seems to pacify SAP salespeople.

It’s not the employees’ fault. They have to fulfill their quota, and they have to fulfill the ridiculously high revenue goals of Bill McDermott. Which is why they offer and try to sell anything that promises money.

And it’s only logical, in a way. If the SAP contact person doesn’t know anything about the company’s history and isn’t their point of contact long enough to build up trust, then it’s no wonder that salespeople try to sell companies every product they have, however unnecessary.

Chaos for customers

SAP has thousands of products, changes its metrics frequently, and makes and retracts announcement even more often. This explosive formula only leads to chaos for customers. However, it also opens up the perfect opportunity for SAP salespeople to get the customer to buy a new license.

SAP has long given up on the IBM virtue known as “One Face to the Customer”. If SAP acquires a new company, it will then almost immediately unleash their salespeople on its customers – on top of its own!

This means that while companies have to deal with SAP’s arbitrary definition of Indirect Access, new SAP salespeople from Ariba, Hybris, Concur and SuccessFactors are eagerly knocking at their door to sell them new products and even more licenses – resulting in chaos for the customers.

The new SAP salespeople from acquired companies don’t know anything about ECC 6.0, ERP’s history or traditional licensing contracts. As mentioned before, it’s not about relationship management anymore – it’s about reaching a sales quota.

That’s not all, however. Bill McDermott’s high revenue goals are hindering urgently necessary and interesting developments if they do not promise to boost the bottom line. It makes me sad to see innovation being discarded simply based on how much revenue it will generate.

E-3 Magazine March 2018 (German)

About the author

N. N. (Nomen Nescio)

Nomen nescio, abbreviated to N.N., is used to signify an anonymous or unnamed person.

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