Alignment of Sales and Marketing for Social Selling Success at SAP

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Disclosure: SAP sponsors the Social Business Engine podcast but is in no way affiliated with Business 2 Community

The global team at SAP has proven to be successful at social selling, and the sales and marketing alignment they’ve achieved is one of the main reasons why. To highlight how SAP aligns sales and marketing company-wide, Bernie is joined on this episode by Dr. Marcell Vollmer, Chief Digital Officer of SAP Ariba – Niels Hoogkamer, Sr., Field Marketing Manager at Concur, an SAP Company – Matthew Iacoviello, Head of Sales Technology & Support for SAP – and Phil Lurie, Vice President of Sales Technology for SAP. Each of these sales leaders speaks from their unique perspective about why sales and marketing alignment is vital for social selling success and how this mindset shift has been such a significant success factor for their marketing and sales teams to be effective at social selling.

Why Sales and Marketing Alignment Is Vitally Important at SAP

Traditionally, sales and marketing have had very different roles, but the advent of social media has blurred the line between the two. Marketing is doing more of the work sales used to do, and through social selling, the sales department is doing some of the work marketing used to do. That means the marketing and sales organizations have to be very closely aligned, providing the same messages to prospects and customers and working together to move sales conversations into the pipeline seamlessly. In this podcast episode, the SAP team shares how they are successfully making that alignment happen.

These sales leaders have also discovered that the technology pieces involved in the marketing and sales process need to be synced so that the alignment of marketing and sales is smooth. This enables the sales team to focus on sales conversations and customer needs. Attention to these details has made sales and marketing alignment an area of strength for SAP. Hear more of how SAP works to keep the two aligned, on this episode of Social Business Engine.

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SAP’s Cultural Shift to Support Social Selling and Customer Resourcing

There is a very definite mindset shift required to move from a traditional sales approach to the adoption of social selling. Part of that shift is realizing it’s not an either/or decision, it’s a both/and commitment. The SAP team has worked overtime to educate and enable their sales and marketing teams to make the transition successfully.

Some of the things that have been done to help their team make this mindset shift include:

  • Demonstrating how social is simply a new way of interacting with potential customers, as the phone and email have been
  • Showcasing the sales successes coming from social selling activities
  • Proving to salespeople that their sales results will improve by utilizing social selling practices

In this episode, the SAP team shares many additional steps they’ve taken to encourage this mindset shift – including social platform and best-practices training, social media interaction skills, and cross-pollination of sales approaches through SAP’s “Sales Academy.”

The Future of Work: The Sales Role is Evolving in Tech Companies Like SAP

Though many of us can remember life before smartphones, they are an example of how our culture has shifted. Digital is here to stay. Changes of this nature impact the way we do things, including how companies go about evaluating and selecting enterprise software. Today, many aspects of the buyer’s journey are completely different than in years past. Examples are the ways people comparison-shop, search for product, and make final lists of suppliers before they even consider talking with a sales person. It’s no wonder the role of B2B sales must evolve to engage the modern buyer effectively.

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SAP has made the switch, utilizing the platforms and technologies that have come to the forefront of the sales process, yet maintaining the personal touch that always has to be present in any successful sales interaction. SAP is an excellent example of a company that’s effectively aligning marketing and sales for social selling success. You can hear how they are doing it, on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:48] How does SAP see sales and marketing alignment as being so important?
  • [9:09] What other departments at SAP should be aligned with social selling.
  • [12:48] How the SAP team makes the cultural shift that increases social selling and resources customers
  • [25:46] The future of work: How the role of sales is evolving in tech companies like SAP



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