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The new "greenfield" initiative that lets channel partners take the lead in trying to sell to 4,600 potential large-account customers (3,600 in the U.S. and 1,000 in Canada) where it currently has no presence.
SAP defines SME customers as those with annual sales below $500 million and customers with sales above that threshold as large enterprise or "LE" accounts. SAP has traditionally limited partner activity to SME accounts, although some exceptions are made for partners who resell SAP's BusinessObjects business analytics software to big companies.
Starting last August SAP has reserved all new SME account sales exclusively for the channel.
Executives at the conference made it clear that while SAP sales reps will help close those deals, they want SAP partners -- particularly those that resell BusinessObjects software -- to take the lead in trying to win over the 4,600 potential large accounts and hold the customer contracts. Going hand-in-hand with that effort is the new comp-neutral policy, which took effect in January and encourages SAP sales representatives to work with partners.
"I think this is a great opportunity for us," said Marty Carney, CEO of WCI Consulting, a Dallas-based solution provider that specializes in business analytics and resells BusinessObjects. He intends to work with SAP on a marketing campaign to go after the new LE accounts.
SAP executives said partner sales to the 4,600 LE prospects could be extended beyond business analytics to other SAP products. And the 4,600 prospects isn't necessarily a ceiling on channel partner sales, indicating that SAP might rely on the channel for even more large-company sales in the future.
SAP has a goal of having a global installed base of 1 billion users by 2015. "And the only way to get there is through the channel," Gilroy said in his keynote. "There has never, ever been a better time to be a partner with SAP."