SAP is transferring more than 5,000 customer accounts to its channel partners and is reorienting its inside sales force to focus on working with partners instead of selling to enterprise customers.
The moves are the latest steps in SAP's ongoing expansion of its channel operations, and the company may exceed its goal of logging 40 percent of its sales through the channel by 2015, said Kevin Gilroy, senior vice president of global indirect channels, in an interview.
SAP identified 5,000 customers around the world, which until now the company serviced directly, that would be better served by solution provider partners, Gilroy said. "And we're moving them quickly to the channel."
Those accounts are being matched up with partners based on geographical location, product expertise and vertical industry experience, Gilroy said. He said he expects the transfers to be completed by midyear.
SAP categorizes customers as "enterprise" -- which it sells to directly -- and "general business," the latter small and midsize customers SAP relies on partners to service. SAP has been moving up the threshold between the two, growing the number of customer prospects channel partners can sell to. That's also the main driver behind the shift of the 5,000 customer accounts to channel partners.
SAP, which once focused on selling direct to large companies and had a minimal presence in the channel, has been steadily ramping up its sales through the channel in recent years. Gilroy said channel sales accounted for 34 percent of sales last year and is growing at twice the rate of the software vendor's direct sales.
SAP's top executives have set a goal of moving 40 percent of the company's sales through the channel by 2015, but Gilroy said he thinks the company will exceed that. SAP has doubled its channel sales in the past two years "and we'll double that again in the next two years," he said.
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