SAP Shifts 5,000 Direct Accounts To Channel Partners

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Prior to last year, SAP's inside sales organization focused on driving transactional sales to enterprises. But the company has reoriented the organization to work 100 percent on assisting channel partners. That includes generating sales leads for the channel and helping partners cross-sell and upsell to existing customers, said Ann-Mari Doody, senior vice president of global inside sales, in an interview.

"The majority of the focus will be on net-new business," she said.

Inside sales will particularly focus on generating channel sales for SAP's channel-friendly software products, such as its Business Objects business analytics products and Business All-in-One application suite, according to Doody. The inside sales organization also will work with partners to develop online solution demonstrations and workshops.

"Inside global sales is now a channel support machine," Gilroy said.

Doody declined to disclose the size of SAP's inside sales organization, other than to say the number of employees is in "the hundreds." The company is adding to those ranks, including creating a number of inside partner account managers to work with channel partners and SAP's field partner account managers.

SAP also plans to recruit 500 additional channel partners globally this year, Gilroy said. The company currently has more than 12,300 partners, including systems integrators and resellers, the latter accounting for about 3,000 of the total.

Gilroy said SAP's recent channel gains are "proof points" that the company's channel initiatives are paying off. "We're really trying to drive the channel DNA into the company."


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