SAP Leverages WIS to Engage Customers and Prospects in New and Different Ways

The Challenge:
Reach and Engage a Massive Customer Base with an Independent, Credible Voice

SAP is a huge company with customers all over the world. Solutions and technologies change rapidly, and it’s very challenging to keep 263,000+ customers around the globe constantly informed and aware of the latest solutions and roadmaps, not to mention gather their feedback on critical new features and products. SAP marketing and solution representatives wanted an independent forum where they could address large yet targeted groups of customers and prospects.

The Solution:
Partner with WIS to Build and Launch an Extensive Event and Publication Portfolio

Having successfully partnered with WIS since the late 1990s to produce and distribute world-class publications including SAP Professional Journal and SAPinsider magazine, WIS worked with SAP in 2003 to launch the first set of events focused on specific business and technology areas. That’s the year WIS’s Financials and BI conferences were born. The portfolio of SAPinsider events quickly expanded to cover areas including HR, SCM, GRC, CRM, and most recently SAP HANA.

Today, these events are produced not just in North America, but also in Europe and in Asia. Around the globe, WIS events offer a unique forum for attendees to get practical education, access to the world’s top experts, and an opportunity to interact directly with SAP product specialists and executives.

“WIS events are great places for SAP to engage with its customers in ways they just can’t otherwise,” comments Michael Lortz, VP Solution Marketing at SAP. “These events give our customers a place to network, and allow us to share a message with them that is important to us,” adds Lortz.

Creative Ways to Get Feedback, Add Value, and Solve Problems

On top of the traditional educational sessions and exhibit halls offered at these conferences, WIS has worked closely with SAP to provide other unique programs, networking opportunities, and special events to help SAP employees talk to customers and prospects in different ways and memorable settings.

“We recently created a new program to engage with prospects as well as customers. We invited a select group of prospects (who represent a sales opportunity in the pipeline) to the events, with the goal of exposing them to successes that our current customers are seeing. It’s been a fantastic program, and we’ve been able to further our conversations with prospects significantly,” adds Lortz.

Steve McHugh, Director of BI Marketing at SAP, has worked with WIS for years on creating hands-on labs at the events where customers can come into an intimate setting, test-drive new technology and solutions, and spend one-on-one time with product experts, asking questions and posing scenarios.

“Most people don’t have a chance to talk to SAP directly. This program gives them that opportunity in a very intimate and non-threatening environment. Our developers learn a great deal from these conversations with customers. We get great feedback, as these are the people who need to make the technology work,” says McHugh.

“We also get to solve our customers’ biggest problems. We had one large company where the CFO sent a person in to get a very specific question answered. They were able to do that by sitting in a lab and asking a bunch of questions, and that really made the customer happy. We had a whole group from another company come in and spend some time with our product folks — and they told us that little time together justified their whole trip and expense at the event,” adds McHugh.

SAP’s partnership with WIS extends across events, publications, demand-generation programs, websites, mobile apps, and much more. Each channel offers SAP customers and prospects a meaningful, trusted way to better understand, and ultimately expand, their use of the technology.

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