Steve Asche

VP Digital & Partner Marketing, SAP

Supernova Award Category: 

Digital Marketing Transformation and Sales Effectiveness

The Company: 

SAP is a world-leading enterprise company with over 350K customers, 85K employees, and more than 15,000 worldwide partners. SAP partners with Intel to increase the sales of Intel-based hardware packaged with SAP installed software.

The Problem: 

With the amount of innovation coming from Intel towards SAP HANA and go-to-market initiatives, we needed a scalable way to expand our Intel joint marketing campaigns quickly and efficiently. As the program expanded, we developed a problem with transparency and information validity. It was difficult for partner and marketing managers in the regions to know what the status of their proposals was and for the global teams to obtain the performance information. With metrics kept in spreadsheets, results and achievements locked in slide decks, there was no simple way for others to learn about the challenges, routes to victory, or other process changes that were made to achieve prior results. We also needed to mitigate the risks of having delays if there was personnel churn on either side of the relationship. We needed more bandwidth, but knew that adding more people would increase the burden of collaboration and communication by a large factor, or simply create a bottleneck on Intel’s side.

The Solution: 

We chose to digitize the business. Since it had to be accessible to participants inside both companies, a web application was an obvious choice. We looked at other groupware solutions, but most are designed to coordinate discrete projects. We needed something that was both structured, but flexible enough to facilitate project team communications. A solution where any marketer across our ecosystem could propose a campaign, collaborate on strategy, seek funding within or across companies, set goals, and track progress on assets and activities. We chose WorkSpan to orchestrate this partner ecosystem. WorkSpan helps our teams to work together on multiple campaigns in a secure way while simultaneously creating a shared digital system of record containing all the campaign funding, activities, assets, and results. It helps program owners track and manage spending while holding teams accountable to their performance with trusted data coming directly from various marketing and CRM systems.

The Results: 

Previously, all initiatives were tracked via spreadsheets and managed by the strategic relationship owners from SAP and Intel. Because of WorkSpan’s powerful but intuitive capabilities, user engagement grew and campaigns became more precise, resulting in a 2X increase in the number of joint campaigns run. It allowed us to change the priorities of the campaigns we planned because we had visibility of the past programs and their respective yields. The digital process has transformed accountability by making our marketing campaigns more aligned to business impact. This elevated us from proof of execution marketing where it was sufficient to say that a marketing activity was done, to proof of performance marketing where a campaign is tracked all the way from impressions, to registrations, to pipeline, and revenue. This led to 24X return on investment (Revenue Impact/Marketing dollars invested) vs. our goal of 10-11X.

Lastly, central marketing was no longer only pushing campaigns. Industry regional, and local marketing teams were able to directly propose campaigns to our partner for their local markets. SAP teams also sought endorsement from local Intel marketing teams, signaling to central program managers that they should approve endorsed campaigns. We were easily able to model and scale these digital innovations on WorkSpan. Our results have prompted us to invite our other strategic partnerships to join the network.


Return on Marketing Investment

  • We achieved a 24X return versus an expected 10-11X return.
  • 2x number of campaigns but roughly the same budget and same headcount. Ore precise and targeted campaigns with better results.


Visibility and Alignment

  • Over 250 marketers from SAP and Intel collaborated on the 138 approved campaigns in over 120 cities across 30 countries and 5 continents in real-time.
  • Visibility to performance data from attendees to pipeline and revenue impact by campaign.


Marketing Transformation

  • We eliminated communication errors.
  • We gave every participant a view into the effect of their campaigns.
  • We now have a means to look at historic information and determine the effectiveness of our investment.
  • We were able to decrease the amount of time required to take a campaign from proposed to approved by 2 weeks. It was common for an idea to originate in Peru or Netherlands, get endorsement regionally on the same day and approval the very next day for plan, build and run to happen.
  • Successful ideas and best practices were repeated across regions where teams in APJ for example observed a campaign in EMEA and then replicated it with great success in region. We received 174 proposals from over 30 countries, with a majority coming from the field working with their Intel counterparts in region.
The Technology: 


Disruptive Factor: 

We’ve shifted from writing proposals to building and sharing campaigns with shared goals and measurable activities on WorkSpan. This has dramatically increased trust and alignment between us and our strategic partners. They have the same visibility to the same goals and metrics, as well as how we’re tracking to them. By integrating results from our CRM and marketing automation systems, we've fostered honesty and accountability.

We’re able to make better and faster decisions because we can now see all results as they come in. We can quickly expand high-performing campaigns by allocating more budget, while reducing budget from low-performing or delayed campaigns. On WorkSpan, this continual review process is easier and more transparent. It’s allowed us to increase the velocity of our marketing campaigns while reducing the number of meetings needed from a globally distributed team.

We’ve amplified our growth by building campaigns on WorkSpan and made them discoverable to our trusted partners. We utilize their teams, their expertise, and joint funds. We can orchestrate a multitude of campaigns across different partners without losing oversight. WorkSpan allows the marketers in our network to share insights, improve processes, and foster communications at all levels. It’s strengthened and deepened the bonds between us and our partners. The impact is beyond cost saving, it’s fundamentally made SAP easier to work with.

Shining Moment: 

We thought that WorkSpan would be mostly used by partner marketers, but found that it’s field marketers who are using the platform with more frequency. The organic shift of users engaging with the system was unintended. Intel is SAP’s leading partner for the enterprise across data management, applications, IOT and Cloud initiatives. This collaboration was showcased in SAPPHIRE keynotes. This project set a newbar in cross enterprise GTM and was aptly titled Project Breakthrough.

About SAP

As a market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile devices, SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition.