SAP launches C/4HANA at CRM users taking a ‘Me2B’ approach to sales

SAP C/4HANA
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SAP on Tuesday used its annual Sapphire Now user conference to announce a customer experience software suite dubbed C/4HANA that will include a what it called a “fourth generation” customer relationship management tool, along with the acquisition of a field service software firm called Coresystems.

C/4HANA will include SAP’s Sales, Marketing, Commerce and Service Clouds, as well as a customer data cloud. In his keynote from Sapphire Now, which was livestreamed, SAP chief executive Bill McDermott said the suite will connect with its flagship back-end enterprise resourcing planning (ERP) product and offer a better experience than other CRM vendors such as Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce.

“(We’re looking at CRM) from a 360 degree view of sales automation, where some companies focus, to a 360 degree view of the actual customer,” he said. “We will not waiver, we will not bend until we finally take over the CRM marketplace.”

SAP Customer Experience president Alex Atzberger said enterprise customers need a richer set of applications to handle sales and marketing because they are treating traditional business buyers with the kind of personalization associated with consumer-oriented firms, a trend he called “Me2B.”

“Today, the customer record is at the centre. The sales opportunity is no longer what’s driving the system,” he said.

The Coresystems acquisition, he added, will allow SAP to offer an “Uberization” of customer service with real-time appointment-setting to assistance with troubleshooting issues.

“When you think about your cusotmer experience in that service moment, you don’t want it to fall flat because you can’t schedule a service technician with your need,” he said. “This taps into the gig economy.”

SAP customers interested in C/4HANA include New Era Cap, a 98-year-old manufacturer of sportswear apparel that has spent the last 12 months planning a move to open its own retail presence. 

According to Lorenz Gan, the firm’s CIO, that consumer focus didn’t mean it could ignore the more traditional brand experience it has been providing.

“Even though direct to consumer is new for us, we’re predominantly a wholesale company,” he said, “and we need to transformation that customer relationship with our B2B buyer.”

Jeremy Pincus, head of global marketing services at pharmaceutical giant GSK, meanwhile, said the average sales rep on his team tend to gets only one minute with its health-care professional customers. Better CRM will allow the firm to make the most of those 60 seconds, he said.

“We’ve gone from traditional a mass marketing to a segmented model in order to personalize that journey. The challenge is content,” he said.

Gan said personalization not only means providing a specific message but looking holistically at customers as people. New Era’s “Me2B” moment, for instance, tends to come when a particular team wins the Super Bowl, like the Patriots. When New Era promotes a cap with the team’s local, “thousands of people unfollow us” on social media, he said.

Rather than assume those in an enterprise role put their feelings aside, however, New Era has learned to recognize the Millennials in its core consumer demographic also make up a good proportion of its business buyers as well.

“They’re demanding the same customer experience from a transaction,” he said. “If you don’t give them that for a B2B, they’re going to go elsewhere.”

Atzberger said SAP has an 18-month product roadmap for C/4HANA, though he did not get into details. Sapphire Now continues on Wednesday.  

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.