SAP’s Transformation and Innovation in Customer Success

sap totango webinar q&a on innovation in customer success

In our latest installment in the CXO Series, we sat down with Keith Strodtman, COO, Customer First and Shelby Czarnota, Vice President, Customer Success Business Solutions at SAP as we discussed SAP’s Transformation and Innovation in Customer Success and why they deployed Totango as their One Customer Success Platform. It was a great must watch panel discussion that provides many insights into SAP’s journey to becoming the largest Customer Success implementation world-wide. Below we’ve captured our panelists’ answers to the engaging questions asked and submitted by the audience. Watch the recording for a full recap of the panel discussion.

Question: How did Totango help with this cloud transformation and how many Totango users do you have?

Shelby Czarnota: Through Totango, we are putting the customer at the center, enabling account collaboration and transparency supporting our Customer First mindset. This is part of the transformation in bringing these cloud entities together under one harmonized process and enabling the OneSAP mindset. We currently have 13,000 Totango users in the system contributing to, leading, running operations for our Sales and Customer Success Field teams

Q: How was the Totango learning curve for these 13k users especially with so many tools SAP already has?

SC: Totango is very easy to use and is cloud-based. I would say our challenge isn’t with the actual tool, it would be with how data is presented across the SAP landscape that leads to 80% of the questions and support tickets.

Q: How is experience, particularly around human experience infused across customers, employees, and partners playing into this as Customer First is being scaled to massive levels?

Keith Stodtman: That’s actually something that’s very prominent at SAP given an acquisition that we made about 18 months ago of Qualtrics. We try to infuse people’s experience and product experience into everything we do. A big part of that is coming into Totango now. So when we see customer experience or even our own employees’ perceptions or attitudes toward what the customer experience is, we try to capture that and build that into our health scores. And then we try to use that data and that insight that we get from our experience platforms and programs, bringing that into Totango to take advantage of it in our success processes. So we’re pretty early stages in that, meaning the last year or so, but it’s getting more and more mature over time.

Q: What role do SAP’s partners/channels play in all of this? How do you manage Customer Success across your ecosystem?

KS: That’s a big opportunity for us. In fact, I just started a team to focus on how we better utilize our partners. A lot of our sales, especially in the smaller end of our customer segment is sold through partners so partners are a key delivery point for not only selling activity and implementation activity but now customer success activity. Our partners are actually building CSMs, or CEE’s as we call them, into their delivery models as well. And we’re helping to educate the partners on that we’re providing better data and insights so they have some of the same kind of insights we have about customers

Q: Can you share any stories on how the – Collaboration was put in place (Reference Slide below). Any key challenges and how you overcame them? Advice for others going down that journey?

SC: Health scoring is a good example of this, however all of the data / KPI definitions can be a good example. Our LoB CSMs / CEEs typically were thinking and steering based on a specific footprint that was relevant to their domain. Now with visibility across the account, they can easily see where there is risk, opportunity, health scoring for each part of their customer’s footprint and can easily see the broader account team ownership and domain specialists as OneSAP account team. As Keith also shared, the field was hungry for this opportunity to collaborate and have easy access and visibility to their broader customer and account team.

Totango enables SAPs goals


Q: How did SAP manage CS prior to the Totango deployment? Did SAP migrate from another CS management system to Totango?

SC: (Reference Slide below), Cloud M&A resulting in fast-paced acquisitions and cloud growth with multiple LoBs, roles, and processes being supported by different platforms for Customer Success Management. Of these disparate tools and systems, all were homegrown. Our implementation of Totango was net new whereas requirements and use cases relevant to our Customer Lifecycle Map are what defined what and how we deployed processes in Totango.

Q: How did you change the culture and processes at SAP even before talking about Totango?

SC: (Reference Slide below) This journey didn’t start with technology, it never should, it started with bringing all the LoBs together to do the hard work of harmonizing people and processes, driving standardized playbooks and change management supporting these critical People / Process components.

SAPs Growth with Totango

Q: This was a massive change for your field organization. How did you manage the human side of that change?

SC: The processes established for harmonized customer engagement changed and were defined over time, the technology is an enabler to that. The field was hungry for the right tools to support their processes

Q: How did you figure out when/how to engage with customers? What data is used? What was the most successful data-driven engagement?

SC: We defined a customer lifecycle journey and map with associated engagement touchpoints. Then we defined what engagement was most critical and then where could we deploy a data-driven approach vs a manual approach. KPI definitions were and continue to be a significant part of our data structure. KPIs such as “Very High Support Ticket Open for more than 24 hours”, “Entitlement Consumption % below 80% for more than 7 days”, then in Totango you can also trend and count days in and trigger follow up actions accordingly.

Q: What would be your advice for a CS org is dealing with on-prem or private cloud deployments with no limited access to customer data?

SC: We are just beginning to lay the foundation for On-Premise Only Customers, and yes, the amount of content available to drive engagement is significantly less than what we know about our Cloud customers. Our On-Premise Only Customers have Maintenance Contracts, specifically for Support Services. This is the primary driver of engagement and usage for SAP.

Q: Are you pulling Partners into your platform, giving them access to the information, managing partners, assigning Partners health scores based on their performance and the performance of their customers?

SC: We have an external portal for Partners called SAP4Me. All of the same core data and metrics driving our Totango solution are also shared through SAP4Me. As mentioned in the Webinar, we are also enabling partners on the playbook and methodologies to drive like experience. However, Partners are not in Totango and are leveraging SAP4Me for the insights to take actions and engage.

Q: How did you use Totango to solve COVID time issues on renewals, usage down..adoption?

KS: We have done some special things around the COVID. I mean, including making some offers to customers that were things that we were uniquely positioned to be able to help our customers with. So we kind of went above and beyond and said, hey, you know, first of all, do you realize you can use our solution to help you with this problem that COVID may be causing and then, we also made additional services available. So for example, you know we put out a Qualtrics offering for customers to be able to take pulse checks around their employees and how they are feeling about working remotely dealing with the COVID situation. So some of those kinds of things weren’t directly related to our standard customer success offerings, but it was a way of empathizing with customers – making sure they knew that we are also dealing with COVID and that we are here to help them in any way that we could. Now, have we seen some reductions? We’ve mainly seen reductions in certain industries where there’s volume reductions in usage and those kinds of things. And we’ve also tried to be as empathetic as we can, short of putting ourselves at peril. But, giving customers extended terms of payment terms or in some cases even some credits or delayed implementations to help them navigate through the tough environment that we’re in. But, as I said, we, first of all, wanted to make sure we were talking to our customers and empathizing with them and listening to what they needed and trying to figure out how we can help them.

SC: – Additionally, we deployed some tactical tracking in Totango to understand those customers with COVID financial impacts and brought in AR transparency as an indicator of a challenge

Q: How is SAP using Totango to manage its Services business too, or just for its SaaS motions?

SC: Effectively some of our CS Cloud offerings are services in the for-fee model. For example our Preferred Success Model, there are specific delivery items a CSM needs to declare as delivered, some of this accomplished through touchpoints and tasks, but also some basic attributes specific to the delivery.

Q: How has the impact been on your NPS, CSAT … customer loyalty since this transformation and using CS platform?

SC: Our business case includes measurement of renewal, upsell, NPS and productivity over a 5 year period. We are 18 months in.

Q: How did you or going to measure the success of this transformation?

SC: Renewal, Upsell, NPS, and CS Productivity are the business metrics from an ROI perspective.

Q: Does SAP plan to update SAP Taxonomy so the products show in Totango in a way similar to what clients buy and adopt?

SC: Totango at SAP adopts the standard sales bag and logical product taxonomies at SAP

Q: When you think about risk how do success managers identify changes in customer behavior at scale?

SC: Advanced Analytics to predict customer behaviors and then target customer segments


Watch the Webinar Replay on our YouTube Channel Everything Customer Success

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