SAP Watch

Feb 26 2009   3:32PM GMT

Where will SAP’s new North American leader find new customers?

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

Rob Enslin will serve as president of SAP North America, SAP announced Wednesday.

Seem like he’s got his work cut out for him. It’s no secret that selling software now is tougher, in the United States at least, for every vendor, than it has been in the last few years.

Things weren’t too rosy in 2002, when Bill McDermott took over the reins of SAP America, either. McDermott was the fourth SAP America chief in five years, according to this USA Today article and revenue in the U.S. and Canada was growing at less than half the rate of the company’s European division, according to this article in Selling Power.

In four years, SAP’s stock price rose from $9.74 to $54 and a third of the revenues of SAP AG now come from the U.S. McDermott remained in the role until he took a larger position last year as president and CEO of global field operations and executive board member.

He did it by pushing his customer-first mantra, McDermott said in a previous interview. He told me that SAP will keep growing its customer base in the U.S. by increasing the number of seats in existing accounts, or replacing customers’ legacy systems or software from other vendors.

But who will those new customers be? One place to keep an eye on is the government. It certainly makes sense to focus on the public sector. As my colleague on Shayna Garlick pointed out in a recent blog — if anyone has money to spend, it’s the government.

Add this to the public push for government accountability, and you’d seem to have a recipe for sales success.

SAP’s been highlighting public sector customer wins lately, and has said it’s a focus area this year. Oracle’s making a similar push, according to Shayna’s blog. What remains to be seen is whether SAP tries to make a push into the education space as well — an Oracle stronghold.

Is selling to the public sector one of the ways to increase sales in the United States? Do you see SAP making a big push into the public sector, including education?

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