Recently, Tribal Impact had the pleasure of speaking to Naren Baliga, Services and Support Partner at SAP. He shared his experience of Digital Selling with us.
Explaining The Future
A SAP veteran of over 10 years, Naren engages in tackling complex engineering challenges for customers, while keeping simple experiences in mind. We sat down to discuss how he applies this same ethos to his social selling activities. What we discovered was, it’s all about seeing the bigger picture in terms of the role SAP plays in the global technology scene and generating awareness so the community can benefit from what SAP has to offer.
“I lead and build teams of high-performing engineers, architects and technical program managers to drive innovation programs at our most strategic customers. What I love about SAP is the direct impact our work has on how large companies run their business. In my line of work, we often come across unique business models, requiring me to brainstorm new ways of solving complex challenges. One day I could be working on how to best orchestrate our cloud assets while the next day I could be ideating scalable and durable system designs.”
Creating Simple, Effective Messaging
Naren believes social media can be a powerful platform to drive impactful but simple messages which appeal and educate a wider audience.
“We’re living in times requiring constant learning. In order to thrive, we must act as multipliers and share our experiences. With time being scarce and conflicting priorities seeking our attention, how do we handle information overload? It’s easy- just keep it simple!
He goes on to cite a recent mindshare between SAP's Jenn Morgan and Frances Frei, Professor at Harvard University, where the theme was “Simplicity - the new sophistication.
“With the digital revolution upon us, we’re often dealing with digital commerce business models, and not just physical supply chains. You’re talking about massive scale - consider handling 100M transactions or tracking 5B events in your supply chain. This calls for broad as well as deep conversations on emerging enablers such as hyperscalers, AI, Robotic Process Automation, IOT, Analytics or Blockchain. The key is to abstract technology from business enablement, so you help customers “simply” realize the vision of the “Intelligent Enterprise”.
For this reason, it’s important to translate complex engineering into easy-to-consume memos and demystify the ‘tech’ black box” he says, citing Bill McDermott’s RUN SIMPLE edict.
“I consider it my responsibility to evangelize about SAP’s capabilities in the most direct way possible, whether I’m speaking to coworkers, partners or prospective customers. I strive to engage in conversations which inspire others to believe SAP can unleash their maximum potential. And you tailor your conversations to drive differentiated outcomes and elevate customer experience based on your audience!”
Using Social Media To Educate
Over the years, Naren has enabled innumerable field plays, empowering internal and external audiences. A few years ago, when SAP acquired cloud businesses, he was tasked by the Executive Board to upskill SAP’s global workforce on the pivot to cloud.
“I found SAP Jam to be an effective tool to reach internal global audiences of over two thousand people. That lead to engaging conversations and opportunities to affect innovations swiftly at first mover customers, on a global scale. This helped us empathize and improve our customers’ experiences. Those learnings allowed us to extend and industrialize our service catalogs to affect cloud innovations”
Beyond the company resources, Naren sees social media as a powerful lever to unify, simplify and amplify messaging and goes on to quote a true tech visionary to explain:
“Steve Jobs once said, ‘…customers often don’t know they need something before they see it.’ In my opinion, that’s where social media comes in. Social selling helps communicate what we’ve got to offer, in simple terms so customers can unlock hidden opportunities and drive value from their SAP investments”.
“Social selling has helped spark powerful conversations with key stakeholders. These conversations then often diversify, and we’ll get on to another area where SAP has a solution. This turns into a powerful dialog with a prospective client or opens the door for a new initiative with an existing client on a new topic! It’s a natural process and one that’s very satisfying on multiple levels.”
Social Success In Practice
Upon asking, Naren explains what job satisfaction looks like for him:
“Seeing a customer realize measurable benefits after months of incubating early SAP innovations is extremely gratifying. In one case, we were able to turn on a first-of-its-kind solution to tackle complex supply chain breakdowns. The impact was notable: real-time detection of excursions, and a 3X reduction in time to resolve errors!”
Naren’s grasp of the bigger picture fuels his ambition too: “Consider the difference such innovations can make in markets such as life sciences and healthcare. Imagine being able to fix a supply chain glitch blocking the timely shipment of highly-perishable, expensive, life-saving drugs. That’s the sort of impact SAP innovations has on our economy!”
“Tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator and GrapeVine6 help me to put context around my experiences, understand implications of M&As, and who the movers and shakers are. It’s not just social selling, but social listening to understand our customers, partners and practitioners in the SAP ecosystem. Social media allows us to adapt to the needs of our audience and respond in a meaningful way, almost immediately. If you’re listening to the conversations that are going on, you can flex your response to provide what is needed - Similar to real life conversations”, explains Naren.
An ardent supporter of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Naren is excited about the potential the SAP Intelligent Enterprise brings, combined with our Intelligent Suite and Technologies, powered by a digital platform. He shares how SAP makes an impact in many different ways, from helping provide transparency into working conditions and uplifting business integrity toward a conflict-free supply chain, to being able to monitor the impact of natural disasters or weather events. This is the kind of impact he says drives him to share and evangelize about the SAP brand.
His Advice For Others?
For those who haven’t yet adopted social selling. Naren has this message, paraphrasing Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP: “We’re all brand ambassadors- all of us have the responsibility of wearing the proud SAP badge – It is our duty to help the world run better.”
Naren wraps up by saying “Social selling is a journey. Invest your time in it, and you’ll reap rewards in building enriched and impactful relationships with your audiences.”