"If SAP's managment is doing such a substandard job and treating its AEs (and everyone else apparently) so poorly, how is the company able to maintain its numbers? "
That is a fair question that all regular employee posters should address so that you can get an objective answer.
1. There is a strong core of SAP employees who have been with the company a while who control a small number of very large accounts for SAP, do an impressive job of selling and maintaining those relationships and who are left alone because of their long history. Jeff Lee comes to mind. They haven't left because their wealthbuilder plans are substantial there is nowhere to go right now and they have picked up impressive account lists during past turnovers.
This does not make them happy employees. Many of them are vocal. BN always says he can count on one finger the number of managers he trusts at SAP and I think he has been with the company more than one dozen years. He has also sold more than $50M in software and can criticize whom he wishes because he is the best salesperson on the planet. People like him won't enter management because of the poor comp plan and poor quality of the peers at that level.
2. The company has an impressive solution for the Fortune 1000 and has an enormous customer list of Fortune 500 companies who won't throw out a good solution just because they get an average of 2 sales people per year covering their accounts. Fortunately, those accounts have managers whose turnover is much lower and maintain some consistency for the customer. However, in an examinations of SAP's impressive 72% customer SAT rate, it did come out that turnover was the largest complaint customers have.
3. Finally, most sales today come from a small list of existing customers. In an economy where companys are not changing solutions very often, SAP wins. This may not continue when the economy turns around. However, SAPs forays into CRM and SCM do provide a buffer for that. Again, most customers surveyed said that it takes SAP a LONG time to get things right, but look out when they do. CRM comes to mind here. In a good economy, SAP wouldn't have 2.4 years to bring its solution up to par, but it isn't a good economy.
You appear to know that sales group pretty well. A few notes though. BN has actually sold more than $100MM in software during his SAP tenure. And while all you say about his ability to criticize, especially the former GM of his group, he elected to hang it up anyway. THAT makes a statement about how bad things are regarding SAP senior managements respect of talented sales professionals.
Actually I didnt say he "especially criticized the former GM of his group"
I said that he stated that he could count on one finger the SAP executives that he felt had any moral fiber. So don't hang everything on BM, BN was often talking about the very, very top brass and he never hid it.
Of course he chose to "hang it up" he was disgusted, he sold an incountable amount of software (although not nearly $100M - sorry) and he wanted no part of moving up or moving on in today's operation.
Without BN, I cannot count on any fingers, the number of SAP executives that have any morals.
I don't have time to read all this right now, (appts until mid-afternoon) but I very quickly scanned it and wanted to say that I appreciate the time and effort you took to answer my question. I'll read it more thoroughly when I have time, and then reply.
SAPs middle managment is worse than bad - with few excepions because of the pay plan (about which most dont understand whn hired)
but there are some extremely intelligent people in SAPS upper management echelon. The problem is that they are so far removed from because SAP and the market have changed so much and they do not get involved on a daily basis. JB is probably the sole executive excpetion. He is on the ground and knows what is going on among his troops. Why does he let his managers run amok? I have no idea, except that he probably believes a good manager should leave his troops alone.
The problem is that even in this economy, SAPS management comp plan will not allow them to attract or retain top middle management quality.
The final issue is German. The Germans are perfectly nice people, methodical and driven. In Germany comissions are not paid and the Germans both do not understand the American sales culture and resent it greatly. The 'whiny American sales people' phrasology displays a contempt that is frightening.
Bill is an impressive guy and a vast improvement over our previous leadership, but only Germans would hire a CEO with one year of software background.