When Lauren laces up her running shoes to train for a marathon, she never dreamed she’d be partnering with top retail customers every day to bring their business vision to life. Lauren joined the SAP Academy in 2012 and is now a Retail Sales Account Executive at SAP. Seeing customers improve their businesses like her marathon time makes her run with purpose.
When did you join the SAP Academy?
I joined SAP in August 2012.
After you started with the Academy, what were the first few months like for you? Describe your day to day.
It was definitely a very steep learning curve after joining SAP. When I first started, it wasn’t abnormal for me to be on the phone or communicating via e-mail with my manager daily, just to get a sense of the acronym filled “SAP-nese” that is spoken here. It took a few months to understand the organization and how each part of the business works together to drive successful sales plays. Networking was incredibly important in those first few months as it really helped to understand how different employees fit into the overall SAP organization.
What was the most memorable and interesting training you have done at the Academy?
The most memorable training was certainly our executive presence training with Roz Usheroff. That was the first time the idea of a “brand” came to life for me; Roz knew nothing about us before we walked into her training, so she was able to give us an objective view of how we were perceived and offer constructive criticism based on that.
What has been the most impactful project you have worked on in the Academy?
I’ve worked on several impactful projects with the Retail Sales group. Most notably, I worked on developing an idea for an in-store security application that debuted at Retail Forum in 2012. This year’s Retail Forum further develops the idea and hopefully it will be added to SAP’s price list by then. This app has definitely highlighted the notion of how SAP is driving innovation to be a “new” SAP versus a large company that just does ERP.
What has been the most powerful SAP technology that you have learned about?
It’s hard to identify one particular technology that is the most powerful. I think that within SAP’s five market categories, we’ve been able to identify how big data can become manageable; that is, we understand how important it is to manipulate that data instead of ignoring it. In that sense, HANA is world-changing for companies who want to run better by enabling themselves to optimally collect, analyze, and transform their businesses based on this data.
How did the Academy prepare you for your sales career at SAP?
There are many ways in which the SAP Academy helped prepare me for my sales career. But the most important would be understanding at a base level what every organization within SAP does and how they enable successful sales plays. Because of the contacts I made within the Academy, whenever I am unsure or don’t understand something, I am comforted by the fact I can reach out to a whole range of people I met through my rotations. I think the idea of the Account Executive as a Quarterback is a great analogy, because it drives home the point that even though the Quarterback is important, she cannot do it without a supportive team. Being in the rotational program, I was able to see what our “offense” and “defense” was doing on a daily basis to support the Account Executives, and it made me more confident when I got called into the huddle and had to call plays. Game on!
How do you think your work is contributing to SAP and the world?
I think I bring a creative and optimistic side to sales. Like I mentioned before, there is certainly a huge push to promote the “new SAP” story, and I think that my personal approach is key in explaining this story to my customers and helping them understand how we can help their business in new ways. In terms of the world, I think that this also applies as there are more ways and applications for manipulating big data that can have huge impacts on the world. For example, something we do with a large grocery customer within Retail could have lasting impacts on farmers, suppliers, and consumers all over the world.
What is your favorite hobby and what do you like to do in your free time?
I was a competitive swimmer through college, so the competitive spirit has never left me! I am currently training to run my second marathon and can be found watching college football on any given Thursday through Saturday.