Q

Sales pro wondering about a switch to SAP

An SAP seminar got the wheels turning for a talented salesperson. Expert Jon Reed offers some hints on whether a career switch to SAP might be a good move.

I am a sales professional (MBA in Marketing) with a mechanical engineering degree. I am currently working with Bell Canada as a direct marketing associate.

Recently I attended a seminar on SAP and was impressed by the career opportunities. However, I was wondering if a career switch to SAP would benefit me. I am a good sales guy and can sell anything. I haven't tried IT products and I don't know if being a SD / MM professional would require need IT experience and expertise.

Please help me understand if SD / MM will be a good option for me and how should I go about doing it. What is the market for jobs in SD / MM?

It's hard to walk away from strong sales skills. Top notch salespeople are hard to find. Instead of working in SAP, why not sell SAP? Or if not SAP, you could also consider selling complementary third-party software solutions that interface with SAP. There are hundreds out there, and many are doing quite well.

In fact, if you excel in SAP sales, you might even be able to transition into a "pre-sales" role which would combine your sales skills with some technical know-how as you guide customers through the software evaluation process.

But if you decide to pursue SAP implementation work instead, I'm not sure you would find your sales background especially relevant. It's true that the "sales" side of the Sales and Distribution module does touch on sales, but for the most part, the key areas of SD pertain to configuring sales orders and advanced pricing functionality. With your background in marketing and sales, you might find that SAP's CRM component draws more on your expertise.

But again, if you have a knack for sales, you might be better off moving into SAP software sales than trying to become an implementation consultant. The market for SD/MM consultants is good, largely driven by upgrade projects, but then again, someone had to sell those upgrade projects too, and maybe that someone could be you.

This was first published in February 2007

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