When SAP’s partner organization invited a select group of SAP Business One partners to follow their personal service advisor (PSA) on Twitter last fall, no one knew what to expect. Nine months later, in the wake of overwhelmingly positive partner feedback, SAP is expanding its “Follow Your PSA” campaign to 32 PSAs working with partners worldwide, including Western Europe, CIS, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.
According to SAP PSA Adel Abed, who has many of his partners as followers, Twitter posts work because they deliver quick, timely, relevant updates in a medium they already use each day. But unlike consumer-oriented usage of Twitter, business-to-business tweets are more about quality than quantity. When I spoke with Abed recently, he told me that “partners don’t want another source of mass information. By following their PSAs’ tweets, they can access the information most relevant to their priorities when they need it.”
In fact, business-to-business usage of social media like Twitter continues to grow. Studies show that 80 percent of business-to-business marketers use Twitter to distribute content. Companies like SAP are finding that tweets promote a relaxed mindset, making partners and other audiences more receptive to messages and likelier to take action so everyone wastes less time. SAP Partners who follow their PSAs can check tweets at their convenience. Most important, tweets contain useful information that they care about like reminders about training and certification sessions, deadline alerts for product development, and other enablement programs. Partner feedback from the original pilot program bears out the positive response.
“With our PSA’s tweets, we are now able to find and follow many updates on one single platform…our PSA puts all the pieces together for us in one basket, and that is Twitter.”
“It is always a challenge to keep track of webinars and trainings and get directed to the right people. Twitter triggers us to click on the link and register for the event instantly.”
“Partners need a strong liaison to help them stay on top of new trends and solutions. Our PSA’s insights deliver it completely.”
“All of our email in-boxes are full, so private Twitter messages are a good alternative.”
“Having access to tweets on my mobile device means I can get immediate information with links to documents I can use right away even if I’m out of the office.”
Twitter posts can serve as a conversation starter or springboard to action, capturing partner attention and pointing them to further resources. However, as a public forum, Twitter does have limitations. PSAs are careful not to reveal sensitive pricing or other information that’s more appropriate for email, telephone, or in-person contact. Links to further information on the SAP Community Network Interactive Portal and sappartner.edge, the company’s dedicated partner website, are password protected.
Twitter’s greatest B2B strength may well be in its relationship-building power. For example, when an SAP partner tweeted their need for new employees, their SAP PSA connected them with SAP’s talent management solution. Partner tweets can also reveal progress in business plan timelines, along with how partners position their version of SAP’s solutions to their customers and within their portfolio. Like all social media, Twitter can be a powerful B2B tool if companies concentrate on sharing relevant information that partners cannot get anywhere else quickly for less time wasted and faster productivity. Now that’s a real business revelation.
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