Context

SAP reached out to Milk and Cookies to help them deal with their lead generation challenges, amplified by its position in a market that was becoming more and more competitive. The company, with its large enterprise heritage, needed to shift its approach to capture the attention and engage its target audience for their EPR solutions for smaller companies.

This was a complex, multi-touchpoint, multiple-country project that needed careful design of lead generation and marketing strategies, as well as creating, deploying, and running the campaigns in the region.

The client

SAP, a technology company headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, has a global client base and over 10,000 employees. The company provides services across all industries, with specializations in finance, business intelligence, procurement, human capital management (HCM), supply chain management (SCM), business planning, efficiency, sustainability, innovation, analytics, reporting, and dashboarding, in addition to its core consulting services.

The Target

For this campaign, SAP aimed to target Eastern European companies with over 250 employees, specifically in Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia.

The ideal customer profile was IT professionals in infrastructure and operations, involved in applications, software development, network, system administration, security, and risk management. These professionals typically held top management positions such as director, VP, or senior manager. HR & CX professionals like resource managers, chief marketing officers, and sales managers were also a secondary target.

The campaign’s unique selling proposition was to simplify and manage complexities to facilitate growth. Despite being a large enterprise that can work with almost any type of company, SAP was held back by misconceptions that their EPR solutions were only suitable for large companies, too expensive, overly complex, and time-consuming to implement.

After research, we identified that our target audience wanted to solve problems related to:

  • Optimization
  • Growth
  • Efficiency

Simply put, they wanted to build efficient organizations, break down departmental silos, manage the complexities of digital transformation, deliver cost efficiencies, drive digital transformation initiatives, and adopt a customer-centric approach.

The challenge

“Digital transformation” devolved into nothing more than an overused phrase and a buzzword due to the market’s saturation with jargon and excessive noise. As a result, some industry players appeared superficial. Additionally, the client struggled with not generating enough warm leads within their ideal customer profile.

Considering these factors and misunderstandings about our client, our strategy adopted a straightforward “customer-first” approach to cut through the noise and address the misconceptions.

Objectives

The objectives of SAP:

  1. Audience Engagement: Our client, being a large enterprise, sought to earn the audience’s trust and show why they are a market leader. We aimed to accomplish this through transparency, nurturing a more human-to-human relationship and an easier connection with their ideal customer profile. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and we showed that our client is a reliable partner for fast, but sustainable, business growth.
  2. Customer Acquisition: The client’s objective was to generate more leads in the Eastern European sector, especially in industries and sectors where their digital transformation services were not yet recognized as viable solutions.

Our Objectives:

  1. Develop a lead generation funnel to efficiently fill the pipeline and correct market misconceptions;
  2. Produce high-value content;
  3. Demonstrate business advantages, cost-effectiveness, and desire to help their clients;
  4. Highlight the emotional benefits and simplicity of working with SAP.

Overcoming the challenges

Next, we’ll discuss the obstacles we encountered and how we transformed them into opportunities:

Wrong market perception:

To solve this challenge, we leveraged the hero’s journey approach and the campaign’s brand archetype, specifically for this campaign.

Our goal was for our client to be perceived as a guide on a mission to improve businesses and increase performance. To achieve this, we started aligning the unique value proposition with this role for the lead generation campaign.

Next, we designed the brand personality to effectively connect and engage with the Eastern European target audience—the SAGE archetype. This archetype is knowledgeable, shares wisdom, and gives excellent advice while helping the hero achieve their objectives.

Another critical part of the lead generation strategy was adjusting the brand’s tone of voice to help establish recognizable and consistent messaging that speaks the same way the ideal customer profile does.

Positioning:

Most of the leads are problem aware and solution aware (check out this article to understand more about this framework), and this leads to fierce competition between the industry players.

On top of it, in our research, we’ve observed that most competitors have similar promises: faster and better. However, our target audience for this campaign is more educated and also sees the change / digital transformation as a burden and yet another task on their already full plate. Consequently, the most significant challenge companies encounter is managing the substantial effort required for change.

These insights showed us the need to present SAP’s solutions as simple, straightforward, and effortless. In fact, they are as easy as an update.

And this was our campaign creative insight: updates are the easiest and simplest actions you can take to improve your systems, often requiring just a click or a tap. Updates are not a radical change, but a simple solution with a big impact.

Understanding our target’s primary objectives helps us better position the campaign’s key messaging. They want a reliable, expert team to help them scale quickly without financial strain. Additionally, they seek appropriate resources and tools to reduce costs and increase profits without compromising quality, but done as simple as possible.

Work process for the SAP campaign

The work process was linear, simple, predictable, and had clear stages.

  • Step 1: Client brief from the SAP team
  • Step 2: Discovery workshop
  • Step 3: Client’s internal resources and assets audit
  • Step 4: Competitor and market research
  • Step 5: Strategy & lead generation funnel design
  • Step 6: Key messaging & visual design for 6 countries (with localization)
  • Step 7: Small-scale concept testing
  • Step 8: Deployment
  • Step 9: 3 months implementation and improvement
  • Step 10: Monitoring and reporting

Deliverables

  • Strategy: We developed a custom lead generation plan that was designed to resonate with the diverse audience in Eastern European countries. We used data-driven insights to understand their needs and wants.
  • Campaign concept: We simplified the client’s offerings in our campaign, maintaining the key message: “As simple as an update.”
  • Campaign implementation: The campaign was executed using a multi-touchpoint approach for maximum effect, aiming to have at least 12 touch-points on at least 2 platforms in order to generate landing page traffic and booked calls.
  • Nurturing email sequence scripts: We wrote email sequences to nurture leads effectively once they booked a call with one of the pre-sales.
  • Campaign landing pages for each country: We created a “Book a call” high-converting landing page, featuring the central idea: “It’s as easy as an update.”
  • Localization per each of the 6 countries: We made custom landing pages for each targeted country to improve the user experience.
  • Call scripts for tele agents: We created clear and concise call scripts for the tele agents team, highlighting key benefits and addressing common concerns, while doing a pre-qualification for the sales team.

Our key takeaways from the SAP project

The main takeaway is that a personalized approach that understands audience needs can turn obstacles into opportunities, which works way better than a general “one-size-fits-all” type of campaign. For communication strategies, the brand message must be clear. The message “This is exactly how I can help you” is extremely important, as people lack time to interpret, translate, or understand unclear, complex messages. Some may not even realize they have a problem or know how to solve it. People often associate digital transformation with complexity, assuming it requires considerable time, money, resources, and patience. Moreover, changing one system often requires changes in others to maintain integration, and people are generally resistant to change.

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SAP Lead generation campaign by Milk & Cookies Studio