The Push for Qualtrics Adoption: What to Expect from SAP


Qualtrics, which started as a survey company, captures experience and operational data and enables companies to understand how customers and employees are feeling to deliver better and more personal experiences.  With SAP’s acquisition of Qualtrics earlier this year, it will come as no surprise to many customers that they are making a concentrated push for Qualtrics adoption.  As part of that push, we are seeing the same SAP playbook used as with other cloud acquisitions of the past.  SAP is playing offense and putting customers who aren’t buying into their vision of “X- and O-data” (experience data and operational data) on defense.

SAP Strongly Positioning Adoption

As with any acquisition, SAP needs to report to Wall Street that customers are buying into their vision and adoption is high.  While they know not everyone is going to go all-in on Qualtrics, they at least want to report out on the number of customers who have adopted the solution, even if the dollars tied to those adoptions aren’t materially contributing to cloud targets.  As a result, SAP will be pushing for customers to at least include some elements of Qualtrics in their cloud deals.  Any customers making investments in related cloud solutions like C/4HANA can anticipate SAP positioning inclusion of Qualtrics in the bill of materials.

SAP Sales Teams Still in Learning Mode

Taking into account the fact that teams have only recently been educated on Qualtrics, they are still in learning mode.  Any customers negotiating with SAP on a broad set of solutions can anticipate that SAP will not be at the same depth of knowledge on Qualtrics as they are on other SAP cloud solutions like C/4HANA.  Based on this inconsistency, customers can anticipate internal technical and functional questions to SAP account teams on Qualtrics to take some cycles internally to get the answers required to make decisions on whether your company should buy Qualtrics, and if so, for how much.

Qualtrics Inclusion Can Sweeten the Full Cloud Deal

Any customers entertaining SAP’s push for Qualtrics should know, inclusion can sweeten the deal with the appropriate stage-crafting.  With SAP getting the ability to report out that you are another customer who bought into their vision of X- and O-data, they will be more willing to sweeten your full cloud deal.  However, before you insert it in your discussions or negotiations, I would recommend the following:

  • Don’t Bring it Up, Unless You Plan to Buy It: First and foremost, I highly recommend not bringing Qualtrics up in discussions or negotiations unless you do, in fact, plan to buy it. Once SAP’s account team hears Qualtrics, they are going to have a difficult time moving away from Qualtrics being part of the deal you are contemplating because they are going to be financially incented with kickers to get you to buy.
  • Insert Qualtrics Toward the End of the Negotiation: If you do plan to buy it, it is a huge leverage point for your negotiation. Since this is the case, you should think about inserting Qualtrics toward the end of the negotiation to sweeten the deal for SAP.  SAP will react very favorably to your inclusion of such a strategic product like Qualtrics, but do not do it without tying it to a set of your discounting and commercial asks.
  • Leverage it to Sweeten Discounting and Commercials: When you put Qualtrics on the table, you should leverage it to sweeten discounting and commercial terms for the overall deal. Not only should SAP provide best-in-class discounting on the Qualtrics products, but they should be able to increase the discounting on other aspects of your deal to be market-competitive and they should provide market-competitive commercial terms as well.

At the end of the day, SAP is leveraging the same playbook from other cloud acquisitions of the past.  Given their consistent approach, customers can leverage it by stage-crafting the negotiation and inserting Qualtrics at the appropriate time to go on the offense and secure best-in-class discounting and commercial terms.

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