Grant Miller, Founder of Replicated, created guides with the hope of changing the narrative around enterprise, SaaS sales.
From “how to sell to the enterprise” to “how to build for the enterprise.”
SaaS builders and thinkers have surely felt the pressure to sell enterprise deals at some point in their career.
Grant’s website, enterpriseready.io lays out eleven feature categories that help indicate if a product is enterprise ready. The list includes features like single sign on, team management, integrations, etc. However, becoming enterprise SaaS sales ready and sustaining success requires more than great product development.
Here’s how to tackle enterprise SaaS sales with processes and technology.
The Challenges of Enterprise SaaS Sales
Enterprise sales can be a tough proposition for SaaS companies. The typical SaaS toolkit of self sign-ups, free trials, and ready made platforms won’t work. The unique challenges include:
- Getting started – A new enterprise team inherently faces challenges like lacking credibility and experience or not yet having the resources to facilitate sales.
- Longer sales cycle – Many SaaS products are designed to sell visitors quickly on a trial or demo. Enterprise deals often take six months or longer and require sign off from multiple stakeholders.
- Relationship management – Longer sales cycles raise the importance of the sales rep developing a connection with a customer champion or multiple contacts.
- Resources demand (customization, ongoing support) – It’s widely accepted that enterprise companies require customized features and dedicated support, at least in the short-term.
- Good Product Market Fit isn’t Enough – “In today’s enterprise software market, it’s important to define a user experience that is 100 times better than the status quo,” according to Silicon Valley executive and investor, George Mathew. The tech landscape is too competitive for basic market fit. User experience, customer happiness and a memorable “aha moment” all play critical roles.
- Timing – Always a critical sales factor, timing is more complicated and unpredictable with enterprise organizations.
Enterprise SaaS Sales: Product + RevOps + Technology
Solving these sales challenges requires three things: a great product, a RevOps mentality, and helpful technology.
A great product is the most challenging, but it’s also the best tool for any enterprise sales initiative.
Nir Eyal spent years researching habit forming products and presented a system around four hooks, trigger, action, variable reward, and investment. The latter, investment, represents the process of asking a user for their time, data, effort, social capital or money. Building a product around this system will help you get started faster and make sure the company has gone above and beyond product market fit with their software.
We’ve previously defined RevOps as, “The opposite of functional silos. It’s the alignment of sales, marketing, and customer success.” This elimination of silos enhances the sales process. For instance, sales teams are more adept at handling a long sales cycle when they have relevant content and marketing assets. It’s also much easier to maintain a relationship with a customer if they are handed off to customer success or implementation services instead of left to their own. Similarly, collaborative teams are better equipped to handle the demand of enterprise accounts and share responsibilities.
Lastly, sales teams need the technology to enable their process. Sales tech stacks are becoming as common as marketing stacks. Sales-AI tools address the challenge of timing, they can help you find the right prospect at the right time, and deliver the right information.
The Tech Assist in Enterprise SaaS sales
This is where Prospectify technology comes into play. These filters can be used to hone in on the right lead, verify the information and take action.
- Company Name – Search for business names that contain a keyword search such as “SEO” or “Digital”
- Domain – Filter out many non-U.S. based companies by searching for a TLD like .com only. Conversely, international companies can be identified with their country domain.
- Business Model – Select between B2C and B2B business models. An important distinction if your product optimizes business transactions for example.
- Type – There is a big difference in the sales cycle for a private firm vs. a public company. This filter lets focus in on either type.
- Industry – The Prospectify system has more than 20 industry filters available. Search through multiple industries or find prospects in a niche industry for targeted email campaigns.
- Revenue – This filter (and supplemental info) can indicate whether a company is a fast growing start-up or a small to medium-sized business.
- Finance Stage – A start-ups journey usually involves some variation of pre-start-up, start-up, growth, and maturity (with pivots along the way). This filter has every stage from Series A to IPO. Determine which stage and financing range represent the best fit for your product.
- Raised – The raw amount of capital raised is an indicator of company growth rate and what types of challenges they’re facing.
- # of Employees – This might be the most valuable filter and has been used by sales teams for decades. For instance, finding large companies if your product facilitates team collaboration is a necessity for sales.
- Founded – Search for new companies in need of help or established companies that need help managing their growth.
- Location: City, State, Country and ZIP Code – You can also drill down into a specific geographical area or region.