Selling to the Enterprise - SaaS Version

“It’s SaaS – it sells itself”.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that SaaS products are so easy to use and so easy to deploy that they sell themselves.  In enterprise sales, this is definitely not the case.  Even with early viral growth, SaaS products do not sell themselves.  It’s strong enterprise sales that is the foundation for capturing market share.

Enterprise sales is a different game with a different mindset.  In large, enterprise-size organizations decision making is a very long process for a number of reasons; legacy technology deployments, internal politics, entrenched homegrown solutions, sunk cost of integrations, account control by incumbent vendors, and the sheer size and scale involved.  Get used to it.  One of the primary objectives in enterprise sales is helping your customer get through their own internal buying process.

Selling into major enterprise accounts includes many stages and steps, however it comes down to three questions:

  • Why do I need to buy?
  • Why should I buy from you?
  • Why should I buy now? 

Why do I need to buy?

The easiest way to help your potential customer answer this question is to identify their strategic initiatives.  Every large enterprise has strategic initiatives they are focused on and that are funded.  The job of the sales person is to uncover these initiatives and then begin to craft the unique value proposition that helps the potential customer achieve these initiatives.

Seek to understand and then to be understood.

Why should I buy from you?

You know your product or service better than anyone, therefore, you are in a perfect position to consult with your potential customer as to what the achieved outcome looks like.

Here is where you differentiate from your competitors.  By positioning the unique characteristics of your solution and collaborating with your customer you can help define and influence technical requirements and business criteria.  This requires a fair bit of preparation, but once executed will make things very difficult for your competition as they are forced to respond to criteria you helped establish.

It’s also important to leverage what you’ve learned combined with the unique differentiators to message across the enterprise.  Not only communicate to the prospective users of your product/service, but also to senior executives within the enterprise as well as key influencers who have a say in the strategic initiative.  Once these different audiences understand how your solution fits into their strategic initiative, you can then begin to focus on getting the deal done.

Why should I buy now?

Now that you’ve minimized the competition and received technical validation for your solution bringing in a quantifiable business case helps close the deal.  This is where ROI comes in.  By aligning your product’s capabilities and operational benefits with the potential financial value to the company’s strategic initiatives, you ensure that your solution will deliver the most important business objectives first, thereby delivering a shorter time to value.

Selling into the enterprise isn’t easy, but the rewards in terms of revenue and references are well worth the preparation.  Are you ready?