10 Tips for Selling SaaS to Enterprise Customers
The world of enterprise sales is a tough one. If you are selling to enterprises, you have to understand that they don’t buy like usual consumers do. While there are similarities between the two (such as needing proof), there are also differences which makes it more challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Enterprises that are accustomed to purchasing software and services from traditional software vendors are more difficult to sell SaaS solutions to because they have a different buying process, expectations, and culture. For example, many enterprises purchase software on a subscription basis, whereas a SaaS solution is typically consumed in an episodic manner.
Additionally, enterprises often have higher expectations for features and functionality than consumers do. This can be especially challenging when selling SaaS solutions that require customization or integration with other business systems. Finally, more people are involved in the decision-making process of partnering with SaaS companies, especially the top level executives. While enterprises may have a purchasing team, they have a VP of Product Management who is responsible for product decisions.
Nevertheless, SaaS software spending per company has been steadily growing since 2010 and is expected to hit $397.5 billion by 2022. This only means that the SaaS market is still in its infancy and the enterprise SaaS market will continue growing. In fact, it is expected to grow faster than the traditional software market. So here are 10 tips for selling SaaS to enterprise customers that will help increase your chances of success in this market:
1. Understand the problem(s) and use that to map out success criteria
The first step to a successful enterprise SaaS sales process is understanding the problems you’re solving. You may think you already know what your prospect’s challenge is, but until you’ve asked questions and listened carefully to their answers, it’s hard to know for sure.
Once you’ve defined the problems, go ahead and define the criteria for a successful sales process as well. This will help ensure that when your SaaS solution goes live, it meets expectations. Below are a few key criteria that should be met when selling saas to these clients:
- Clearly defined value proposition of the saas solution.
- Strong case for how the saas solution will benefit the enterprise.
- Clear roadmap detailing how the saas solution will be implemented and delivered.
Enterprise customers face a number of challenges when adopting SaaS solutions. Understanding these challenges and mapping them to the criteria for successful SaaS sales with enterprise customers can help you create a successful sales process.
The following are some common problems enterprise customers face when adopting SaaS:
- They may not have the necessary technical capabilities or resources to manage and use the solution.
- They may be concerned about security and compliance risks.
- They may not have a centralized purchasing organization from which to purchase the solution.
- They may need customization or additional features that are not included in the standard offering.
- They may need support after installation or during usage, which is not always available through standard channels.
Read our blog on How to Create a Well-Oiled B2B SaaS Sales Process for more tips.
2. Focus on the value not sales
Your SaaS product does not sell itself. You need to learn to think about how your service can add value to the lives of your prospects and customers. If you can get them excited about the problems you can solve for them, then they’ll be more interested in talking about purchasing.
This isn’t about being a pushy sales rep – it’s about helping people solve their problems and giving them information they need so that they can make an informed decision on whether or not your solution is right for them. When you focus on the value of what you have to offer as opposed to trying hard sales tactics, prospects will feel much more comfortable working with someone who isn’t constantly trying to win them over with sleazy tactics (like discounting).
Here are a few tips on how SaaS providers can highlight the value that they can provide to enterprise clients when meeting with them:
- Deliver value that is unique and not available from traditional software providers: You can do this by building a solution that is customized to the client’s business processes and requirements. Or, you can build a product that is highly differentiated from other products in the market.
- Use a sales approach that focuses on educating and engaging with customers, not pushing products: For example, you can be an expert in a particular niche and use that expertise to help clients with software issues. You can also provide consulting services to help clients with how they use their software and how they can improve their processes.
- Maximize customer engagement through automation of processes and tools, as well as personalized support: It’s hard to beat the value of a personal relationship with a client. However, it’s also difficult to build a long-term relationship with every single customer. Clients will only spend money on your product if they think it’ll save them time and money.
- Leverage your footprint in the enterprise market to create a deeper relationship with customers and build trust: You can do this by being available to help with daily support tasks, working closely with clients on the go, and proactively addressing common support issues.
- Be prepared to answer questions about long-term value and how your platform can benefit the business rather than just short-term gains. Make sure that you’re building a relationship based on trust, and not just sales. Your client needs to know that you have their back and that they can rely on you to find solutions when something goes wrong.
3. You’re not selling a product, you are solving problems
The most important thing to do as a SaaS provider is to focus on the problem and how your enterprise software solves it. Don’t focus on your product’s features or benefits, price or brand.
Why? Because the buyer doesn’t care about those things! They only care about how buying your product will solve their problem.
If you can focus on the problem, it will be much easier to sell. Another way to think about this is: if you can’t explain why someone should buy your product, then you shouldn’t be selling it.
4. The sales process is a marathon not a sprint – Take your time & understand the process
The sales process is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and patience to build trust with prospects, and it’s important to understand the enterprise sales landscape before you start.
The best way to do this is by using SaaS Intelligence. This is a term used to describe a software’s ability to understand and analyze its users and their usage patterns. This data can help companies sell and manage their SaaS products more effectively. By understanding how users are using the product, companies can make better decisions about pricing, features, and customer service.
One of the biggest benefits of having SaaS intelligence is that it gives sales teams insights into how their customers are using the platform. This information helps them make better decisions about pricing, features, and customer service. Sales teams can use this data to identify which products are being used most frequently and target those customers with more aggressive marketing campaigns. You can also leverage your data to track leads through their entire journey from discovery to conversion (or abandonment). This will help you determine what steps need improvement or removal from your pipeline so you can increase efficiency in your organization.
Some popular tools for SaaS intelligence include: Google Trends, Mixpanel, and D3.js. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the right tool for the task at hand.
5. Don’t act like an ‘enterprise ready’ startup, be genuine!
You need to keep in mind that you are not selling to a bunch of people who know nothing about your product. These enterprises have been around for decades and have seen thousands of startups offering the same services. So, it becomes very difficult for any startup to convince them that they are different from others and their product is so good that it will make their lives more convenient or better.
Do not try to act like an ‘enterprise ready’ startup by trying too hard. Most importantly, do not be pushy! Being pushy will only leave a bad impression on your potential customer and make him lose interest in you as soon as he hears the word “Sales” or sees your sales emails waiting in his inbox!
So, what should you do instead? You need to understand that the enterprise market is different from other markets. It takes time and patience to build trust with such organizations. If you are able to provide value first and then ask for a an enterprise sale later on, your chances of succeeding will increase manifolds!
Building trust is one of the key challenges for a SaaS startup founder. It’s essential to build rapport with enterprise clients and demonstrate that your company is committed to their success. Here are some tips for building trust:
- Be transparent about how your product works. Let your clients know what data you’re collecting, how it’s used, and why it’s important. This will help them feel confident that you’re taking care of their privacy concerns.
- Stay up-to-date on changes in the industry. Know what new regulations are coming down the pipe and be prepared to comply. This will demonstrate that you’re dedicated to quality and customer satisfaction.
- Communicate effectively. Make sure your clients know when you need more information or feedback, and keep them updated on your progress. This will create a positive relationship based on mutual respect and trust.
Check out our blog on How to Create a Winning SaaS Startup Sales Strategy for more tips.
6. Understand the market and your potential customers
You need to understand the market and your potential customers. This can be done through research, interviewing stakeholders, and visiting customer sites.
- Understand the industry and competition. What are the key trends in this industry? How does your product fit within that ecosystem? Which segments are growing fastest, which are declining fastest? Who are the major players in this space, what differentiates them from one another, and why would customers choose one over another? Who is buying software like yours today (and how much)?
- Understand your potential customers’ pain points and business goals. Why do they want to use your software instead of a competitor’s product or an in-house solution (if there were one)? Where does investing in SaaS make sense for them-in particular for their department or division-and how does it fit into their broader organization strategy? What types of problems will they face if they don’t adopt SaaS right now (or ever), and how might those issues be resolved with a successful implementation project at hand?
- Understand the market opportunity for your product. What types of customers are likely to buy it, and how many of each type? Who has already bought solutions like yours (and why), and how much recurring revenue have those customers generated for you so far? Are there any other indicators that this will be a successful product launch-such as market validation from early adopters or beta users who helped shape its development process?
- Understand your target customer’s business model. Does it make sense for them to pay monthly or annually? Why are they willing (or unwilling) to do so now? Are there any factors that might cause them to change their minds about this? If so, how could you mitigate those risks?
7. Make it relatable to your customers – don’t be cheesy!
When selling to enterprise customers, you need to be a bit more careful in choosing your SaaS sales model or approach. The first thing most buyers will notice is your tone. They’ll be looking for signs that you can relate to them-not just in terms of subject matter but also in terms of personality.
The best way to get an idea of what your audience wants is by observing their behavior: what do they read? Where do they go for information? Who does the buying? Do they have any social media profiles (e.g., LinkedIn)? What kinds of comments do they leave on those profiles and on other people’s sites or blogs? By paying attention to these details, you will quickly get a sense for whether your prospects are technical decision makers or business stakeholders who will have input into the buying process (and therefore require different levels of engagement).
Another thing to keep in mind is the level of formality. In a B2B environment, your tone will be more formal than it would be for B2C-but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be personable and friendly! You just need to find that sweet spot where you sound like an educated professional who understands the industry while keeping things light enough so as not to come off as pushy or salesy.
8. Get all stakeholders involved in the sales process as early as possible
It’s not enough to just focus on high-level decision makers. You need to get all the stakeholders involved in the enterprise sales process as early as possible.
This is especially important if your business is B2B SaaS, because it can be difficult for a CEO or CTO to understand what types of problems their customers have without input from others. In addition, it will help if you have someone from each department working together during the entire SaaS sales cycle: marketing and customer success (for example) will be able to work together on messaging and demoing solutions; sales and development should share knowledge about what features are most interesting for customers; etc.
You want everyone on your team who has access to customers-or at least knows them very well-to understand where they’re coming from before they talk with decision makers at potential clients’ companies.
If you’re a B2B SaaS company, it’s important to have a SaaS sales team who can understand what types of problems their customers have and how they’re currently solving them.
This is a benefit of having salespeople who have worked in the industry they’re selling to. If you have a sales team that understands what your customers do, they will be better able to communicate with them and understand their problems.
9. Nail basic functionality AND then focus on additional features
When you set out to sell SaaS, there’s a tendency to focus on the bells and whistles you can offer enterprise customers-and don’t get me wrong, giving your product more features is great! But before you jump into adding more features, make sure that your core product has all of its basics in place first. You can always add those fancy extras later, but first make sure you have a great base product that will wow your enterprise customers by doing what it’s supposed to do well.
The key to selling SaaS is to focus on the basics first, then build out from there. If you’re able to deliver on what your customers need most, they’ll be happy-and likely won’t even notice that you don’t have all of those extra features yet.
10. Be prepared for feedback, changes and delays in showing progress along the way
You’re going to get rejected. The question is how much you can handle before it stops being fun and starts being painful.
Sometimes, a prospective customer will simply never buy from you no matter how hard you try selling them on your product. This doesn’t mean that you’re not doing anything right; sometimes it just means that they don’t want what you’re selling, or maybe they already have someone else providing the same thing at a cheaper price.
Other times, buyers will say yes but not follow through with their purchase because they don’t think they need the product yet. This can leave you feeling discouraged-but remember: there are always more opportunities out there! Don’t let one rejection sour your attitude towards the entire enterprise sales process; keep looking for other prospects who might be interested in what you’ve got to offer sooner or later.
If you’re still here, congratulations! You made it through the top 10 tips for selling SaaS to enterprises. We hope that these have been helpful and we wish you all the best in your sales journey. If you need more help in selling your SaaS business and other marketing tips, visit our blog.