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Selling SaaS in the Enterprise

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Selling SaaS in the enterprise environment actually requires a shift of gears in how SaaS developers have to think, not just in design and “packaging”, but also in approach for marketing and appeal. I’m getting ahead of myself here, but that did need saying from the beginning.

The question, of course, is why does selling SaaS in the enterprise world vary so much from the more common departmental and private environments? That, however, is the crux of the whole thing, as we’ll see in just a moment. Let’s first explore what differentiates this on a conceptual level from those more common environments.

Enterprise solutions are scalable in application across most if not all of an organization or company, often affecting change to how the entire structure handles any given processes and procedures in a fundamental way. Each department and specialized team within this organization is affected by these changes, almost always in an even manner. This varies from SaaS that solves more niche interests such as CRM, analytics, database, finances, communications, customer service or any of a plethora of very specific issues, where the application of these designs affects the departments to which these solutions apply, and not much change occurs outside the bounds of them.

So, now we can see a pretty clear and defined difference here, and it’s quite self evident in how serious this difference actually is in scope and approach, right? But, we know the difference on a technical level, how does this affect how to market, design and sell these more broad-sweeping constructions?

Well, if you have any experience in the more common departmental SaaS marketing, sales or design, you’re more than aware that, like most traditional software models, your focus is on functionality and features that make the specific processes within that department better, faster and easier for all involved. They’re a great metaphorical tune up, and that is one of the driving facets you focus on, when selling them.

In an enterprise environment, however, it’s a different ballgame. Oh, sure, features and functionality do count here, they always will when it comes to software, but as far as priorities go for approaching attributes in marketing, they take back burner to another aspect.

Value is what a company will first measure and weigh out painstakingly when it comes to enterprise solutions. When something new or different is to be adopted on this grand a scale, one of the reasons for this is usually very financial to begin with, if not to battle obsolescence of processes. Either way, it boils down to the same thing, and that’s maintaining a good equity on a fiscal level.

As a result of this, your first and primary focus when selling in this environment is both value of SaaS conversion, which pertains to the expenses saved by eliminating continuous license and version purchases across business machines which traditional models unavoidably brought on. Along with this, your solution being offered, and the changes it makes across this broad, sweeping range need to be competitive in ROI, and basically, money saved in overhead and time loss, which your solution offer to remedy by said changes.

When selling SaaS in the enterprise environment, the “publish or perish” caveat about providing strong documentation with hard data of the returns of your design, along with case studies and point for point comparisons to what you aim to be a replacement for, as well as competition, is more important than ever before, as well.

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Published at DZone with permission of Omri Erel, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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