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There are some huge advantages associated with having enterprise customers using your SaaS products. Doing business with the big guys involves deals that tend to be more significant and more consistent. However, at enterprise companies, there are more tiers and layers to management structures, so the process of obtaining final approval for your proposals can be long and cumbersome, resulting in deals wilting in your sales pipeline. Because of the elongated sales cycles involved, you may not even be talking to the proper decision-maker for the bulk of your communication with the enterprise. The enterprise selling approach is an entirely different endeavour from what you might be used to. It often involves numerous follow-up sales emails and not just relying on Intercom to convert leads into deals. So what do you need to know when nurturing relationships and selling software to enterprises? And what are the best strategies for better supporting and converting enterprise customers? Leadfeeder breaks it all down for you….

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    4 months ago #

    This article is loaded with good advice for selling SaaS to enterprises, but not sure they are doing themselves any credibility favors mentioning that their valuation has grown to 5 million euros. For an enterprise SaaS business, that's a pretty low valuation. Might be a typo...

    • PK

      Pekka Koskinen

      4 months ago #

      Great to see you liked the article. The valuation in the article is definitely from the past when we were way smaller. So consider it as a typo :)

  • BP

    Brenda Pace

    4 months ago #

    Hi Hans,
    What a great read! I love how Leadfeeder breaks it down for us. Additional training is a must and as many of us know, Gifts are loved by all. Selling to an enterprise is huge and the rewards are even bigger!
    Thanks for sharing with us!

    ~Bren

  • RB

    Ryan Biddulph

    4 months ago #

    Hi Hans,

    Focusing heavily on ROI just makes sense at an enterprise level.

    Even if big businesses have big bucks to spend they don't want to bleed money for no good reason. Each penny may be scrutinized so drill home the ROI to alert clients their....return on investment LOL. We all want to know what we are getting for what we give but this need runs deep at the enterprise level.

    Fab post.

    Ryan

    • BJ

      Ben Jacobson

      4 months ago #

      Agreed. I think it largely comes down to the number of layers in enterprise leadership hierarchies. In a small business, it's easier to convince your boss to take a chance on something, and if it doesn't work out, you just move on to the next experiment.

      With bigger teams, if your new initiative fails, you could have any number of people, all higher than you on the totem pole, questioning the validity of your decision.

  • RC

    Ravi Chahar

    4 months ago #

    Hey Hans,

    I like the idea of creating a Saas products mentioned in the article. Single sign in is required and it's necessary from the security point of view.
    And many others things like figuring out about the decision maker and building relationships.
    Glad to know more about it.
    ~Ravi

  • KM

    Kevin Morris

    4 months ago #

    A successful consultative sales process requires understanding the value proposition that the customer wants solved and will pay for.

    It can be challenging (for anyone selling, not just Saas folks!) to make sure you have the right person who makes the purchasing decision. These are almost always different people (or committees!) that need to be identified and made sure that they are on board.

    Take the time to understand the key players and influencers in the sales process for a large organization. It does take time, but significantly increase the likelihood of success!

  • JD

    Jose Domingo

    4 months ago #

    @jcvangent

    Good read overall on the article, thanks for the share.

    My two cents in this topic is that it starts with inbound marketing/your content/your brand. Try to find a space where you can become the thought leader in. Continuously write content pertaining to that topic (make sure that topic is closley related to your business). Follow other thought leaders and constantly share them on different channel and work your way up into being a thought leader. Having that "stamp of approval" in being a thought leader not only increases your software's impressions, but also will be more trusted by enterprise businesses.

    For example, Sweet Tooth rewards is a SaaS business that targets SMB, SME, and large enterprises. Due to being a thought leader in the Retention and Loyalty space, we get thousands of hits on our blog https://www.sweettoothrewards.com/blog/ and get a lot of inbound leads from startups to fortune 500 companies.

    I believe that a successful Sales process is connected to a successful marketing campaign. Hope this adds value to the discussion!

    • HV

      Hans van Gent

      4 months ago #

      @josesundae you're totally right...but isn't everything in the life cycle of a business becoming a lot easier when you're considered the thought leader in your space? ;-)

    • BS

      Bhaskar Sarma

      4 months ago #

      @josesundae @jcvangent

      Buffer wrote a post once about how they pivoted from merely writing content related to their product to writing content that the influencers of their target demographic were interested in (stuff about psychology, cognitive biases, color theory).

      That kind of content improved Buffer's credibility by leaps and bounds because when someone that you follow and admire starts sharing Buffer's staff, you can't help but check them out.

      If you are already consistently producing high quality content then you are already more than halfway there. You just have to do some extra legwork on topics.

  • LS

    Lisa Sicard

    4 months ago #

    Hans, I love the tips you provided in this share. One never knows when they will need to sell to a big enterprise. The example of Leadfeeder is great and very detailed. It's different than selling to an individual. It can be difficult in finding who the right person is too at a large enterprise. LinkedIn can come in handy too in that process.

    • HV

      Hans van Gent

      4 months ago #

      @lisapatb although I would love to take credit, it is not me who wrote it ;-) I just saw the article and shared it :-) but it seems I'm not the only one who loved it ;-)

    • BS

      Bhaskar Sarma

      4 months ago #

      @lisapatb Apart from LinkedIn, I wonder how useful Facebook ads would be in running a high level targeting campaign, not to get people to buy, but merely to get some kind of reaction from these decision makers.

  • JH

    Joy Healey

    4 months ago #

    Very interesting post highlighting the differences between selling to enterprise companies and SMB. Not just the better rewards, the different strategies.

    Leadfeeder has a lot to contribute.

    • GG

      Gail Gardner

      4 months ago #

      Selling at the Enterprise level is REALLY different. It takes many times longer to get to a commitment because there will be layers of decision-makers. Decisions are also make far in advance, so the close will probably be multiple quarters in the future. Anyone who decides to sell to Enterprise clients needs to be able to wait a long time to get paid and have legal expertise to protect their interests or what looks like a huge profit could turn into a major liability.

  • AF

    alan famous

    4 months ago #

    *HINT* I am posting a lot more to try to win the free pass to Growth Hacker Conference.

    One of the main things that hurt enterprise SaaS is churn. Take a company like MARIN software. (previous customer) Tons of marketing and heavy loaded on acquiring the customer. (Makes sense as LTV is very high with little extra cost once acquired) However, their additional training and post sales is absolutely horrific. Another onboarding lead gen area I see that needs to change is the free trial. Depending on your SaaS product offering. In my experience you could be much better off removing "free trials" and only have amazing lead magnets (for which you develop email squence or a sales followups) People want instant download gratification. I think the power of a lot of SaaS products are very hard to push in a landing page or explainer video sometimes. They need more of a series or demo approach.

  • VP

    Viktor Popovski

    4 months ago #

    Could you share few tactics on how to get to the right decision maker?

    • LR

      Lorraine Reguly

      4 months ago #

      I am also interested in knowing how to reach such a person. Like you said, enterprises have so many tiers to them that it's often difficult finding out who you need to contact and sell to.

      • BJ

        Ben Jacobson

        4 months ago #

        It's a double challenge, really. First you need to figure out who your best contact within the organization is. Then you need to figure out how to actually get his or her attention.

  • BW

    Bill Widmer

    4 months ago #

    Fascinating ideas. I think a lot of them apply to small business as well as enterprise!

  • JM

    James McAllister

    4 months ago #

    Really liked how this article highlighted all of these points that differ from selling to smaller businesses. Large enterprises simply have different processes, different goals and different priorities and you have to be able to cater to those as a result.

    Not only with your pitch but even before and after that. Leadfeeder really did great with this one and what a great company to hear from considering the huge amount of business they do.

  • EM

    Eren Mckay

    4 months ago #

    One of the main benefits of selling your software to an enterprise is the fact that this enhances the perceived value; especially if they give you the permission to use their logo on the landing and home pages.
    A lot of people give up on larger companies because of all of the red tape, but the reward outweighs the obstacles if you get a few to actually use and like your product. I would say that patience and persistence are essential to have when trying to close these deals.

  • JC

    Judy Caroll

    4 months ago #

    Great read! Thanks for pointing out some important tips. But for some, even though they tried hard and gave out all their best, they can't still get the rhythm. There must be problems outside of the seller's part. If this is the case, seeking help from the experts is an advantage. Like outsourcing the effort to a lead generation expert. But of course, you need a budget for that. If you want to assure ROI, trust a partner that can deliver quality results.

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