304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Once you know that your SaaS startup is a good fit for the market, you’ll spend a lot of time thinking about the best sales model for your business. You need to get this right when you go to market and again when you decide how and when to scale.
Your choice of sales model can mean the difference between long-term growth and joining the 90% of startups that have already failed. At that point, your business is just another number or, at best, a cautionary tale for people who want to start a business but don’t know what to do.
The enterprise sales model is something that your business should think about adding. It’s a popular way for businesses to grow steadily and bring in more recurring revenue, but there are a few important things you should know if you’re thinking about using an enterprise sales model.
Enterprise sales, also called complex sales, is the process of getting large contracts that usually involve long sales cycles, multiple decision-makers, and a higher level of risk than traditional sales (also known as SMB, referring to sales to small- and medium-sized businesses).
In other words, enterprise sales are basically sales of large-scale corporate solutions. Because they are typically less risky, have shorter sales cycles, and our sales and marketing-driven, many startups focus on transactional sales in the early stages of their business.
Enterprise sales aren’t right for every new business. In fact, it’s more common in established companies that have grown a lot (more on this later). As previously stated, the longer sales cycles and higher risk of enterprise sales make it a less-than-ideal model for many early-stage startups.
But sometimes enterprise sales are the best way for a startup to sell. For example, it would make sense for your SaaS startup to focus on enterprise sales if you were making a solution that was important to the success of large companies or had a direct impact on business operations at a strategic level.
For example, if you create revolutionary blockchain software for supply chain management that saves manufacturing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars, your business is probably best suited for enterprise sales.
In the SaaS business, there are three main ways to sell:
This is a popular business model that Zoho and Dropbox both use. It works well for companies with low-priced products, and the cost of getting a new customer is also low. The customer makes most of the decisions, signs up for the service, and uses the product on their own time.
When combined with detailed website help documentation, the self-service model keeps your customer support and sales teams from getting too involved. This lets them focus on other ways to grow the business.
This is a successful sales model for SaaS companies like Zendesk and Marketo. Transactional distribution is a flexible option for a wide range of customer types because it is somewhere between self-service and enterprise. Some of the purchases can be made directly through the company’s website, while others require talking to a member of the sales team.
Self-service sales tend to be bigger than transactional sales, but transactional sales tend to have a higher price point. Usually, more people are involved in a deal, which means that the sales cycle takes longer.
This model works best for mid to high-level SaaS companies with pricier products. Here, the marketing team’s job is to bring in qualified leads, and the sales team’s job is to quickly close on them. The goal is to have steady, high-volume sales and a quick onboarding process.
Companies with high prices and technical products that need more training, integration, and customer support are more likely to use the enterprise sales model. The cost of getting a customer is high, and sales cycles can be long.
This sales model has always worked well for a small number of SaaS companies. For the most part, though, enterprise customers aren’t taken into account until the product, sales, customer service, and monthly revenue can handle the high demands.
Before you start marketing to business customers, you should think about:
Enterprise sales require a lot more thought and work than the first two sales models. Self-service and transactional sales are mostly driven by good old-fashioned marketing, but enterprise sales are driven by building and keeping strong long-term relationships. Playing the long game is necessary to close the first deal and grow the relationship into a long-term partnership, but it can pay off the most.
Enterprise sales are where the “real money” lies for your SaaS business. Contracts with enterprise customers can be huge, and although the customer acquisition cost is exponentially higher, the payoff in terms of your revenue and company valuation is too good to be ignored.
The enterprise sales model revolves around nurturing customer relationships, which means longer sales cycles and higher risk than other sales models. Your sales rep is the most important element when it comes to securing and retaining enterprise customers. They must give these top-tier companies personal attention and provide tailored solutions for each one.
Enterprise sales are high-pressure, high-ticket deals. The level of care from your sales team will be instrumental in closing these long-term corporate customers. It’s worth the time and cost investments, as these are the customers that can guarantee the most stability and revenue for your SaaS over the long term.
While a few companies choose an enterprise sales model from the beginning (typically those providing high-value, complex products that justify their hefty price tag), most companies choose to adopt this model when they’ve tested the market and begin to scale up.
How difficult are enterprise sales?
It should be a shock to no one – the larger the sale, the more complex the sales process. Of all the types of sales, enterprise sales are the most lengthy and complicated. It requires more touchpoints, better strategies, and a longer-term plan than traditional SMB sales.
How do enterprise sales work?
Enterprise Sales or complex sales are the ones that involve long sales cycles, multiple decision-makers, and higher levels of risks than traditional sales. To put it simply, Enterprise Sales involves large-scale corporate solutions, and since it takes a long time to close every deal, it comes with its own set of risks.
READ MORE ARTICLES: