In the evolving tech world, the SaaS market has grown rapidly, going from $31.4 billion in 2015 to a huge $161.7 billion in 2022. That's more than five times bigger in just seven years. Further, a report says the market could reach $197 billion by 2023. This growth is fueled by enterprises turning to cloud-based solutions, leading to more investment and innovation.
This shift also creates opportunities for vendors in the enterprise SaaS sales process space. But what does it take to succeed in this competitive arena? How can you navigate the complexities and come out on top? Here, we'll walk you through the key steps in the sales process for SaaS, explaining its challenges. We’ll also highlight the best practices for enterprise SaaS sales. Let’s begin.
Unpacking the SaaS Sales Process
The SaaS sales process is all about solving problems and creating value for your customers. While the specific steps of each organisation’s sales process can vary, the core principles remain the same. Here, we break down the key stages of the SaaS sales process:
Igniting Customer Curiosity
The first step in any enterprise SaaS sales process is to pique the interest of potential customers. This often involves targeted marketing campaigns, social media engagement, or cold outreach.
The goal is to create awareness about your product and generate curiosity. You want to answer the question, "What can this software do for me?" in a way that resonates with your target audience. By igniting curiosity, you're attracting qualified leads who enter the sales process as educated leads, asking the right questions and moving the sales process swiftly forward.
Highlighting Product’s Value
Once you've captured the attention of your prospects, showcase what your product can do. This is where product demos, webinars, or interactive tutorials come into play. The focus should be on how your product solves specific problems or how it benefits the buyer’s organisation.
You want to make it abundantly clear how your software stands out from the competition and why it's the best solution for the customer's needs.
Fostering Long-Term Engagement
The final, and perhaps most crucial, step in the enterprise SaaS sales process is building long-term relationships with your customers. This goes beyond just closing a sale. It involves onboarding, customer support, and regular check-ins to ensure that the product is meeting the client's expectations.
In the SaaS world, and especially in the current economic climate, customer retention is often more valuable than customer acquisition, so fostering long-term engagement is key. This could mean offering personalised training sessions, creating customer-specific content, or providing timely and effective customer service.
What Is Enterprise Sales?
Enterprise sales refer to the process of selling goods or services to large organisations, typically involving high-value, complex deals that require a customised approach. Unlike selling to individual consumers or small businesses, enterprise sales often involve multiple stakeholders, longer sales cycles, and a greater emphasis on relationship-building.
Let's delve into what an enterprise sales process typically looks like:
Initial Research and Targeting
The enterprise SaaS sales process often starts with meticulous research to identify potential clients who would most benefit from the product. This involves understanding the industry, the challenges faced by enterprises, and how your SaaS solution can address those challenges. The aim is to create a hyper-targeted list of prospects.
Lead Qualification and Discovery
Enterprise sales lead qualification and discovery are crucial steps in the sales process for organisations targeting large, complex clients. During lead qualification, sales teams assess whether a potential prospect meets the criteria for becoming a viable customer, considering factors such as budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT).
Following this, the discovery phase involves in-depth research and conversations to uncover the prospect's unique pain points, objectives, and challenges. These early stages not only help sales professionals determine the prospect's fit for their solution but also lay the foundation for a tailored sales approach that addresses the prospect's specific needs, ultimately increasing the chances of a successful enterprise-level sale.
Sales representatives often need to engage with multiple stakeholders within an organisation, from technical experts to C-level executives. This stage involves a lot of networking, often facilitated by LinkedIn or industry events, and may include initial exploratory meetings to understand the needs and pain points of the enterprise.
Unlike smaller deals where an out-of-the-box solution might suffice, the enterprise SaaS sales process often requires customised solutions. The proposal will outline how your product meets the specific needs of the enterprise, often supported by case studies, testimonials, and ROI calculations.
Negotiation and Closing
Enterprise sales usually involve complex negotiations and compliance checks. Terms of service, pricing, customization capabilities, and support options are all on the table. This is a collaborative process, often involving legal teams from both sides. Once an agreement is reached, the deal is closed, but that's not the end.
Ongoing Support and Upselling
Closing the deal is just the beginning of the enterprise relationship. Ongoing support and account management are crucial for customer satisfaction and retention. Additionally, successful implementation can lead to upselling opportunities or expanded contracts within different departments of the enterprise.
What is Your Average Deal Cycle?
The average sales cycle for enterprise software can vary widely depending on the industry, the complexity of the solution, and the size of the enterprise. However, as per Hubspot, the sales cycle can last up to 84 days. This extended timeframe is often due to the multiple layers of decision-making and approval processes that are typical in large organisations.
5 Factors Influencing the Length of an Enterprise SaaS Sales Cycle?
The key factors that influence its length and complexity serve as the backbone of your sales strategy, dictating how you approach, and ultimately close deals. Let's explore them in detail.
1. The Complexity of the Solution
The more complex your SaaS solution is, the longer it will take for potential clients to evaluate it. Complex solutions often require multiple demos, technical evaluations, and possibly even pilot programs. All of these extend the length of the sales cycle.
2. Enterprise Size and Structure
Due to the nature of large organisations, any purchase decision involves multiple stakeholders, which means more approvals and more steps involved in the decision-making process. This can significantly extend the sales cycle as each stakeholder will have their own questions, concerns, and requirements.
3. Regulatory and Compliance Requirements
In industries like healthcare, finance, and government, there are often strict regulatory and compliance requirements that must be met. This can lengthen the sales cycle as legal teams get involved to ensure that the SaaS solution complies with all relevant laws and regulations.
4. Budget Approval Process
Even if the stakeholders are convinced that your solution is perfect, they still need to get budget approval. This can be a lengthy process, involving multiple departments and rounds of negotiations, especially if the investment is significant.
5. Competitive Landscape
If there are multiple vendors offering similar solutions, enterprises may take extra time to evaluate different options. This competitive landscape can prolong the sales cycle as companies perform detailed comparisons and cost-benefit analyses.
What is the Difference Between Enterprise and SMB SaaS Sales Models?
While both models aim to solve customer problems and create value, the methods and strategies employed can be quite different. Let's explore what sets these two sales models apart:
5 Best Practices of Enterprise SaaS Sales
Here are five best practices that can guide you toward success in enterprise SaaS sales:
1. Deeply Understand the Customer's Business Needs
Before you can effectively sell your solution, you need to understand the specific challenges and needs of the enterprise you're targeting. This involves thorough research into their industry, business model, and pain points. The more you understand about the customer's business, the better you can tailor your sales pitch and product offering to meet their unique needs.
2. Build Strong Relationships
In enterprise sales, relationships are key. You're not just selling a product; you're building a partnership. This involves engaging with multiple stakeholders within the organisation, from technical experts to C-suite executives. Building strong relationships not only helps in closing the initial sale but also sets the stage for long-term engagement and potential upselling opportunities.
3. Provide Value Through Education
Enterprise buyers are often well-informed and have high expectations. They're not just looking for a product; they're looking for a solution that brings value to their organisation. One way to demonstrate this value is through education. Whether it's through webinars, whitepapers, or personalised consultations, educating your prospects can position you as a thought leader and trusted advisor in the field.
4. Leverage Data and Analytics
In today's digital age, data is invaluable. Utilising data analytics can provide insights into customer behavior, market trends, and sales performance. This data can be leveraged to refine your sales strategy, personalise your marketing efforts, and ultimately, close more deals. Tools like CRM systems and analytics platforms can be particularly useful in this regard.
5. Offer a Scalable and Flexible Solution
Enterprises are looking for solutions that can grow with them. Offering a scalable and flexible product not only meets the immediate needs of the enterprise but also assures them that the solution will continue to serve them as they expand. Flexibility in terms of customization and integration capabilities can also be a strong selling point.
How Demoboost Transforms Enterprise SaaS Sales Process?
It's clear that the SaaS landscape is evolving, and so should your strategies. A key shift we're seeing is the role of product demos in the sales process for SaaS.
This brings us to Demoboost, a revolutionary product demo software designed specifically for revenue teams selling to enterprise clients. It aims to revolutionise the buyer experience, supercharge your sales journeys, and scale your go-to-market strategies. Here's how:
1. Enhanced Buyer Understanding: One of the core strengths of Demoboost lies in its ability to deeply understand the buyer. Through interactive demos hosted on a website, enterprise buyers receive valuable education about a product or solution. These micro demos can also serve as discussion starters during the discovery phase. By using them as a springboard for conversation, sales teams can expand the buyer's perspective, helping them articulate their needs and uncover requirements they might not have been aware of initially.
2. Relationship Building: Building rapport with prospective clients is a critical aspect of successful sales. Demoboost allows sales teams to initiate this process even before meeting face-to-face. Through personalised video messages in interactive demos and invitations to visit LinkedIn profiles, the sales team can establish credibility and trust, setting a positive tone for the entire sales journey.
3. Fostering Curiosity: Demoboost's ability to showcase a series of smaller demos keeps prospects intrigued. It provides just enough information to satisfy initial curiosity but leaves them wanting to know more. For instance, once prospects understand what a company offers, they naturally want to delve deeper into how it works. This curiosity-driven tension can significantly accelerate the deal velocity, as prospects eagerly seek more information.
4. Speeding Up the Sales Process: Demoboost equips sales teams with ready-to-use demo galleries. Prospects no longer need to wait for scheduled demos; they can access the information they desire instantly and on-demand. This increased efficiency not only saves time but also aligns with the modern buyer's preference for self-guided exploration.
5. Stakeholder Mapping: In complex enterprise sales, identifying and engaging with key stakeholders within a prospect's organisation is often challenging. Demoboost simplifies this process through the built-in virality of interactive demos. Sales teams can discover and gain access to stakeholders, initiating conversations to understand their objections and tailor their pitches accordingly.
Book a Demo to Witness the Power of Demoboost in Enterprise SaaS Sales