Selling to the enterprise can be different than the SMB—but not that different. There are just a few things you’ll need to provide in order to win the hearts, and business, of an enterprise prospect.
Transcript: Hi, I’m Anna Talerico. I get a lot of questions about selling SaaS to the enterprise—what it takes, what to expect, how to do it—and so I thought I would answer a couple of questions about what enterprise customers want from a SaaS. So let’s jump right in.
First, what does “enterprise” even mean? There is no right or wrong definition. I view ‘enterprise’ sales by the characteristics of who you are selling to rather than by contract value or org size. If you have a complex sale that includes multiple stakeholders, a committee, and/or a procurement process, that is an enterprise sale—whether it takes 60 days or 1 year, and whether the average contract value is $36,000 or $360,000.
Enterprise selling means more than one decision maker, longer sales cycles and more requirements to win the deal. Selling to larger companies requires fortitude and resources. There are higher expectations, more requirements, and longer sales cycles.
As wonderful as selling into the enterprise is, it can pull you in lots of directions with requests and requirements. You can be faced with a choice between veering off your product development roadmap to drop everything in support of an enterprise customer’s demands or losing their account. So, here is a short list of what you will need—at a minimum—to satisfy your enterprise prospects and customers.
#1. GDPR compliance is at the top of the list right now and if you don’t have it, your product is likely not going to even be considered. There could be other compliance requirements as well such as HIPAA or PCI depending upon the industry.
#2. Meeting rigorous security requirements. Every large organization has their own requirements, so you can standardize with a set of security features, but there will always be an odd, one-off requirement or hoop to jump through.
#3. Off-the-shelf and custom integrations. Enterprise customers have lots of software and they need it all to work together. They will want to know you have standard integrations with their tech stack, and they may also need custom integrations, or at least an API option. They expect you to have experts to work on the integrations with them and won’t self-navigate through it. Expect to provide a lot of support here.
#4. Reliable uptime, disaster recovery and business continuity. Enterprise customers will want to know you have a reliable uptime track record and the systems in place for disaster recovery and business continuity.
#5. Documented SLAs—service level agreements—usually with some sort of credits that are applied if you don’t meet the SLA. What happens if you do go down? How fast will you respond to an outage, and how quickly will you resolve it? Enterprise customers want these answers in writing and in their contracts.
#6. Possibly account management that goes beyond customer success and reaches into the realm of strategic account management.
And finally, #7. Hopefully, this goes without saying because it applies to all products really. Good usability so the product can be easily adopted by a wide variety of roles and experience levels inside the organization. In a similar vein, they will want great support options and training too.
And those are the main things I have seen as “must haves” when selling to the enterprise. Enterprise customers have bigger expectations than SMB. You can resent that, or you can embrace it. If you resent it, you won’t be selling to the enterprise for long.
Because the enterprise puts considerable work into selecting their vendors, the retention on this cohort can be pretty strong. That’s one of the reasons I think selling and supporting the enterprise customer is worth the extra effort. So, that’s it for now. I hope this was helpful. Thank you so much for watching.