This isn’t about sales strategy. This is about the hoops you need to jump through to win the enterprise deal. Here’s what the enterprise customer is going to expect from your SaaS.
Transcript: Hi, I’m Anna Talerico. last week I posted a video about what enterprise customers want from a SaaS. The flip side of that equation, of course, is what a SaaS company should do to win and retain an enterprise customer.
If you want to sell to enterprise customers, you need to find the balance between meeting their needs and not getting your entire company off course to do so. There is an art to meeting enterprise customer requirements and optimizing your company to serve all customers equally at the same time. Here are a few guidelines I have found helpful.
#1. First, expect, and be OK with custom contracts, terms & conditions. Most enterprise buyers require lengthy contracts (60+ pages in some cases!), with custom terms and conditions that may initially be outside of your comfort zone. You will need to be ok with signing their contracts (which are often called Master Service Agreements). Don’t worry—you will be offered the opportunity to redline their agreements in order to request changes to certain terms that are important to you. Be flexible, creative and honest to get through the master service agreement process with an enterprise customer.
#2. Security and compliance. Without great security and compliance features, your product is a non-starter. However, in my experience no enterprise expects you to pass every part of their security assessment with flying colors. There are certain hard-and-fast requirements, but others are ‘nice to have’ for them. It’s important to just answer security reviews honestly and have a dialog about what you can and can’t commit to. In my experience, almost all security requirements of the enterprise are pretty reasonable, and they protect everyone—you, and your entire customer base as well. But, I should warn you, I’ve seen security assessments that start with 500+ questions. Brace yourself, because that just comes with the territory.
#3. Feature development that can be used by large segments of your customer base. Enterprise customers may ask for features and functionality that your SMB customers don’t. Regardless of where the feature request comes from, the lens to consider it through is: does it apply to more than just one customer? Is it a feature that’s requested often? Can it be valuable to a broad segment of your customer base? One-off requests are hard to justify, hard to execute and hard to roll out. But requests that apply to multiple accounts or customer segments, or one that comes up frequently, should be given serious consideration, even if it wasn’t on your original product development roadmap.
#4. Account management. Enterprise customers aren’t used to DIY, self-service solutions. They need more hand-holding to get off the ground and on an ongoing basis. Consider a layer of customer success managers that understand this and build deeper, more strategic relationships with your enterprise customers. You will want this level of account management in order to land and expand an enterprise account, so it’s a win-win for you and for your customer.
If you set up your approach to sales and ongoing management in a balanced way, you will find it very rewarding to have enterprise customers. I have said “yes” to many big company demands. But I have said “no” more often, and still rarely lost an enterprise deal.
It’s OK for them to ask for anything and everything and it’s equally OK for you to be upfront about what you can and can’t do. The most important thing is to not overcommit or overextend yourself, and not to enter into contractual obligations you can’t honor. So, that is it. I hope this was helpful. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about selling enterprise SaaS, and thank you so much for watching!