If you’re still selling enterprise software circa 2010, you’re in for a rude awakening.
As a former sales exec at one of the big old school tech vendors, I can still remember the voice of one of my twenty seven sales managers (because for some reason, that’s how many sales managers one needs to report to) tell me: “Remember Rajen: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
Translation: Don’t worry if you’re not a product or industry expert, it really isn’t a necessity to succeed in your job as a sales rep. Chances are your prospect doesn’t know too much about your product landscape, and as long as you know just enough, you’ll be the domain expert in the room (i.e. during a sales meeting). That should be enough to convey the general value proposition of your product and close the deal.
Okay I admit I’ve left out some of the details here; like having a good sales engineer to help get the ‘technical sale’, and having a fairly large expense budget (for fancy dinners, hockey games and golf rounds) to help with “relationship building.” But for the most part, that’s really the broken world of enterprise software sales. Or at least that’s how it used to be just a few years ago. Now there are few big changes taking place, which is why I’m more bullish than ever on enterprise software startups.
Relationship selling (on its own) is dying — After you come back from your tech conference in Vegas, take a look in the mirror: do you feel like Don Draper from Mad Men? Did you just spend $1500 wining and dining a prospective customer to try and help build the relationships? Unfortunately, the decision maker that bought from you because of the “relationship” you had built using your AMEX over the years is fading away. Here are a few reasons why:
Just to be clear here, I’m not suggesting that relationship selling doesn’t work. I think that making an investment in building long term relationships with your customers is absolutely good business. Solid relationships can help reduce churn and increase customer success, but it fundamentally has to start with creating value.
Sales people should try to be good business partners first that eventually become friends, instead of trying to force a business partnership out of a fake friendship.
Enterprise SaaS startups: this is your moment, pick up the phone and go kick some ass.
Are you still selling enterprise software circa 2010? Do you find it difficult to keep up with all the new names popping up in your space? Yup I’ve been there, and yes you should be scared. These new names might be a joke to you now, but they’re going to start eating your dinner too (because they’re already eating your lunch). Enterprise software startups, the ball is in your court — go make the sale. The Fortune 500 that used to laugh at your makeshift garage operation, is finally ready to see what you’ve built and hear what you have to say. Your giant competitors have built massive marketing machines centered around buzzwords like “innovation,” but in reality they’re too busy dealing with internal problems of epic proportions to actually compete with you.
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!
OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly