Mastering enterprise software sales for early-stage companies

Mastering enterprise software sales for early-stage companies

With the commoditization of marketing channels (search, social, display, etc) within a handful of platforms -  paid marketing de facto became a commodity. Not to say there is nothing to do in marketing anymore, but getting first leads though might be costly, it is not the main challenge.

Doing first sales on the hand is something of an art. There is no real playbook on how to do it right. It is all experimentation. The only real thing that one must keep in mind is how does it take to iterate through the process to get better economics. However, there are couple ways startups attack the problem:

Traditional approach:

  1. Collect leads from landing pages/outbound campaigns
  2. Web sales pitch/ demo product on dummy numbers
  3. Progress with 2nd /3rd demo / close interested accounts

The only thing really changed in the last several years is the segmentation of sales into a "henry ford process". Nowadays marketing people are responsible for generating sales qualifying (SQL) and initial demos while accounting managers (AM) do the closing process and sometimes customer success (CS), bigger firms separate CS into separate departments.

But even with the segmentation of S&M into the factory-like machine, going through the funnel for enterprises is a highly lengthy process with up to 12-24 months.

Sales ready approach:

  1. Sell the one simple pain point and shortly explain you will remove it before collecting them as a lead.
  2. Demo product on real customer data to show customer' buy-in gain to engage them and gain trust
  3. close interested accounts

Building the buy-in demo usually means achieving:

  • zero delays in setup costs
  • using real customer's data
  • getting the wow factor with visualization
  • almost instantaneous untaped $ opportunity / saved costs for the customer

All of this result in changing the paradigm shift from exploring to wanting your product and significantly shortening sales cycles. Reducing sales cycles even few months can mean up to several percentages of captable when counting expensive enterprise sales reps and might reduce the need to raise seed extension.

Both are proven sales models and still employ the traditional approach, SRP though takes a bit longer to develop the sales-ready product before you can sell it, it pays off as you scale.

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