When we founded sales-i, one of our underlying tenets was to deliver a new breed of sales intelligence services exclusively on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Now many would see this as a no-brainer. After all, Gartner, as some of the most respected global analysts, had been forecasting stupendous growth in this deployment model for some years. The chickens are now definitely coming home to roost as more than 80% of organizations now consider SaaS as a low risk, pay as you go approach to buying software.The appeal of procuring software on a monthly subscription basis is growing all the time, as organizations wake up to the associated low cost of ownership, and rapid speed to market in deploying new functionality. Vendors too can look to a future of more reliable and forecastable revenues and feel less vulnerable to market changes.
Is it easy to switch to SaaS?
So, is it really the simple to switch from a product sale to a service sale? Or do vendors need to address gaps in their sales training or indeed consider recruiting a different type of salesman altogether?
For me, the sales process is completely different in the SaaS world, and not all salespeople will make the switch that easily. The theory behind SaaS is build, manage, deliver, support and sell – and to do all of this remotely. In reality, customers buy because they trust. Although the trust may not come from a face-to-face meeting, as most SaaS sales are conducted over the web and phone.
This is a new dimension for the traditional enterprise software sales rep that now needs to sell a long-term relationship that will be tested over time rather than a one-off product sale. Equally, the SaaS sales model demands more deals per sales rep at a lower value per sale. Sales compensation plans take this longer-term view too, often recognising the initial sale made but further rewarding increases in account value over time. So, the one off ‘glory sale’ and its associated commission, is no more.
This is not a transition that every ‘enterprise software’ sales rep will take to easily. As we expand our SaaS sales force here at sales-i, we are always looking to develop and nurture salespeople who can adapt to ‘service based selling’, which is all about purpose and passion and the ability to sell conceptually.