Welcome to the DataFox Blog

How to *Really* Sell into The Enterprise

Selling into enterprises is what levels up a SaaS business. But if you’ve only done SMB deals, it can be daunting. In this panel, Becky Brown, VP of marketing and communications at Intel; Lacey Bell, AVP of enterprise sales and digital marketing at Adobe; and Rodman Likes, AVP of marketing and cloud sales of Adobe, talk about the biggest mistakes startups make when selling into enterprise, and how they like to be sold to.

DataFox provides summaries of every single panel at SaaStr 2016, all published within a day of the panel itself. If you miss the tactical theater or strategy stage, are networking on the ground, or didn’t get a chance to attend this great conference, we’ve got you covered.

View all SaaStr 2016 panel summaries

Special thanks to Jason Lemkin of SaaStr for putting on this conference and giving us the chance to publish these summaries.

In a nutshell:

  • Account executives should be the primary point of contact for the customer, but every voice on the team should be heard internally.
  • Cold calls and emails just don’t work.
  • Be upfront. If yours isn’t the best solution, say so. If you promise to deliver on a certain date, make sure you can do it.

Q: How do you like to be sold to?

Brown: People often wrongly assume that enterprises don’t want to be sold to. They do – they just only want to be sold things that solve massive business problems.

Bell: Don’t ask about your prospect’s goals, needs and challenges. Do your homework and have that (along with other information gleaned from your network) figured out beforehand. Don’t plan a daylong session that only needed to take an hour.

Q: What are some key mistakes you’ve seen when selling into enterprises?

Bell: People asking what other products she uses, what she does, and who her target market is.

Likes: Trying to sell to one person. The days of a single decision-maker are gone.

Brown: Not coming in with a clear integration plan. Yours isn’t the only tool being used, and they aren’t going to listen if they’ll have to spend tons of time making your product play nicely with everything else.

Q: How do you sell in teams? What does a good team look like?

Likes: The AE is quarterbacking a lot of different resources. There may be anywhere from two to 10 people in a given meeting. Internally, they may step back and figure out the pain point; it’s the AE’s job then to communicate that to the customer. The AE is in charge of both internal and external communication.

Bell: Make sure that the AE and the team has their listening ears on, and make sure everyone’s heard in debriefs. Try to find the best solution for the customer – even if it’s not your product. Have the AE guide the conversation, but make sure everyone is heard.

When’s the last time you picked up a cold call or email?

Brown: Never.

Bell: Never.

(Aside: This makes a clear case for account-based sales development, covered in another panel.)

Q: Any last tips?

Brown: Do what you say you’re going to do. 90% of startups overpromise. We develop quarterly roadmaps based on conversations with our sellers. If you say you’re going to deliver in Q2, you’d better deliver in Q2.

Check out all of our SaaStr panel summaries here, follow us on Twitter at @datafoxco to see live tweets of the event, and visit SaaStr itself for more great content.