Getting enterprises to adopt SaaS startup products……

Just replied to a Quora question on “What makes leading Enterprises/Companies adopt SaaS?” I thought might be good to share my two cents here as well. I’ve expanded more thoughts and my current company’s example at the end.

Below is some modified abstract from my answer.

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In the enterprise settings, it normally takes 4–6 touch points before the final decision makers make the call. Put things in context, I sold SaaS products to Salespeople, PR & Marketing pros, startup owners. Mostly in North Asia, since culture matters (will touch on this), it’s good to let you know where I come from.

2 keys, all SaaS products should serve either one or both purposes of A) Revenue generating; and B) Operation Efficiency.

Generally, you will encounter 1) Users and 2) Buyers that matter the most.

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1) Work with Users:

  • [Usually] Operation Efficiency matters.
  • They care about UI and UX
  • They know the real influence of your product, whether your product is helpful.
  • Feedback to understand your product’s potential impact to that particular organization.
  • Get the insider news here — budget cycle, politics, the real decision maker (e.g. Boss’s son) etc.
  • Get them on your end and their endorsement of your product.
  • Make them your champion, to help you co-sell to their boss.
    This is what many tech conferences have been doing. Building a landing page full of info to lure the techies about a Cloud Server or things in that nature, then attach a letter or certificate for the reader to download, so as to convince the boss to pay for the trip.

2) Work with Buyers:

  • [Usually] Revenue generation matters
  • They care about figures, ROI, budgets investment.
  • Talk to them in the right tones and context set up based on the info gathered previously.
  • Basic info should be known by now (e.g. budget cycle). Gather high-level insights like their strategic 3-year plan, how your company can fit in.
  • Be objective to compare all the competitors or go a step further to help them think of how the vendors can all work together for them.
  • Shout out to the endorsements from the users. Let them know that, no matter how effective or cheap the product is, if their users don’t like nor use them, Buyers eventually will have to find a replacement.

All in all, aligning interest with parties is key. Depending on your product, for my experience, selling to salespeople can easily align all folks since they all wanna exceed targets, whereas selling to PR folks will be different as the management wants ROI while users wanna save time only.

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Culture matters:

Selling in Hong Kong, China (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen), Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, UK (London), the US (SF) are all very different.

Each city (not even on the country level), has different rules that apply to different industries.

On the surface, their tech adoption rate, government policy, company hierarchy is one. On the other side, where do they like to talk about business, company and personal interest. All took some time to figure out.

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Our company, Maven Access, was originally a freelancer platform for content writers in Asia. We set out to help marketers save cost and time when finding local marketing experts.

However, we found that most people got stuck in the planning stage, and a platform wasn’t enough for them.

Thus, we are launching new AI tools based on NLP (Natural Language Processing) for marketers and owners and we let some early users use the beta version for now.

We aim at saving their time and help them to perform marketing based on science but not just guesses. It will be a subscription-based SaaS product, ideally, we want to address both Keys mentioned above of A) Revenue generation and B) Operation Efficiency.

Effectively for the marketing department to predict better ROI and save time.

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To fellow SaaS founders,

After speaking with many new leads recently, my approach may not work for all but was to be super niche. I boiled down a list of prospects that are both Buyer and User. In my case, (Regional) Managers for big corporates, Directors for agencies and startups. I wish to save some discovery time by doing so yet I had to spend much time researching or asking for warm referrals.

→ Not good for growing a sales for the stable product, but works well for testing a new market.

Many early users now agree to use our products have the bargaining power to make the hammer call too.



Saving time for marketers and return the control back to workers.

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