Traditional Sales Model and Enterprise Software Sales

By Neil Smith

The classical sales models were build in the manufacturing era. Thus they were build to sell items like books, cars and FMCG products. In the heart of the classical sales models lies three main components:

  • Quotas – created as a target number to derive the best output from people and territories
  • Territories – created to increase coverage and ensure sanity in terms of travel
  • Commissions – this along with a fixed monthly retainer constituted the salary

Does it work for enterprise software sales today?

Probably no! Since the buying process for enterprise software is different.

  • More informed buyers – with the advent of the internet age information is easily accessible. Chances are your prospects would know about your product and service even before they start a conversation with you. So instead of sales reps more and more enterprise buyers would now want to talk to partners whose advice they can trust. The new age mantra is “don’t tell me about your product or service just show we how you’ll solve my pain areas”
  • The rise of inbound marketing – when it comes to marketing paradigms most enterprise software marketing teams now rely on inbound marketing instead of outbound marketing. Your prospects now discover your products via search engines etc. Thus web content like case studies, product videos and blog posts can help your customers understand your product better even before they get on a call with you. In a nutshell inbound marketing helps prospects self select and reject products and services
  • The way enterprise software is setup after buying – more often than not, enterprise software is part of a big solution and has to work with exiting pieces of the puzzle. A solution is sum of parts a company may have bought from one or many vendors. These days most companies are getting good at a couple of things due to fast pace of innovation. This leaves customers searching for a collection of good quality software that work well together
  •  Sales is no longer the task of sales – as software products and services grow more and more complex sales isn’t just dependent on the sales department per se. Most times product management and R & D work together with sales to create a custom solution for the prospect. This happens even before a purchase commitment is made
  • Buyers across geographies – in today’s distributed and truly international world it’s quite possible that a lead generated from US would have the decision makers residing in UK. This presents your sales team with quite a few unique challenges

Have more to add? Leave us with your thoughts via comments below.

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