Enterprise SaaS: If you must hire sales people….by@kennyfraser1746
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1,414 reads

Enterprise SaaS: If you must hire sales people….

by Kenny Fraser8mJanuary 10th, 2016
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I need to admit something. I have a problem with pure sales people. I have met some real nice ones. But the model just doesn’t sit with me. I worked all my life in professional services. Built on the principle that you must do AND sell. No separation. It is true that my former firm did hire the occasional pure “sales” person. It never worked. Those people did not add value. And our professionals did not value them.<br>&nbsp;<br>I like to think of services in the words of a good friend of mine “We are all selling a little bit.” Hairdressers, plumbers, accountants, bankers. All services where the sale depends on people as well as the service delivered.<br>&nbsp;<br>I have also had the experience of building global partnerships. Alliances between professional services and clients/ partners with strong and successful direct sales models. This mix never worked in the real world.<br>&nbsp;<br>Sales people are great at selling a product but not at delivering a service. For me this creates an inherent conflict in SaaS.<br>&nbsp;<br>One consequence is a negative reaction to the wall of advice out there on how to more, organise and reward SaaS sales teams. I specifically hate the word quota. With a vengeance. All this material seems to be driven by an inherent assumption. That the the model for direct sales in traditional software companies is not broken. The advice and recommendations and even the basic language have this imprint. They bear an uncanny resemblance to the words you will hear inside Oracle or HP or whoever.<br>&nbsp;<br>This led me to work on a post called something like “Why you will never need sales in SaaS.” I have had versions of this kicking around for a while. But I realise that nothing in any of them is helpful or constructive.<br>&nbsp;<br>So let me try a different approach. Some SaaS companies will end up with a product which is best for large enterprises, government organisations and the like. The buying process in these customers is complex. The culture is unique and often challenging. Such sales need real people to spend time with the customer. Logic says that hiring people to engage with these customers will be necessary. For some SaaS companies at least.<br>&nbsp;<br>In my career I have worked with some of the best services sales people in the world. As leader I have been in charge of teams of professionals across the world. Generating billions of dollars of revenue. What have I learned? Below are a handful of truths. Things that work. Or at least reduce the risk of failure. This is not a system of success. But I hope it will be helpful if you are trying to build a SaaS sales capability.

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Kenny Fraser

Kenny Fraser

@kennyfraser1746

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