Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Disrupt the Damn Enterprise Sales Cycle

If you want to disrupt something meaningful, disrupt the damned enterprise sales cycle!

Seriously, I have been living through the hell of enterprise sales for the last 5 years and there's one thing I just don't understand. Why does it take a year to get enterprise software approved and deployed? Maybe a year didn't really mean anything to an enterprise 30 years ago, but today a startup can put you out of business in a year... an economy can collapse in a year... a nation can dissolve into chaos in a year!

We don't have time to wait around for you to get all your signatures. We don't have time for you to get your budgets in order. We don't have time to get IT approval. The world is moving too fast.

Someone needs to make it faster and easier to get game-changing software into the enterprise. Is that someone going to be me? I sure am going to try and I hope you'll help me.

Here's my plan:

1. Scale down the size of the solutions - One of the largest hurdles to enterprise sales is getting all the stakeholders together. If you can remove the number of stakeholders you can simplify the buying process. I was at a conference today and one of the presenters was talking about how important it is to get Marketing, Sales, HR, the exec team and the sales enablement team all involved in the purchase and rollout of their software. Are you kidding me? If your solution requires that much alignment, maybe you're trying to solve too many problems.

2. Solve tiny problems - Rather than solving all the mission-critical problems in an organization in one software package, try solving tiny problems that add up to a significant impact. Why is this important? Because you reduce the fear of failure and lower the risk of deploying your product.

3. Incremental Impact - In the movie, "The Martian" there's a cool line. He says, "Solve one problem, then solve the next." I like this because it should be true for enterprise software, too. If you scale down the size of your solution, solve tiny problems and produce incremental impact, you can solve one problem at a time, for one stakeholder at a time, and add up to massive impact on the organization.

4. Impact the end users - Most enterprise software solves problems for the wrong people. You buy a content management system to secure your enterprise content, not to help end users do their job faster. You buy Salesforce so management can track pipeline, not so your reps can sell more. The list goes on. Instead, try making software so the end users can be more productive... and of course make it secure, and allow management reporting, but that's secondary. Get software into the hands of the end users who will use it immediately.

This is my plan. If we can create software that solves tiny problems and produces incremental impact for the end users, and if we can make it easy to use and easy to buy, I think we can destroy the enterprise sales cycle completely.

What do you think? Are you with me?

Let's Radi8

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