From On-Prem to SaaS – How Has Enterprise Sales Changed?

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” (= The more things change, the more they remain the same.) – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1849 As mentioned in my last blog post, “The Unique Mentality of Top Enterprise Sales Pros”, I recently interviewed a dozen experts on sales-related matters. This group included former CEOs, sales leaders, major-account sales reps, and a headhunter who specializes in hiring for enterprise sales roles including CROs. Besides discussing the special qualities and essential skills to look for in a world-class enterprise sales professional today, I asked them to comment on what’s changed in the enterprise sales business as a result of SaaS replacing on-prem as the predominant business model in software. The gist of this new post is this: While certain aspects related to customer adoption and buying behavior have undoubtedly evolved as have the corresponding strategies and tactics adopted by vendor sales teams, the essential dynamics of engaging with corporate and government customers have remained fairly similar. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, indeed. What’s Changed? As any veteran of tech in the 70s and 80s will recall, during those first few decades adoption of mainframe or minicomputer systems and the corresponding

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B2B SaaS – The Unique Mentality of Top Enterprise Sales Pros

To understand what it takes to achieve exceptional performance in enterprise sales, as opposed to mid-market or SMB sales, I recently interviewed a dozen experts whom I regard as my informal “brains trust” on this topic. This group included three former CEOs; several former major-account execs at global players such as IBM, Cisco, and SAP; a former global sales MD on IBM’s executive leadership team, three B2B SaaS sales leaders, and a headhunter who specializes in hiring sales reps, sales managers, and CROs. Just to set the context, I asked each person to summarize what they perceived to have changed in the SaaS era with respect to the dynamics between vendors and enterprise customers. What’s Changed vs What’s Remained the Same To acknowledge what’s changed since SaaS began to replace the perpetual license business model, suffice to say that, yes, certain aspects of customer buying behavior have indeed changed – such as, for example, prospects getting further along in their consideration and evaluation due to the much greater availability of information online these days. From the vendor’s perspective, the customer engagement process has been de- and re-constructed to reflect a more explicit commitment to customer success and to accommodate more

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B2B Market Strategy – Figuring Out Your ICP Without Needing a PhD

Over the past decade the startup/scaleup world has seen the emergence of a few key business concepts that quickly became three-letter acronyms, such as “PMF”, “MVP”, “PLG” and, more recently, “ICP”. Whereas PMF (Product-Market Fit) and MVP (Minimum Viable Product) – concepts popularized by Eric Ries in “The Lean Startup” – have helped startup founders and their teams to prove out their value propositions in more funding-friendly ways than happened previously, and whereas PLG (Product-Led Growth) has become code for designing consumer-friendly products to virtually sell themselves at lowest possible cost (i.e., without needing a sales team), the task of defining or refining your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) has recently become a recognized high priority for management teams in scaleups and even maturing tech companies. Without a tightly defined ICP, companies struggle with their competitive positioning, often coming across to prospective customers as trying to be all things to all people but great for no one. It also causes some to chase every possible opportunity yet struggle to fulfill any the needs of any one set of customers. Most such companies end up either missing their growth objectives through poorly qualified sales pipelines and/or high customer churn or, in the

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Without Astute Orchestration, No Platform Business Can be Sure of Success

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC By now it is a well-known fact that successful platform businesses enjoy faster growth and (much) greater valuations than more conventional product companies. The most successful players today – Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and Tesla (“AMAAT” for short) – have recently become trillion-dollar businesses. Two more recent players that arose from the ashes of the global financial crisis, AirBnB and Uber, are well on their way to similar status, with market caps at around the $100bn mark. An increasing number of B2B startups and scale-ups are aiming to emulate this success in different industry sectors including finance, energy, transportation and logistics, grocery retail, healthcare, agribusiness, and other sectors where they have identified inefficiencies that a digital platform could eliminate, alongside opportunities to create new value. Among other factors, successful platform business models leverage several key technologies of the past two decades: the internet, smartphone, GPS mapping and navigation, cloud computing, social networking (for identity verification), mobile payment systems, recommendation engines (for reviews and ratings), and big data algorithms to facilitate instant matchmaking of buyers and sellers. But building a successful platform business model requires much more than “just” leveraging modern digital technologies. It’s taken the

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Chasm Group Case Studies: Best Practices for Dutch Entrepreneurs

The Oranjewoud Export Academy is a non-profit academy for entrepreneurs founded by entrepreneurs near Heerenveen, the Netherlands. As part of our engagement with Oranjewoud, we are pleased to share stories from Dutch entrepreneurs  on how they applied best practices from Chasm Group’s vast body of work documented in various books by our chairman emeritus, Geoffrey Moore. The first video shows how Jetzte Botma, former CEO of Kiestra Lab Automation (now owned by Becton Dickinson) decided the right Go-To-Market Strategy for his lab automation system that he and his team co-created with three customers from Denmark, Germany and the UK. His “aha” moment came when he read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. See for yourself how Jetze and his team applied the concepts for Kiestra. The second video shows how Gerrit Baarda, co-founder of ZiuZ, leveraged their technology “crown jewels” based on visual intelligence into various winning offers and value propositions to build market leadership positions with law enforcement agencies and pharmacies around the world. Gerrit and his CEO Bert Garlich applied the Four Zones concepts detailed in Moore’s book, Zone to Win, to ensure their company was set up for success. These videos are meant to inspire entrepreneurs by

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B2B SaaS – One Business Model, but Three Distinct Sales Motions

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC Synopsis: Why are churn rates in B2B SaaS companies so high, and why is expansion in major accounts so haphazard? For whatever reason, management teams wildly over-invest in their Land strategies while dramatically under-investing in their Expand opportunities, as well as in the support and education efforts required to ensure that customers Renew. Perhaps part of the problem is the lack of suitable models and best practices for managing each of the three corresponding sales motions. I hope this article provides some pointers to help teams redress this chronic imbalance. I chose the image for this article, highlighting the different dynamics surrounding customer acquisition vs. customer expansion, because it points to a persistent, chronic misalignment in the vast majority of B2B tech companies today between management rhetoric and action. As I’ll demonstrate, renewal is another area where resources are mis-aligned and a different approach is required. CEOs, CMOs, CROs, and CCOs may talk a good game about investing in “customer success” but what their actions actually tell us is that they prioritize only what they believe to serve their own success in racking up new logos and new ARR. The provocation in the “not equal”

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How to Craft a World-Class Mission Statement

This content originally appeared on Koan.co and features Chasm Group Managing Director, Tom Kippola. An interview with Tom Kippola of the Chasm Group about the importance of mission statements and how to create your own At Koan, we’re big believers in centering your work in your mission. Our own is to “help every team achieve their purpose”. We’re pretty passionate about that idea of purposeful work because we think there’s a profound opportunity to create more fulfilling and productive work environments for everyone. But it all starts with your mission. I recently sat down with Tom Kippola, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Chasm Group, to talk about how to craft a great mission statement for your company. Tom has helped hundreds of companies achieve strategic breakthroughs through his consulting work. And that work often starts with writing down the mission, sometimes for the very first time. Here are some of the key insights learned from the conversation (interview lightly edited for clarity). What is a company mission statement and why is it important to have one? A mission statement is the “why”. And the vision statement is the “what”. So, the mission is why a company exists other than to make money.

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Tech competition is time-based: Why alignment and purpose are critical

This content originally appeared on the Get Amplified Podcast and features Chasm Group Managing Director, Paul Wiefels. Paul Wiefels, is a Master of GoToMarket strategy for the Tech Industry, we caught up with him to find out what should tech companies be focusing on in 2021. Paul shares how there is such little difference between technology offerings from tech companies in the same category and how aligning and motivating the troops is the key to success. In a nutshell it is all about Speed to Market. This is a not to be missed episode.

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Likely Winners & Losers in the Covid Vaccine Tornado

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC Every day since late last year the media has reported on Covid vaccine rollouts to a global audience anxious to gain protection against Covid-19. The early running indicated that the Oxford-Astra Zeneca alliance, would grab the lead, with the pure-play MRNA companies, Biontech (backed by Pfizer) and Moderna following close behind. Then there’s J&J, which employs a similar technology to that of Oxford-AZ. Which vaccine technology and which company stand to win out in the end? I know where I’m putting my money… For the past year the world has waited anxiously for confirmation that newly developed Covid vaccines will help restore some level of normalcy to our daily lives. Clearly there’s nothing like a major existential threat to concentrate the minds of scientists, microbiologists, chemists, pharmaceutical companies, execs, healthcare systems, and governments – let alone each one of us citizens – to find a solution to a global pandemic that to date has infected 125m people and killed almost 3m. In the past six months or so we’ve seen astounding progress in vaccine launches and initial vaccination programs in certain countries, particularly in Israel, the UAE, the UK and the U.S. Every day brings

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B2B SaaS – Why Sales Teams Fail to Land Larger Deals

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.” – Albert Einstein “The problem is not the problem, the problem is the way we see the problem.” – Saji Ijiyemi, Don’t Die Sitting In my work with CEOs and their teams in B2B SaaS scaleups as well as mid-sized and larger companies I am constantly surprised by how many of their sales teams are closing small deals of $50k or so in ARR with enterprise-level organizations instead of developing much larger opportunities. One consequence of this apparent lack of ambition is a much slower growth rate for the company, and another is that it can take twice as long to build a profitable revenue engine. In fact, I believe this is partly why B2B SaaS companies tend to take a decade or more to build a profitable revenue stream. In some cases, this problem occurs because AEs are spending much of their time selling to middle management or even lower — whether in IT, line functions, or procurement — to address tactical problems or respond to RFPs. In other cases, it

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