Since 2011, iChannel has been consulting and coaching companies to reach their goals in the Software As A Service(SaaS) world. We caught up with Bart van der Horst an expert in sales and corporate strategy, at iChannel and Winning by Design, to learn about Sales as a Science and where the marketplace is heading.
What is Winning by Design?
Winning by Design is “headquartered” in the Bay Area with team members around the world. Our roots come from advising and collaborating with high-growth startups and mid-market SaaS companies, and we now help global enterprise organizations apply those best practices to achieve sustainable growth. We help create a sales process for SaaS companies. Guiding them in remote sales, figuring out which playbooks they need, create those playbooks, and design organizational structures to help ISV’s scale in this current marketplace.
Sales as a Science, not just a service. We believe Sales is not a martial art but can be captured in a process. It can be organized in a way where it becomes predictable, controllable, and as a consequence, scalable. Cutting it up into land and expand motions, with clear and defined steps, and even clearer conversion rates in time and success.
Teaching companies how to use an indirect route to channel as a software company or SaaS company but also changing from an on-premise sales organization to an online sales organization. iChannel and Winning by Design work very closely together.
How are ISVs adapting to the subscription economy?
SaaS is the new norm, you could argue. Many SaaS companies have adopted subscription-based licensing models. We have seen big brand names like Microsoft pushed to a new way of licensing their software. The challenge for a lot of those ‘legacy’ perpetual licensing companies is that you have risk of losing quite some revenue (an more importantly cash) in the transformation. The complexity for quite a few of those companies comes with eh channel. By utilizing their partner community to introduce and deploy the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) model and maintaining a two-tier distribution model they are able to successfully adopt this new trend.
What is the conversation that ISVs and channel players have with the market together?
When the ISV and channel partners talk to the markets they will have discussions around what does customer success looks like, what challenges can we help overcome, what impact can we deliver. How can we help you have impact and grow your business in the future. How can we get impact at the customer’s customer and as a consequence a return on the investments?
How do ISVs stay connected to customers and nurture those relationships?
We are moving away from trying to constantly sell people things. I think people are looking for impact and they are trying to solve a specific business problem. And if you have a solution that can help them overcome a certain challenge you have to show them that you can deliver that impact.
And once you have done that people will want to have more of the benefits. Customer success is really important because if you have a sales organization that is overselling than you will always under deliver. And in the SaaS world, that is a recipe for disaster.
Business and life are really straight forward. If you always do what you say you will do. The challenge is not to overcommit because the consequence is underdelivering. So having the discipline to do what you say you will do will always drive success.
Where is the indirect channel going in 2021?
From a software perspective, marketplaces will become more and more important. Not only the marketplaces from the big ISV’s like Microsoft or Salesforce, but also marketplaces from distributors like Tech Data or Ingram. We will see them become more important as a Go-To-Market.
What you see more and more in the SaaS world is that no one wants these monolithic transformations anymore. We are seeing more small point solution deployments for projects. And that is where SaaS solutions come into play. Land and expand is key because you can no longer land a project and work on that for two years and move on. You will need to land 10 smaller projects to get the same amount of business done. Winning a larger amount of smaller opportunities is the new way of working. This is a huge change for larger companies and comes with challenges.
Companies will need to have a good sales process in place and organizational structure in order to complete many smaller sales cycles successfully.
So only engaging when you know you can add value, being transparent about what value you can add where and when, knowing that you can’t be everything for everyone, and having partners to help solve problems. SaaS companies will need to build a strong partner community, pulling different skills and capabilities to Go-to-Market.