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2 responses to “Does Your SaaS Company Have to Have a Sales Force?”

  1. Joel York

    Hi Bob,

    Fantastic post!

    As usual, you and Jason are writing about topics that are close to my heart as well, so I can’t help but comment.

    I agree 100% with your points regarding ASP, but I think there are two more dimensions you must consider to get the full picture: complexity and maturity. (see 3 SaaS Sales Models)

    In the end, ASP is largely determined by product/customer fit, NOT the sales person (sorry Jason). The salesperson may be able to get an extra 50%, but 2X is unlikely. Typically, it is the complexity of the buying process that sets the default sales model…the ASP simply tells you if you are profitable doing it that way.

    Given this…the eminent Mr. Moore’s comments need a little updating for the Internet, because the Internet helps drive complexity out of the buying process for lower acquisition costs with marketing with tools like SEO, marketing automation, webinars, online meetings, etc.

    Today, the numbers are closer to…

    0 – 5K self serve,
    5-50K inside sales…which totally viable and NOT a no man’s land due to these changes
    50K+ for enterprise

    After complexity, comes maturity (this is the point where I ultimately agree with both you and Jason). Many mature SaaS businesses will find themselves selling to all three SaaS sales models over time to maximize growth.

    However, a SaaS product with strong self-serve capability lowers acquisition costs for inside sales and enterprise sales as well. I like to say that the best very SaaS sales model is incredibly old school, reps just focus on relationships, dinners and golf, because you have driven so much complexity out of the buying process that demo, trial and on-boarding are so simple anyone can do it.

    Consider AWS…a veritable cash machine because sales is overlaid on 100% self-serve for a very capable target audience (engineers). A good example of how the customer-product fit impacts the business model. The more your customers are willing to do…I say let them!

    My 2 cents.

    Cheers,
    Joel

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