Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hey SaaS Vendors…..Want to be Part of the Next Bubble of Irrational Exuberance?

Then revamp your messaging, website, and SaaS Inside Sales team to meet Web 2.0 specifications, but deliver a Web 1.0 product. Every aspect of your company’s existence has to be Web 2.0 and it all starts with your product. Your product has to support all of your claims and meet the expectations of your prospects. If it does not, then your prospects will get mixed messaging and this will lead to a loss of credibility which will lead to bad word of mouth which will lead to (fill in the blank). Spending thousands of dollars on new marketing campaigns can be wiped away with one free negative post about your product in the social-media world.

Most companies are overwhelmed by the level of effort involved in becoming a true Web 2.0 company. Yes it is a lot of work…no it doesn’t happen overnight….but it is very obtainable. Your upper management needs to be passionate about making their Web 2.0 dream a reality. We all know that when things are pushed from the top down, the likely hood of success is greater. Remember…"One small step toward your passion is a giant leap toward making it a reality.” (Jason Dorsey)

The good news is that there are a bevy of websites and blogs out there to help you achieve Web 2.0 reality. The bad news is a lot of these sources are the cliff notes to the novel. Since the attention span of bloggers is 90 seconds, blogs by nature are designed to do a lot of dangling. My blog “Inside Sales in a SaaS World” is a hopeful exception. My intent is to deliver and learn from the delivery of others.

I want to deliver on the SaaS inside sales side of Web 2.0 achievement. So let’s start off things with what to look for in hiring a great Inside Sales Manager, Director or VP.

1. At least 4 years experience in SaaS Inside Sales Management
2. Someone who places an emphasis on mentoring.
3. Someone who understands that the word “community” applies to within your organization, not just outside your company walls.
4. Someone who knows how to deliver a service. Marketing, Sales, Services and Account Management teams need to all be on the same page. You are a SaaS company, which means you are providing a service. Never forget about the acronym (Software as a Service). The service life cycle starts with marketing, then moves to inside sales, then moves to services, then moves to account management.
5. Someone who is open and transparent. These are two of the main themes of Web 2.0, so make certain your candidate possesses them as well.
6. Someone who has a record of growing a SaaS company from X amount of revenue to Y amount of revenue. You determine the compelling percentages.
7. Someone who understands Web 2.0 and can help build a Web 2.0 strategy or add to an existing one.
8. Someone who knows how to sell remotely with a focus on building credibility with your prospects.
9. Someone who has a passion for inside sales
10. Hire someone who appears to have no guard and got you to lower yours immediately. This quality will influence who they hire, how they train and how effective the team will be in a remote world.

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