Sunday 4 December 2022

How to sell to really large Enterprises?

I've sold millions of dollars worth of SaaS to some of the largest brands. Think of brands as big as ICICI Bank - more than $50B in market cap.

Here are the 7 stakeholders that you need to align in order to crack a deal with a large enterprise:

1. Business: they're the main buyer. They are the ones who get the benefit of your product via improvement in one of the metrics. Could be more lead generation, higher Sales, reduced costs, improved conversion rates, etc. They're the most important stakeholder.

2. IT: they evaluate your product from a technology perspective. They don't care about the core utility or ROI of your product. What matters more to them is if your product is compliant with the brand's architectural guidelines. Like, do you segregate the Web, App, and DB? Do you use the standard DB prescribed by the guidelines?

3. InfoSec: they evaluate your product purely from a Security perspective. Is your product vulnerable? Can a hacker get unauthorized access? Is your Product collecting the personal data of customers? The InfoSec team doesn't care about the utility of your product. They only care about Security.

4. Legal: does working with you pose any legal risks to the company? What if you take away advance payment and then don't deliver? What if your product has a long downtime, impacting the Business? This is what legal takes care of.

5. Compliance: is your product as per the regulatory and internal compliance guidelines? What if tomorrow the Reserve Bank of India says that this product violates their guidelines and slaps a penalty on your Banking client? The compliance team protects that.

6. Procurement: they try to negotiate so as to get the best deal for the enterprise. They're usually given a ballpark range in which the Business case makes sense. Their job is to get your product at the price that's at the bottom of the range so that the ROI is highest.

7. Finance: they issue you the purchase order and take care of your invoice payments. They also do vendor registration to check if your startup is in a good position financially or not.

Each stakeholder is a specialist in their domain and is not a specialist in other domains. So, don't waste your time explaining the ROI of your product to an InfoSec person. They just don't care. It's not a part of their job description. It's the job of the Business person to establish ROI.

The Business person is your main stakeholder along with IT. If any stakeholder is creating a roadblock for you, go to the Business and ask for help. They are convinced of the benefit of your product and so, will push the blocking stakeholder to move things fast.


1. Don't ignore any stakeholder
2. Sell the right thing to the right stakeholder
3. Be patient. Enterprise Sales is slow

Which stakeholder is your current deal stuck at?

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