SaaS Business Development in Enterprise Software Industry

SaaS technology demand continues to grow exponentially, and many startups are evaluating business development as a strategy to increase sales. However, each person’s definition of “SaaS business development” differs, which makes it difficult for startups to identify the most appropriate strategy based on their particular needs. The truth is there is no one standard solution for all.

But we can certainly tell you what Software as a Service business development isn’t.

The terms “Business Development” and “Inside Sales” are often used interchangeably. But in reality, these two concepts are, in fact, polar opposites. For example, in some companies, “business development” refers to outbound prospecting calls made by salespeople. In contrast, Inside Sales is considered a model used to seek new customers in existing markets.

Contrary to it, the role of SaaS business development is to identify and exploit opportunities for business growth. Here we have explained how this mechanism typically helps discover and develop new opportunities:

Build New Partnerships

The role of SaaS business development is to initiate and manage new partnerships. There are a variety of forms of partnership- resellers, OEMs, ISVs, and systems integrators. It is the business development’s responsibility to negotiate the terms of partnership agreements. A major challenge is ensuring that partnerships produce the results expected. Partnerships like Barney’s, where there is only a partnership in name, but neither partner gains anything from it, should be avoided.

Taking on New Markets

In Software as a Service business development, strategies are developed for how to enter new markets. It’s not unusual for business development managers to scramble and identify new markets, especially when the traditional market collapse. Consequently, they find markets that are in need of their product or service. In these markets, people are still spending money and looking for solutions to help them make the most of opportunities.

Reaching Existing Markets in New Ways

There is a strong focus on short-term sales and marketing when it comes to business development. To ensure a company meets its quarter-end sales goals, it’s common to use existing methodologies and processes. But it’s not uncommon for business development teams to use novel ways to reach customers and markets.

Sell More to Existing Customers & Markets 

Several SaaS companies adhere to land and expand strategy. But… 

  1. What are the steps for expanding the user’s use of your product? 
  2. What are the best ways to get the product adopted across the organization? 

The responsibility of sales is to hunt for new customers, so they can move on to the next customer. In addition, existing customers can be cultivated as part of the SaaS business development process.

Introduction of New Products or Services 

Promoting new products and thought leadership is the key to success since it adds new sources of revenue. In most cases, the main sales force does not properly launch new products. This causes confusion and distraction. The best option for you is to use a business development model to avoid it. This way, you can start by selling to initial customers. Then, you can expand to your main sales force once you have achieved traction.

Challenges of Embracing the SaaS Business Development Model 

Keeping these pointers in mind, the SaaS business development model seems to be the ideal solution to help SaaS companies thrive. But like any other model, some challenges are associated with it too. Without overcoming them, you cannot achieve maximum growth. For instance:

        1-Several Companies Care Only About Their Benefits 

One hurdle is that too many companies focus on their interests and not on the benefit of all parties involved. Startups can be prone to pursuing their own goals fanatically and selfishly when they are young and hungry.

In addition to considering your own goals and priorities, successful business development also requires a deep understanding of your partners’ objectives. To even attract a partner, let alone achieve success, building a symbiotic win-win relationship is necessary. Therefore, consider more than just your benefit. 

       2-Prioritizing Among Different Opportunities can be Tough

Managing a business development program can be challenging when you’re already being pulled in so many directions. And when there is no model to follow, early deals can also be the most time-consuming and resource-intensive, making prioritization even more critical. 

Take advantage of the expertise and experience of partners who have already created successful programs. It will significantly help your startup until you pass the hyper-growth phase—partner with companies selling to your target audience with large customer bases willing to bid on your sales. 

Once you have a team of experts to formulate and execute your own strategy, venture into less familiar partnerships.

What’s the Solution to Overcome these Hurdles? 

You can refine your strategy by studying how leading SaaS companies sequence their partnerships. Read historical press releases of leading companies such as Box, Xero, and more. Analyze how they focused on partners already offering B2B SaaS solutions and secured partnerships with top companies.


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