Don’t Change the Channel: Top Tips for ISV Sales Success
You have published your app on the AppExchange and are ready to start selling. Don't try to reinvent the wheel - learn best practices on how to navigate and sell successfully in the channel.
You’ve built your app. It’s live on AppExchange and you’re open for business. What’s next?
Wouldn’t it be great if someone had a proven sales process to help you make the most of the opportunity you have in front of you?
Luckily for you, someone has! In this post I will cover the process, tools and metrics associated with the salesforce.com method of selling.
1. Start thinking about your sales process
It probably comes as no surprise that a CRM company has a fair bit of experience when it comes to sales processes. Of course your requirements may vary but a good starting point is this basic sales process. It has the added advantage of mapping nicely to the Salesforce Sales Cloud (every AppExchange Partner is given 2 users as part of the program, and additional users may be purchased), but we’ll get into that a little later.
2. Decide how to build your team
Now that you have started thinking about the process you want to follow, the next thing is to figure out the best way to build your team to deliver on it. There are a number of ways to structure your sales engine. Here’s some insight into the method we use at salesforce.com. The basics players you will need are:
- Sales Development Team (Leads), divided into 2 roles:
- Inbound rep – a role/team dedicated to qualifying inbound leads (eg web, phone, email, social) – you will want this roll especially if your product is going to have a high deal volume (eg the SMB space)
- Outbound rep – a role/team dedicated to generating leads via outbound methods ( eg phone, email, social) – typically useful when your product is higher up the value chain (mid-market and above)
- Sales Team (Opportunities), generally divided by segments:
- SMB – 1-100 employees as an example, a junior rep who can run generally run a simple sales cycle that mostly involves talking to the decision maker (eg business owner) but without the complexities of multi-departmental and political/relationship issues found in larger organisations
- Mid tier – 100-1000 employees is a good starting point, a more experienced rep that can run a more detailed sales cycle with generally more complex requirements than the SMB segment
- Enterprise – 1000+ employees, running complex sales cycles with many customer and related entities (like Global Systems Integrators) where steps such as risk, procurement, detailed terms negotiation are almost a guarantee.
- Customer Success Team (Post-Sales) – a role/team that ensures once your customer has signed onto your service they renew year after year. This team ensures that Sales can continue to focus on adding new customers because they will not have to worry that their install base is not getting the ROI they had planned. This team will be able to find additional opportunities in the form of add-ons and additional users etc. It’s important to realise that this is not a technical support role, think more of a consultant/business analyst. Someone who can make sure the customer is meeting their business objectives by using your solution.
* For a much deeper look at the salesforce.com sales team structure check out Aaron Ross’s great post on this topic
You’ll need to ensure that you staff your team with the right mix of these roles. You can use the 80/20 rule. Once someone is spending 20% of their time on one of these tasks, you can safely split it into a separate role. But to do that, you’re going to need metrics.
3. Leverage metrics to drive decisions.
The best way to gather solid metrics to use in business planning is to have a system that manages the process for your teams. Our Sales Cloud is the world’s top CRM system and you can use it as part of our partner program to build a complete picture of your business from lead capture through to opportunity & quoting, contracts & signatures, license management, customer support and even revenue and financial management.
I’d also highly recommend reviewing the sales and marketing sections of the AppAcademy – they can be found in our Partner Portal (login required).
If you have done this before feel free to share your insights below.