SaaS is Way Bigger Than You Think

Everything is moving to SaaS this decade, how will your selling evolve?

If you got a book that had all of the sports results to come and it was 100% accurate, what would you do? I think most people would be hitting the sports bookies at the closest casino.

This is kind of what happened in sequel of Back to the Future. The antagonist, Biff Tannen, grabs an almanac of sports results left behind by the hero of the story Marty McFly, then steals the time machine to give the book to his younger self.

I wish I had a similar book for stock prices when I think about my time at Siebel Systems. No company had reached a billion dollars in revenue as fast as Siebel or had as dominant a market position. Siebel was synonymous with CRM (customer relationship management). In 2003, it did not seem that anyone could knock Siebel from owning the top spot in the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

Then three years later, Siebel was acquired by Oracle, and a small upstart was making waves in the CRM industry. This company was born in the cloud. They said crazy things like companies should not buy software while their CEO even made grand proclamations about the end of software. Instead, he said you should rent the features you need from a server that lived outside of the corporate firewall.

Most of you reading this already know about SaaS and the cloud. Why do you need me to tell you about this? What may not be as obvious an outcome of the cloud is that the cloud enables every company on earth to radically transform their business model.

I work primarily with startups, so the default choice since the late 2000’s was to build on the cloud. No one had the money or time for building and maintaining a data center. Many of the most successful SaaS companies in the world today started in the cloud, familiar names like ServiceNow, Workday, Atlassian, Twilio, etc.

The vast majority of tech companies though did not start in the cloud. Either they launched before the cloud was a reality or the nature of their business required on-premise software. That does not even include the even greater number of companies outside of tech that never saw software as a strategic pillar for growth and viability until COVID hit.

Now reality is dawning on the non-tech incumbents and the slower moving enterprise tech companies that SaaS is the future for their survival. Every company wants become a software company because becoming a software company how they will guarantee they stay in business. Already legacy banks and insurance companies are looking over their shoulders at the fintech and insurtech disruptors fast on their heels.

The reason I bring this up is two-fold. First, learning how to sell SaaS will be the default sales motion in all of B2B sales regardless of industry. That is because most companies will adopt a SaaS delivery and engagement model with their customers that is built and delivered through the cloud. Second, I am going to be at the SaaStr Annual conference in San Mateo next week from Sept 26 to 29. If you are going, it would be a great opportunity to meet and chat in person!

Even if you are not attending, let me know what you think of my premise about all companies becoming SaaS companies. What do you think would change in terms of how you sell? Will you interactions and engagement with customers change? Lots to think about here, which is an important exercise we should all do in order to future proof our careers and livelihoods.

Thanks again as always for reading these Enterprise Sales Forum newsletter posts and have an excellent weekend.

Mark Birch, Founder of Enterprise Sales Forum

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