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Often I get the question, what criteria should we look into when we compare Software as a Service solutions from different vendors. Some of my colleagues did a wonderful job and worked with distinguished analysts to come up with a matrix that can be used – by IT AND also by business people. The report is worth reading, we thought might be a good idea to pick some of the highlights and post it here.

Of course, and especially this week – public perception is still with some of the dreams out there. But as it goes for me – very underwhelming technological pitch and clear sign that it get´s complicated there. Now, lets focus on our solutions, because we are confident we have most of our homework done. Technologically anyways, now lets compare side by side and first focus on what is happening in the Enterprise Sales business

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#1 Let us start with the business, sales teams

What should sales teams look for in a SaaS sales solution right now?


  • Natively mobile: The sales user experience should seem almost identical no matter what device a sales person chooses to use, and on-the-road sellers should have everything they need to understand, engage and win with customers.
  • Social for sales: Instead of generic social capabilities, social tools for sales should have a look and feel similar to Facebook or LinkedIn, but should enable sales to collaborate in the context of each customer and the stage of the sale.
  • Pleasure to use: If not all salespeople use the sales tool, confusion ensues. The SaaS sales solution should come across as extremely friendly to use, and specifically designed with sales in mind.
  • Useful analytics: Nobody expects salespeople to act like data scientists, but big data style analytics, put into the proper, easy-to-digest context, should be at sales’ disposal, not just for performance measurement, but also to gain deeper insight into customers’ value and potential needs.
  • End-to-end execution: The buying process doesn’t stop at the customer pitch. Today’s sales tools must enable sellers to execute to the last mile of the deal, including real-time pricing, quotes, deal negotiation and order management.

#2 What do we need for Enterprise sales in a Digitally connected world?

The digitally connected world has forever altered the dynamics of selling, with the following specific implications:


  • The connected customer: With an abundance of information literally at their fingertips, customers and prospects are better informed, quickly shift loyalties, negotiate harder, and hold sales up to a higher standard of transparency and depth. Salespeople and sales organizations that successfully meet customers’ digitally heightened expectations win more often.
  • Strategic selling redefined: Strategic selling yields better long-term ROI and more satisfied relationships, both important outcomes in enterprise sales that produce higher revenue per sale. Here in the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud), era, however, strategic selling stretches into new circles of influence. For example, strategically applied social media may turn customers into active agents of referral and promotion. Salespeople who thoughtfully apply digital techniques in a strategic selling context widen the ROI gap even further over those with less digitally enhanced skills.
  • Accurate and easy-to-find customer information: The digitally enriched world yields more customer information, more market signals, and more related touch points than ever before. All this data may work for or against a salesperson, because while digitization may empower fact- based selling, the sheer volume of data, and how to locate data may overwhelm some salespeople. Accurate and easy-to-find customer information leads to more well understood customers, thus stronger relationships, and more apropos and timely offers.
  • Sales agility and efficiency: In general, best-in-class salespeople and sales managers effectively use social, mobile, and analytics throughout their working day. Such sales professionals move through sales cycles with greater agility and efficiency, contribute more readily to wider sales team, and are out in front of red flags and hidden opportunities.

#3 Requirements you need to fulfill with your SaaS solution

Here are some of the more important requirements and related benefits enterprise sales professionals should look for today from their SaaS for sales solution:

  • Sales effectiveness: The primary goal of any sales solution is to help salespeople become more effective at their jobs. The SaaS sales solution must become an almost unconscious extension of the salesperson, increasing effectiveness across the sales experience.
  • Mobile from the start: Despite all the digitization, enterprise salespeople still jump into airplanes, drive to see clients, telecommute, or work out of sparse satellite offices. Salespeople, therefore, strongly prefer lightweight mobile devices. Tablets and smartphones are usually the devices of choice and many salespeople use several mobile devices.
  • Pleasure to use: Sales management has historically struggled convincing sales practitioners to use sales tools, which renders risk into the entire sales operation. “Some use it, some don’t” is not an acceptable result. It turns out that SaaS sales solutions that are truly easy to use, even a pleasure to use, tend to be the solutions most actively adopted team-wide.
  • Truly integrated: Personal productivity tools, such as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, remain the dominant email and contact management tools in enterprises. The state-of-the-art, truly integrated SaaS sales solution, therefore, should integrate with other applications so seamlessly that the sales person does not even realize that an application context switch is taking place; integration should take place quietly behind the scenes.
  • Collaborative and social: Effective sales people do not live in a vacuum. While access to social media and email provide the basics of collaboration, collaboration across top sales teams go further. Salespeople develop tricks, best practices, shortcuts, and discover important industry information that, if shared, may help other team members. It is not advisable, however, that salespeople use Facebook or Twitter to share information with the internal sales team. Instead, safe, subject-specific spaces to post and share information among the sales team should come as naturally in the modern SaaS sales solution as sending an email. See also newly introduced work patterns from SAP JAM here. Was not even available for the report.
  • Functional breadth and depth: IT was right. Sales teams did lose functionality in many cases when they switched from on-premise to SaaS. In fact, many organizations became split shops, where, for example, the sales tool for line salespeople moved to SaaS, but sales management and customer service solutions remained on-premise, often with less than

Now: How does the SAP Cloud solution, Cloud for Sales perform against older Saas?

Let us start with the user experience, as this is what engages the sales person, and makes it tangible. Also see vieo here with some recent interviews of people around Moscone center, the experts:

What Dreamforce Attendees Have to Say About SAP Cloud: VIDEO linked here

But lets look at some of the facts from the report:

Feature

Older SaaS

SAP Cloud for Sales

User Experience

  1. Generic user interface – click and view, and click and view again.
  2. No drag and drop, no hover and click.
  3. Constant hunting for the right resources.
  4. Obvious application context switching.
  5. Different device? Different experience. No mobile download.

  1. User interface specifically designed around most common sales functions.
  2. More advanced user experience, e.g. drag and drop, hover etc.
  3. Data and document resources automatically pushed based on sales processes and context.
  4. A seamless “one application” experience, regardless of the actual applications operating in the background.
  5. Similar experience regardless of device form factor – phone, tablet, PC, Mac, Android. Offline option for all devices.

Lets scroll down the list and pick Analytics

Analytics

The most basic of analytics, with little to
no flexibility, and seldom in the context
of a specific sales process. Advanced
analytics added through acquisition or 3rd party, not embedded natively into the sales solution. No UI preference or customization for analytics included (e.g. infographic).

  1. A complete set of in-process sales dashboards and analytics, using compelling charts and graphs, with easy manipulation, plus reporting based on information from different sources.
  2. More advanced analytic options based on information from different sources, including information selection, graph selection, sharing, and “what if” analysis, spanning the operational sales process and sales performance management.
  3. Advanced customer analytics apps, for “Customer Value Intelligence” and “Social Contact Intelligence” solution that includes predictive action and recommendations

    to meet business requirements.

And of course you can see a drill down to Mobile, integration, Social and Collaboration, management…

Still too technical for you? Well, it is all about having IT and the business on one table and have an educated discussion about what helps sales, what helps the enterprise and what and where can technology help.

I am sure you want to read more and have the analysis in detail, see detailed report here

Also check customers who made there decision to use Customer for Sales and extend or replace existing on-premise or replace old cloud solutions here

Many thanks to @Dietmar_Bohn for this wonderful asset. Let me know your thoughts and

follow on twitter for regular updates @SDenecken

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Reference:

A winning cloud sales solution by Enterprise management Associates, Inc.All rights reserved , www.enterprisemanagement.com

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Read other relevant blogs:


7 Attributes of a Comprehensive Cloud Strategy

Hybrid cloud

Public, Private or Hybrid? What are your cloud choices

The 1-2-3 of Cloud security

Integration and Interoperability of Cloud Solutions – it’s a kind of Magic

– SaaS and PaaS: a symbiotic relationship delivering enterprise value

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