Today’s enterprises have to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders. On the one hand, they have shareholders and investors that expect to see a positive return on their investment. On the other, they have a large community of customers that expect optimal experiences, leading class products, and robust security and privacy measures to protect their data. Plus, they also have an expansive network of employees, contractors, and partners that want to work with a reputable organization leading the way in their industry.
To meet the needs of these various stakeholders, enterprises need to uphold high standards so they can establish a culture of excellence within their business. This goal influences how the organization does everything — from going to market with a new product and adopting best-in-class software development practices, to choosing their SaaS vendors.
In this article, we’re exploring how enterprises assess SaaS vendors when they’re deciding whether to work with them.
When an enterprise’s procurement team is looking at potential SaaS vendors, they have to take a number of things into account. This includes the cost, and whether that fits into the buying department’s budget, the capabilities of the product and whether it meets the right business needs, and the level of risk exposure. This evaluation happens in an increasingly complex and non-linear process where B2B buyers gather input from various stakeholders, do their own research, and only talk to the vendors that they’re most likely to move forward with.
The best SaaS vendors know to find a good balance between these three elements, and understand that security is rapidly becoming a top priority for most enterprises. With this in mind, here are some of the specific areas that enterprise buyers might ask about in their evaluation.
With shareholders keeping a close eye on the bottom line, enterprises know they need to choose technologies that have a clear return on investment. In part, this means that your software needs to be reliable — as in it doesn’t have much downtime — and it needs to perform well. Enterprise buyers will likely ask for documented reliability and performance data that would inform a service level agreement (SLA) between them and the vendor.
There’s a lot of value in having a high reliability rate, which is why leading vendors ensure they can offer up to 99.9% reliability. Dipping to 99.5%, for example, would mean downtimes of seven minutes and 12 seconds a day, or a day, 19 hours, 49 minutes, and 44 seconds a year. If an enterprise doesn’t find that rate acceptable, they’ll move on to one of your competitors.
Enterprise teams have a lot on their plate. They don’t have time (or the expertise, really) to figure out how to best use a new technology or solve a problem as it arises. As such, buyers want to know that there is a robust support team behind the product, one that’s committed to educating their customers and ensuring that they’re using the technology to its full potential within the context of their business.
Focusing on customer support can be a win for your business, too. By building trust and investing in how your customers use your product, you can increase usage, encourage renewals, and ultimately drive more revenue.
Over the last decade, enterprises have been building large-scale tech stacks for their developers, marketers, HR teams, and more. Around all of these tech stacks are the tools that are used company-wide to ensure collaboration, productivity, and project management. As such, every new software is evaluated on how well it can integrate and communicate with their existing solutions. Mainly enterprises want to avoid adopting new technologies that add complexity processes, rather than streamlining them.
In addition to the various stakeholders we mentioned at the beginning of this article, enterprises also have to contend with various regulatory bodies that mandate strict parameters for how customer data is stored and used. As such, enterprises will have many questions about where your data resides, how you protect that data as it’s in transit, what information security measures you have in place, and more. Becoming compliant with industry-recognized standards such as SOC 2 and ISO-27000 can be a great way to show your company’s commitment to security and privacy, and will automatically answer questions for B2B buyers.
Enterprise buyers are inherently risk averse — and that means they need to take a long, hard look under the hood before they can commit to a new SaaS vendor. As a vendor, you can position yourself favorably by anticipating these requests and preparing as much documentation and information as possible any time you go into a new sales process.
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