How can you land a big client as a SaaS that no one has heard of?

My Post120.jpgSolve one of their top pain points, for real — that no other vendor is solving.

If you haven’t sold to the F500 / Global 2000 before, you’ll be somewhat surprised to learn that between the CIO’s office and functional heads, at most huge companies, there is a clear goal to bring in a handful of new “innovative vendors” into the company each year.

In fact, almost all the best run large enterprises know they have to seek out new gems in software to help their businesses run faster and better. Otherwise, their stack and approach will ossify. So they have budgets and often even innovation departments to work with emerging vendors.

But here’s the thing — they can only process so many each year. Each new vendor means a lot of business process change, even for a small deployment.

So that means big enterprises often only being in 1 new vendor per year per department, and maybe another handful at the CIO level. More than that is too many and too much to process. – Read More

5 founders share 5 sales strategies for SaaS startups

My Post114.jpgIn 2011, the famous investor Marc Andreessen wrote an essay titled “Why Software is Eating the World.”

Seven years later, SaaS is a billion-dollar industry.

But to lead the pack in SaaS, founders and startup teams should master sales. So, I spoke with five founders on how to sell a SaaS product based on their experience over the years.

1. Growth hack using Quora and SEMrush

With over 12,000 users, Funnel CRM is a sales tool helping businesses, agencies, and freelancers.

According to the company’s CEO Muhammad Gohar Shafique, Quora is one of the most useful resources to understand customer pain points. 

Whenever Shafique maps out a new content strategy, he usually goes through Quora to find the problems that his prospective buyers are asking. From there, he thinks of solutions to the problem and answers them on the site.

The opportunity is simple: getting traffic to your content by commenting on questions that your content actually answers.

Here’s the hack they use:

  • Step 1:  Log in to SEMrush and do a search on Quora.
  • Step 2: Navigate to the “Organic Research” tab under “Domain Analytics.” You’ll now have a list of top-ranking questions on Quora.
  • Step 3: Run a search for a keyword related to your content (e.g. “SaaS”).
  • Step 4: Sort the results in descending order by search volume.

Another simple hack is paying attention to customer support. “We provide 24-hour support and trained our support team to respond to messages within two minutes,” says Shafique. This approach led to a 43 percent increase in leads.

The company also makes it a rule that engineers and founders have to spend at least six hours per week as a support agent. “Why?” Shafique asks. “To understand customer pain points and then iterate the product faster to stay relevant and avoid being just another bloated SaaS product.”

2. Onboard the biggest players in the industry

Y Combinator-backed Cashfree is a technology platform digitizing both inward and outward bulk payments for 3,000+ merchants and brands.

A strategy that worked well for them, according to its co-founder Akash Sinha, is signing up the largest businesses in a given sector. “We spend most of our energy in getting the largest player, and once they come onboard, the rest of the players follow,” he says.

It’s also important to talk with the right decision makers. If your product is helping businesses improve their customer experience, for example, then talk with a product or marketing head. Scheduling meetings with department heads is way more helpful.

But the downsides of this strategy is that it requires patience. Since bigger clients take longer to make decisions, your overall momentum may take a hit.

Sinha’s advice is to chase both bigger and smaller prospects at any point in time. While it’s alright to focus on the larger companies, don’t ignore the smaller clients completely.

3. Don’t focus just on your product

SendX is a remarketing and retargeting SaaS solution that uses email, browser push notifications, and social media ads to drive more revenues.

Its founder Varun Jain shares their sales strategy: Before a product demo, the team researches about the prospect by looking at their latest news or events and their sessions on SendX. This allows them to understand the prospect’s background.

The team then does the demo, focusing on the prospect’s specific problem. They will typically only talk about SendX’s capabilities 10 to 20 percent of the time. – Read more

JPMorgan Licensing Its Trading Software: Could It Be The Next Big SaaS Company?

My Post106.jpgThe investment market is becoming increasingly automated, forcing the leading Wall Street firms to come up with out-of-the-box ways to differentiate.

Taking a page from the software as a service market, JPMorgan Chase has started licensing its trading software to third parties outside of the company.  It’s not a new strategy–BlackRock began licensing its risk analytics program Aladdin in the late 1990’s–but it is one that is growing as the industry gets much more competitive and technology plays a bigger role in investing. One only has to look at the advent of robo advisors as one example of how technology can disrupt a traditional market.

JPMorgan Already Has 208 Clients Licensing Its Platform

Dubbed Investment Analytics Platform, JPMorgan’s head of global custody and fund services Teresa Heitsenrether told CNBC in a recent interview that the bank has already signed on 208 large investors and has an additional 42 customers in the pipeline. Those contracts are expected to be inked by the end of this year.  The trading program, which is known as Athena after the Greek goddess of wisdom internally, provides investors with the ability to test and run analytics on their own investment strategies. While these type of programs are commonplace in large investment firms, pensions, endowments, and insurance companies don’t have the budgets to spend a ton on technology. After all, they are tasked with investing but also doing it at a low cost.  That’s the market JPMorgan is eyeing with the platform. Heitsenrether told CNBC that the bank views the custody business as a growth one and by offering unique services it thinks it can get more of that business. JPMorgan credited its custody business with the company’s ability to generate $3.9 billion in revenue in 2017, which marked a 9% increase year-over-year. Revenue in the business has increased by 11% so far in 2018, according to CNBC figures. While JPMorgan is starting with its trading program, the executive said it could launch other offerings such as risk management for banks, noted CNBC.

Technology Makes Custody Services Cheaper

The move on the part of JPMorgan Chase comes at a time when the financial services industry is embracing technology to automate processes and procedures that have long been the domain of the Wall Street banks. Thanks to technology, custody services are becoming cheaper to offer and as a result, the big banks are focusing on those products and services that rivals can’t easily imitate.  They are aiming to become one-stop shops to serve all of a client’s financial needs.

The launch of the trading platform places JPMorgan Chase at odds with MSCI and Bloomberg, two players in the industry that licenses platforms to manage trading and risk among other things. While the New York bank wouldn’t say how much revenue it expects to make from the offering, it is being viewed more as a tool to lure more custody business its way. It’s Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, said in the 2017 annual report that its market share in custody stands at 8% but that he thinks it can “grow significantly” by adding bankers, building better technology and developing more products. “In this business, while you make large initial investments in order to grow when you gain clients, they usually stick with you for a long time,” he wrote at the time.

JPMorgan isn’t alone in licensing out its software to outside parties. In the fall of 2016, Goldman Sachs began licensing its Securities Database software program otherwise known as SecDB, that helped its bankers make money off of ideally timed trades and avoided losses by making costly mistakes. It is reportedly able to calculate 23 billion prices covering nearly three million positions each day. The platform is credited with the investment banking weathering the Great Recession better than its peers. Goldman had long resisted licensing the platform but did an about-face after the recession when new regulation blunted the edge it had over rivals. It now uses the platform to lure more business its way.  It’s something JPMorgan and undoubtedly other big investment banks are looking to do more of. – Read more