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EXECUTION Selling to the big guys

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caromorgan

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So I have a piece of software that would make a very nice "front end" to what Salesforce offers to the events industry (conference and exhibition organisers mainly).

I have grown tired of trying to market it myself - there is nothing wrong with my product, but I am seen as too small, too Africa-based, too female, etc :) And the industry sees Salesforce as doing the same function as mine, so they don't need it. This isn't the case, but today I thought... "rather than explain this again, perhaps I should approach Salesforce themselves and offer to sell, or partner up".

Any advice on how to do that?

Anyone done something similar, successfully?

Caroline
 

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404profound

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That's the approach I plan to take with the app I'm building. My strategy will be to audit the prospective partner's site for information about partnerships / press and drop a note to them teasing the app and how it could offer value and improve sales. If the right person is manning the receiving end that info should get escalated to someone in marketing or sales for review. If I get bold I may comb LinkedIn for a contact and use in-mail to drop a short note to determine potential interest.

Edit: I should mention that I have no experience with this strategy, and it's just my current plan of attack. Hopefully others with more experience will also chime in.
 
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Kak

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So I have a piece of software that would make a very nice "front end" to what Salesforce offers to the events industry (conference and exhibition organisers mainly).

I have grown tired of trying to market it myself - there is nothing wrong with my product, but I am seen as too small, too Africa-based, too female, etc :) And the industry sees Salesforce as doing the same function as mine, so they don't need it. This isn't the case, but today I thought... "rather than explain this again, perhaps I should approach Salesforce themselves and offer to sell, or partner up".

Any advice on how to do that?

Anyone done something similar, successfully?

Caroline
This is NOT just selling to the big boys... It is competing with them.

That is a tough position to be in. Salesforce is well liked and they have the resources for continuous improvement. To top that off... CRMs and the training associated with them are a big investment for a company. Buying something that they know little about is a gamble.

So yes, you do have market headwinds because you are smaller... but what is your differentiation? What makes you better? How can you be the clear value winner?

With large companies and governments open dialogues are always the best. Working together to break down barriers over several interactions. You need time and attention to get past the "I'm smaller than Salesforce" thing.

Now... You talk about partnering with them... I do know Microsoft BADLY wants a peice of this market with their dynamics platform. They are who I would want to partner with... Or just sell to.
 
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caromorgan

caromorgan

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This is NOT just selling to the big boys... It is competing with them.
That is a tough position to be in. Salesforce is well liked and they have the resources for continuous improvement.
No, no, I haven't explained it properly :)
The view that it's Salesforce or me is a misconception.
Salesforce is a CRM system.
Mine is a booking system that would feed into Salesforce.
ie. mine is the front-of-house, Salesforce is the back end.

So... rather than approach each Salesforce event client and explain this, I thought about approaching Salesforce themselves, with a proposal to partner, or co-operate, or sell out to them.

But I don't know where to start.

Caro
 

Ronak

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No, no, I haven't explained it properly :)
The view that it's Salesforce or me is a misconception.
Salesforce is a CRM system.
Mine is a booking system that would feed into Salesforce.
ie. mine is the front-of-house, Salesforce is the back end.

So... rather than approach each Salesforce event client and explain this, I thought about approaching Salesforce themselves, with a proposal to partner, or co-operate, or sell out to them.

But I don't know where to start.

Caro

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Kak

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No, no, I haven't explained it properly :)
The view that it's Salesforce or me is a misconception.
Salesforce is a CRM system.
Mine is a booking system that would feed into Salesforce.
ie. mine is the front-of-house, Salesforce is the back end.

So... rather than approach each Salesforce event client and explain this, I thought about approaching Salesforce themselves, with a proposal to partner, or co-operate, or sell out to them.

But I don't know where to start.

Caro
So you are just a peice of what Salesforce can already do?

That means you are still competing with their functionality.

This is a tough one... Most of these companies probably already invested in Salesforce for CRM capability anyway. Using the event side of things is probably well integrated for the customer.

Do other CRMs like NetSuite and Dynamics have event programs? Can you capture the Netsuite or Dynamics clients that way?
 
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caromorgan

caromorgan

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So you are just a peice of what Salesforce can already do?
That means you are still competing with their functionality.
No :)
I do the first 20% of the process (specifically related to the events industry)
The other 80% is what Salesforce does (the CRM functionality that happens from there on)

There's no competition or overlap.... think of Salesforce as the cake, and me as the icing.
Lots of people in the events industry already have the un-iced cake.
I'm offering them an add-on.
 
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caromorgan

caromorgan

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Do other CRMs like NetSuite and Dynamics have event programs? Can you capture the Netsuite or Dynamics clients that way?
Good question.
When I approach clients in UK, for example, I just hear "We use Saleforce"... but no reason why we can't interface to whatever other CRMs we come across.
 

404profound

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No :)
I do the first 20% of the process (specifically related to the events industry)
The other 80% is what Salesforce does (the CRM functionality that happens from there on)

There's no competition or overlap.... think of Salesforce as the cake, and me as the icing.
Lots of people in the events industry already have the un-iced cake.
I'm offering them an add-on.
Do you have an opportunity to get smaller-scale users as proof of concept before approaching Salesforce?
 
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caromorgan

caromorgan

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Do you have an opportunity to get smaller-scale users as proof of concept before approaching Salesforce?
Yes, this is not new software, it's been around a few years already. I have several small clients using it repeatedly.
But to the event industry, which seems to have ignored the arrival of the internet, it's still very new.
 

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404profound

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Yes, this is not new software, it's been around a few years already. I have several small clients using it repeatedly.
But to the event industry, which seems to have ignored the arrival of the internet, it's still very new.
Then that's your biggest selling point. You have some leverage if you already have clients with testimonials.
 

Ronak

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That's interesting.. and lead me here:
http://www.salesforce.com/partners
Those are mainly service companies that help clients implement salesforce.

The link I shared is to get on their app marketplace, which sounds closer to what you're going for. Since you interface with Salesforce, it makes sense to be on their app marketplace as a plug-in or add-on. Much easier than trying to approach their corporate office as a "partner".

It's like approaching Apple saying you have a great program for their iPhone. You wouldn't approach them directly, they already have a marketplace for 3rd party apps, just figure out how to get on it and then market the heck out of it.
 

DisLife

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The large CRM products like Salesforce, Oracle, etc is that they try to be all things to all people. Really, it sounds like you have a customized bolt-on for a specific niche of their market to enhance the end user experience for that particular segment.

Partnering with any of these guys, doesn't get you much more than the ability to put your stuff on their online market. You might even get it "certified" by them, which costs you money. The reality is that it's nothing more than another marketing channel for you. You'd still have to put in the time and effort to do the sales process.

I have a little experience with this on the Oracle E-Business Suite. I'm also looking at creating some bolt-ons for Oracle Cloud financials. My approach is to partner up with the implementers or the managed service providers that my target companies use to install and maintain their installation. It's been an easier sales process since I'm leveraging my partner's sales team to bring me in on deals they're already working.
 
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caromorgan

caromorgan

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My approach is to partner up with the implementers or the managed service providers that my target companies use to install and maintain their installation. It's been an easier sales process since I'm leveraging my partner's sales team to bring me in on deals they're already working.
Excellent advice. Thank you!
 

Kak

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No :)
I do the first 20% of the process (specifically related to the events industry)
The other 80% is what Salesforce does (the CRM functionality that happens from there on)

There's no competition or overlap.... think of Salesforce as the cake, and me as the icing.
Lots of people in the events industry already have the un-iced cake.
I'm offering them an add-on.
So what you are competing with is the status quo. Basically the icingless cake that everyone already eats.

Your job is to convince them that the icing is valuable enough to them that they should pay for it pure and simple.

I’d go back to this:

With large companies and governments open dialogues are always the best. Working together to break down barriers over several interactions.
How can you craft your sales process so that you can stay in front of them? Sales is a bit of a battle field, take ground in every interaction and don’t say things or give them the chance to move you backwards. Little by little, if you are truly valuable to them, you will be able to win them over, but with an educational process to explain why they need you, you need to learn to NAIL your narrative.

I might even suggest an explainer video.

So without dropping proprietary detail on your business... Answer this question: Why am I going to be better off with your product less the money I spent on it?
 
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caromorgan

caromorgan

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So what you are competing with is the status quo.
Exactly!
I might even suggest an explainer video.
Got one.
So without dropping proprietary detail on your business... Answer this question: Why am I going to be better off with your product less the money I spent on it?
Because the current method is an offline solution... mine is real time, and that means better accuracy (think "no more duplicate bookings"), shorter booking process (freeing up time), and one source of information (no more printed pdfs with version numbers).

It's a pretty easy sell, you'd think, given the above.
But as per original post, potential customers see it as a competitor to Salesforce and co, rather than an add-on. This thread has shown me that my marketing message needs to lead with that.
 
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caromorgan

caromorgan

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DisLife... you have made me think :)

Really, it sounds like you have a customized bolt-on for a specific niche of their market to enhance the end user experience for that particular segment.
Correct.
And I need to lead with that in my marketing message to potential clients.

My approach is to partner up with the implementers or the managed service providers that my target companies use to install and maintain their installation. It's been an easier sales process since I'm leveraging my partner's sales team to bring me in on deals they're already working.
This is an excellent idea.
It solves many problems at once.

Thank you for the advice... I feel like I can see a road ahead of me again :)

Caro
 

robertaddington

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Sep 25, 2019
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So I have a piece of software that would make a very nice "front end" to what Salesforce offers to the events industry (conference and exhibition organisers mainly).

I have grown tired of trying to market it myself - there is nothing wrong with my product, but I am seen as too small, too Africa-based, too female, etc :) And the industry sees Salesforce as doing the same function as mine, so they don't need it. This isn't the case, but today I thought... "rather than explain this again, perhaps I should approach Salesforce themselves and offer to sell, or partner up".

Any advice on how to do that?

Anyone done something similar, successfully?

Caroline
You have to be present there for marketing. The software can not do all work alone.
 

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