Yesterday I had a chance to speak at the Sales Hacker hosted conference #SalesStack15. There were about 1000 people at the conference, featuring sales people (sales development representatives, mangers and leaders) and vendors in the Sales SaaS space.
The Sales SaaS market is relatively new and interesting. While Marketing Automation SaaS (or MarTech as it has been called) has had its run from 2005 to 2015 – over 2000 companies now exist in the space and it is an over $10 Billion overall market, the Sales space is small.
About 200 to 500 companies are helping companies and Sales organizations manage their customer journey from discovery to engagement and onboarding of software, while all along trying to makes sales representatives more productive.
At a high level, if you look at LinkedIn about 20+ million people consider themselves to be in “Marketing” Roles and a similar number in “Sales” as well.
The difference is that Marketing has larger budgets to spend and manage, whereas Sales teams are larger (more people usually), but smaller out of pocket spend – meaning their program budgets are smaller.
There are 3 major trends ongoing in the Sales world overall.
- It is moving from a “software is sold” world to a “software services are purchased world”. What that means is that previously pricing, information, control was equally with the sales person and the buyer. Now buyers are in control and expect to be educated, informed and even helped to make the right decisions on what they want to buy. They discover products via word of mouth, referrals from social media or search online, way before a sales person even knows that they are looking to solve a problem.
- Transparency in pricing, information, knowledge from the previous trend is now causing sales people’s roles to change – from being a hard charging closer to a subtle “facilitator”. They have so much more information at the same time about the buyer available online – via social media, blogs, etc. so they can tailor their pitch to be unique and different not generic.
- Thanks to subscription revenues and “try before you buy”, “Freemium model” etc. it is much more easy for early stage companies to get a base of early adopters who can be “warm leads” as opposed to “cold calling” and also to ensure that sales people keep a customer happy and engaged – by usage of the software, and renewal as opposed to “sell it once and forget it”.
All these trends have lead to dramatic changes in the tools and products needed by Sales people. While Sales Force Automation systems are still the “Database of record” for the Sales Manager and Sales Leader to track opportunities, pipeline and forecasting, the key element that’s becoming more important is “Individual Sales Representative Productivity”.
Some of the Sales reps are taking things into their own hands with “BYOA” – Bring Your Own Apps and employing tools to be more productive.
Others are finding tools that their colleagues are using and still others are wandering through the maze only to find that their Email + an Excel spreadsheet is sufficing.
That’s the opportunity in the Sales SaaS market.
The Marketing Automation market enable over 10 IPO’s and a few winners – HubSpot, Eloqua, Pardot, Radian6, etc. – some were acquired – all in under 10 years for hundreds of millions of dollars.
That’s going to happen in Sales SaaS as well.
The question is which of the 100+ companies presenting yesterday will make the “winners circle” 5-7 years from now and what categories within Sales Stack will win.
That I will think about more and share over the next few days.