I want to write about my experience selling a CRM system in our small startup Several observations have been made over the year, which I want to share.
Where to sell : little money in the small segment
Unlike the West, we have poorly developed small and micro-entrepreneurship. Very badly. It seems to be related to the childish economy of raw materials. But that’s not the point right now. Ultimately this means that small companies (up to 10-15 people) will not have the money to pay you. They will try to shrink to the bare minimum, or look for free options.
We felt most comfortable with medium and large companies. They press on with rework, they try to save money, but they pay money. The main issue here is how to build a right relationship with a customer: make a clear distinction between the cost of licenses, implementation and customization. Clients are more willing to pay when they know what they’re paying for.
However, for some reason I believe in small business. The only question is how to reach it. In my opinion, the most interesting and correct way is to roll out a free version, make it mass-produced, and find an alternative way to monetize it. But that’s not easy. I don’t know how to do it yet.
How to sell : cold calls are bad, contextual advertising is good
It’s funny, but at first we thought cold calls would boost sales a lot. An individual person sat there and made the calls. He was generally not unsuccessful in calling, but the quality of the customers he received was poor. Usually they were random people who didn’t understand what they wanted. They were difficult and expensive to deal with.
Contextual advertising gives you a more correct contingent. When people come consciously, it means they have already made the decision to implement. All that’s left is doubt about what to implement. It’s much easier and it’s something you can work with.
What to sell : need customization and niche solutions
Yes, it’s needed. When the team exceeds 5 people, the fantasies start. You want your own tasks, your own projects, your own ERP/1C/warehouse/… I can say that there was not a single project that did not require customization. And these requirements are quite reasonable. Thus, to stick with the market, you have to :
– write a flexible development platform (our way) and a powerful api
– Do a lot of industry niche solutions (realtors, retail, call centers, etc.)
Where are we going: Russian companies are in no hurry to SaaS
Another fun fact. No matter what they say, SaaS is convenient. First of all, in terms of money. Second of all, it’s quality. Compared to polished products like SalesForce, custom offline solutions look creepy.
Of course, there are objective limitations. For example, for large organizations, customization and integration with their own zoo is critical. But this is solvable, in one form or another. The main reason, in my opinion, is purely psychological. It’s unfamiliar, unfamiliar, scary. I think it will pass soon.
I guess that’s it. There will be no conclusion. The facts are given as-is. If you have any ideas or objections, I’d be happy to see them in the comments.