Lets accept it, in the SaaS sales world, Sales as a function is loosing value (compared to the perpetual license sales era). The writing is on the wall, customer acquisition solves only part of the problem. There are no million $$ deals any more, where the money pours in on day one. In SaaS business small money $ trickles in month on month. SaaS success is not limited to customer acquisition, the game has actually shifted to retaining (and upgrading) customers. Growth is a combinations of new customers and upgrades/expansions of existing customer, which is what makes the MRR needle move. This is precisely where traditional the role of VP Sales of sales, who was measured on new customer acquisition only, fails to deliver.
Chief Revenue Officers (CRO) are quickly and quietly replacing the important positions long enjoyed by VP of Sales in a SaaS company. I am not suggesting VP Sales is not important, after all brining in new customer is critical for every business including SaaS, but VP Sales function alone won’t cut it. If you are an early stage startup and very likely cannot afford two executives, then bring in a leader who can wear a CRO hat, not just a VP Sales hat. If you have a VP of Sales already then, he better have at least a dotted line reporting into CRO.
As a SaaS Sales rep are you still trying to sell to the CIO (or CxO)? Do you really think they are best entry point for a $49/user/month product? Lets assume that typical starting users are 5 to 10. Is a deal which will demand $245-$490/month really worth CIOs attention?
I know you are thinking.. well its the value and the business impact which will get the CIO excited. But why do it the hard way. Why not head straight to the functional manager who is facing the business challenges (which your product solves). More and more managers are now equipped with credit cards to swipe for small deals. Traditional budgeting behaviour of, higher the deal size.. higher the authority, to approve still prevails. Amount spent is continued to be treated as the measure of potential business impact. Why not take the advantage of this and pitch to the manager, demonstrate potential value. Get your foot inside the door, quite frankly the easy way into any large organisation. This door is very much open and available today. Advantage SaaS Sales rep!