Deprioritize Sales Enablement During Price Changes at Your Own Peril
Selling is difficult in the post-pandemic world. This Forrester Study shows that independent buying scenarios (which involve only one or two people) are a thing of the past. 2021 data suggests that 63% of purchases (as against 47% in 2017) have more than four people involved; these can include different buyer roles (champions, influencers, decision-makers, users, or ratifiers) across departments.
This renders the buying process complex and open to multiple viewpoints and information flows. Sales teams need all the help that they can get. And it puts the case for sales enablement, front and centre. Product marketing, pricing and packaging considerations are closely tied with how selling and eventually revenue generation can be bolstered. Aberdeen Group’s detailed report that surveyed more than 500 sales and marketing organizations highlights that “all-in” (content-based, technology-based and training/ education-based) sales enablement practitioners average a 56% greater growth rate in annual revenue.
When it comes to packaging and pricing for impact, sales enablement cannot be overlooked. Mehul Sahni, Principal Product Manager, Pricing and Packaging Strategy at Rubrik, Inc., weighs in on the importance of enabling sales to succeed, in light of his own experience in leading the charge to usher in a subscription-based pricing model in a legacy technology market. He says,
“Sales enablement and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) building is a very critical piece to pricing and packaging. I view my role as similar to that of a product manager, but the only difference is that my product is a licensing vehicle. I research my license and then make a roadmap for the first one. If there’s going to be a second product, I work on the upgrade license. I have to take this roadmap to the market and ensure that everybody understands how to sell it and understands its value — both customers and the field. Then, I also have to follow all the success metrics and tracking.
We learned quickly (as soon as we launched) that the field was starting to do a TCO positioning for the CapEx model (perpetual license model) and Rubrik Go model (subscription model) the customer at the same time. This ends up confusing customers and slowing down the deal. If you show both models, the customer is bound to ask for a TCO for both. It is important to lead with one option based on the customer's needs.
In this way, we make a Go/No-Go table. We position one model at a time, do one TCO at a time. The majority of the time Rubrik Go would satisfy it, but in some edge cases, it doesn’t. Some at Rubrik who have earlier sold SaaS and subscriptions at peers like Snowflake or ServiceNow got this point easily; but others who had to switch over, came from companies with older pricing models — places like Dell, EMC and more. Getting these lifers in the backup and recovery market to buy into the vision and positioning of Rubrik Go as the main option took some time. We learned from this and made it part of our pricing and packaging enablement and go-to-market for all other offerings thereafter.”
In an increasingly difficult selling landscape, everyone on the buying committee needs to be cognizant of the economic impact of what’s being bought, and the narrative is inextricably tied to value. The strategy for delivering financial justification may employ relevant success stories, third-party proof points or ROI calculators. It is also important for companies to go all out and caution buyers about the consequences of what happens if they don’t act - what they stand to lose include costs saved, improvements in processes, risk avoidance and eventually revenue growth. In a nutshell, sales delivers value in revenue generation and sales enablement serves as a catalyst for continuing and compounding on that value.
Differentiation by way of personalization and making room for immersive buying experiences will redefine how packaging and pricing will need to be looked at, and how they will embolden sales functions. It is progressive and modern sales enablement that is engaging, and value-driven that will come out on top.
Mehul Sahni's views were originally published in Ajit Ghuman's book 'Price To Scale'. Now available on Amazon.com.