One major thing of interest to those selling SaaS solutions is:
... US research firm Saugatuck Technology’s Bill McNee noted a finding that Europeans have a marked preference for buying SaaS solutions from an IT consultant rather than direct from the vendor — almost a mirror image of US behavior.Which is quite close to my experience as well. As a vendor using SaaS as a delivery platform (among others), it shows that the important thing is to embrace IT Consultants to help find customers, that direct selling of SaaS solutions is not the most effective way to go.
Several reasons exist why this is the case. The consultant may have more experience using the tool, rather than a vendor developing it. The customer is more likely to believe that a consultant will recommend the best tool to use and is able to show it's use, than the vendor directly could. A strong SaaS platform should also enable the consultants in the field to manage multiple customers through one tool without necessarily visiting the customer - therefore creating economies of scale when working across multiple accounts.
For the Sales Engineer, this means engaging a more technical IT Consultant as a user - to communicate both the end customer benefits and also enablement of a IT Consultant to ensure the tool gets a good following. A good consultant will have great customer reach, many contacts in the correct industry, and also communicate well with the Vendor through the SE and the Sales team in general, and get better access to the Product management team.
Successful SEs, might see this as a future career opportunity, branching out into the consultancy field to deliver the tool directly to end customers.
Other posts that are relevant include: