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Selling Enterprise SaaS in UK: what’s changed since 2020 and how to succeed

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By Adam Bennett , London , NZTE Technology Sector Lead for Europe and Commercial Advisor

5 May 2022

London Techweek blog min

New Zealand SaaS companies in the UK have adapted their approaches during the pandemic, just as their customers have changed the way they make buying decisions. In this blog from NZTE’s team based in London, discover tips to sell SaaS to larger customers in the UK post Covid-19. 

 

During TechWeek 2022, NZTE’s team in London want to help NZ tech companies understand how to tackle the challenges the pandemic brought to the UK market. These changes have included having all your staff working remotely and changing contract terms and conditions around selling SaaS.  Recent conversations we’ve had with bigger Enterprise Sales Organisations (ESOs) across the UK have shown how things have changed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

What’s changed in the UK since 2019?

 Here are the top 4 things we now know: 

  1. Hybrid working has changed buyer decision-making: Most larger companies are continuing to try and return to business as usual from a buyer’s viewpoint, however with the addition of teams based at home or hybrid working, their operations are changed forever. Sales conversations are continuing but with a different cadence and new decision makers. Tip: When approaching large B2B prospects, look at who makes decisions now and show them how great you are at tailoring your message to them.
  2. Customers are asking for shorter contract periods: Companies have reported that clients are looking to mitigate cashflow and switch to shorter deals as they hedge the future, with some existing sales switching from 12 to 6-month agreements. Tip: The goodwill you will get by cutting your customers a break is worth it.
  3. Ramp-up and onboarding is highly critical: The ability to stand up a solution quickly can now take precedence over its ultimate technical abilities. The focus for many companies is now on fast deployment time and efficient onboarding of their teams using your solution Tip: Shipping easy-to-deploy or stripped back products into customers can bode well for the future. Solutions already used and trusted in organisations will be in a very strong position to grow, as risk appetite is tested.
  4. Some sales opportunities are dead, forever: A proportion of ESOs have mothballed parts of the business to constrain spend, as they prioritise investing in frontline and customer facing activity. Tip: Some sales pipelines are dead, make sure you can move on and refocus your activity. 
How are kiwi tech firms in the UK adjusting to the “new normal”?

Over the past 2 years, Catalyst IT is one Kiwi SaaS provider who has been working with numerous UK organisations, from Cambridge University to the Met Office, offering software solutions to adapt to new ways of operating. Catalyst offers software services that provide teaching, e-assessment, and e-learning solutions.

Internally, Catalyst has also adapted to the changing work landscape. It closed its physical office in Brighton and moved to working virtually during the pandemic, before opening a smaller more focussed space in 2021. The UK team was refocused onto new markets, and it employed new ways of engaging staff, by using chatbots.

The top 5 lessons from Catalyst are:   

  1. Catalyst identified the main information platform of its users, the global education news partner PIE. They then used this powerfully to create qualified leads with webinars and “how-to” articles.
  2. It provided drop in ‘’chew and chat’’ sessions to build community around its products. Catalyst have seen geometric growth in both their software and managed services solutions. This is a result of a smoother dev pathway for products, clearer customer success and alignment as their strategy changed.
  3. Catalyst got used to selling across an organization. It recognised parallel or team selling is the way forward as decision making becomes developed across customers.
  4. It continued marketing and delivering thought leadership: hosting webinars and featured leaders with previous experience of economic shocks which were particularly valued by audiences newer to the C-suite.
  5. They made sure they lived the experience of their users, adapting and repositioning based on customer need to make buying an easy decision.

 

What Next? Here are some helpful resources: Want to know more about navigating the UK market- read here: United Kingdom Market Guide - myNZTE 

Is the UK the right market for my SaaS business? - myNZTE 

 

About the author: Adam Bennett is the Technology Sector Lead for Europe and Commercial Advisor with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. He has been working with companies selling overseas, across three continents for more than 25 years, including nearly 6 years in the depths of Silicon Valley launching NZTE’s work in The Valley. 

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