How We Got IBM as a Paying Customer

Last week we got IBM as a paying customer for AeroLeads. Though we had signups from few Fortune 500 companies, this was the first paid Fortune 500 client for us and being a bootstrapped startup with zero marketing budget, it do helps a lot to have such clients as it validates the product and you can always leverage on such clients.IBM AeroLeads

So how we got a Fortune 500 Client ?

It was an inbound inquiry. Though we do email marketing for AeroLeads, we avoid sending emails to bigger companies as because of their complex hierarchy, it is difficult to reach the right person not to mention, they already have set of tools and process in use. Setting a call, scheduling a demo, following up again next quarter are few other things which often goes on for long time where as smaller businesses often make decision fast as the person who uses the software is often the founder or manages sales.

The sales people of IBM found us through Google while searching for prospecting software and lead generation software as we rank for such keywords. It did took about 20 emails and many weeks to get the cost and work approved but it was kind of expected.

How you can also get Fortune 500 Customers

Honestly, there is no clear cut method to sell your SaaS solutions to big companies. The best way is them finding you out of their needs and you have a good enough software to fulfill their requirements.

I have tried mailing them in the past with limited success but won’t recommend it unless you have enough resources specially people in sales.

We use AeroLeads to build our mailing list of Sales People and target following Designations

  • Director of Sales
  • VP of Sales
  • Chief Sales Executive
  • Sales Director
  • Sales Vice President

You can build similar lists of decision makers too based on your requirement.

What to expect from Fortune 500 Customers

1. Things will move slow with multiple emails and phone calls.
2. Few weeks to get the funds approved and cleared.
3. The deal may not get closed too even if it looked like you are almost there. This has happened with us many times so don’t get too excited till you get the money in your bank account.

I personally feel for a SaaS startup, it doesn’t make much difference if the paying customer is a one-man freelancer or a Fortune 500 company as long as they are paying same amount. In fact, you probably want to deal more with smaller businesses in short run as they take a decision fast though bigger companies often prefer yearly big contracts which should help you in the long run.

About Pushkar Gaikwad

Howdy, I am the founder of AeroLeads, one of the most powerful prospect and lead generation software on the web. For sales and partnership inquiries, email me.

6 Thoughts on “How We Got IBM as a Paying Customer

  1. Indu Khemchandani on April 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm said:

    Nice post.. I was wondering if you could help building up the email list of people with title “leadership and development”. It’s hard to bring up contact with these titles as my business is purely focused on providing a peer-to-peer learning platform for organizations where employees will be able to learn from and train each other within an organization. I have browsed through the titles you have recommended in this post by providing a link but didn’t get much luck.

    • @indukhemchandani:disqus Hi Indu, you can use AeroLeads to build such list. Do you have the companies name with you which you want to target or just the “titles” ? you can look at linkedin groups to find relevant prospects.

  2. Indu Khemchandani on April 25, 2016 at 9:31 pm said:

    @pushkargaikwad:disqus Thanks for your reply, I am targeting companies but its difficult to get through the right decision maker..

  3. Hearty congratulations, @@pushkargaikwad:disqus — sooner or later, good products will find their way out. You are right about how slow it can be with B2B (especially large accounts). Since the waiting period for sales oriented companies can be well worth the effort, I usually recommend managing a separate pipeline for these “big, but slow” accounts that usually call for multiple decision makers.

    Since startups can’t really wait and the hustle has to happen, the bulk of the sales and marketing effort could very be focused on small and medium accounts, just as you do currently.

    Oh boy, we have a long way to go, don’t we? 🙂


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