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.
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.