If you are thinking about building features to be enterprise-ready, there are typically two paths that brought you here:
- Your team has initially focused on smaller customers and is now looking to expand, or
- Your team is building a new product and targeting enterprise customers from day 1
Either way, you need to be aware that selling to enterprises is super exciting, especially if you like to play golf and you are ok with a long sales cycle - it could easily take you up to three years to close a deal.
Enterprises can be scared to give startups a chance and startups often lose out to more established businesses. However, there are two great ways to make sure your business doesn't miss out:
- List of other enterprise customers (“show me more logos, we are not a guinea pig”)
- Compliance requirements (“a checklist to show my boss you are safe”)
But what is enterprise readiness? From a product perspective, EnterpriseReady.io identified common features that set enterprise software apart. You can do a free self-assessment here. The basics mean that your business meets the standards that enterprises look for in solution providers.
Now, the good news is that to be enterprise-ready you don’t need to build these common undifferentiated features which can drain your resources and bank account. Here is why:
Customer Obsession – You need to forget about product development and narrow your attention to customer development. You need to talk to potential enterprise customers and understand their current needs, pains, motivations, processes, etc. Remember that they’ve got plenty of software they already depend on that will need to work smoothly with yours. On top of learning how to navigate the enterprise, you need to identify Infosec barriers and consider how to mitigate them; if your solution needs to process internal data, things will be more complex.
Time to market – Instead of spending months building in-house enterprise-grade features, there are off-the-shelf enterprise readiness solutions that you can integrate into your SaaS app with just a few lines of code. There is no need to wait months to build Single Sign-On (SSO), Directory Sync, Audit Logs, Privacy Vault, and other boring stuff that enterprises ask for anymore, now you could plug them within hours. And your team can spend more time building your core product instead of non-core features that won’t add value to your customers’ main needs.
Cut engineering costs – Out-of-the-box solutions will help your company save developers time. If you consider the learning curve, coding, fixing bugs, and all the hassle that your tech team needs to go through, you will realize that people’s time is more expensive than developer tools. And the good news is that there are reliable open source solutions that you could use at no cost. Free and trustworthy? That’s the beauty of open source communities. Self-hosting these solutions will allow your company to maintain a level of control that will simplify things if you need to be certified (SOC2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, etc).
Here are 3 open-source solutions that could be interesting for you - BoxyHQ (disclaimer, I'm a Co-Founder here), Supertokens, and Oso. There are plenty of other solutions that are relevant, we are building a list and would love to learn about other projects you use, please share them with me.
Let’s be sincere, will your engineers focus on building the best SAML SSO feature or will they just focus on checking the box? Compliance security could be expensive in the long term when working with large enterprises. Especially if things go wrong because being compliant doesn’t mean your SaaS app is unhackable.
Remember that not all enterprises are the same. But working with a few design partners will help your team to define an efficient product roadmap, build a robust go-to-market strategy, and you will close more enterprise deals.
Deals, deals, deals!
If you know anyone that needs to build enterprise features we would love to hear from them and see how could we help, please feel free to share my email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Thank you!