Deals are a team effort

One of London’s top sales leaders tells us how on high-cost deals, the salesperson is just the face. It takes a team to pull together a major win.

In June we staged our first Sales Confidence conference at HereEast, in London’s Olympic Park. We called it SaaSGrowth2018. We had over 200 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 30 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our SaaSGrowth2018 articles.

Brendan Walsh

‘How to successfully navigate, negotiate and sell to FTSE 100 companies and enterprise accounts’ was the title of one of the morning sessions. We were excited to welcome 5 sales experts to the SaaSGrowth stage to talk about how they do business.

Brendan Walsh is VP at Zuora, helping businesses leverage the subscription economy. It was great to welcome him to the SaaSGrowth stage.

Brendan’s talk was about how to close large deals for Zuora. It’s more than just a salesperson making some calls. It’s a tremendous team effort.

There are a lot of people that get involved in the Zuora sales process. That makes our world very complex.’

It takes a village

Zuora’s solution is very technical, so the sales process has to be technical too.

‘It’s an enterprise type sale, but it’s a high cost of acquisition, so it’s a technical sale too. It wasn’t a typical model where we could hire a bunch of AEs and grow our company from there. We had to hire AEs, sales engineers, architects, TCs. They all get involved in the sales process, and that creates a really interesting dynamic within the organisation.’


It’s not just a complicated sell at Zuora either. It’s time-consuming. Their sales cycle in the early days was up to 18 months.

‘Put yourself in an AE’s shoes, where I’m running weekly forecasts and they’re in an 18-month deal cycle. That’s a pretty brutal environment!’

It was becoming a tough sell for the salespeople too. Who would enjoy being in that situation where after 18 months’ work, you could lose a deal? How can you create predictability in this situation?

‘We changed our operating model to be more disciplined. We create this world where the salesperson becomes what we call a ‘CEO’. They’re responsible for their own organisation. So, they have to build up a book of business. In terms of who you qualify, prospects you speak with, how you engage with them, it’s all there. But it’s also how you set up your technical resources.’


At Zuora, while the salesperson is at the centre of things. They are just the face of an enormous team effort.

‘Everyone’s waiting for the salesperson to sell, but it’s actually the sales engineers who are walking the customer through the solution. The transformation, the journey, the customer success model. It created a more trusting sales environment, which in turn boosted our predictability.’

It’s clear that for a company like Zuora, selling high-cost packages to CFOs, to be successful, you need more than just a salesperson. You need a technical team equally invested in the success of the customer. The salesperson is the coordinator and the public face, but it’s the techies who take on a lot of the weight.

Let’s hope they all get to celebrate when the deals are done!

Over to you now

Let us know what you think. When you close a deal, who are the other team members who have helped get you there? What did they do to make the deal possible? Let us know in the comments.

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