Dear SaaStr: A Big Tech Co Launched a Competitive Product. How Can I Tell How Serious They Are About It?

In SaaS at least, I’ll give you one metric that is fairly reliable:

How many dedicated sales professional do they have, just 100% selling the competitive product?

If it’s none yet, it’s an experiment.  If they’ve just made a “Head of” hire, it’s an experiment, but one that is getting budget.

If you can find > 20 or so sales reps selling it on LinkedIn, then your BigCo is taking it Seriously.

If not, and it’s a sales-driven space … they aren’t.

Building a 1.0 competitor is not that big of a deal for a BigCo.

Dedicated some engineers to it even isn’t that big of a deal. You usually have a lot of those as an SVP in a BigCo.  There are always a few good engineers in every departments at Big Tech Cos there to build 1.0 versions of new products.

And just throwing another product to sell to existing reps that sell the ‘main’ products isn’t a big deal, either. This doesn’t work well, but doing it isn’t a big deal.  Again, just an experiment.

But hiring 20, 50, 100+ dedicated sales reps, reporting to a dedicated VP of Sales just for that product? That’s more unusual at a BigCo, especially one with many products.

That’s real extra expense, extra complications, and real changes to the org chart. It will impact fiefdoms and budgets and annual planning.  Especially because as that sales team grows, it’s going to consume even more budget next year.

BigCos. only do this once they are at least semi-serious about winning in a space.

Always take the competition seriously.  But take the BigCo clone more seriously once they’ve really started to build out a true dedicated sales team to sell it.

As Long As You Are Growing 60% Or More — Your Competition Can’t Really Hurt You

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