“Spreading” from one silo to another in Big Customers is usually much harder than you’d think.


Two reasons:

  • First, different VPs and different divisions really don’t have much in common. I was a VP at a Fortune 500 company. There were about 60 of us Senior VPs. About 30 I didn’t even know. About 20 I had nothing in common with. The other 10? We talked, but almost never talked about the web tools we used.
  • In fact, it’s often easier to get a functional VP at one company to recommend you to her VP friend at another company — who has a similar role — than to get an internal referral going.
  • Second, sometimes, it can almost be a negative to use you more internally if you are a “rouge” app. If the division that uses you didn’t get full approval from the CIO/Procurement, etc., sometimes, it’s almost a negative you are already in use there. A lot of times, an entrepreneurial VP will just go out and buy an app she needs and partially bypass the traditional channels. This can make it hard to spread to other divisions than need more official approval.

But it can be done. The key is usually, you have to assist it. It usually (not always, but usually) doesn’t happen organically or virally for most apps. Yes, one sales division make sure best practices with another sales division at their SKO, etc. But different functional areas just don’t share that much on their own.

The answer: hire someone. You need a full-time account manager, and later many of them, to own dedicated accounts and map them out.

To figure out who all the stakeholders are in the different divisions. To ask for the intros. To set up face-to-face meetings. To leverage that internal champion you already have as a reference.

More here: Silos-in-the-Enterprise: Good. But Not All They Are Cracked Up to Be. – SaaStr

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