So you can make fun of the Old School Enterprise software vendors if you like, the Oracles, the SAPs, the IBMs, etc.  Yes, they aren’t growing like the Cloud leaders, although actually, most are doing pretty darn well right now.

But they do know one thing: what’s important to enterprise buyers.  Even if they don’t always have the most current state-of-the art products.

Like how important it is to make migration to a new vendor easy.  Take this example from Oracle:

98% of start-ups just don’t get this right.  If your product is in a brand-new category, then maybe it’s not a lot of work to rip out an old system.  But most of you are displacing an existing solution.  If that’s paper, then there will still be onboarding costs.  If that’s Excel, again, real costs too.

But the all-in costs go up dramatically more when you are replacing an existing vendor and system with tons of structured data.

How the heck do you get that structure, that exact data set, those custom objects, those workflows … to work in a new tool?  It can be close to impossible for many prospects and customers.

You might think this only matters for big enterprise vendors at scale, but you’re likely wrong.  Buyers of any size that come in as prospects with existing systems will be thinking just as much about soft costs as hard costs.

  • What are you doing to automate or at least simplify 90% of that migration for them?
  • If you can’t do it yourself, do you have partners that can do migrate from an old vendor for them?
  • Can you get it done during a pilot, so it’s less risky?
  • Can you get it done automatically, even, before the pilot?  That’s amazing.

You can make the customer do all the work to migrate to your solution.  That’s what 95%+ of SaaS vendors do.  But you’ll lose some.  And you know who you’ll lose even more?

The ones you could have stolen.  The ones that are on the edge.  Not so fed up to switch.  But close.  Imagine if you did the work for them.

If nothing else, develop a network of partners that can do this for you.  Even if you have to pay them, say, $20k of a $100k deal to do the migration for a customer, it’s worth it.  It’s probably even worth $100k of a $100k deal for the right customer.  Because imagine they stay for a decade.  The best ones do.

I’ll give you a personal example.  We pay about $20,000 a year for a product we use that is a bit dated.  We went and talked to the newer, slicker competitor.  They wanted $40,000 a year, which was a lot more, but we were willing.  Then, late in the process, they told us there would be a $20,000 migration fee.  And … and … we’d have to run both apps at the same time for up to a year, as they couldn’t migrate all our data.   That was an “us issue”, not a “them issue” they said.

See ya never.


A related post here:

How to Steal a Customer From the Competition

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