Software Performance-Based Assessment: Your Secret Weapon for Impressing IT Buyers

Last week, you may have “met” Edward — the sales rep tasked with expanding his software company’s reach into APAC.

Despite the fact that Edward possessed more than a decade of SaaS experience, he was having trouble closing deals.

Interestingly, his disappointing conversion rate wasn’t due to poor product knowledge, distracting coworkers or lack of sleep; it actually stemmed from venturing into uncharted territory.

Last year, his organization surprised everyone when it quietly skyrocketed to $100M ARR. Suddenly, IT buyers of enterprise-level companies were contacting the sales rep with increasing frequency.

The problem?

These individuals were significantly more risk-averse than the decision-makers whom Edward was accustomed to working with.

Each lead peppered the sales rep with numerous questions in an attempt to answer one indirect question: Are you credible enough to ensure that MY organization will get what IT needs without fail?

What IT Buyers Really Care About

Slowly, but surely, Edward was beginning to understand “the signals” these IT buyers looked for when assessing SaaS providers:

  • Certification: A robust, software performance-based assessment and certification program that would guarantee competency of channel partners and/or end-users.  
  • References: Edward’s buyers wanted to see testimonials, case studies and examples of how his SaaS has helped similar organizations.
  • Third-Party Validation: Buyers also prefer to see coverage in recognized publications and industry analyst references.
  • Peer Recommendations:  For most people, a recommendation from a trusted friend or colleague goes a long way.
    Industry Trade Show Presence: Attending industry trade shows demonstrates the SaaS is dedicated to staying at the forefront of emerging technology.

Additionally, Edward found his APAC prospects were especially keen on performance-based certification. In many areas certification is a minimal requirement for new hires, consulting partners and other key stakeholders.

These are just some of the reasons industry leaders like Google, Elastic, SUSE and Chef have implemented their own PB certification programs in recent years. Ultimately, Edward convinced his team that software performance-based assessment was the best option.

There was just one problem: The organization could only devote two employees to creating the certification program.

The small crew spent the next 6 months hacking together a solution that allowed them to spin VMs in the cloud. Considering their certification manager had little software development experience, the project required significant back-and-forth collaboration with overseas contractors.  

Despite their best attempts to remain frugal, the team overshot their budget by several thousand dollars. With that said, everyone was overall pleased with the final results.

The Challenge for Certification Managers

That is, everyone except the team’s certification manager Lauren, whose phone began ringing at 2 a.m. on weeknights!

Not only did exam participants require an unexpected amount of technical support, they also warranted an inordinate amount of manual grading.

While the organization was pleased with the growing popularity of their software performance-based assessment, they hadn’t anticipated the logistics of so many exam submissions.

Considering that Lauren had other responsibilities on her plate, she was beginning to feel resentful of the extra work she was putting in. Unfortunately, hiring a new employee for tech support and grading wasn’t financially prudent. Additionally, that person would have to become an expert in the organization’s software. How did our trailblazing SaaS remedy this situation?

Tune in next week to learn how Lauren and her company automated their certification program and upgraded it for greater brand appeal.

Build Your PBA-Based Software Certification Program Faster

If you’re looking to create a performance-based certification program for your software or platform, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Download our informative whitepaper today to get a head-start on build and scaling your own performance-based certification program.

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