The Rise of Enterprise Software Purchased Bottom-up

Chris Dixon, one of the best startup bloggers out there, has a new post up today titled The Rise of Enterprise Marketing. In the post, Chris argues that a serious trend with enterprise (business) Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is that of front-line managers and employees buying software in a bottom-up manner as opposed to the historical top-down manner. Some successful SaaS companies, including Yammer, which just sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion, use a freemium model where the sales people only call on people already using the free edition — no more cold calls.

Another key point is that instead of sales people leading the charge to the CIO or department heads, marketing is leading the charge reaching out to the end users. With the end users on board, they either buy directly in a low friction fashion (e.g. a credit card) or if enough people get involved they make a traditional enterprise type sale. The sales cycle and cost of customer acquisition is a magnitude lower in this model compared to the traditional model.

As for the title of the post, “The Rise of Enterprise Marketing” isn’t the clearest headline to describe the content. Enterprise marketing has been around since the beginning of business software. This is really enterprise marketing targeted at the end user so that the corporate software can be purchased in a bottom-up manner. Regardless, this is a major trend deserving of serious attention.

What else? What are your thoughts on the rise of enterprise software purchased bottom-up?

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