Slack has been attempting to make inroads in the Enterprise market for some time. The release of its enterprise version has been plagued by delays as it has sought to ensure it fills the needs of its existing enterprise-level consumers such as:
- IT Administration
- Security & Compliance Policy Enforcement
- Unified Team Directory
- Consolidated Billing
Like any company that wishes to scale into the enterprise market, Slack has some hurdles it must overcome before it can achieve that goal.
When startups start talking about their goal to break into the “enterprise” market, they often think of these companies as larger versions of themselves. They’ll be easy to sell to, right?
The enterprise sales cycle can be anywhere from 12 months to 3 years, depending on the solution provider currently in place solving the problem in your vertical. What’s the holdup in making decisions? A lot of things, actually:
Whenever a large enterprise client wishes to consider taking on a new vendor (software, hardware, person who stocks the vending machines, anything), they will have a set of protocols they need to go through. Depending on the governing department, those protocols will be different (but probably similar, based on companies.)
For a new software solution, the absolute first thing is generally:
Is there a need for this?
If they already have a solution in place that the company has paid for training and is currently using, the answer is likely going to be no.
Most companies are already using Hipchat, Skype or something similar (not to forget email) for the same purpose, so Slack would be seen as redundant.
If your sales team is exceptionally good, though, you may get past this phase.
If you do, the next question you have to overcome is:
Is there a budget for this?
Again, if there’s a solution already in place, you may have to wait until their current contract is near renewal before you’ll be given a shot at competing for the business. This can be, as I mentioned, anywhere from 12 months to 3 years. (Enterprise is definitely lucrative.)
If you make it to the Request for Proposal stage, congratulations! You now get to go back and forth for months with large enterprise compliance, security and legal teams to ensure that your software does not violate any policies the company has in place. If it does, you better be prepared to fix it (at your cost, of course) if you want them to consider your business. And this still doesn’t guarantee that they’ll buy anything.
If you manage to close the sale, congratulations! You now need to have a world-class, around the clock support team dedicated to handling even the most mundane questions from Enterprise-level users. No “find your own support” for these people. They want phone support, email and chat, 24/7, in their time zones. And anything you’ve promised them should be delivered, or you risk non-renewal to the next person who comes along.
Better make sure you lock them in to that 3 year contract, eh?
If Slack positions themselves with a large sales and support team, rather than with a large development team that is inherent to most startups, then they can absolutely succeed with enterprise.
However, if they are not prepared for this type of environment, I do not see them succeeding.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/Will-Slack-succeed-with-large-enterprises
Originally Posted On: 2016-02-15