Enterprise customers are great. They're large, stable accounts that can represent a real win for your business. But they're also a unique challenge, and more complicated than small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Selling to enterprise clients has always meant managing:

  • Long sales cycles
  • Custom solutions
  • Specific needs

But in 2017, in the aftermath of some of the most prominent hacks of all time, it also means keeping up with enterprise companies that are getting extra serious about making sure that their security practices are airtight.

Implementing Auth0, with support for 10+ types of enterprise IAM federation, is the best way to shorten your sales cycle with these companies and make sure you don't have to do frantic work on the back-end to make deals happen.

How selling to enterprise companies usually works

You've built a product that you've been selling to SMBs. But, finally, you're starting to get a foothold with enterprise-level customers. Your hard work is paying off, and you line up a deal with Coca-Cola. Things are really moving for your business, and it feels amazing.

As it turns out, Coca-Cola uses Active Directory for their IAM, so if you want Coca-Cola employees using your product, you need to implement Active Directory. Of course, you get right on it to close the deal, but it takes three months, which stretches your sales cycle out much longer than it could be.

After your deal with Coca-Cola closes, you're feeling good about your ability to serve the enterprise customer. So you go to Disney and you try to sell to Disney. Bad news comes almost immediately: Disney uses SAML!

Now you have to go through the whole process all over again. Extending your sales cycle because of compatibility issues is just time and money being constantly thrown away. On top of that:

  • It doesn't present your business in the best light
  • Your internal champion at your enterprise customer could leave or be fired in those three months
  • Opportunities could be lost elsewhere because you had to spend time building this integration
  • You have to spend even more money on developers making those integrations happen

This is not a cycle you want to be stuck in. And many of your customers are going to have these kinds of requirements if you want to sell to them. Based on data we've collected about enterprise identity management, we learned that hundreds of thousands of companies rely on Active Directory alone.

Enterprise Connections

  • Most (53%) Enterprise connections are through Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS).
  • Another 35% are using Active Directory connections.
  • SAMLP (7%), Microsoft Azure Active Directory (3%), and Google Apps (2%) round out the top 5.

You've got to be able to handle these requirements to get your product in the door with enterprise customers.

Safari Books case study

A great example of how Auth0 can be easily integrated into to your app to open up enterprise possibilities is through Safari Books Online.

Safari Books Online was facing a predictable pattern of long sales cycles and new development time when they first started to go upmarket and sell their design resources, videos, and e-books services to the enterprise customer.

At first, they tried to implement all the enterprise demands they were receiving in-house, but realized they couldn't upgrade their login quickly enough. Understanding what they stood to lose, they sought out an IAM.

Safari Books Online chose Auth0's secure enterprise login options to upgrade their platform and implement logins across enterprise requirements. This dramatically shortened their sales cycle and gave them the functionality they desperately needed.

“Compared to the costs and resources required to build, host, and secure a custom solution, the investment associated with a third-party authentication service like Auth0 was a sensible choice,” said Safari engineering manager Cris Concepcion.

Today, Safari Books Online is used by a wide range of enterprise clients, from Google to Tesla.

How enterprise sales work with Auth0

When you use Auth0, you immediately cut down on the time that your team has to spend doing heavy lifting on the compatibility front. Auth0 allows you to make your app work with 10+ different enterprise identity providers, out of the box.

Auth0 Enterprise Options

Auth0 acts as an intermediary between your app and your users. It seamlessly integrates into your product, but keeps your app isolated from any changes to or idiosyncrasies of different implementations. This means you can keep maximum function for your app with minimal effort for login.

Enterprise Overview

Using Auth0 to ramp up your security and login doesn't just shorten your sales cycle for one customer, but also gives you the tools to fit your login to a wide variety of enterprise needs. If you configure compatibility between Auth0 and your app once, you've configured compatibility for 10+ identity providers in one fell swoop.

Auth0 also gives you the power to add other critical features that enterprise customers want, like multi-factor authentication and single sign-on.

The power of the enterprise customer

Enterprise contracts can represent a big win for your business and are one of the best ways to maximize your revenue.

The enterprise customer wants great solutions to their problems, and it's likely that a well-crafted product that works for SMBs will scale extremely well to an enterprise venture. Add a few extra perks, like a designated point-person and a higher user limit, and you've paved the path to scale up.

The key is to couple this with enterprise-ready security and identity management.

If enterprise customers want employees to be able to sign in with their existing logins instead of creating more accounts, you can use Auth0's single sign-on to streamline your product's integration. If they want to hone in on security, you can offer multifactor authentication that requires both a login and an additional security precaution, like a fingerprint scan, or a verification code.

Whatever their need, a good IAM integration will help you cater to it.

This will allow you to take that premium plan and charge a premium price. Better yet, when you use an IAM, that “premium plan” can be ready as soon as you decide to go after enterprise clients. When you offer enterprise login and security compatibility, you instantly open the door to a whole new — and efficient — revenue stream.