Are you Selling Trust or SaaS/PaaS?

Are you Selling Trust or SaaS/PaaS?

Well it is a little of both, but let me explain. I learned something about the Salesforce.com agreement that totally changed my thinking about SaaS and PaaS agreements, and service level agreements (SLAs): there is no SLA in the Salesforce.com agreement. Yep, you read it right; there is no SLA in their agreement. What Salesforce.com realized–and you need to remember– is that you are first and foremost selling ‘trust’. So Salesforce.com decided to spend less time negotiating the complexities of an embedded SLA in their SaaS agreement and instead publicized their SLA under a Trust Site.

So, here is what every SaaS or PaaS business needs to know about Trust Sites.

What is a Trust Site?

A Trust Site is a public facing website on which you post your SLA (current and historical uptime performance . . . or whatever metrics your customers need to know to trust you), Security Policy and Privacy Policy. This is a pretty simple concept, but if you think about it you are actually taking it to another level by making this information public.

Why They Did It.

I don’t really know, but what I heard is that Salesforce.com was spending way too much time negotiating their SLA (how to measure it, how to determine and how to apply the credits, yada yada). This was unnecessarily extending the sales process, so they did some deeper thinking about the issue.

They realized what customers really want to know about.

1.     Know that the vendor knows when a site has performance issues,

2.     Know that the vendor is working to resolve the issue, and

3.     Some type of notification when the performance issue is resolved.

All of this can be addressed through a Trust Site (instead of the SaaS or PaaS agreement) dedicated to why customers should trust you with their important data. Yep, that is the way your customers look at it, so you better start thinking about it that way.

What You Can Do (Now).

Take a look at the sample Trust Sites below, as I have provided several examples. As you can see, your Trust Site does not have to look like the Salesforce.com site, as you should figure out what key metrics your customers want to see.

This is really not hard stuff, but if you get this right you could actually spend less time negotiating your SaaS or PaaS agreement and build more trust with your customers. Now that is a really cool idea.

So are you selling trust or SaaS? Well as I said, a little of both.

Resources.

Marketo Trust Site                               Dell Boomi Trust Site                     AtTask Trust Site                           

CentralDesktop Status Site               Ariba’s Trust Site                              New Voice Media Trust Site

Informatica Trust Cloud                    AutoDesk Trust Site                        Office 365 Trust Site

Intacct Trust Site                                 Google Apps Trust Site

Disclaimer: This post is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not legal advice. You should hire an attorney if you need legal advice, which should be provided only after review of all relevant facts and applicable law.

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