One unique quirk about Salesforce is that their fiscal year ends January 31. According to Benioff’s Behind the Cloud, this move was to better align with customer buying patterns and the old budget / new budget purchasing frenzy.
But what does that mean to you, you might be wondering?
The approaching end of the FY means your Salesforce reps are able to cut deals to make year-end numbers — so it’s a great time to explore add-ons and products to enhance your marketing technology stack. And maybe score a decent deal if you go about it in the right way.
So what’s a Pardot Admin to do if they want some shiny new toys to help level up their 2018 marketing?
1. First, catch up on the latest & greatest
Major updates have been rolled out across all Salesforce clouds with the Winter ‘18 release – including some fantastic things in beta for Pardot.
If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed new features and functionality across the Salesforce platform, take a gander! My running wishlist includes:
- Einstein Automated Activity Capture
- Salesforce Inbox
- Advertising Studio
- Einstein / B2B Marketing Analytics
Are there other parts of your sales and marketing process that you could move to Salesforce and streamline? How might you simplify processes and maximize your overall investment?
2. Ask for demos
If your research turns up anything that catches your eye, reach out to your Salesforce AE to tee up a demo.
Keep in mind that your Salesforce AEs are probably hair-on-fire busy right now – so be cool and only reach out if you have real purchasing interest. If you’re window shopping, consider being a nice human and waiting until Feb 1 for that.
3. Plan ahead & negotiate on the “staples”
Are you flirting with your database limits? Need more contact blocks? Want to add a new feature from a higher edition? Be proactive and let your rep know that to see what they can do on price.
Oh, and if you’re on Pardot basic? Go Pro already. Like right now.
4. Ask for services
If you’re adding product and you rep can’t budge any further on price, ask if there’s anything they can do to help you out with implementation or support.
They may have internal resources they can deploy or partners they can arm twist to give you a discount in the interest of winning your business.
5. Shop the AppExchange, too
Many other companies in the “ecosystem” try to align their fiscal year with Salesforce as well.
These partners are eager to make their year-end numbers too — so if there are any specific challenges you’re looking to solve, see if there are any 3rd party tools that could help address this. A few of my favorite Salesforce native or integrated products include:
- SalesTing (for sales reps who just won’t log their dang activities)
- ClearBit or Everstring (for data enrichment)
- Map Anything (for the “where” in your prospect data)
- Demand Tools (for the dupe clean-up we all know we need)
- People Import (to keep future dupes out when loading new data)
- Sertifi (for e-Signatures & contract management)
6. Counter — and try to get creative
You can definitely do better than list price, and you can probably do better than your rep’s first offer.
If you’re not super used to negotiating, it feels weird. But just try it. Make a counteroffer with a reasonable and fair number, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Number of seats and total price aren’t the only bargaining chips you have at your disposal. Could you commit to a longer contract term? Provide references or serve as a success story? Bring it all to the table!
7. Be ready to make decisions
Of course, Salesforce will sell you product year-round. But come February 1st, your rep may be less inclined to bend over backward to give you a screaming deal. Or territories might be reassigned, and you’ll have to start over with a new rep.
If you’re really excited about moving forward with a new product, it can help to proactively prep your internal stakeholders and lay the groundwork early for a speedy sign off. Get all decision makers in on demos, prepare your business case, and let folks internally know that the clock is ticking.
What’s your playbook for negotiation?
Your Salesforce reps likely have more pricing flexibility now than they’ve had all year — so happy negotiating!
What are your tips and tricks for cutting deals with vendors? How do you stretch your precious marketing budget and get the biggest bang for your buck?
Let readers know in the comments!