How can you effectively navigate contract negotiation and do any specific approaches lead to better outcomes?

Kevin Moore, Chief Revenue Officer at Abnormal Security, gives his masterclass on how to get your first customers and how to sell enterprise software at a startup. He covers everything from how to find the right person to contact within an account to how to convince companies to work with startups. Kevin is the Chief Revenue Officer of Abnormal Security, where he leads worldwide revenue generating activities. He brings strategic and operational experience with over 20 years of success leading global, high-performance sales teams at companies including Vectra AI and Proofpoint.

Kevin Moore: So I think it starts also somewhat in the planning stage, as you start to build this go-to-market motion and you're starting to close some transactions [00:25:00] when it's important for the, the head of sales, the CEO, and typically the CFO or whoever's in charge of kind of risks to the organization to understand one what's required to close a deal.

Is it important for you to have a contract, a master services agreement we do here in abnormal security. So with that though, you also have to get an understanding and have to jointly agree to what the risk tolerance of the company is going. Oftentimes earlier in earlier stage of a company, companies are,are less risk averse.

They're a little bit more risk tolerant, right? and because they're early in their willing to take on some additional risks, like limitation of liability or indemnity, whereas as you grow,he may become more risk adverse. So identifying what the risk tolerance of the company is early in the outset, is incredibly important.

The idea with contract negotiations is that you want to be. in enterprise selling you, they say you want a deal twice, right? When you get the technical selection. and then when,then when you finally get through the contract negotiations and sign the paper that the second half of that, the getting through [00:26:00] the contract negotiations, you want to make it as expedient and as efficient as possible.

And so that starts with understanding what you think your last positions are going to be on some, usually some pretty heavy sticky items. And a lot of that comes with, hiring a head of sales that has experience in doing these in the past. but also it's just really aligning on what some at risk tolerances and doing your best to build contracts that,are similar to what they're used to in the market and then efficiently and effectively going through that contract process in a very speedy way.

And then just being very transparent with the, with the other party on, on, what you mean. Some of the principles that you're most concerned about. for example, we will not give you unlimited liability. No company does that. I know most enterprises try to do that, but nobody does that, but being transparent, one other, one other kind of just tactic that I like to use is, is what's called a.

A pre legal call. So remember if you're selling twice, right? So you've got the technical selection from a group of buyers and the economic buyer, then [00:27:00] there's the hand-off to a procurement legal team. And sometimes there's some things that are lost in translation.

a SISA would say, Hey, we really want to, we want to buy this, this technology called abnormal security. Do you mind negotiating the contract? I think they're a subscription-based business, but they don't talk about all the intricate details. They pass the buck to another group.

it's really important for that next group to understand the value that you provide and the potential risk that you can pose on them and the risk that you could potentially take. So I do a pre, we do a pre legal call to talk about, who the company is, what our business model is. We're a subscription-based business.

Kevin Moore: We talk about, how our data is processed to try to alleviate any potential down the road. Data processing concerns, data sovereignty, that type of stuff, regulations that we commonly hear. So having that pre legal call, oftentimes you don't get everybody on the same page whose paper you're gonna use.

Who, how are we going to do this? and then ultimately outline the legal process from a timeline perspective, and then agree on mutual goals on when you think that deal is going to close is incredibly [00:28:00] important. So one tactical thing that wouldn't be would be to set up that pre legal call to make sure that everybody's singing from the same team.

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