The SaaS (software as a service) industry has developed a multitude of sales and marketing strategies. And honestly, it’s overwhelming to figure out what’s the best sales strategy for your unique product and know if your strategy is still before its expiration date.
Whether you are new to SaaS selling and looking to build a SaaS strategy from scratch or want to improve your sales strategies in the fast-paced world of software, this article will guide you through everything you need to know about SaaS selling.
- Three Most Common SaaS Selling Challenges
- Mastering Each Stage of the SaaS Selling Cycle
- Using Data-Driven SaaS Selling
1. Customer Fit and Lead Quality
Identifying the right customers isn’t as easy as it might look. You assume they’ll come to you if you have a wonderful SaaS product, but it may not be obvious who the product is for and who you should be selling to.
Your sales reps can’t close deals if the leads they’re getting aren’t your target customers or if the leads don’t understand your product. High-quality leads have already been introduced to your product by marketing, have an understanding of the need you’re addressing, and are in a position to decide on purchasing your product.
If the lead quality is poor, it’s typically the outcome of inadequate marketing and market research. Poor communication between what marketing expects to happen and what is happening on the ground in sales can also be an issue.
The best way to overcome this is to work on the ideal customer profile and improve the lead qualification process using buyer intent data.
One of the biggest responsibilities of sales reps is to find a way to address customer objections. But if these objections are too nuanced or too varied, it might be difficult to come up with a clear approach.
It’s important to figure out why people are not able to close the deal and fix this problem by collecting as much data as possible and by studying the prospect or lead thoroughly. Listen to what they are saying in each conversation carefully.
Is there an issue with the product offering that is causing objections, or do leads require more education to understand how you address their issues? Are your sales reps equipped both to listen carefully and with the knowledge to address concerns?
SaaS selling often involves a longer sales cycle. Sales team motivation is essential. Sales reps rely on success incentives as much as any other weapon. If your reps don’t care for the success of the business or have much to do with it, they won’t do their best.
This also involves a mix of tangible rewards and access to SaaS sales intelligence tools. For example, you should give high-performing cash prizes as well as setting targets and special rewards to meet those goals. You can give them access to the B2B data platform to save their research time and boost the sales process that can help the sales reps to achieve their sales targets.
The more you brainstorm with your team, the better you will understand the challenges they face and the ways to overcome them. Once you have addressed the challenges, you can focus on the six stages of SaaS selling.
Every SaaS business will slowly refine its own sales strategy, but basically, the SaaS sales process follows the following steps:
Understanding Your Audience
First of all, you should understand who your clients are. This might be a one-time process, or you can keep refining your buyer persona based on your past sales. As your SaaS company grows, you can discover new audience segments you need to target. You may also find that your existing customer is growing and developing with new or different needs you can address.
In any situation, you need to build an ideal customer profile (ICP) so that you can produce higher-quality leads and talk more explicitly to the wants, needs, and perceptions of the user. However, you need to have accurate B2B data to ensure that your sales team is chasing the right prospects.
Once you have defined your ICP, the next step is prospecting that includes extensive research. Identifying the prospects without a framework is a real challenge. More than 40% of salespeople say this is the most challenging part of the sales process. Oftentimes, the marketing team is majorly involved in prospecting. However, the sales team can get involved in the process to speed it up and decide whether the prospect fits in as an ideal customer.
Content marketing, SEO, group engagement, email marketing, and calling are all traditional prospecting methods. A smart way of prospecting is to support your outreach activities with the data intelligence tools to help you access the database of millions of prospects in a few clicks. This way, you can save a lot of research time and spend more time selling.
Connecting to the Qualified Prospects
Depending on your business model, connecting to qualified prospects can be either attracting them to your website or by contacting them using email outreach, LinkedIn, or by calling them.
Whichever way you choose, make sure you are reaching the right person. If you are depending on the website, make sure you understand who the visitor is. If you are using email outreach, make sure your message is personalized to their challenges and not a generic one. If you are using cold calling, make sure you have enough data before calling and connecting directly to the decision-maker.
Although 63% of sales representatives say that cold calls are the worst part of their job, nearly 57% of C-level executives say they value information from phone calls with sales reps. So, using accurate direct-dials of your prospects, you can improve the dial-to-connect ratio by 7x.
Demos and Trials
Most SaaS companies attempt to get users to start a free trial, then guide them through several steps to introduce them to the product.
The trial also involves demonstrating the product with a presentation (via video, automatic guided tour using tools such as Intercom, or a personal guided tour with a sales representative). Some SaaS firms are offering a preview instead of a free trial. What you choose depends on your product and your overall sales plan.
However, the major challenge is to get your demo and free trial forms filled. The key to achieving that is to keep your form short. The fewer the fields, the more conversions. But what about having more data? Here’s when you can smartly use data enrichment as it allows you to keep the form short by asking only the name and email, and the rest of the missing firmographic and technographic data will be auto-filled in your CRM.
The Initial Sale
This is where sales reps typically become the most involved. Before this stage, you do not (and should not) take a selling approach. The rep should reach out to people who have used the free trial or demo and attempt to close the deal.
However, make sure your sales reps act as advisors and provide friendly, timely communication. Pushing hard for selling at the initial stage can lead to a loss of a good deal. 57% of customers admitted they would like to buy from a salesperson who, when talking to them, “does not attempt to put pressure or hassle them.”
The Upsell/Continued Sale
From this point on, SaaS sales teams are responsible for ensuring that current subscribers stay subscribed. It’s typically much easier to retain a client, after all, than to attract a new one.
You can also incentivize reps to upsell existing customers to purchase a package with additional features or new items. But only if the customer experience has gone smoothly. Pleasant, prompt, and comprehensive customer service is the secret to sustaining, satisfied, and committed customers. 73% of buyers will stay faithful to a company with great customer service reps.
Once you have a plan ready for each stage, it is time to execute using the right data.
You have done the planning and prep. Now, it’s time for action. There are numerous ways for you to reach out to your targeted persona, nurture their understanding, and walk the customer through their sales journey. But, no matter your approach, data is at the heart of the complete SaaS sales cycle.
However, not all data will help to bag the deal. You need to choose the right data for the right purpose at the right stage. Here are the most important data sets that you should use to hit your sales numbers.
Firmographic and Technographic Data for a Focused Segmentation
Using firmographic and technographic data, you will be able to target and reach qualified accounts. It makes perfect sense — the more accurate data you have on your target market, the better decisions you can make when segmenting your audience.
SalesIntel’s provides you the “must-have” data filter variables such as industry, revenue, location, company size, executive title, the tools and technologies your prospects/clients/leads use, and more. Sales reps can use the data to narrow their prospect list down to their ideal customers.
Buyer Intent Data for Improved Lead Qualification
Intent Data is a collection of behavioral signals that help you understand the intentions of your prospective customers to buy a product or service. Once prospective buyers land on your website, you can track their behavior (track their urgency of buying your product) and allocate lead scores to them.
SalesIntel’s Intent Data will help you discover your prospective buying signals by knowing the topics of intent that are being actively researched across individual accounts.
Data Enrichment for Frictionless Form Submissions
If you want visitors to sign up for an ebook, arrange a meeting, or request a demo, contact forms will help make this possible. However, the way you set up your contact form on your site has a significant influence on whether people want to submit it.
Keeping your form short is a smart way to improve your form submission. By doing so, you are making the first hurdle low, so when your prospects find that they only need to provide a name and email address, they are likely to submit.
You can enrich your existing data with an email address alone, and SalesIntel auto-populates the human-verified firmographic data, the technographic data, and the direct dial numbers to help you through the sales process.
Website Visitors’ Data
Tracking what type of visitors are on your website is another smart way to get to know your prospects closely. You can do so using VisitorIntel.
VisitorIntel is an analytics-driven tool that helps users gain insight into which businesses are trafficking their websites and increases their understanding of buyers before they completely define their needs.
Once you add a small code to your website, VisitorIntel tracks the website visitors and provides data such as technographic data, firmographic data, and industry-leading contact information for decision-makers and main influencers under the umbrella of the organization.
Direct Dials for a Better Dial-to-Connect (DTR) Ratio
If you dial the company switchboard and ask for a decision-maker from top management, likely, the gatekeeper won’t let you through. Connecting to a decision-maker takes an average of 22 minutes using switchboard numbers, but just five minutes to connect with direct dial numbers.
Earlier, the sales reps had to persuade the gatekeeper on the switchboard to put you through to your decision-maker. According to ScaleX research, they compared the effectiveness and productivity of dialing switchboards, direct desk numbers, and direct-work mobile numbers from SalesIntel. Direct-dials were the clear winner with a 10:1 DTC (dial-to-connect) ratio.
SaaS sales strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to keep patient throughout the process as you learn more about your potential buyers.
The more investment you put into your SaaS strategy, and the more you use your data, the closer you get to high-speed sales growth.