SaaS is a billion-dollar industry. And it’s only going to get bigger. According to TechCrunch, the SaaS industry is at the same stage as “the PC market in 1983, smartphone market in 2003, or the search market in 1998.” There is no better time than now to be in SaaS. But more opportunities mean more competition. If you want to lead the pack, you need to know how to sell SaaS.
Customer-centric selling is particularly important in the age of social media, where companies and customers engage in an ongoing public dialogue across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, websites, and blogs. Customer-centric selling starts by encouraging potential customers to tell you about their problems. Then, it continues with guiding them down a path to the right solution. In other words, they’re going to talk about you. Building trust over time by working together leads to promote loyalty, referrals, and positive word-of-mouth. All of this translates into generating more revenue.
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How to Sell your SaaS Product?
Below are a few points to keep in mind when it comes to selling SaaS products.
Sell Solutions, Not Products
Technology companies often struggle with the task of showing what they do for their customers into a box called ‘Product’. People check your website or contact you because they have a problem that needs to be solved. But, often, they don’t clearly understand what they want or need. It’s your job to be the expert. Asking the right questions makes selling an ongoing conversation about customer needs. Questions also help identify how far along they are on the decision path toward buying, which makes the entire process easier to track in a CRM.
Selling solutions might not even involve making direct references to products. An example of this is ChatBot, a leading chatbot developing SaaS. It emphasizes the benefits of using ChatBot from the perspective of the end user. There is no reference to product features. Simply a clear explanation of how ChatBot can solve customer problems.
Keep your trials short
At first glance, you might think giving customers a long trial period for your product will increase the chances that they pay for your product. A long trial might seem like a good way to hook your customer, but you’re really just hurting your startup. For 99% of startups, trials shouldn’t be any longer than 14 days. Here’s why.
- Most people don’t use free trials for the full duration. Take a look at your data and you’ll see that the vast majority of your trial users duck out after about three days.
- Users take a short trial more seriously. Your prospects will procrastinate, and when they procrastinate, they forget. With a shorter trial period, they’re more likely to try your product immediately.
- Lower customer acquisition costs. When you shorten your trial, you also shorten your sales cycle. If you’re able to shorten your sales cycle from six weeks to three, you will significantly reduce your customer acquisition costs.
Create Feedback Loops
When customers hit certain milestones (logging in to your platform for the hundredth time or making a repeat purchase), have your client services team check in with sales and marketing.
Demonstrate the value of your products and services each step of the way:
- Generate daily, weekly, and monthly reports on progress and activity.
- Create snapshots of key wins or success stories, such as a blog post or comment that did particularly well, or a testimonial.
- Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that are important to your customers, measuring success against these metrics.
- Check in with customers who are not meeting certain thresholds of activity (for example, if they haven’t logged in or made a repeat purchase in a month).
Also, in an effort to continue to build trust and assurance with your clients, regularly ask for feedback. It can come in a monthly service survey or by way of just calling your customer at relevant intervals to ask him or her if there’s anything else you can do.
Find your right SaaS customers
You need to develop an 'ideal customer profile'. It‘s a fictitious organization and you need to address the following to create the profile:
- How are they valuable to your company? In addition to paying for your service, will they provide referrals and testimonials? Can they point you to new opportunities, or provide resources to grow your business?
- How does your SaaS product help them? Does it improve their revenue, reduce their cost, or improve productivity?
- You need to build the fictitious customers from real data. To get this real data, talk to your existing customers, and find out what value they actually get from your product.
When you getting feedback from your existing customers, don’t just contact them once. Their input will be valuable before you sell, after you sell, and after they receive value from your product. Ask them to quantify the value so you can understand how it works and how it doesn’t.
Optimize your email campaign
Unless you have a killer email campaign, most of your prospects are going to forget you exist within hours of enrolling in your trial. To get the most out of your drip email campaign, follow these strategies. Use "human" email addresses. Don’t ever send an email from a department. Instead of "Sales@YourBusiness.com", use "YourName@YourBusiness.com".
Send activity-based emails. Your drip campaign should automatically email your leads at different situations, including when they sign up, if they visit the account or cancellation page, and if their trial is about to end.
You will rarely close a deal on the first call. Startup sale's success is dependent on your ability to follow up repeatedly. You want to get either a clear yes or no. A maybe isn’t a no until it’s a no. So, make sure you or your team follow up until your prospect gives you an answer one way or another. If your prospect has ever expressed interest in your product, follow up forever. Don’t settle for silence or “maybe”; maybes kill your startup. Keep calling and emailing until you get a clear “yes” or “no”.
If the lead is completely cold, follow this 14-day plan:
- Day 1: Initial contact.
- Day 3: First follow-up. Reach out at a different time of day with a condensed version of your initial message.
- Day 7: Second follow-up. Reach out at a different time of day and restate your call to action.
- Day 14: Third follow-up. If you haven’t received any response from your lead, send the break-up email. This is where response rates skyrocket.
If you don’t receive a response to your break-up email, move on to more promising leads.
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Build Solid Long-Term Relationships with your Customers
When your entire business lives online, sometimes it’s hard to build any kind of relationship with your customers. That’s why it’s imperative you and your team have great written and spoken communication skills. You or your sales team should be able to reassure prospects that your business will be around for the long term and is not a fly-by-night operation. When a customer decides to use your software, they should see it as a long-term investment in their own business. When you have a high level of rapport with your customer base, it makes it easier to increase your revenue through upsells or add-ons, or even bring in new business through referrals and testimonials.
There is no “one solution” that is right for every company to use with its customers. Focus on identifying similar types of customer needs, and be proactive in creating solutions that can be standardized for similar types of customers. Patterns will start to emerge over time, and you will be able to create solution types that can be repeated and scaled. Using tracking software allows you to know what your customer is examining and for how long. This way, you can predict his or her objections upfront and notice trends among your customers.
SaaS sales is hard, but it isn’t impossible. If you incorporate these strategies into your sales cycle, you’ll drastically increase your chances of success. It’s important to remember when you are running your business not to get totally caught up with the operations and forget about working on your sales process. Automated sales are great, but sometimes you need to add that personal touch to really take your business to the next level. Do you have any other strategies to sell your product? Please let us know in the comments section below.