Now is the best time to be in SaaS.
SaaS is already a billion dollar-industry (According to Gartner, SaaS companies generated more than $70 billion in 2018) and will continue growing (SaaS market revenues are projected to grow to over $110 billion by 2021 on a global level!).
But even though this sounds exciting, it also means that the competition in SaaS is getting really fierce. So, if you want to stay on top of your game, you’ll need to learn how to sell your SaaS product.
In the early stages of most SaaS startups, the founder or CEO is also the head of sales. This means that the sales department is led by a person who has no formal sales training (and probably sucks at selling stuff), which can make the whole sales process quite difficult and impede the company’s growth.
In this article, I outline several sales methods that you should include in your growth plan in order to increase your chances of success.
Let’s get started.
1. Start Selling NOW
If you’re convinced that your SaaS product is great, good for you. But even the greatest products out there won’t sell themselves. At the initial stages, forget about selling features and focus on delivering a product that is really valuable.
That being said, you shouldn’t wait until your SaaS product is perfect in order to start selling it. Start selling your SaaS product from day one. Start selling your solution and vision to potential customers, partners, and the media.
Don’t spend ages testing the market and collecting feedback. Instead, find people who are ready to pay you several months in advance and build a relationship with them. The contracts you make with these people will fund the completion of your product.
2. Offer SHORT Trials
Even though longer trials may seem tempting as a great way to hook customers, they can actually do damage to your SaaS. The ideal length of a trial is 14 days. Why? Stats say that most people stop using free trials after three days.
In general, people tend to take shorter trials more seriously. If the trial is long, your prospects are likely to delay using your product and, eventually, they’ll forget about it. But when the trial period is shorter, chances are they’ll try it immediately.
Finally, a shorter trial also means a shorter sales cycle and, as a result, reduced customer acquisition costs.
3. Call Your Trial Users RIGHT AWAY
Many SaaS companies don’t call their trial signups or they call them on the last day of trial. Don’t do this. Call each trial users right after they signup. Here’s why:
- You’ll get to know your trial signups, which will make it easier for you to turn them into customers.
- You’ll be able to determine whether your product is a good fit for a prospect’s needs.
- Your reach rate will skyrocket. If you wait for too long to call, your prospects might forget about your product and they probably won’t answer.
- A phone call is the best way to manage possible objections.
4. Get the MOST Out of Your Email Campaign
Don’t let your prospects forget about you after enrolling in your trial. Optimize your drip email campaign to make the most out of it. Here’s how:
- Make sure your email addresses look ‘human’. Instead of something totally impersonal like this: firstname.lastname@example.org, use something like this email@example.com
- Send lots of emails. Are you concerned that you’ll annoy your leads? Don’t be. Fire away! Make sure your email campaign sends an email automatically in the following situations: when they sign up when they visit the cancellation page or the account, and when their trial is close to an end.
5. Make Sure Your Demos Are Short and EFFECTIVE
Keep this in mind: a demo differs from a training session. Your leads want to understand how your product will help them, but they don’t need to see every single thing that it does.
If you want your demos to sell, keep these 3 strategies in mind:
- Your demo is not a qualification tool. Make sure to qualify your leads before you give them a demo.
- Keep the demo short. Try to explain how your product will solve their problems in no more than 15-20 minutes. Half an hour is too long.
- Focus on your product’s benefits, not its features. As I already said, prospects don’t need to know every single detail about your product. The only thing they care about is how they will benefit from your product. Your focus should be on the value.
6. Money Talk: DON’T DEVALUE Your SaaS Product
Many SaaS companies believe that if they set the price high, they won’t be competitive. This is not true.
If you set your price too low, it will look like you are not confident in your product. What makes you competitive is value, not pricing.
It’s all right if some prospects can’t afford your product. In fact, if you’ve never lost a deal due to pricing, your product is probably too cheap.
Oh, and don’t give discounts. Even though they may seem like an effective way to get hesitant prospects on board, discounts can do more damage than good. Here’s why:
- Giving discounts can have a negative effect on your branding efforts. If your customers find out (and they will!) that their competitors got the same product for a lower price, they won’t be very happy.
- Giving discounts can make it impossible to predict revenue. If every customer pays a different amount, you’ll never be able to figure out what your revenue will look like next month, let alone next year.
- Finally, giving discounts will make your sales team lazy. Selling a cheaper product is always easier so they’ll probably abuse this option.
Have a strict discount policy and stick to it. Offer prepaid annual plans but other than that, no discounts.
7. Hire the Right Sales People
Once you’ve achieved some level of success, i.e. you’ve managed to make the first sales and generated some revenue, you’ll need to take things to the next level. You’ll also need to focus on developing your product further, so help with sales will be much needed.
This is the right time to hire the first sales reps in order to replicate your results.
When hiring your first reps, avoid sales veterans (who are too expensive), and focus on hiring young, highly-motivated people.
8. Avoid Selling Your Product to UNQUALIFIED Prospects
Even if it means saying ‘no’ to a customer who is ready to actually pay you, closing a deal with a wrong prospect is bad in the long run.
Unqualified prospects aren’t very likely to have any success with your product. They’ll probably have tons of complaints and need lots of support. They are very likely to leave negative reviews online and undermine your team’s morale. When these customers eventually churn, they’ll blame it on you and your product.
Now that you have all the tips to master your SaaS sales strategy, it’s time to get back to work.
Use these tactics as a guideline and share them with your team so they can also work at an optimal level.