Among the fast-growing industries, the SaaS space is intensely one of the most competitive. SaaS businesses have become a crucial part of people’s day-to-day activities. This pandemic, its growth sped up as more businesses turned remote. The SaaS market is estimated to reach 145.5 billion dollars this 2021.
With an extremely crowded space and SaaS’ nature of business, getting more customers to try and subscribe to SaaS products can be a hundred times more challenging. Here’s to help you sell your SaaS products strategically using a proven sales process.
What is a SaaS sales process?
The process of finding prospects for your web-based software, up to the last step of the customer’s purchase journey, as well as turning them into long-time users comprise your SaaS sales process. Unlike any other business, the SaaS sales process doesn’t typically end in closing a sale. In fact, a different selling process starts once a customer converts.
Selling SaaS products requires salespeople to have full knowledge of the software to help them communicate your products’ full potential to customers. However, the selling doesn’t end there. Once customers are acquired, another team should be responsible for customer success and be able to address each customer’s pain points. This gives you chances to upsell more features and retain customers to be loyal to your business.
Having a sound SaaS sales process gives your business the ability to attract, close, and retain customers in your SaaS sales cycle.
How long should your SaaS sales cycle be?
Forecasting how long your sales cycle will depend on many factors. For most SaaS businesses, it takes an average of 84 days or at least 4 months to earn new customers. For others with less than $5K ACV (Annual Cost Value), the sales cycle may be cut short to an average of 30 days.
The more expensive your product is, the longer your SaaS sales cycle will be. However, apart from your pricing and ACV, a SaaS sales cycle length can be affected by other variables in your business, which are:
Your target customer/market
For SaaS, customers drive your business. Depending on what your SaaS products cater to, your target customers should be well-informed about your features and how they can help them. B2B and B2C customers vary on needs, expectations, and tech-savviness. When it comes to a new market, targeting can become a little more complex. Either way, you will be needing to constantly educate, train first-hand users, and develop features from your end.
Your product’s complexity
SaaS is an ever-evolving industry. Getting customers acquainted with a new software product or feature requires time and effort. The more complex your SaaS product is, the longer it will take your customers to appreciate it. To win here, you have to make sure that your UX/UI strategy is beginner-friendly. It is also important for your salespeople to undergo intensive training to make sure they’d know how to sell your product.
Your free trial offerings
Free trials and freemiums have been beneficial to SaaS sales success. Giving your customers a sneak peek of what your product offers has been an ideal practice in the business. However, this won’t always guarantee you a closed sale. Strategizing your free trial offerings and length is vital to converting subscribers into actual paying customers.
Adapting SaaS sales models to your sales process
Knowing what your SaaS sales model is will help you identify how your products benefit the market it serves. As diverse as the SaaS industry is, you have to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all technique.
Determining which sales model to adapt allows you to be more knowledgeable of the common practices you can apply in your sales process. It also helps you trim down leads and identify high-value prospects as you scale your business.
Customer/Self Service Model
The holy grail for SaaS businesses is to have a product that customers are able to use by themselves. The customer/self-service model doesn’t require sales representatives in the equation. This shows that customers in this SaaS business model see that your product is high-value, and they would instinctively know how to use it. In this model, your marketing team is responsible for all sales efforts, from awareness, education, and acquisition. They will be backed up by a technical support team that will handle onboarding and customer retention.
SaaS with high average selling pricing (ASPs) and product complexity tends to drive higher expectations from their customers. In this sales model, sales representatives are supported with standardized content and processes. Marketing supports sales, feeding them leads to build their pipeline while addressing roadblocks en masse as customers go through the buying journey. The onboarding process is handled by a support team, giving customers education, training, and high-level support.
The most complex among the three, the enterprise SaaS model includes strategic sales efforts that address specific prospects. These businesses offer feature-rich products and services that need complex sales tools. Sales representatives act as software professionals, constantly interacting with customers to educate them about the product. Apart from getting customers aware, marketing efforts include relationship building and education, while calculating ROI risks. Support teams are trained to tailor-fit issue resolutions for each type of customer.
Are You In The Start-Up Graveyard?
If you can’t identify your business among these three models, chances are you might be in the start-up graveyard. This happens when the complexity of your business requires costs higher than your ASP. While this is not considered part of the SaaS models, it’s inevitable for some businesses.
Avoid the startup graveyard by strategizing on acquiring customers and educating them at the least amount of time you can. Add necessary innovations to your product to increase your value, and improve your pitches to build lasting relationships with your customers.
Tips for a more effective SaaS sales process
The more you move deeper into your SaaS sales process, the more you find out about areas for growth and learning. Let us break down some of the most effective tips to hack SaaS sales process success.
Identifying your customer
By knowing your ideal customer and setting up buyer personas, you are forming the first step of your SaaS sales process. Identifying who to target allows you to plan your sales process according to how you want your target to perceive your business.
Tip 1: Refine buyer personas
Businesses may know who their target customers are, but most of the time, they still have trouble identifying their personas. Setting who you want to target is different from refining your buyers’ personas. The latter helps you determine how to approach each type of customer well. Refine your SaaS buyer personas using surveys, interviews, and data mining. Understand their pain points to be able to provide the best solutions for them.
Tip 2: Set up strategic trial plan subscriptions
Identifying your customers also means knowing how much are they are will to spend on your product. Free trials are great ways to assess this. While most experts recommend a 14-day free trial length, determining your trial duration depends on your product’s complexity. Strategize your trial plan offerings, and know what to offer for free and what to hold back. For SaaS with higher ASPs, the decision-making process takes longer and your free trial should be able to help with that.
There are two types of prospecting known to SaaS selling: active and passive. To be able to apply the best for your SaaS business, you need to know which model your business belongs to. The self-service model leans more on the passive approach while Transactional and Enterprise models need an active form of prospecting.
Tip 3: Connect through different channels
Connecting with customers, even on the passive side of the business, doesn’t always have to take too much of your time. Calls are best for reaching customers if you need immediate, interactive, and personalized responses. SMS is best for its immediacy and personalization without spending too much of your agent’s time. Emails tend to give off a formal and professional vibe to your customers. Better yet, go all the way and use all these three strategically using omnichannel prospecting.
Tip 4: List and provide answers to possible objections
Your call scripts must include answers to the most frequently asked questions of your customers. Keep updating your scripts with a sales objections list and the most up-to-date information about your products and services. Listen to most of your client’s objections and find out how to handle them like a pro.
Some uninterested users will spam your websites and inquiry forms, or do things to disrupt your flows. This is why actively following up on every single one of these leads can cost you time and energy.
Tip 5: Categorize your leads
Identify which of these leads belong to your MQLs, SQLs, or PQLs. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are those who took an action on your efforts; like visiting your website, subscribing to your newsletter, or consuming your content. SQLs or sales-qualified leads are those who belong to your target list of high-value customers and should be contacted right away. Finally, product qualified leads (PQLs) are those who have used your product but didn’t convert, like your free trial users and basic plan users. These categories may differ per business but either way, identifying them helps make your efforts more effective for each type of lead.
Tip 6: Use a power dialer
Automating your dials is a sure-fire way to get connected with hundreds of contacts real fast. However, you should also consider knowing which of these leads are valuable and qualified to be contacted. Find a power dialer solution that doesn’t only call contacts on autopilot, but also detects bad leads for you.
“The fortune is in the follow-up,” or so they say. This is entirely true for everything sales, especially the SaaS industry. Following up leads to convert them to paying customers requires numerous strategies and attempts on your end. Ensure that follow-ups are done passionately and professionally.
Tip 7: Engage consistently
Engaging with customers consistently makes customers feel special. This doesn’t mean you have to have face-to-face interactions all the time. Depending on your business, interactions should be strategic and supported. To make it easier, you can automate engagements on channels that don’t need personal interactions like emails or SMS. For SaaS businesses with complex structures, allow easy and live interactions like demos and scheduled calls.
Closing and onboarding
At this stage of your sales process, you shouldn’t let your guard down. At this stage of your SaaS sales process, customers are keen to assess your products and services. Be consistent and treat customers like you’re still winning them over.
Tip 8: Keep onboarding simple, quick, and easy
Your onboarding process should be very easy for your customers to adapt to. Provide an onboarding checklist to make it easier for them. For customers who will be using cloud-based solutions for the first time, you should be able to provide them with all the information they need. With proper onboarding, you are reducing your churn rates, decreasing your support costs, and most of all, keeping customers happy with their purchase.
Nurturing paying customers
Like we said earlier, the SaaS sales process doesn’t end in closing a sale. Nurturing your customers is key in keeping your business thriving. Keep customers loyal while increasing your ROI by nurturing towards customer retention.
Tip 9: Provide more value to your customers
SaaS is a continuously evolving industry, and your technology should be able to adapt to that. Bring more value to your product and features by providing upgrades to your software. To be able to identify what to add more into them, you should always ask for their feedback.
Tip 10: Ask for feedback
Feedback gets your business growing. While not all customers are willing to send you great feedback, there are many ways you can go about it. You can use multiple sales channels like SMS or email. Offer incentives and promos in exchange for reviews. Get creative and make sure to address the negatives.
Tip 11: Track your metrics
Data gathering is key to providing the metrics you need for assessment. Use a platform that lets you automatically record the data for easy tracking. Know about the most important SaaS sales metrics you should be tracking and use them for your future goals. It also helps to look for third-party software that can help you record these data and metrics on autopilot.
Keeping your SaaS sales process at par with industry standards can go a long way. Keep in mind that with the right plan, you’ll be able to set up a more effective sales process for your SaaS business.
Aloware offers features and products that aim to provide you with tools for SaaS sales success. We’ll help you develop a winning sales process with efficient SaaS sales tools for your contact center. Bring more leads into your pipeline with a smart sales dialer and omnichannel contact center that syncs with your favorite CRM. Set up sales automation sequences using calls and texts to convert more customers with less effort. Connect with us to know more!