Founder's Guide to SaaS Sales - 10 fundamentals to start selling your product
July 31, 2022
If two times two equals five, sales are not important for SaaS, especially not for B2B.
But under every other condition, a SaaS company must have a butter-smooth sales process in order to build a strong customer base and lower the churn rates.
Especially if you have a B2B product, sales efficiency becomes even more important.
Let's dig into it:
What are SaaS Sales?
The process of selling cloud-based software to customers is known as SaaS sales. Sales associates are responsible for recruiting new customers as well as upselling or maintaining current ones. Because SaaS salespeople often have to sell at a higher price, service and attentiveness are critical to closing the deal.
In SaaS, usually the marketing teams try to focus on generating sales qualified leads along with marketing qualified leads and product qualified leads. The sales team picks up those leads, and walks them through the sales cycle in order to convince them that they need your product.
If you are asking:
"Can't I sell my product without depending on sales reps?"
Here's the answer:
Why it is important to have a killer sales department in SaaS
Because the SaaS sales process is different than any other.
The customer base is more narrow in SaaS because the tools are usually much more expensive. Therefore, you have to have a human (sales reps) within the sales cycles to get a higher customer acquisition rate.
☞ In other words, a solid Sales strategy is the oxygen of SaaS.
If you were selling shoes, your marketing strategy might be sufficient for creating enough revenue and lowering the customer acquisition cost.
But in SaaS, marketing is only a step that brings potential customers into the sales funnel, where they will be asking a lot of questions to the salespeople during the product demos.
So, how do you build a butter smooth sales model?
It's not difficult:
How to Get Started with SaaS Sales as a Founder
Before I get into the details of building successful web-based software sales cycles, I would like to answer another question that founders often ask:
Is SaaS Sales difficult?
SaaS sales is not difficult, it's just different from regular B2C sales since the steps are usually deeper.
Here are the ten crucial steps you should follow as a founder to keep your customer retention rate high:
1- Build a Sales Tool Bundle
Sales reps need some help along the way in order to make their magical sales techniques work.
I am going to list eight of the best tools that sales professionals use below.
After you create a tools bundle, you should focus on:
2- Create A Self-Service Model
The best sales funnel is one that flows on its own.
You can create a self-service sales funnel for certain buyer personas by automating emails and using pre-recorded demo videos. You won't have to spend half-an-hour demos on every individual customer.
While this won't work for every customer since enterprise-level prospects might require more in-depth information that you can't record, it will definitely make it easier for the sales team to focus on those customers, increasing the overall customer lifetime.
3- Train the Sales Reps Well
This might sound obvious, but the sales reps must know every detail about the product to answer all the questions of the potential buyer.
So, speed-onboarding the sales reps to get them to work, won't work.
Introduce them to each team, let them be in contact with the marketing and product teams especially, and give them a good period of time to experiment on your SaaS product.
I promise that this will increase their productivity more than promising them an extreme commission rate.
4- Focus on Keeping the Trial Periods Short
A shorter trial period awakens a feeling of urgency in the user and makes them discover more of the product in a shorter time, making it easier to get them to like your product.
An Ideal customer must have done their market research already, and they probably have expectations about how the product should function.
So giving them a trial period of 60 days will only let them hesitate more.
A 15 or 30-day trial is sufficient, depending on how long it takes to get to your product's "Aha!" moment.
5- Reach Out To Trial Users Right After The End
So, back to the sales reps, tell them to contact users after their trial period ends, whether or not they have upgraded already.
People are craving human interaction within the business world, and getting a bit of a push from a salesperson right where they need to make a choice.
Also, make sure you convince the buyer in the right tone.
Here is what I mean:
6- Don't Sell The Product, Get Potential Customers Onboard
Selling a product is all about making sure that the target customers see how your solution is the best for their problem.
Although they can learn about your product from your user manuals, they prefer to get a demo. They prefer to have human interaction.
Because they want to see how it solves the problem.
They want to see how easy it is to use your product, how much effort they are going to put into it, and how much they can get done by using only your product.
They want to know why you are worth their hopes and money.
So your job at this point is to get them on board, not to promote the product.
This brings us to our next step:
7- Focus On Building Business Relationships
Did you watch The Office?
I hope you did. Even if you didn't, this scene will make you want to watch it:
This is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of "how to build business relationships during sales."
In order to build business relationships with software product businesses, you have to have a similar amount of knowledge about their values and needs as they do in the video.
As for how to learn that:
8- Make The Sales Team Collaborate With Other Teams As Well
What are the sales skills that a salesperson must have?
Knowing the product features perfectly,
Knowing how the marketing works and how the customer got to them,
Knowing what the competitors offer and what their strengths are,
Knowing about their general user base and target market.
Who is in charge of providing that knowledge?
The product and development team,
The marketing team,
The marketing and growth teams,
The growth and analytics team.
Therefore, being in contact and collaboration with other teams is a must for the sales team.
9- Marketing Metrics Influence Sales Metrics
Where do most of the leads come from?
A) Cold Calls
B) Inbound Marketing
If your answer is A, then forget most of the things that I'm about to say.
But if you have a B2B SaaS company, and your answer is B, you know that your marketing strategies' quality affects your sales success as well.
So make sure you don't rely only on sales and forget about creating a great marketing cycle as well.
10- Don't Lose Contact With Current Customers
Another job of the sales reps, apart from closing deals, is making sure that the closed deals remain using the product as well.
A customer might like your solution for now, but you won't know if they are loving it unless you keep in contact with them.
Which will lead to higher churn rates.
Cold calling is exhausting enough for the team already, so losing existing customers is something that you can't afford.
8 Tools Your Sales Department Will Need
I already mentioned that a good quality bundle is a must-have for a sales team to get you the best results.
Here are my favorite eight tools that I think every sales team should consider adopting.
Calendly is an online appointment management and scheduling platform. The tool allows sales teams to let the customers decide on what time to do the demo, which speeds up the process and relieves busy people from having to email you for each appointment.
Calendly is not only a simple schedule management tool, there is a lot more functionality to the tool.
It's also pretty affordable. Here is the pricing info:
Basic Plan: Free of charge
Essentials Plan: $8 per seat per month on annual payment.
Professional plan: $12 per seat per month on annual payment.
Teams plan: $16 per seat per month on annual payment.
Enterprise plan: Custom quotation.
2- HubSpot Sales (Free and Premium)
HubSpot is currently regarded as one of the most effective sales-boosting products on the market – if you didn’t know that already. It has three different solution packages for you to choose from, depending on how serious you are about increasing your sales:
HubSpot Sales Free
HubSpot Sales Professional
Before deciding on a sales strategy, many organizations need to learn more about their prospects. You're in luck because this sales tool has a feature called decision-maker that can help you.
And here is the pricing for the professional version of this tool:
Starter Plan: $45 for 2 paid users on annual payment.
Professional Plan: $450 for 5 paid users on annual payment.
Enterprise Plan: $1200 for 10 paid users on annual payment.
Pipedrive is another CRM tool that could be more suitable for smaller teams, since those teams with big ambitions prefer to use Pipedrive’s clean UI and activity-based selling methodology.
As its name suggests, this CRM solution visualizes your pipeline and shows you which activities you need to perform to move leads forward and get more deals closed.
Pipedrive is highly customizable and can be integrated with many other tools in your sales stack.
As for the pricing, here are the details:
14-Day Free trial available
Essential Plan: $12.50 per user per month on annual payment.
Advanced Plan: $24.90 per user per month on annual payment.
Professional Plan: $49.90 per user per month on annual payment.
Enterprise Plan: $74.90 per user per month on annual payment.
Acquire is a broad customer engagement platform that includes all the digital tools need to provide the best possible sales experience. In other words, it is one of the best customer communication platform available for all types of organizations – big or small.
You can optimize all of your digital client engagement statistics by measuring them efficiently with the help of Acquire’s analytics tool.
This customer data tool can help you better understand your whole customer experience.
Acquire.io doesn't provide a fixed pricing for the tool, and gives a custom quotation to each company for different needs.
EmailAnalytics is an email productivity analytics application that connects to your Gmail or G Suite account and visualizes your and your workers' email activity.
This allows sales teams, customer support teams, and small company owners to track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
Average email response time
Email traffic volume by hour of the day
Email traffic volume by day of the week
And much more.
Here is the pricing information:
Individual Plan: $4 per month on annual payment.
Pro Plan: $8 per month on annual payment.
Enterprise Plan: $12 per month per inbox on annual payment.
6- Marketo Sales Connect (By Adobe)
You can use Marketo to set sales targets for your team to convert more sales leads into actual customers.
The ability to create a “pipeline playbook” is one of the tool’s strongest features, among many others. Throughout the sales process, this keeps you and your team on the same page (linked to a single contact with all the information)
This application also allows you to track all of your emails, websites, and documents, allowing you to have a better understanding of your client’s engagement across all social media platforms and other forms of communication.
Adobe doesn't provide a fixed pricing for Marketo, and gives a custom quotation to each company for different needs.
RocketReach links marketing with executives by utilizing the "biggest and most accurate database of emails and direct calls" in the world.
RocketReach, according to their website, has contact information for millions of professionals.
It’s easy to get started with the tool. Just download the Chrome or Edge extension or sign up to try it out.
If their basic search doesn’t give you the information you need, there’s always the advanced search option.
But, this great tool comes with a greater price:
Essentials Plan: $59 per month for 125 lookups, excluding phones.
Pro Plan: $119 per month for 300 lookups, excluding phones.
Ultimate Plan: $299 per month for 883 lookups, excluding phones.
Enterprise Plan: Custom quotation available
UserGuiding is a digital adoption software platform, allowing your users to get on board easily.
You know how important a high-quality self-serve onboarding is when it comes to increasing the customer lifespan and reducing churn.
UserGuiding allows you to create that butter-smooth interactive onboarding process by providing you:
Customizable interactive product tours,
Tooltips and Hotspots,
Checklists and Resource centers,
In-app messages and announcements,
User based analytics and data tracking.
The best part is the pricing of this tool:
14-day free trial (no credit card required)
Basic Plan: $82/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
Professional Plan: $333/month when billed annually for up to 20000 MAU with unlimited guides