Breaking Down the SaaS Sales Process

Ciara Byrne

There is a lot of buzz around the word SaaS or its full description, which is – software as a service. Nowadays, more and more organizations are shifting to the SaaS model in their day-to-day operations. The widespread appeal of SaaS, however, does not mean that this type of software is easy to sell.

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In the business vocabulary, a SaaS solution is the software product — differentiated from the practice of selling it, which is referred to as SaaS sales. In other words, SaaS sales is a process of selling software to clients. Most of the time, the process involves acquiring new customers at the top of the sales funnel, as well as upselling or retaining current clients at the bottom. So, SaaS requires a different mindset for selling and different efforts to engage a specific audience.

However, to ensure SaaS product success, one needs to focus on a different type of sales. Unlike physical products or services, SaaS is supported, managed, and engineered by external companies, which makes the price for it higher than usual, and in turn, extends the sales cycle process before the customer is ready to buy. Below, we will talk about this in more detail.

SaaS sales and how it’s different from traditional products/services

There are many different selling techniques, key metrics, and sales process activities in the SaaS sales process, which is why it can’t be compared to traditional selling practices. Unlike the online stores like Shopify where you can use diverse tools, software as a service needs a combination of strategy and testing, such as the sell early and sell often technique many startups employ to earn revenue while refining their product.

SaaS sales is a process set into an ever-changing industry. Here, the prospects need a lot more education and training from sales representatives before they feel prepared to buy. Knowing that SaaS reps are usually selling at higher prices, it goes without saying that this process is far more complex.

Additionally, SaaS sales often rely on a subscription-based pricing model, which means that customers are in effect to become repeat customers every month, quarter, or year. As a result, the investment for the prospect can be quite high – corporate SaaS clients can spend tens of thousands of dollars, which is why showing them how they benefit – their ROI in time, dollar, and productivity – is crucial to the success of the sale. One way great sales consultants gain insight into the ROI of a prospective customer is by first gauging the maturity of the company’s (or its departments’) business model. This can be a more complex analysis than just scanning their website, but it puts a SaaS sales consultant miles ahead of their competition.

That matters because given the size and impact of a company’s investment,SaaS sales representatives need to be ready and willing to join many decision-makers from their client company in their B2B sales process. In this process, it is the personalized customer experience that often makes the difference and results in a successful sale.

Below, we are outlining the three most important steps in the SaaS sales journey.

Step 1: Focus on prospecting and lead qualifying

Once you figure out your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or know your target audience, the first step in the SaaS sales process is to figure out the ways to attract leads. This is the phase of prospecting, where you can do active prospecting and passive prospecting.

If you decide to be active, you can utilize cold outreach techniques for your target leads and do cold calling, social media ads, etc. On the other hand, the passive prospecting approach relies on inbound marketing methods such as content distribution, webinars, podcasts, video series, and more to boost awareness of your brand. Using a cold outreach tool can also be a big help to your strategy.

Whatever you decide, you’ll also want the latest e-commerce search insights to know how customers are adapting and filtering their searches for particular products. Buyer patterns can determine the best methods to reach out to them.

Logically, the next step is to qualify the leads interested to buy your software, where you can also implement a lead scoring system and pursue the right ones for the next stage in the SaaS sales cycle.

Step 2: Your offer (what it takes to close a sale)

The next phase is your offering, which is actually the basis of what you will convince your leads to convert. You should think of unique ways of presenting your offer, whether that’s a demo call, a live one-on-one meeting, or any other method to get more information and solve their problems.

Some of the most common reasons why leads don’t convert at this stage include a SaaS offering that is too expensive or one that doesn’t help their business.

The role of your SaaS sales representatives here should be to skilfully tackle these objections and show the value of your service to justify its price, as well as lay out all the benefits of your offer.

Step 3: Lead nurturing

If your SaaS sales reps manage to close a lead, the SaaS sales process doesn’t end here. The next phase, which is very important, is lead nurturing.

Although this is one of the last stages, leads are meant to be nurtured through educational resources, by gathering feedback and reviews through email marketing, examining their search intent, delivering resources based on that, and offering top-class customer/technical service (an automated chatbot software that minimizes the waiting times is always a good idea). In other words, the goal is to make every user valued and retain them as your customers.

Summary

SaaS sales is a process that comes with many unique challenges, whether that’s fierce competition, a too-long sales cycle, or misalignment with your marketing team. In any case, your sales team needs to be aware of every challenge that comes up during each stage of the process, and find ways to address it.

If you want to see the best results from it, you need to be clear when setting our lead qualification criteria and develop an irresistible offer that is backed by additional resources such as templates, scripts, and educational materials to further qualify your leads. Once that is done, experts set activity and revenue goals and focus on their sales performance using key metrics. You could use tools to assist you in the SaaS process or automation software to keep track of your metrics.

But in the end, SaaS sales is all about delivering value to your prospects and customers. If you practice that, there is no doubt that you will be able to attract and retain many customers year over year.

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