Software-as-a-service, or SaaS sales, are a growing industry as consumers shift to the digital world to meet every one of their work and personal needs, and businesses look to technology to improve operations, forecasting, and efficiency. It’s no wonder that for the past five years, SaaS companies have been growing at a rate ten times that of other companies, at an average growth rate of 17% per year.
While this represents an amazing opportunity for SaaS vendors, developing a software program and selling it are two entirely different realms that entrepreneurs might not be prepared for. If you’re new to the realm of professional selling, fear not, as this guide will walk you through the three essential top tips to be successful in software sales.
Empower Your Customers
Because of technology and information available online, a customer can be over 60% done with their sales journey before they ever engage with a sales professional, Gillis Sales reports. That means that companies risk belittling and annoying their potential clients if their sales representatives start a sale from level zero, assuming the client is clueless about the product.
Especially with software and the growing technological competence of digital natives in the younger generations, there’s a not-unlikely chance that some potential clients may know more about a product than the sales rep does.
Thus, instead of treating each new customer as a blank slate, companies should instead post product specifications online, empowering potential customers to research the product on their own before consulting a sales representative. This lets the client process information at their own pace with no pressure and makes them feel more confident in their own decision.
Consequently, when a potential client approaches a sales representative, the sales rep should begin the conversation by first enquiring about how much the consumer already knows about the product, rather than forcing the customer to sit through a whole sales script. The sales conversation should then naturally go through the client’s questions and concerns, only discussing issues that are relevant to the client’s purchase.
By empowering customers to research the product on their own and take control of their sales conversation, SaaS companies can not only raise customer satisfaction with the sales process but also reduce the overall length of sales conversations, allowing for more sales in a shorter amount of time.
Not sure where to begin training your sales reps on how to handle customer interactions? Makingthatsale.com can teach you all about setting up your first sales playbook, creating sales plays, and sharing sales enablement materials that will serve as a framework for sales rep success.
Allow Generous Trial Periods
Before any client even considers purchasing, they’ll likely request a free trial period of your software to test its fit with their unique needs. Though you and your sales reps might be eager to lock in a sale, trial periods are a critical moment that can’t be rushed. Your company should carefully consider how long of a trial period it offers potential clients to fully prove your product’s total value offering.
Usually, trials are offered in 7-day, 14-day, or 30-day period increments. But have you thought critically about which one you’ll offer?
The duration of your trial period should be directly proportional to how complex your solution is: a 7-day trial would be suitable for a simple phone app, a 14-day trial for a task management platform, and a 30-day trial or more for an enterprise-level CRM solution. The goal is to perfectly match how long it takes for your potential client to understand the full breadth of your solution. When in doubt, you should have your trial period on the longer side rather than the shorter.
Additionally, the trial period is also an opportunity for your company to display its customer support skills, such as implementation support, problem-solving, and knowledge base. Without crowding them, be sure to send regular emails to your potential customer, asking them if they have any questions or need any help. Ninety-six percent—almost all—of customers reported that they would switch companies over poor customer service, so showcasing your exemplary customer support is tantamount to converting sales opportunities to customers and keeping them loyal.
Offer Flexible Pricing Plans
A large fear of SaaS buyers is that, even if they discover a better software solution, they’ll be trapped using a subpar solution because they paid for an annual plan.
As a SaaS company, you can allay these fears by providing flexible pricing plans, such as an option to pay by monthly subscription or an annual subscription with a prorated refund policy. Customers will be assured by the knowledge they can back out of this financial investment at any time and feel more confident in their purchase decision, speeding up the deliberation process and preemptively preventing buyer’s remorse.
Though an annual subscription plan at a discounted rate will still be beneficial for more confident customers and your company’s long-term customer base, offering these low-risk options at a slightly higher price point will help you attract more risk-averse customers in the short term. Afterward, all you need to do is provide the best solution on the market to ensure they stay and turn into loyal customers.
The Customer Comes First
As your SaaS company stabilizes, you can’t rely on publicity and excitement about new technologies to continuously drive growth. Instead, your company must steadily improve its sales strategies in order to consistently convert more curious consumers into loyal customers. By following these three tips to put your clients at the center of your sales techniques, you’ll be doing more than selling software: you’ll be providing an amazing experience and solution for all of your customers’ needs, giving your company a good chance of success at any software sale.