Software as a service (SaaS) is when a cloud-based software is hosted by the company and made available online, instead of downloading it offline on your devices.
The SaaS model pushes ease of access and makes it very convenient to access software services, avoiding the hassle of saving it online.
The concept seems simple, but more than 15,000 businesses engage in SaaS sales. SaaS is the current leader of the global technology trend, and it has every right to be.
This article provides you with a comprehensive guide to SaaS success in 2023. However, before we dive into a bunch of effective pointers and tips for SaaS sales success, let’s clear some fundamentals.
- 1) What is SaaS sales?
- 2) Factors affecting the length of a SaaS sales cycle
- 3) Different stages involved in a SaaS sales process
- 4) Unique challenges encountered while making SaaS sales
- 5) Useful techniques to boost your SaaS sales
- 6) How to improve SaaS sales
- 7) Software tools that will come in handy for SaaS sales
- 8) Important SaaS sales metrics
What is SaaS sales?
SaaS sales is the process of selling web applications or software to customers. The two core focuses for SaaS salespeople is to acquire new customers and upsell or retain existing customers.
Like all B2B sales, the ultimate goal is to show how your product can make the customer more successful. SaaS products typically have subscription-based pricing, so prospects who convert become repeat customers on a monthly or annual basis.
Factors affecting the length of a SaaS sales cycle
To create accurate revenue forecasts, it is of the essence to know the length of your sales cycle. This is important for the health of any SaaS company. The length of your sales cycle will depend on the following factors.
1. Type of customer
Small businesses and solo entrepreneurs usually require less time to buy, given that the number of people involved in the decision-making process is less.
But in the case of enterprise customers, things are a little different. They carefully vet and approve the purchase and have a lot of decision-makers involved in the process.
2. Price of product
As the price of a product increases, the sales cycle will also increase. Here is a benchmark of sales cycles offered by SaaStr founder and Adobe EchoSign co-founder Jason Lemkin.
|Price of product||Estimated length of the sales cycle in days|
|< $2,000||Within 14 days|
|< $5,000||Within 30 days|
|< $25,000||Within 90 days|
|< $100,000||Within 90 to 180 days|
The increase in product price entails more decision-makers, budget planning, demos, etc. Hence, it is no surprise that products with a higher price point will follow a longer sales cycle.
3. Complexity of product
As customization options for your product increase, the number of demos or support required to convince your lead to buy the product will also go up. Therefore, as the complexity of the product increases, the sales cycle lengthens.
Different stages involved in a SaaS sales process
The stages involved in the SaaS sales process are as follows.
- Prospecting – put your name out there with online ads, blog posts, whitepapers, and other forms of inbound marketing.
- Qualifying – Obviously, not all your visitors will turn to customers. Hence, it is essential that lead scoring is done to qualify prospects.
- Presenting – Get the qualified prospects in a one-on-one interaction, address their pain points and suggest how you can solve them.
- Handling objections – Make your users realize the value of your product. That is the only way to handle objections. If they ask if a certain feature is missing, it suggests a gap in their minds. Your job is to convince them that the only way to fill that gap is via your product.
- Closing – closing is when a sales rep brings in a customer.
- Nurturing – Nurturing entails all your company’s practices to retain the customer.
Unique challenges encountered while making SaaS sales
If you come from a non-SaaS selling role, fitting into a SaaS sales rep role can be difficult. The job can pose certain challenges, and they include:
With more than 15,000 businesses dealing in SaaS sales, you have to make peace with the fact that there is abundant competition in the market.
You need to know how to set yourself and your company apart. Understand where you are stronger than them, and once you are clear about that you can hatch plans to win against them.
2. Understanding the technology your customers already use
Your product might be top-notch, but you have to keep in mind that customers have to integrate it with their technology stack. And this is where change management comes into play.
With a solid change management process, organizations can handle numerous modifications including new technology implementation and other miscellaneous adjustments.
Therefore, the quality of the product really won’t matter if your SaaS service is not the right fit for your customer’s software stack.
This is an issue in SaaS sales since you might end up overloading the customer with too much information in one call itself. Another pitfall of over-explaining is that putting out too much information about the product might mean that other companies copy its unique features.
Useful techniques to boost your SaaS sales
1. Custom/Live setup call
Personalized support and education are very well received among customers. If your software has a lot of nooks and crannies, setting up a custom/live call to help your customers set up the software is always going to be appreciated by the customers.
Customers not only need to know how to use the product, but they must be fully aware of how the product works for them. In fact, a survey conducted by Gartner states that 89% of companies are convinced that a good customer experience will provide your company with a competitive edge.
2. One-to-many demo
This is a semi-personalized webinar, where a sales rep will explain the product and provide an overview to a live audience of interested users. The audience can easily interact with the sales rep and have all doubts about the usability and functionality of the product cleared.
3. In-trial nurturing
This is when you nurture a potential customer as they sign on to the free trial of your software. Automatically subscribe them to an email service that provides them with demos, resources, and other forms of support. You can also reach out directly and provide one-on-one guidance if you need to.
4. Automated follow-up system
CRM software is at the center of an automated follow-up system. Since a CRM is a thorough follow-up system, your sales reps will never be left guessing about the next possible step. Sales automation features such as follow-up mail sequences go a long way in helping land a client.
5. Annual discounts
Offer your customers a great deal by cutting off small discounts on the yearly plan instead of having them pay the full price monthly. Users think they are getting a good deal, which will eventually bring in more revenue.
How to improve SaaS sales
1. Reduce the churn rate
Churn rate means the percentage of your product’s subscribers who cancel their subscription renewal. The lower the churn rate of your product, the more valuable it is. Here are a few tactics to lower the churn rate:
- Align your workforce to strive towards customer retention: While engaging with your users, make sure you emphasize the perks and strong points of your products. You can even invite users to test the latest feature of your product.
- Maintain communication with customers on every social media platform. Besides social media, reach out to them through SMS, newsletters and in-app notifications.
- Regular feedback assists you with better understanding the end-users requirements and employing SaaS to meet their needs accordingly.
2. Boost average revenue per user
Like the term suggests, average revenue per user, commonly referred to as ARPU, is an average of the revenue a user earns within a time period. Here are a few ways to enhance ARPU:
- Enhance your product: Continually add features recommended by your users. Put their feedback into action.
- Increase your pricing structure: The average revenue per user increases with an increase in the price of a product. Make sure to convey the why of increasing your pricing with proper reasons backed up with a product strategy when increasing the prices for your SaaS software.
3. Increase sign-up rates
- Showcase a clear UVP: Unique Value Proposition outlines what clients and users will acquire from employing your SaaS software. Convey to your prospects how your SaaS will solve their business issues and bring relief to their operations and in return, this will increase sign-up rates.
- Make use of customer reviews: Genuine customer reviews that outline the positivity of your SaaS software and the assistance you’ve offered is a perfect medium for convincing people who are new to your website.
- Put customer reviews to work: A genuine and positive customer testimonial is necessary for convincing new website visitors to consider trying out your SaaS product. In fact, positive product reviews impact a user’s decision to purchase the product about 90 percent of the time.
- Detailed walkthroughs: By providing a detailed walkthrough of your product and outlining its latest features, customers will understand how your SaaS product can benefit them and will face less hassle while integrating it.
Software tools that will come in handy for SaaS sales
Here are some of the essential software tools for SaaS sales.
- CRM: Customer Relationship Management Software is one of the most important software tools you will use. Your entire customer interaction will revolve around your sales CRM. All your customer data and everything related to your customer will be stored in your CRM. Without having to manually store data, your CRM will store all your customer data, streamlining work efficiency, productivity, and customer interaction.
- Email automation: Since we spend a lot of time on email, it is essential to integrate an email automation tool with your CRM. This way, you can personalize emails and engage in fruitful lead conversion, because almost 90% of consumers find personalized marketing appealing.
- Sales Pipeline: Enables users to eradicate any guesswork that’s involved during sales. The sales pipeline keeps you updated with regular follow-ups, and lets you automate tasks and enjoy a hassle-free sales experience.
- Sales Activity Tracking Plan: Users can track meetings, delegate work, and integrate customized to-do lists with this tool.
- Contact Management: Access all your current deals that are incorporated within your sales pipeline in one frame with this tool. You can monitor and conduct detailed analysis with the Contact Management software.
- Shared Team Inbox: Browse through numerous trends and analyses on your team’s progress and recent deals. This tool further enables you to evaluate issues encountered by your workforce with ease.
- Meeting Scheduler: Create a calendar and integrate your meeting scheduler with it. You can then share the calendar’s link to clients through an email and let them book slots accordingly.
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Important SaaS sales metrics
- Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) – MRR refers to the amount of money your company brings in at the end of every month, based on your current customer subscriptions.
- Annually recurring revenue (ARR) – Depending upon your current subscription value, the amount of money your company brings in at the end of the year is referred to as Annually Recurring Revenue.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC) – CAC is the average cost related to signing a new user.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV) – CLV refers to the total revenue a single customer generates for you throughout your relationship.
- Win rate – the percentage of leads closed by your sales reps over a specific amount of time is called win rate.
- Opportunity to win rate: In case your opportunity to win ratio is low, it means you’re lacking somewhere in closing deals, and vice versa.
- Follow-up contact rate: This metric requires you to follow up with your leads. There are numerous instances when a sales deal is converted and closed post follow-up, making the Follow-up contact rate a crucial metric.
- Activity goals vs. activity results: This metric analyzes the performance of individuals in comparison to their activity objectives.
There you have it: everything you need to pave your way towards SaaS sales success in 2023. Follow the guide properly and watch your ROI soar in a matter of months.
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