How to Sell Your SaaS Product to More CustomersBy Jamie Toyne
In recent years the growth rates of Software as a Service businesses have rocketed. By 2021 nearly 73% of organisations indicate that nearly all their apps will be Saas. Therefore, if you have an established Saas business, or if you are thinking of starting or purchasing one, there’s never been a better time to SELL MORE of your Saas product. However, although market growth can mean more customers, it also means more competition. So it is vital that you concrete your brand position, make sure you know your business and its value inside out, and nail those sales tactics now.
Saas businesses are complicated. And managing all the components from product updates to marketing is a full time job. But getting fresh new customers on a regular basis is super important to keep your business not just afloat, but growing. How, I hear you ask? Well, as professionals in online business we have worked with hundreds of Saas business owners, picked apart what they are doing wrong or right, helped improve Saas companies, and even owned a few ourselves. So we have a few tricks up our sleeves when it comes to selling more of your Saas product.
Check out our ultimate guide to boosting your Saas product sales in 5 simple steps.
1. Understand your product
First things first, if you want to sell other people on the amazing benefits of your product, you need to be sold yourself. Take some time to get to know everything about what you sell, to whom, and why!
Know your product
You may think knowing your brand story and the unique selling point (USP) of your product should be left to the marketing department. But being totally clear on what you can offer and the benefits your product brings your audience, lays the groundwork for any sales.
You may need to articulate these benefits to prospective clients, current customers or even colleagues. So, learn your product inside out and learn how to convey it with confidence.
Know your customer
Knowing who you are targeting is also a vital step to selling more of your Saas product. Saas customers usually pay a recurring subscription fee, which means they could churn (cancel their subscription) at any point. Targeting any new customers is great, but targeting people to whom you offer genuine value is SMART. For Saas businesses, long-term customers will bring you recurring revenue. So don’t waste time and money onboarding customers who are unlikely to stick around.
Know your competition
Finally, yes you need to know your product, but what about the products of your competition? Seeing what else is out there helps you define your own USP in the market, but also makes sure you are keeping up with competitors and performing as you should.
2. Analyse and improve your Sales
So you are clear on what you are selling, now it’s time to spy weak points in the business, identify where you can improve and use the right sales tactics.
Check out your churn rate
Your churn rate measures the percentage of customers that cancel their subscriptions to your software. It is one of the most important metrics when running a Saas business, as it shows you when your customers aren’t happy. It is important to understand yours as it can help you realise where you are going wrong and how this affects your business. As repeat custom is how you make that gradual return on investment (ROI) over time, you should aim to minimise churn as much as possible.
There are ways to minimise your churn rate including:
- Improving customer service
- Identifying your weaknesses
- Improving and updating your services
- Offering extras to your customers such as tutorials
Improve your onboarding process
Your product may have all sorts of cool features, tricks and extras but if your customer doesn’t know how to use them, they can end up churning. People want products that are easy-to-use and don’t take too much effort to operate. Therefore, it is in your interest to help your customers make the most of your product and get real value from it. Which is a win win!
Improving your onboarding process could be the answer to this. Try and make it as straightforward as possible and provide key user information. You can do this by:
- Creating a un-cluttered interface by focusing on the core features
- Informing customers about how to use the product— how involved you need to be for this can depend on how complicated your software
- Use analytics tools to track customer behaviour during the process
- Consider personalising the onboarding process based on different customer needs
Do you need a sales team?
As we are talking about selling a product here, making sure you have the right team is key. The size of your business can help you determine whether or not you need a dedicated salesperson, or perhaps even a whole team. As a rule of thumb, once you hit 20k or so a month in revenue, that’s when you might consider soliciting help. And doing so can take off the pressure, leave you more time to work in other areas and help scale that growth.
Make sure to be selective and don’t be pulled in by cheap, underqualified options. Un-vetted and low-priced talent you find online for example may not have the persuasive, results-driven skills you need. Investing in a good salesperson that fits the business and will deliver on bringing in custom, will pay for itself in no time!
Demos should be short and value packed
If you have a Saas business, you may well already use product demos as a way to show the value of your product and (hopefully) drive sales. While this can be a great tactic, many businesses make the mistake of making these demos too long and packed with too many unimportant details about using the product. At the same time they often forget to highlight the steps to turn the demo into a sale.
Try keeping demos at around 10 to 15 minutes, communicate the core values to the prospect and then ask for that sale. Your lead has already agreed to see the demo, so they are as hot as they will ever be. Make sure the steps to signing up are clear while the product is fresh in their mind.
3. A guide to prices and discounts
Deciding on the perfect price point can be a tricky business, and it can be tempting to lower prices, offer discounts or extend trials to boost sales, but that is not always the best way. Be smart with how you price your service and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Avoid big discounts
Pulling in buyers with discounts can be tempting, but can actually lead to missing out on significant revenue over time. A small discount may not add up to much in one month or even a year, but if you give the same discount to 1000 customers who will each have an average lifetime value (LTV) of 6 years, a mere $10 a month could end up adding up to $720,000.
Offering discounts to some customers and not others may also mean some loyal customers feel cheated on price. One situation where the benefits of discounts may outweigh the downsides, however, is if your prospect is a bigger business that may guarantee revenue for longer-term contracts.
Do action yearly, pre-pay plans
So, while discounts may not always be the best choice, selling annual plans is another story. Although, yes, you may be discounting the yearly price, you are also guaranteeing an LTV of at least a year and securing at least a year’s revenue. If you offer a discount per month, what’s to stop the customer cancelling after the first 2? Yearly plans reduce your churn rate!
Up your prices
Did I mean to say up? I hear you ask. Yes. Lowering prices can seem like a good way to beat competitors or bring in custom. But setting prices too low can actually end turning customers off. There are all too many too-good-to-be-true software products on the market, that are exactly that. If your product doesn’t reflect that YOU have faith in your product, the customer won’t have faith in it either.
It also helps you get a better ROI from your customer acquisition process. You still have to invest the same amount of time and money acquiring each customer, so it is just good sense to make sure those customers are each bringing in more every month. Experiment to find that perfect price point, but if you are trying to choose from within a range, go high!
Offer short trials
Have you ever signed up to trial a product and then used it once or not at all? Most people only tend to use free trial products for the first few days before losing interest. Short trials create urgency. Your prospect is more likely to check out your product and its features if they feel like they only have a few days to do so. A shorter trial could lower trial sign ups in the short term, but that’s ok. What you should be focussed on is not free wheelers, but people who you can convert into paying customers.
As a good rule of thumb, keep trials to no more than 2 weeks. If you offer people a full month, by the time the trial ends and you are asking them to sign up, they may have already forgotten about all the awesome benefits and features your product has. What if they need longer to fully explore all the features? Good. Leaving further benefits to uncover gives people an extra reason to start paying.
4. The importance of the customer relationship
How you interact with your customer from the first sales contact to the end of a multi-year, loyal customer relationship is super important. Good customer communication can be the difference between converting a lead into a paying customer or not, upselling a further product down the line, or increasing your customer’s LTV exponentially.
Be personal in your email campaigns
We are all inundated with sales emails every day, so don’t underestimate the power of making emails more personal. Create ‘real-name’ email addresses for your company, instead of generic things like ‘sales’ or ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Then use these to send out your campaigns and see how your open rate increases.
You should also aim for a personal and chatty email style, rather than straight up sales jargon. If people feel like they are talking to a real person, or hey, even a friend, they are more likely to engage. This also helps build rapport with your customer base which can build long-term customer relationships and loyalty.
Send plenty of follow ups
If you don’t give them a reason to, the customer ain’t thinking about you. Find the right balance between productive and annoying and send out regular emails to keep your product fresh in their mind.
Send non sales-based communications
Also, remember that every contact you have with your customer doesn’t have to be sales-based or transactional. Try diversifying content in your email campaigns to provide more value to the customer so they might actually look forward to your emails.
Possible types of follow ups to send:
- Tutorials – help people get the most out of your product
- Advice – Position yourself as an expert in the industry and send tips, tricks or even guides. If you have a office management product, you might send a guide on promoting company culture
- Updates – share updates in the company or industry, or even a newsletter
- Aspirational content – Show amazing, real results created through your software, or from other customers
Get more personal with prospects on the phone
Email communication is important, but phone contact can actually increase conversion. A good time to call a prospect is straight after they sign up for a trial. Change your sign-up process so they need to enter their phone number, and then get straight on a call.
Just after a trial sign up is a good time to speak to a prospect as the product will be fresh in their mind. You will also quickly be able to rule out unsuitable or un-serious leads. If you have a good sales manner (or sales rep with one), phone calls are a great place to use some of that persuasive magic to answer objections, get across value, make a personal impact and hopefully a sale!
Follow up with newly churned customers
When customer’s churn, don’t just let them go quietly. You can follow up with them by email but it is better to give them a call, as people can easily ignore emails or give vague, washy answers. Although a call with a cancelling client may not be the ego-boosting praise you would like, it is good to get honest feedback on any weak points in your product or process. Learn what you can, use it to improve and it will help you reduce your churn rate in the future. And perhaps even capture more customers too.
Also, once you nail that post-churn call, you might even be able to start winning customers back.
Visit customers to see product in action and get realistic feedback
For some Saas owners, it might be beneficial to set up a visit to a customer to see the product in action. Sometimes it can be hard to get real, valuable feedback on your product such as how it works, or whether there are any problems or bugs. Visiting a customer may allow you the chance to get this insight and discuss any issues in person. It will help you make your product the best it can be, as well as helping you see its values!
Keep customers happy and upsell them later
A repeat customer who loves your product, is also a great opportunity for further sales. People that are already using your product are a great target to spend more money. Try offering this warm base of existing customers software upgrades. If they get value from your existing product they are likely to get value from new features too. They may also be interested in add-ons or other products which means extra benefits for them and more revenue for you. Everybody wins!
Don’t know what to target them with? Try sending out surveys, analysing their behaviour, or even reaching out via phone or email for feedback. This way you can target them with specific plans or features that will be suited to them.
5. Maximise your use of technology
Running any business is complicated and time consuming, so making the most of today’s technologies and automating many of your processes is a no brainer. Leveraging the right technologies can also help you lock in more sales, so make sure you are clued in!
Get a good Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
If you are running a Saas business, you probably keep track of your customer sales and management using a CRM. We’re talking Salesforce, Hubspot, NetSuite etc. A CRM helps notify you about different phases of the client journey, reminding you to send out email follow ups, and in some cases, even automatically sending them (see the next point!)
A good CRM can notify you of a new lead, a new trial-user, a new member or a new drop out. If you can stay on top of each customer’s behaviours and respond accordingly, you can vastly improve your sales process, onboarding and churn rate!
Automate your email follow ups
Following up is key! If a prospect shows interest in your product make sure to follow up until you get an answer either way. But following up can be time consuming, right? Yes. That’s exactly why if you are not already, you should set up automated emails by setting up an automation in your autoresponder in your CRM.
If you do this through your CRM, it means each automated email is triggered by specific customer behavior. For example, signing up for a trial or subscribing. These will make email communications more personalised and relevant with less work! Say goodbye to antiquated blanket email sequences.
Know the market
Find out what other products your ideal customer is using. Sure, you might know the ins and outs of your software, but if you also know how it complements or even integrates with another software your prospect uses? Because that could equal a sale.
It is also good to know the market so you can understand your competition. Make sure to keep up on competitors and industry changes and stay crystal clear on your differentiating benefits.
Integrate with other software
Go one further than knowing about the other technologies. If you spy any opportunities for possible integrations with other businesses, use it! It could be a possibility to boost sales. If you find an integration partnership that could be a good fit, you may be able to use an integration platform to integrate your services. This can end up in a mutually beneficial service, and open up your product to new customers.
Stay calm when technology fails
It is inevitable. When you run a Saas business sometimes the technology fails. If you have an outage, don’t panic. Just make sure you react right. Make sure you stay transparent, professional and communicative. If you have a way with words or a good copywriter on the team, perhaps you might even be able to add some personality or humor to the situation. People appreciate being kept in the loop and feeling considered and valued.
So there you have it, a guide to selling more of your Saas product, now. It can be easy to get bogged down in the day to day operations of your company and not invest time in the smaller things. But these ideas are simple, actionable and totally achievable. And they can help boost those sales, improve your customer experience, extend your customer LTV and help you scale your business in the process!