Lead generation for SaaS companies can be a tricky business: competition is high, customer churn rate can be difficult to reign in and you have to nail your pricing vs feature ratio right. Not to mention, when selling online, customer experience is everything, hence your company’s approach to selling has to be customer-centric. But even with such challenges, there are companies big and small, that have succeeded in selling their software products and solutions online. So, how do you sell SaaS products online? We show you how below.
10 Tips for Selling Your Software Products Online
1. Hire the Right Sales People
A lot of sales people probably know how to sell tangible products but if you ask them “how do you market a software”, they probably won’t have a clue. SaaS selling requires sales people who have unique personal traits and selling skills. A team that knows how to anticipate and satisfy the changing needs of your clients. Such a team should have these qualities:
i. Solution oriented
Hire sales people capable of guiding prospects to find solutions that most suit their needs. Your software sales people should be trusted advisers and good listeners whom customers can consult throughout their buyer cycle. More so, your sales team should fully appreciate the intended impact that customers are looking for in a software.
ii. Technical competency
Technical competency doesn’t mean having a computer science degree. It means that a sales person should have a decent level of understanding of the product they are selling and how it will integrate with a client’s technology stack. In addition, they should know how the software stands up against competitor products, understand its “shortcomings” and be aware of any future iterations and how they will improve these shortcomings.
Your sales people will have much shorter sales cycles when armed with the right information.
iii. Have a knack for “sniffing out” and pursuing the right customers
Pursuing the wrong lead can contribute to high churn. While lead generation is important, there is too much to risk in B2B SaaS sales: the costs of on boarding a customer are high, hence the margins you get from your leads need to be high enough to turn a profit. A sales person whose interest is to close deals quickly will most likely sacrifice margins in the process. On the other hand, a great software sales person will identify high quality leads that will drive the most value.
2. Find the Right B2B Customers
Not everyone will be a perfect match for your software. Having a pool of satisfied customers starts with finding the right ones to sell to. You can profile your customers using these 2 criteria:
i. The value a customer provides your company
Closing sales and making profit is the primary aim of nurturing your online customers. But they could also have other benefits such as:
- Referring you to other customers
- Be a great resource for generating new leads through content syndication
- Becoming brand ambassadors
- Providing insight and data on how your product is performing
These of course are secondary benefits, but they are an important indicator of customer loyalty.
ii. The value a customer receives from your software or solution
When you know your customer’s pain point, you will understand the value they are getting from your software. For instance, your software may:
- Support revenue-earning channels and help reduce overheads
- Increase team productivity
- Ensure better service provision and after-sales service to customers
- Enhance better reporting practices and transparency between departments
3. Sell Value
People will pay more for a product even if it costs more, if it means they will get value from it. Given this, assuming your software went through the appropriate process of determining its value- hence its pricing- if a prospect objects to your price as being too high, it is likely that:
- The customer does not fit your buyer profile. Perhaps find out if they are a better fit for a product created for a different segment.
- Your product is well priced, but you are doing a bad job at selling its value.
Your immediate reaction to a price objection may be to lower its price. But by lowering the price, you might plant seeds of doubt in the customer regarding the quality of your software. More so, reducing the price may seem like an admission that your software isn’t worth the quoted value. Stick to your pricing, but show the customer the exact benefits (in monetary terms), that they will get by investing in your product.
4. Empathize. Address Your Customer’s Pain Points
You may have the right prospect, do everything in your power to nurture them into a lead, but the only impediment to closing may be a “wish list” of features that don’t come with your software.
When a customer starts making wish lists, you have one of two options:
- Give up on the sale, considering you cannot go back to the development stage to add the feature.
- Ask questions.
The first option is not advisable. Lead nurturing is a time-consuming and money-intensive process. You have probably invested a lot in email campaigns and content marketing activities, thus to give up on a sale just because a customer thinks they cannot live without a feature seems pointless.
The only way out of this problem is to find out why the missing feature is so important to your customer. Ask questions that will help you to better understand the problem your customer is facing. Besides, questions will keep you in the board room a little longer, which is all the time you need to refocus your customer’s attention back to your product.
Examples of empathetic questions to ask:
- What problem will that feature solve?
- Do you have a current work around for the problem?
- Which team member will find that feature most useful?
- Is this feature the deciding factor for you? Why?
- What does having this feature mean to your company’s bottom line?
Such questions show that you genuinely want to help. More so, you may in the process help the customer realize that the problem they wish to solve with the missing feature is not as critical as they imagined.
5. Test Beta Versions of Your Software
Testing a beta version of your software before you invest in the final product is always a good idea. The beta testing phase lets you know early enough, of any important changes you need to make to your final product. This way, when it comes to selling the final product, you will be confident that:
- Your software is free of bugs
- It works as it should
- It provides a good user experience
- The pricing is right
- It integrates seamlessly with other software
- It has great features
Beta testing will also get people talking about your software, giving you free advertising.
6. Give Free Trials
There are so many software products out there. All of them promise “a piece of heaven”, but not all live up to their hype. This makes customers cautious, particularly B2B clients who have a lot to lose with each investment they make. That is why a free trial period is important as it gives customers the chance to vet your software products and make a decision based on their experience. If your software is everything it promises, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a lot of conversions after the trial period expires.
7. Post Customer Reviews
Cultivating customer confidence will help you generate more sales. People may not believe you but they will believe what other customers say about your product. Reviews carry a lot of weight, especially when they come from respected publications, forums and customers. Issue a press release at the same time that a publication writes about your solution and include a link to the publication and your website. Once on your site, offer customers a free trial period as discussed above.
Strategically planned reviews are vital to SaaS marketing efforts as they can lead to a domino effect of countless high-quality leads.
8. Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
Another great way to cultivate customer confidence in your software product is to offer a money-back guarantee. Stephen Dodd, CEO of OfficeTime.net says that this strategy can result in a 40% sales increase. When you run your campaigns, ensure the money back guarantee stands out in email campaigns, landing pages and other marketing material.
The guarantee period has to be long enough to allow customers to get used to your software and love it enough. This way, they won’t want to ask for a refund. If you offer a short trial period, customers are likely to ask for their money back.
9. Use Your Product Demos As a Sales Tool, Not for Training
Long demos give customers the opportunity to poke holes in your software. Which is why it’s important to keep demo sessions short and punchy. Only talk about the key features; show the customer how those features add value. End your demo with a call to action. For instance, invite them to download a free version of the software for a 7-day trial period.
10. Follow Up
The great thing about selling online is that you can follow your customers throughout their buyer journey from when they first land on your web page. You can then send follow up emails to your customers (or call them) based on the action they take on your website.
After customer buys your software, follow up to ensure they are using it. If you don’t on board your SaaS customers, they won’t use your software, and this will lead to a high churn rate.
As a software marketer or sales person, the scope of your selling strategy needs to go beyond pricing and features. When selling online, you need to remember that the customers who find your website have probably done a lot of digging around and they are talking to you because they think that your software has something that could add value to their work. Use that to your advantage.
Lastly, you may not always have the answer in every situation. Generating leads is also a time-consuming process that can take you away from your job: selling. Our company has a reputation for providing B2b Lead generation services to SaaS companies. When in doubt, give us a call.