SaaS Sales: 14 Tips on Selling Software in 2022
Understanding the best tips and trends in software sales is crucial for newbies and individuals with SaaS sales experience. With the SaaS sales industry constantly evolving, the SaaS sales strategy that produced results for you may not be so effective in the future.
Many SaaS salespeople view software sales as selling a product when it goes beyond that narrow scope. You are also selling a service. The best SaaS sales strategy provides value and builds long-term customer relationships.
This article will reveal the best SaaS sales techniques and tips to help you remain relevant and effective in a constantly evolving industry.
Let’s get started.
What are SaaS Sales?
SaaS is an acronym for software as a service, and it comprises various software programs designed, structured, and managed by a single service provider.
Quite different from traditional software, SaaS offers low yield costs in addition to easy upgrades and better integration for the best customer experience.
SaaS sales involve selling web-based software between developers and prospective clients at a specified cost.
The focus of every SaaS sales is to recruit potential customers to their already growing customer base while keeping an eye out for the satisfaction of existing customers.
By utilizing service delivery and the attention span of customers, SaaS salespeople can close deals with potential clients relatively faster. Some popular SaaS examples include Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Box, and Google Workspace.
There are three SaaS sales models: self-service model, transactional sales model, and enterprise sales model.
Top Tips for SaaS Selling
SaaS sales reps must be capable of delivering a wide array of skills and services. It is not enough to be an expert in one area of the sales process.
Sales reps need to have a perfect mastery of the three key areas of the sales techniques: sales process, consultancy, and advisory.
Striking a balance between meeting the specific needs of your potential customers and your desire to deliver on those needs at affordable and easy-to-use conditions is essential. It is a major area that creates a disparity between SaaS companies and prospective customers.
As a SaaS sales rep, you are tasked with finding the most effective sales strategy that would simultaneously meet the needs of existing and new customers.
1. Know Your Target Customer
For most successful SaaS companies, the basis of their sales strategy starts with a clearly defined assessment of who their target customers are.
This singular step provides the much-needed structure to your sales process, eliminating the likelihood of selling on impulse to just about anybody.
Note that not all available customers would likely buy into your sales pitch. You will enjoy a successful sales career the earlier you know this fact and strategize how to streamline your customer base.
Consider Your Target Customers' Interest Levels and Pain Points
Distinguishing prospective customers based on their varying interest levels reduces frustrations from trying to meet each customer's needs.
As often observed, going out of your way to meet and satisfy each customer's needs as a SaaS sales team ultimately leads to a loss of valuable time and effort as you certainly cannot please everyone.
The focus of a SaaS sales team should be on identifying a specific type of customer base that falls within the scope of your SaaS business. It is synonymous with identifying your target audience.
Irrespective of the size of your target audience, be it individual users or business entities as a whole, the key point is the ability of your SaaS product to deliver on the specific pain points of your target customers.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the average cost a SaaS company incurs when pitching its software as a service product to new customers.
This cost constantly rises from time to time and directly impacts SaaS selling. Hence as a SaaS company, you need to identify your target customers and divert more resources to selling software to them.
SaaS companies need to designate their sales team to do a thorough evaluation check on each highlighted targeted customer and how each of them fits the software being developed.
Your SaaS sales model should account for the success rate of the software if properly implemented by select target customers before selling SaaS to them.
2. Develop a Convincing Value Proposition
Unlike traditional software developers who rely largely on the features and benefits of their software to give them an edge in selling software, SaaS sales reps have upped the standard in their sales delivery pitch to new and existing customers.
Most new customers can now see beyond the presented, sweet-coated sales pitch of the features and benefits of your software.
New Customer Requirement
As is the generally observed trend, new customers now seek to opt for the best transactional sales model as they only require the best quality for the least affordable price range.
Presenting your sales pitch with a strong value proposition outlook is the best way around the new customer's requirements.
The benefit of building your sales pitch to center around the list of values the customers would seemingly gain from choosing your software is enormous. It changes the narrative of potential customers seeing your SaaS product as overpriced or overvalued.
Build Around Your Target Customer’s Need
Your strong value proposition should concentrate more on the needs of your target customer as against your SaaS company's needs.
A convincing value proposition would require SaaS companies to designate SaaS sales strategies, such as conducting extensive research to understand customers' exact needs and how your software is uniquely designed to meet the needs of these identified customers.
The proposition sold by the SaaS sales reps needs to be as clear, concise, and easy to understand as it does not defeat the purpose it was created to achieve.
Track Performance Levels with Google Alerts
By keeping track of the level of performance of your previous sales experience and staying active on social media, you are better positioned to monitor both existing and new trends in your industry of specialization.
You can keep track of the discussions around your target audience base to equip you further to deliver their specific and ever-evolving needs.
Use the Google Alerts tool to assist in monitoring and alerting you on the activities of your target and competitors under your watch. It is a sure way of staying updated on new developments and notable changes in the industry in which your software is specifically designed.
This tool significantly reduces the workload of the sales and marketing teams. SaaS reps are left only to develop strategies to match or adapt to these changes for the best sales professionals.
3. Understand the SaaS Sales Cycle
The SaaS sales cycle is continuous and is not confined by a defined timeframe. It is one of the notable standout features between SaaS sales and other types of sales.
SaaS sales cycles come with their unique advantages and disadvantages to the business.
One of the SaaS sales cycle advantages is that it is not subjected to a specific timeframe; it has no real commencement or termination time frame to guide its operation. It can ultimately lead to a longer sales cycle.
The disadvantage of the SaaS sales cycle is that a potential customer's true intention cannot be readily determined as there is no time frame limit to spur ready action.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
See the SaaS sales cycle as a means of building a relationship with your potential customers. Every SaaS sales cycle should comprise the journey to acclimate your potential customers with your sales model and how you plan to deliver customer lifetime value (CLV).
You can calculate the CLV by multiplying your customer value by the average customer lifespan.
SaaS Sales Cycle Design
Design your sales cycle to provide customers information along with select sales cycle stages.
The information provided during the sales cycle should be strictly on a need-to-know basis. It should not disclose sensitive information that gives out the operations of the SaaS sales team.
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
The monthly recurring revenue (MRR) model is the best and most used revenue generation model against the annual recurring revenue model.
This MMR model actively involves respective stakeholders from various departments within a company which helps in the case of a more complex sale.
Each department is categorized by distinct objectives guiding its operations with a monthly recurring revenue model.
The Role of Sales and Marketing Teams
Your SaaS sales process should consist of sales and marketing teams, with the marketing team tasked with generating awareness and interest to sell SaaS to prospective targeted customers.
Your sales team's role is to turn the interest generated by the marketing team into a sales qualified lead.
Enterprises SaaS Sales
Enterprise SaaS sales are entirely different from traditional sales because your sales model is designed for an entire business organization against the idea of selling to a specific individual.
This sales model opens up lapses as there are likely different decision-makers within a company with often conflicting interests and objectives.
While developing your sales pitch to close a deal, the sales team must clearly understand each decision maker's objectives and incorporate them into the sales pitch.
4. Charge High Prices
To a large extent, a service provider's value directly impacts the pricing system.
When selling software to prospective customers, there is a need to strike a bargain between the customer's budget and the company's profitability outlook. You need to ensure the average purchase value of competitors is met so as not to seem overpriced in the market.
Charge Based on Value
The pricing strategy chosen, such as the subscription-based pricing model, should solely be defined by the value being provided or the technicality of the problem being solved for respective customers.
Dangers of Underpricing
In enterprise sales, you must charge just the right amount for your services, as underpricing one's service is likely to pose the same damage as overpricing. Pricing in the long term depends on how confident you are about selling your SaaS products.
Underpricing your software with a long list of prospective value outlooks to prospective customers will only lead to them devaluing your product as they understand the value of spending high for the best quality.
In essence, the affordability of your SaaS product should not come at the cost of the value of the service being rendered.
Benefits of Charging High Prices for Your Software
Consider pegging your price at the highest, most feasible, and most attainable cost range. It is more difficult to raise the prices of your services in the long run without taking a huge hit to your customer base.
As is often the case when the decision to offer more value for a much higher price is made, most clients usually stick with the comfort of their current service plan as it has been tested and guaranteed to work for them.
Charging the highest from inception and then cutting down to an arrangement that works for both parties is important.
You can consider offering SaaS sales compensation and bonuses to customers as a way of serving as incentives against the idea of lowering the price of your service.
This sales strategy aims to improve the SaaS business's perceived value without reducing the price of service delivery. It ensures customers feel they are getting their money's worth without affecting the SaaS business profitability outlook.
5. Create an Effective Sales Pitch Deck and Sales Playbook
To a large extent, the effectiveness and creativity of your sales pitch determine the level of attention and response likely to be gotten during enterprise sales.
A sales pitch deck is a slideshow presentation designed to effectively communicate a SaaS company's value proposition to target customers.
The sales pitch deck or playbook should be clear, concise, and easy to understand as it is the first point of contact potential customers would have with the SaaS business. It should be catchy to be easily relatable to their target audience.
An effective sales pitch deck and playbook are designed on a need-to-know basis. Ensure only the most essential information is contained in them, as the focus is on key areas that seek to catch the attention of potential customers.
Use Clear Visuals
Complementing your sales pitch deck or playbook with solid visuals helps make your sales pitch more relatable and better constructed to communicate the message you are seeking to pass across.
Charts, graphs, and photos are solid visual tools that you should add to serve as the needed infographics for your sales pitch.
Use Simple Terms Your Target Audience Understands
The ability of your sales pitch or playbook to be easily understood and relatable by target customers can be a key factor for a customer success team delivering results or not.
Your sales playbook should engage your target audience and not bore them. Keep it concise. Reduce the use of big industry terms to the barest minimum on your sales pitch or playbook.
Set aside considerable time and resources to build your sales playbook or pitch to guarantee the deal's success.
Use Social Media
Another engaging way to drive attention to your SaaS product is using the social media space for engagements. You can open a YouTube channel and start an online blog to attract an audience and the much-needed attention for your software.
The content created must be catchy and must not deviate from the aim of showing the value proposition of your SaaS product.
Your sales and marketing teams need to work hand-in-hand in delivering a steady stream of engaging content for your target audience.
6. Train Your Sales Team for the SaaS Sales Process
When training your sales team on various sales strategies to incorporate, it is important to keep the predetermined SaaS sales metrics in mind.
Training goes a long way in determining how fast your SaaS product sells.
The chosen training schedule should include a broad overview of the available SaaS products, the target market highlighted for respective products, and the SaaS sales process that drives their introduction to the target market.
Your SaaS training should not beat the purpose it was designed for. Configure it so that it directly improves the skills of individual team members.
The sales team must have a detailed and thorough understanding of the product being pitched to the target market. This knowledge is crucial as they are the ones that would answer questions from interested prospective customers.
Training the team on what the product is all about and its value proposition makes it easier for the team to communicate better to the prospective target market.
In addition to product training, you need to train your sales team on identifying a target market audience and the best strategy or approach to deal with them. It is the most crucial training that delivers the best results.
Sales Process Training
Most SaaS companies have a pre-established sales process. With an already organized sales process, training is relatively easier as the sales team is brought up to date on the sales processes and taught various effective strategies and techniques.
This training aims to ensure the team can identify and capitalize on opportunities during the sales process.
Ongoing Training and Coaching
Training should be ongoing and span beyond a specific SaaS product sales process. The process of improving the sales team's skills is not definite.
Regular training on new selling techniques and customer retention strategies is one of the crucial continuous training areas for selling SaaS.
Apart from training your sales team, SaaS companies usually go the extra mile to train existing customers on how to use their SaaS products effectively.
7. Use Inbound Marketing Tactics
Trying to recruit new customers into your sales funnel and sales pipeline is difficult for most SaaS companies. This process usually involves implementing several sales strategies to guarantee successful SaaS sales.
Inbound marketing tactics go a long way in recruiting more inputs into your sales funnel. These tactics aim to divert new customers' attention to your SaaS product.
By creating eye-catching and engaging content, your inbound marketing tactics help build long-lasting relationships between potential customers and the SaaS sales team.
Focus on Qualified Customers
In driving the much-needed attention of the potential market, the sales team must focus more on the quality of customers they are trying to convince than the larger quantity. A qualified sales lead is much more valuable to a SaaS company than a warm lead.
Use Quality Content
The efficacy of your inbound marketing tactics depends largely on the content's quality to generate attention. One of the most useful inbound marketing tactics is creating a positive and active image as a thoughtful header.
SaaS companies' heads can identify themselves to their respective industry as leaders with content by using social media platforms, blogs, and speaking arrangements,
This strategy is particularly useful for driving the target audience's attention and provides a good avenue to advertise their prospective SaaS products.
Webinars and Seminars
An effective inbound marketing tactic is hosting webinars and seminars focused on the SaaS product you want to sell or particular sectors of the industry you seek to dominate. This marketing tactic helps generate leads and customers for your brand.
Some of the best webinar platforms you can use to host webinars include Riverside, Livestorm, Demio, Zoho Meeting, and WebinarJam.
Use a Relatable and Exciting Story
Focus on creating an exciting and relatable story that forms the bridge that links people personally to your brand. Ensure there is a connection between the new attention you are pulling to your SaaS product and the story you are seeking to sell.
Using a relatable and exciting story is one of the most effective ways of turning customer attention to active participation.
The primary focus of the sales team should be to generate meaningful connections with potential customers.
This inbound marketing tactic is effective for companies that use an enterprise sales model for their large business operations, small business, or startups.
8. Leverage Social Proof and Client Testimonials
Leveraging social proof and client testimonials requires the joint effort of both the sales and marketing teams for optimal success.
Social proof and client testimonials are important components that help spur customers' attention and drive potential new customers' interest in the brand.
As is the current trend among customers, proof of efficacy by other customers or testimonials vouching for the usefulness of the said product is one of the key drivers of new interest.
With prior customer testimonials, case studies, and reviews, new customers are better positioned to consider your brand before making their informed choice.
Social Proof as a Sales Strategy
Social proof as part of your advertising and marketing strategy can go a long way in driving new attention to your SaaS product.
Design and construct your social proof to pinpoint specific target customers. It should also be relevant and updated as new proofs arrive.
One of the most effective strategies for selling software is to display client testimonials on your website or in your advertisement campaigns.
Testimonials have proven to be an effective way of convincing new leads to purchase as they can see that they will likely get similar results you delivered to other clients.
Client testimonials are recommendations or success stories from satisfied customers affirming the value of your software.
Combining Inbound Marketing Tactics with Social Proof
Most SaaS companies have mastered combining their predetermined sales strategies with inbound marketing tactics and leveraging social proofs and client testimonials to drive sales. These strategies have a very high success combination rate if properly applied.
9. Offer a Free Trial, Free Plan, or Demo
The main aim of constituting a sales team is to generate leads to better the sales outlook of a business. With a sales team, how accessible and effective is the product you are trying to sell to your target market?
Companies selling SaaS need to find a way of offering these products to the target market as tests to push out their software and its many benefits.
Value-focused demos are a good way of generating leads for companies who are in the business of selling SaaS.
A value-focused demo or trial aims to provide the target audience an overview of how your SaaS product works and the benefits they stand to get from choosing this software.
The demo should be as vivid and potent as possible because it readily gives out useful information without going into detail about what it is all about.
Note that the demo is simply an appetizer that should be applied to whet the appetite of potential customers and drive their attention towards what you are selling.
Focus on Your Product’s Main Features and Benefits
In developing content for your product demo, focus on your SaaS product's main features and benefits and the key areas you can use your product to solve difficult problems in the market space.
Look for unique selling points that give your product a competitive edge against similar competitors. Most SaaS businesses usually fall victim to trying too hard to sell their products through their demo.
Your demo should not be seen as a tool to close sales; it is a tool for highlighting your product's usefulness and time value to the market audience.
Annual Recurring Revenue Model
You can add an annual recurring revenue model to your business operation. It is particularly useful as it increases customers' lifetime value when they choose your SaaS product.
This model positively affects the long-term success of your SaaS business as there is a relative increase in the annual contract value of customers.
10. Focus on Customer Success
By placing significant interest and attention on customer satisfaction, your SaaS product is guaranteed to deliver a relatively high level of customer success.
SaaS companies should focus on customer success when pitching their SaaS product to prospective customers. There is a high chance that they would attract customers that would stick with them for a longer period which guarantees a high customer retention rate.
The customer is always right. Devoting considerable resources to ensure that statement differentiates a successful SaaS business from a list of others.
Achieving a relatively high customer success rate is not easy. It often requires meticulous planning and strategizing to ensure the SaaS company's product can deliver on its proposed benefits in the marketplace.
The Role Sales and Marketing Teams Play in Customer Success
To a large extent, the level of customer success rests largely on the shoulders of the sales and marketing teams. The sales and marketing teams would be subject to criticism if the product fails to deliver on its promises.
An efficient sales team ensures the product is in the process of constantly evolving to meet the increasing needs of its customer.
By providing regular feedback to the high-ranking company stakeholders, the SaaS business management has an idea of the general acceptability of their SaaS product.
Feedback such as each customer's tastes and distastes of the SaaS product should be compiled and sent to the management team for onward review.
This feedback helps them pinpoint key areas that need to be improved on to gain more acceptability in the market space.
Transactional Sales Model
Having a transactional sales model that works effectively is a way of boosting the likelihood of customer success. A transactional sales model is designed to constantly look for ways to improve the customer's lifetime value.
This sales model can guarantee long-term customer engagements by ensuring customers get the most out of the product for the ultimate customer success.
11. Upsell and Cross-Sell to Existing Customers
Increasing the annual recurring revenue is one of the biggest improvement areas for SaaS companies. This criterion is tightly linked to sales and customer success.
Every sales and marketing team has a huge role to play in delivering on the expected annual recurring revenue of the organization. These teams drive the necessary attention and patronage needed to spur customer interest.
The best way to deal with lapses in the annual recurring revenue of your organization is by considering up-selling and cross-selling existing customers.
Upselling and cross-selling existing customers guarantee an increase in the recurring revenue of the business on an annual basis.
The basic working theory behind these two techniques involves SaaS businesses providing more value to their existing customers by providing them with additional features not initially included in their current package.
New features can range from basic bandwidth to a more sophisticated additional service, all in a bid to appease the existing customers.
Good Fit for Subscription-Based Pricing Models
Upselling and cross-selling to existing customers is a good fit for SaaS businesses with distinct subscription tiers or levels. This disparity is often exploited by SaaS companies that practice this subscription-based model.
SaaS companies can offer customers on a lesser subscription tier limited access to specific features that customers enjoy on higher subscription tiers or levels.
These companies can take advantage of this loophole in their customer's corner by spiking immediate interest on lower tier levels as they witness better features than their current subscription tier.
For the success of this sales strategy, respective SaaS sales reps need to identify and categorize each level or tier based on existing customers' subscriptions.
For these two techniques to work, the team needs to ensure no mix-up when the SaaS sales reps upsell existing customers.
12. Use a CRM
Like every other sales operation, SaaS sales also fall victim to misplaced details and ignored conversations. This problem occurs largely due to the long sales cycle that categorizes a SaaS sales process.
For more effective management of this problem that tends to plague the SaaS sales process, SaaS companies opt for a better management system that helps the team manage customers' details and conversations.
The best system for this task is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the best system for this task. A SaaS CRM software effectively keeps track of all key customer details and conversations.
This software tool provides a central system to ensure all customer data is compiled and stored until needed. An effective CRM system guarantees better relationships between SaaS companies and their prospective and existing customers.
13. Set Activity and Revenue Goals for Sales Reps
Your sales strategy is grossly inefficient if there are no objectives or goals to drive its implementation. Activity and revenue goals help in keeping the respective teams in check by providing a standard they have to meet up to.
Setting appropriate activity goals for your marketing teams and sales quotas for your sales teams would put the right amount of pressure on the teams to deliver on their set targets.
The sales quotas can be in the form of volume quotas, that is, a specific number of subscription volumes to be sold or in terms of expected revenue targets. Monitor the activity of your SaaS sales reps by checking their connection and new leads across a defined period.
14. Keep Track of SaaS Sales Metrics
The final tip to give you an edge in SaaS selling is to keep track of your sales performance. There are many ways SaaS businesses can effectively track the progress of their SaaS sales, but the most effective is by using key metrics.
By tracking important SaaS sales metrics, SaaS companies are better informed on the progress made in the sales of their software.
The advantage of utilizing key metrics to keep track of your sales performance is that it allows management stakeholders to adjust their set goals when they deem fit. Using key metrics opens up opportunities to celebrate key milestones or accomplishments attained.
Churn is the percentage at which customers are lost, calculated annually. You can calculate it by dividing the number of customers lost during the year by the number of customers present at the start of the year.
Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the growth of the SaaS business by assigning ratings to customers based on their experience level.
This metric ranges from -100 to 100. It is a percentage subtraction of the number of customers with negative experiences from those with positive experiences.
The Number of Sales Qualified Leads
The number of sales qualified leads indicates a potential buyer that has shown considerable interest in the SaaS product.
Lead Velocity Rate
Lead velocity rate helps to highlight how quickly leads are being generated against revenue. This metric is particularly important as it can assist businesses in calculating growth, goals, and respective milestones.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost is calculated by dividing the total cost of sales and marketing by the number of deals closed for a specific period.
For companies who use a transactional sales model, this number would be relatively lower compared to companies that use an enterprise sales model.
Other Sales Metrics
Other sales metrics are the revenue per lead, monthly recurring, and annual revenue. You can use automation software such as marketing automation tools to track the highlighted sales metrics better.
SaaS Sales FAQ
The SaaS sales process is not the easiest market space for salespeople and their clients to deliver on their chosen sales model.
For better customer relationship management, you need a broad knowledge of the product being delivered and its level of acceptance in the market space.
For cases of longer sales cycles, individual dissection of each client's specification would be required.
The SaaS sales process often leaves many SaaS Sales reps stressed and worked out. This process comes with a relative degree of stress, especially with the time constraint in seeking to deliver on their set quotas.
SaaS sales offer high profits and rewards as a career path. Sales reps have unique opportunities to make high commissions different from their salary.
The average salary of a SaaS Sales rep based on data from ZipRecruiter, the average pay for a SaaS sales rep in the United States is $6,761/month or $81,131/year.
According to Glassdoor, a sales development representative earns $49,220/year in the United States, while a SaaS sales specialist or consultant earns $83,547/year in the United States.
This average SaaS sales salary does not include other benefits such as commission and compensation plans.