You might be new to SaaS products, or even been doing it for awhile – SaaS Sales aren’t easy. Figuring out how to generate sales for SaaS products might seem like a pretty daunting task. Selling software products might seem very lucrative, but it’s really challenging to generate leads and close them.
What SaaS sales is all about, and how do you go about selling your SaaS to qualified leads? Let’s dive deeper.
What is SaaS?
SaaS, or Software as a Service, is a software delivery model that relies on a centrally hosted app that can be accessed by licensed, or subscribed users.
SaaS users get access to new features and updated versions of existing software instantly. This saves them money and time on research, configuration and tracking. For companies selling SaaS, the biggest advantage of SaaS is cost. Traditional software isn’t easy to deploy and maintain. In contrast, cloud deployed SaaS apps have only a fraction of the operating costs involved in maintenance and support.
But this doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to sell. If you build a SaaS product without planning to market and distribute it, you’ll have a hard time selling it.
And if you don’t generate enough sales to cover the cost of your marketing and development spend, where are you going to find more leads and grow your business? After all – Marketing itself is responsible to help you generate leads, and if you don’t spend enough on Marketing, your pipeline will dry out. That means they are losing out on valuable opportunities to generate sales.
Throughout this blog, we’ll list out all the ways you can generate leads, with or without marketing help. And once you’ve qualified these newly generated leads, we’ll learn how to close them.
What is SaaS Sales?
SaaS Sales is the process or function that sells and markets SaaS products. SaaS apps are sold completely online, and can be complex to understand for leads. So SaaS sales leans heavily towards product education and engagement activities, along with traditional inside sales tactics.
What makes SaaS easier to sell compared to other software is the staggered, subscription based pricing plans. Lower monthly cost split over a year makes it easier to convert leads. This helps both price conscious decision makers and .
And the SaaS sales process isn’t much different from what you would do in traditional inside sales. Which makes it easier for SDRs to adopt.
Here’s the short version of it – You’ll need to first –
- Find/generate leads who’d be interested to try the product
- Get them to use your product(sign up for trials)
And then, based on how their product trial went,
- Get them on a call, pitch them a subscription
- Nurture, follow up, and close.
That’s a short version of what SaaS sales looks like. Let’s get further into the details and learn more about the step-by-step process and B2B SaaS sales strategy.
8 steps to generate leads and close SaaS sales
Step 1: Generate inbound leads
Getting more SaaS users isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s a complicated process, and learning how to get more SaaS users can feel like drinking from a firehose. But selling software is all about generating leads. When you develop a new product or add new features, you need to generate demand for it. Enter Inbound lead generation and marketing. Inbound Marketing involves getting users to do something for free or at a discount. It’s the process of educating/rewarding your users and visitors for trying out your product, and learning more about you.
Inbound marketing works passively – where you don’t need to keep looking out for new leads. As your blog, website and social media generate more traffic, they help bring in more leads. These leads can then be pursued later for sales as part of your SaaS sales funnel.
Step 2: Prospect for outbound leads
If you’ve just launched your SaaS app and don’t have a lot of traffic to convert into inbound leads, outbound is your best shot. You can look out for ideal customers and prospects on social networks where your prospects spend time, and capture their contact information. Once you’ve captured a lead to approach, spend time on enriching their data, which will help you further personalize your outreach.
Once you have a large enough list of leads – enroll them into nurturing sequences so you can later convert them. You can use sales engagement tools – where you simply can drop an Excel/CSV sheet with your prospects’ data and use it to automate and personalize your outreach. Outreach enables you to engage and convert your prospects as part of your SaaS outbound sales.
Step 3: Convert and onboard users
Both in case of inbound and outbound leads, you’ll have to find ways to convert your leads and prospects into product trials. Majority of leads are unsure whether they want to pay for your product outright without knowing if it’s of any value to them. Trials help convert such customers by offering them free usage until a certain extent or time. When you generate inbound leads – optimize your channels to directly convert them into trial customers.
Similarly with outbound leads, reach out and offer them additional benefits along with the trial so they’re motivated to act. Follow-up with them multiple times, to ensure you’re on the top of their mind, and have better chances to convert them.
Step 4: Qualify high intent users
At a stage where your leads are converted and using your product, your next move is to qualify them for intent. As part of your onboarding process, send out educational emails and in-app messages that help your trial users make the most of your product. Look at engagement on these messages, and the corresponding impact on product usage and retention metrics. Users who spend more time in-app, read most of your onboarding messages, and have checked your pricing page multiple times are quality leads.
The qualification criteria for your app could look different, but it should be tied to your ideal customers who intend to buy. Qualified users or leads can be called “prospects”, as in they’re prospective customers. Instead of engaging with all leads who’ve signed up for your product, focusing on high intent leads will yield much better results. So your goal should be to onboard as many leads for trials as possible, and convert them into qualified prospects.
Step 5: Reach out to prospects
Once you’ve qualified your prospects and they’re almost done with their trials, it’s time to reach out to them. Since they’re qualified, these are prospects that are most likely to close if pursued, which is why reaching out and pitching them a full featured product is essential. Based on their usage, figure out your prospect’s use case, and frame a value proposition that helps them understand your product’s offering better.
Set up email outreach campaigns to qualified prospects as they near the end of their trial. Personalize your outreach templates to appeal to your prospects – add basic details like company name, the most used features, etc. Use case studies, along with other forms of social proof, to make it easier for prospects to trust you. Have one call to action within your emails – and depending on your sales process, either be to upgrade to paid plans, or get on a sales or customer success call.
Step 6: Get on exploratory sales calls
Track opens and clicks on your outreach emails. Based on open clicks and replies you get to your email outreach, push for setting up sales calls with prospects that have engaged the most with your content. This can either be a customer success call, where you can help well engaged trial customers bring better results out of their usage moving forward, or a sales closing call. Either ways, your goal should be to interact face to face with your prospects virtually, collect feedback, and pitch them the product’s paid plans.
If your prospects report positively on their trial experience, you can leverage it to sell them the upgraded plans. Just like in outreach emails, present them with social proof of customers benefiting from your product. Also talk about the end goals and outcomes your product helped them achieve during the trial. Suggest next steps and actionables before you end the call, so the prospects don’t drop off.
Step 7: Follow-up and close prospects
Once you’ve nurtured prospects using onboarding sales sequences and calls, send follow-ups to remind them and make it easier for them to close. Prospects often won’t find the time and attention needed to follow through and complete the purchase at times. Check in with your prospects every once in a while as appropriate, and remind them about where they left off. Approach these follow-ups with the intent to help them clear their questions or queries, along with any other blockers they might have.
Draw out a follow-up cadence that keeps your prospects engaged throughout the time they’re in your sales pipeline. So once they’re out of the trial and onboarding phase, send them conversion oriented content – time bound discounts, priority customer support and success, etc. This will make it easier for them to make a purchase decision, and convert rather than drop off. Also, automate your sales follow-ups using sales engagement tools like Saleshandy – it’ll help you reach out to more prospects without putting in the grunt work.
Step 8: Re-engage and nurture low-intent leads
Once you’re done engaging with and converting priority prospects in your pipeline, pick up low-intent leads from your list of trial users. These are prospects that might not completely fit your qualification criteria, but still used the product to a certain extent during their trial. Send out an email campaign to such users to fish for prospects with buying intent. Similar to how you’d approach high intent prospects, present these prospects with offers, giveaways by using no investment merch creation, trial extensions, etc., so they can spend more time with your product and eventually convert.
Segment and separate your low-intent prospects from others and enroll them in a nurturing sequence. Find what use cases they used the product for, and send out personalized, actionable content that’s likely to resonate with them.This will help you re-engage users that didn’t qualify as per your criteria, but still have the budget and intend to buy.
Based on which vertical your SaaS product operates in, conducting SaaS sales can be often difficult. It requires salespeople to have high levels of awareness about the product that generates equal amounts of interest from both savvy buyers and clueless ones. Savvy leads can often know more about their needs and the product they’re looking to buy, than salespeople can service for. Similarly, less savvy leads can be overly price and value conscious, making them difficult to sell to.
The sweet spot in SaaS sales is to attract and nurture leads that are somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Savvy enough to understand the product’s value, at the same time needing help with knowing your product better. This helps you engage with leads that are in the right state of mind to explore your product, and have an intent to buy. Being able to attract these kinds of leads, coupled with a strong and fool-proof sales process, makes SaaS sales a high yield and high growth function.
Do you have tips and tricks that have made SaaS sales easier? Let us know about them in the comments!