How to increase your SaaS sales on a shoestring. Early-stage SaaS start-ups face many challenges in selling their solutions, including limited sales and marketing budgets. Lead generation needs to be both efficient and cost-effective, so your client acquisition costs are minimised. This means that founders and SaaS business leaders have to work smart in order to win their first clients.
This blog shows 10 easy-to-implement steps, which will help B2B SaaS entrepreneurs, like you, increase your sales, even with limited resources.
Your SaaS solution probably has many different features and functionalities, which provide value to your client. Here’s the thing, your audience is not interested in these features per se, but rather in what benefits these features give them. Benefits can be thought of as the problems your solution solves. Typically, all businesses face similar problems, including:
“By allowing you to chart and manipulate equity data easily in one place, we save you time to concentrate on higher-value tasks”
“Our stock alerts provide you peace of mind, by flagging major price moves”
Now that you are clear on which problems your solution solves and the resulting benefits it delivers, ask yourself which companies and which job titles are most likely to benefit from what you do. My advice is to target senior people in organisations, who have power to make decisions and sign the order form.
LinkedIn is a brilliant tool for helping you identify the best prospects. It allows you to search on specific job titles within specific companies.
You even have the option, for example, of identifying all the Chief Technology Officers, within your target industry within a particular city. This is useful if you are planning a business road trip.
Do not be afraid to contact senior prospects on LinkedIn, by connecting with them and introducing yourself with a short message. From experience, senior people like speaking with other senior people like you and are often very interested in hearing about new innovations.
This is a short description in simple language of what you do and the value you bring. It should cut through the noise and grab your audience’s attention. Hubspot provide some useful tips on structuring your elevator pitch.
One good approach given by Hubspot, is to first ask a question, empathise, pivot and then add value.
Let’s think of an example, using this structure:
According to research cited by TechTarget, a person can be connected to any other person through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.
This means that we, as entrepreneurs, should be leveraging our networks much more to spread the word about what we do. Again, LinkedIn has a useful feature that allows you to view the contacts you have in common with a particular person you are trying to target. You can request to be introduced, which makes getting the first meeting or call easier.
An approach that has worked for me is to pick up the phone to your mutual acquaintance and ask them to request a 30-minute meeting with your target so you can get their feedback on what you offer. That way, they are more likely to agree to meet you. At the actual meeting, you should not engage in any hard sell, but rather show them what you offer and ask for their candid feedback. Often, these meetings are a great way to get names and further introductions.
“91% of customers say they’d give referrals. Only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals.” (source: the Brevet Group)
If you are in the fortunate position to have some happy, paying customers, have you asked them for referrals? This is an often overlooked and very efficient way to grow your business. You can do this over the telephone or email. There are some useful templates from themuse.com.
Despite the growth of inbound marketing strategies, calling prospects is not dead! There are three reasons why:
I know that cold calling can be scary to even the most seasoned salesperson, but it need not be if you adopt the right mindset, focus on getting the meeting and do it consistently. Close has some excellent tips on making your cold calls more successful.
You are selling a complex B2B solution, so the prospect is not going to buy over the phone immediately. The aim of your cold calls is to get a date in the diary for your first face-to-face or virtual meeting. The reason for the focus on an in-person meeting is because it is much easier to build rapport and read body-language. Crucially, the in-person meeting means you have the prospect’s undivided attention. Check out my free guide “Cold Calling 101”.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra
Without a plan, it is easy to lose focus and become overwhelmed. This is especially relevant to sales. One of the first things I would encourage you to do is to set a sales target to be reached by the end of the year. This could be a fixed amount of new revenue or a fixed number of new clients. Write it down so you see the target every day and let others know about it too. Trust me, this focuses your day-to-day efforts toward your goal, and you will be more successful.
Sales can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle. Salespeople have to deal with a lot of rejection, but, even if a prospect says “no” you should not give up. Instead, when are told “no”, get the prospect’s permission to follow-up with them in the future. Say something along the lines of “would you mind if I checked-in with you in a couple of months?”. Usually, they will agree, and you can set a reminder in your CRM to give them a call back. Being persistent shows your prospect that you have dedication and a strong purpose, giving you business acumen. On the subject of persistence, data shows that it pays off:
“92% of salespeople give up after four “no’s”, but 80% of prospects say ‘no’ four times before they say ‘yes’.” (Source: Marketing Donut)
When growing your business, adopt an inquisitive approach to everything you do and evolve your messaging and processes based on market feedback. For example, test your cold calling scripts and see which ones deliver the best results. Using online tools, such as Optimizely, you can conduct A/B testing for your website. Similarly, there are solutions out there, such as close.io, that allow you to run email campaigns with different content to see which ones are the most successful at converting.
Document what works and make sure you update your sales and marketing strategy so you can easily roll-out best practice as you grow. Also, no matter how small you are, invest in a good CRM system now. This will save you time and effort in the long run, by having all your contacts and call histories in one place.
In conclusion, there is a lot you can start doing today to grow your SaaS business without having to spend vast amounts of money. Remember, it is important to take action, if you are to get to where you want to be in the future. Make it a priority to implement one of the above steps before you go home today. Good luck on your journey!
Founder – salesmentor.