8 SaaS Sales Tips That Will Get You More Customers
Looking to get better at SaaS sales? First, let’s play a game. No cheating!
What was the first product bought in an online transaction?
Have your answer?
If you guessed “CD,” you’re correct. A Sting album, to be exact.
While the genius of Sting’s melodies has never changed (just ask my mom), software certainly has. The internet took a huge step forward when it introduced online marketplaces and transactions, which opened the door for SaaS. We’ve transitioned from a world where a select few companies used floppy disks, to one where almost every company implements at least one SaaS solution. Over 99 percent, to be exact.
This presents a massive opportunity for the businesses that have SaaS products to sell - and a huge missed opportunity for the ones that don’t approach SaaS sales with certain best practices in mind.
As our own CEO Pascal van Opzeeland states:
SaaS solutions play a big role in the success of modern companies. But to effectively sell them, you need to know who is deciding to invest in your solution, what they are looking for, and how you can best highlight those needs.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled eight of our best tips to get you started on the road to SaaS sales success. These come from our experience of selling our own SaaS product at Userlike, as well as the knowledge gained from working with various SaaS clients over the last 12 years.
What is SaaS sales?
SaaS Sales is the process of selling and upselling your web-based software to both individuals and companies.
It’s also important to note that the specifics of “SaaS sales” can slightly differ. Here are the three most common SaaS sales models:
- The self-service model. Customers find your solution through your marketing, then adopt your software and service themselves.
- The transactional model. Your marketing team focuses on lead generation, after which your sales team follows up to convert leads to customers.
- The enterprise model. More expensive and typically much more complex, often requiring multiple sales teams working with large accounts.
So, the million dollar question: regardless of which model best fits your own company, how do you actually master SaaS sales?
Read on for our battle-tested tips guaranteed to get you better results - regardless of the exact industry that you serve.
9 SaaS Sales Tips For Earning Long-Term Customers
- Implement different selling tactics
- Understand your audience
- Use your own software at your business
- Use live chat in software sales
- Invest in your team’s training and education
- Learn to foster customer relationships
- Implement a quality SaaS CRM
- Be persistent
Implement different selling tactics
There are many ways to approach SaaS sales. Models simply serve as a basis for your sales strategy, not as a strict guideline. This is good news, as depending on your exact SaaS software, there is likely a strategy that will fit your own company best.
Here are just a few you might consider.
- Proactive chat. Even though live chat is the core of what we do at Userlike, there’s something special about proactive chat. It’s great for communicating offers to people on your website and can provide lead magnets to the people most likely to want them. Just be sure to make your proactive chat as helpful as possible.
- Demos. Often, the biggest obstacle to people investing in your software is the perceived difficulty (justified or not) of simply getting started. Walking people through your product during a demo is an effective way to overcome this. Start with a consultation that’s easy to sign up for, followed by a personal demo and, finally, an offer for a free trial since they’ll be excited to get started.
- Webinars. These have risen in popularity in recent years, and for good reason: they are engaging and a great way to sell to groups of people. Check out LinkedIn’s best practices for successful webinars.
- Content marketing. Regardless of the kind of software you sell, SEO-rich content that educates your audience is always worth the long term investment. It builds a connection with potential customers and gradually convinces them to buy through inbound marketing.
In Userlike’s case, there are some practices we follow based on what we’ve learned from bigger companies like Lime. For example, prioritizing outbound sales. However, no matter our strategy we stick to our mission to create long-term relationships with the people who buy our product. This builds trust more reliably over the long-term, and makes it easier to earn clients who will stay with us for years.
Understand your audience
One of the keys to SaaS sales success is understanding your audience. If you want more sales and happier customers, it all starts with getting close to the people you are trying to sell to. To truly understand your audience, you need to get in their head.
While there are numerous ways to do this, here are some of the most effective:
- Checking social media. What are people saying about you or your competitors? This can be a wealth of information, as social media is often an “unfiltered” view of what people really think. Try a tool like Hootsuite to stay on top of your brand mentions.
- Interviewing current customers. So often, what we believe to be true about our customer’s perceptions of our business are simply filtered through our own biases. Might as well go straight to the source instead to gauge how existing customers feel about your product or brand — and learn where you can improve.
- Reading reviews of your software. People that take the time to review your software on a platform like G2 are often the ones that love it - or hate it. While it’s important to understand that some opinions on review sites might be a bit extreme, they can still be a catalyst for certain software updates if people repeatedly ask for them.
Use your own software at your business
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s so important that it deserves a mention. Would you buy a fitness influencer’s supplements if he wasn't willing to use them himself? I didn’t think so.
It’s the same with your own software. Your potential customers need to be convinced that your software is as good as you claim. One way to do this is by actually using your products.
Take Userlike as an example. Our product is live chat, and when you land on our website, you can instantly chat with us. This lets potential customers see our product in action and does the job of “pre-selling” it while talking to leads.
Userlike: Instant chats, long-term customer relationships
Over 10,000 companies like Toyota and Hermes trust Userlike to connect with their customers every day - via website chat, WhatsApp, chatbots and more.Learn more
Use live chat in software sales
SaaS is a modern concept. This means it also needs modern customer service. That’s why live chat makes sense.
Think about it. Why make your customers move away from your website (where they are likely looking at your product or using a free trial) just to contact you through email or phone? You wouldn't force someone to fill out a form in a store just to ask a question. You'd assist them right then and there.
It's the same with live chat. SaaS companies benefit from how quick, modern and convenient live chat is. Since you can’t meet your customers in person, messaging is the closest you’ll get to making personalized, warm connections.
This modern speed and ease is exactly what you get with live chat. Indeed, if your company isn't using live chat and automation, you’re missing out…on prospects that are already on your website.
Invest in your team’s training and education
Education gives your team the skills they need for effective, confident SaaS sales. Here are just a few of those necessary skills - all of which can be learned with the right training:
- How to effectively overcome objections. Just about every one of your sales prospects will have reasons not to buy. Having an educated answer to objections can lead the prospect more reliably to a sale.
- How to frame software purchases as investments. There’s a good chance your SaaS product doesn’t fit many company’s budgets. Not a problem - as long as your sales team can effectively talk about why it’s worth the money.
- How to provide customized support to potential customers. Your sales team can’t expect “cookie cutter” service to win your company sales - but they can be trained in the personalization that will. Use a buddy or mentoring system so your sales team can share knowledge and best practices.
As for how you educate your sales team in these skills? There are multiple methods of sales support, and can include everything from paid conferences to an educational budget. However, there’s one thing that we believe is more effective than anything else: deep knowledge of your company’s software.
Your sales team should be able to answer just about any question a potential customer might have. We suggest keeping your team regularly updated about software changes, using an internal knowledge base so answers are consistent across the team and following a sales framework for a clear sales approach.
If you’re looking to get better at sales, we have you covered. Here’s a list of our best sales articles:
- 12 direct sales techniques to sell pretty much anything
- 5 inbound sales strategy tips for strong customer relationships
- Startup sales playbook - 6 universal tips
- The essential guide to digital sales
Learn to foster customer relationships
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, selling online software is different from physical software. You’re not done after you have sold a product; instead, you will be in frequent contact with your customers as you update and fix it.
Are you adding any new features? Perhaps implementing major updates? If so, these things need to be clearly communicated and your customers need to be kept in the loop.
This has one very important implication: the most successful SaaS company is often the one that fosters its customer relationships the most. If you want success in SaaS sales, the customer needs to become part of your “software family.”
Here’s how you make that happen:
- Detailed onboarding processes that allow new customers to hit the ground running with your software
- “Feature releases” that explain new additions to your software and how your customers will benefit from them
- Regular requests for feedback from your audience about your software’s performance and any recommendations
Ideally, these company-wide best practices for fostering customer relationships should trickle down to your individual sales reps. They should be prepared to share information and provide customized suggestions before going into any sales call. An informed customer is a happy customer, after all.
Implement a quality SaaS CRM
A high-performing CRM makes selling software easier. For example, a CRM should let you easily build profiles for customers and qualify them immediately. This is essential for both selling and upselling.
Plus, with the right automation, your SaaS sales can constantly run in the background. This takes the pressure off your sales team to constantly follow up with potential leads. Instead, a more systemized process keeps things more consistent and reliable.
The organized communication that a SaaS CRM provides also has the added benefit of pinpointing the average sale cycle of your customers. If you want to approach SaaS sales with the customization more likely to result in success, this information is essential.
For a SaaS CRM that keeps all this information in one place, check out our parent company Lime. Their tool is trusted by thousands of companies - and for good reason.
Let’s be honest: sales can be disheartening. Just because SaaS sales are on the rise doesn’t mean there’s some magic bullet to success. It’s still hard work, and requires (above almost anything else) consistent action.
That’s why we’re finishing off this list of SaaS sales tips with the importance of persistence. Here are five you can implement:
- Set goals. No use working hard if you don't have a direction. In practice, your company should implement goal setting on both the team and individual level. This ensures that your goals form a cohesive direction for the company and avoids “siloed working style.”
- Expand your efforts to LinkedIn. If you are serious about improving your SaaS sales, LinkedIn is a channel that can propel your efforts. Many of the decision makers that will decide on your software are on this platform, which makes effective LinkedIn reach out a game changer.
- Set up email campaigns. As we point out in our post on sales support, email is a channel that can constantly be working in the background for you.
- Perfect the art of follow up. Potential customers will compare you to competitors. If you want a chance to win a sale, you need to stick out in their mind and be a master of clear communication. This happens through follow up - everything from a reminder message about a cold email you’ve sent, to a quick offer of a trial after a demo. If you want to take your follow up to the next level (and get better results), personalization is a must.
- Check in with your team regularly. This has two main benefits, First, check-ins allow you to correct your course if needed. Are the goals you set too ambitious, or are now irrelevant? It’s time to be persistent in a different direction. Regular check-ins also keep your entire team motivated. Progress transparency can help keep your team dedicated to the longhaul of SaaS sales.
Make more SaaS sales with Userlike
The eight SaaS tips above all come from direct experience. At Userlike, we’ve been in SaaS sales for over a decade. Through selling our own SaaS product, we’ve realized that customer-focused tactics make your results more reliable and systematic.
More importantly, we know what the secret is to building a SaaS company that meets its full potential: quick and easy communication with your customers. Getting closer to your audience (and offering communication directly on your website) maximizes your SaaS sales. Indeed, that’s exactly what we had in mind when we built the Userlike product.
Here are just a few of the benefits your can expect when you implement Userlike to boost your SaaS sales:
- Easily find leads for your sales team to target. Customers that start a chat are interested in your business. Through conversations, lead magnets and trials, you can lead them down the sales funnel straight to your team for that final push.
- Follow up with customers qualified for upselling. Perhaps a customer reaches out to an agent in the chat to ask about a certain feature in a plan they don’t have. Your support team can forward this opportunity to your sales reps for targeted upselling.
- Sync information across tools. We know you already have your favorite customer software solutions like Pipedrive and Slack. No problem - Userlike works with just about everything.
Want to make more consistent and reliable SaaS sales?