Selling B2B software can be challenging, especially in the early days when it can be difficult to generate leads as resources are tight, and sales experience is low. Here is a simple sales methodology to help early stage SaaS businesses guide themselves.
9 Essential Sales Steps to Grow your SaaS Startup
Define your marketing personas
Create marketing personas that represent your ideal prospect or your ideal customer profile and search for your network for representatives of these profiles
Meet your target users and get feedback
The purpose of these meetings is to gain a deep understanding of the problem you believe you can solve for them.
Listen to how they describe how they currently undertake the tasks that your solution is designed to help
Iterate the product based on feedback
Use these initial interactions to gain insights that will help product development
Identify a market specific methodology
Some basic training can ensure that you are equipped to engage with prospects in confidence
Awareness of sales methodologies does ensure your approach is both scientific and rigorous
Put a well-defined sales process in place
Define what the various stages in your pipeline are, and how to move a prospect along the pipeline
Create compelling content to help generate leads
Gate the most valuable content behind a form where prospects provide information about themselves in return for access
Qualify your prospects
Utilize marketing automation software to send emails over a period of time that offer value, ensuring you stay at the forefront of their mind
Consider using chat bots as an alternative to forms
Managing the first sales meeting
Don’t default to presentation mode; instead, you need to view the interaction as an information exchange where you are looking to surface their needs.
Close the deal
If your solution addresses their needs, you can then showcase the power of your product before asking for the business
Most companies rely on outbound sales (prospecting and outreach) to generate revenue and close deals.
It is important to turn your outbound sales into inbound opportunities.
This is traffic that's driven to a site organically or via marketing campaigns such as advertising, social media, content etc.
The process of creating an online advertisement involves:
- Choosing the goal or objective of your campaign
- Choosing your target audience
- Finding the right image, description, call to action that your targets can relate to
This method is ineffective because it can be very expensive and might be great for getting views on your website, but not as much for conversions or engaging people in a buying process.
How to Turn Your Outbound Marketing Into Inbound Opportunities
Figure out your target audience or Ideal Customer Profile
The better you can target and more granular you can get with your customer profile, the more successful your outbound campaigns will be.
You can target by a recent event - not just by static attributes like location and age range.
Get the right contact Info
Research, messaging and call to action
Find out as much information as possible on the company and individual contacts before you reach out to important prospects.
Ensure the message delivery is accurate and optimize as you go.
Many promising startups have blown up due to ill-advised business development deals that swelled teams in a bout of euphoria only to see them wither if interest and focus from their partner wanes.
Ask yourself these questions before going whale hunting:
How much monthly recurring revenue will it add to your business?
Once that money is spent, what will the ongoing revenue be? What is the opportunity cost of not supporting the current business plan?
How will this project help your core business?
If the project will allow the startup to speed up the development of a core technology that is generally applicable to other customers, it would seem far more worthy of consideration.
What happens if this doesn’t work out?
When considering a high-risk, high-reward partnership, founders need to spend time envisioning a gruesome demise.
How well do you understand the bigger company?
Founders with little exposure to big companies are susceptible to misreading cues.
Are you aware of the work pace differential?
Startups often drown in the number of process leviathans required to make the smallest of improvements while this is not the case for big companies.
Who are the internal champions?
Promising projects can die on the vine because the internal champion gets reassigned or leaves the company. Successful partnerships will involve multiple high-level people from the larger organization.
Is the project a priority for the Chief Experience Officer/Vice President?
Below the level of a VP or CXO-level executive, we’ve seen startups spend large sums and risk their future on what amounts to a proof of concept project for a mid-level director with no real juice.
Are you competing with another startup?
Founders considering competing with another startup should give serious thought to skipping the process and building out a less concentrated revenue base with fewer impediments while your competitors fight to the death.