Oh boy, what a promising title! Don’t judge us, if you’re from the sales world, you know that first impressions matter. At Walnut, we understand the pains of SaaS sales people - that’s why we created our demo editor - and we wanted to offer up a quick round of valuable tips that’ll help you close deals more efficiently. After all, your success in sales is our ultimate goal.
Here's a sneak peek of the article:
- Do your homework
- Don’t sell features, solve an issue
- Create a killer personalized demo
- Know the traditional objections
- Systematize your follow-up
- Don’t leave your clients mind with marketing content
- Keep your trials short and your plans long
Do your homework
You know the story: Once upon a time, customers had little choice when it came to buying software, a service, or a product. Life was sweet for vendors and buyers, and birds were singing and sh*t.
Nowadays, customers are exposed to an insane flow of offers, making each purchase decision way (wayyyy) harder. For sellers, and particularly for SaaS providers, closing deals is becoming increasingly challenging. There’s no secret: As said the guy who invented the telephone, “preparation is the key to success” - Ring a Bell?*
Here are some of the questions you have to answer:
- Who is the persona you want to target?
In other words, what’s your client’s profile? You need to define the sizes of the companies you want to target (enterprise, SMBs, or start-up, for instance), the titles of potential decision-makers that are relevant to your business, and (obviously) the industries that need your software.
- How much are you willing to invest and what are you expecting in return? Depending on your goal, budget, and capabilities, you must understand if your time and money investment will bear the fruits you’re looking for. Some prospects simply won't be worth the effort. Make your list of prospects as accurate as possible to ensure you reach only the most valuable ones.
- What pain will you be solving and for whom?
The beauty of software is that they usually come with a lot of features. However, most companies only need some of them - and for very specific needs. You have to be ready ahead to tackle the right pain for each client and to understand how much they are willing to pay to solve it.
Don’t sell features. Solve pains
As mentioned above, each prospect has specific needs even within the same company. For instance, VP HR Khaleesi and CMO John S. might both need your product, but for different purposes. Tailoring your sales speech to each of them is a must. But be careful: don’t start talking to Khaleesi by explaining the history of your company and the amount of gigabyte she can get for each of her Unsullied.
You need to understand why she needs storage and approach her through the pain she has. Ask her about it, and let her give you the answers to all of your questions. That’s right, shut up and listen. You don’t exist. The only thing that matters is to understand your customers’ pains, needs, and expectations. Once you’ve collected this information, you’ll be much smarter when you’ll talk about your product and create your demo.
Create a killer personalized demo
It’s showtime baby! Once you’ve convinced her (your lead) that you’re the knight the seven kingdoms need, it’s time to show what you can actually do for her and to “draw” your demo. But hold your horses cowboy. One does not simply show software. Use a demo editor - yes, like Walnut - to customize the full user journey through your product, the way she (and her team) needs. You have to make every second of your demo count. The rumor says that 15 to 30 minutes is the optimal demo duration, so try to stick to it: people have a short attention span online - look, a bird.
Another reason for using this kind of code-less tools is that you’ll avoid demo nightmares such as loading time issues and bugs. In fact, you’ll present only an interactive (and customized) version of your interface frontend - or visual side of your product if you don’t like tech words. You’ll thank us later for this one.
Practice is key: Know the traditional objections
Yes, your honor, these two objections are a pain in every sales pro’s ass. Introducing: “You’re too expensive” and “I miss this feature” terrible tweens. Let’s address them separately.
- “You’re too expensive”
If you get this question it means that you’ve probably skipped a part of your homework. You should ask before how much your client is willing to invest to resolve the pain your software addresses. But you didn’t, it happens, we won’t tell your boss. Yet, you need to deal with it, and lowering the price isn’t generally an option - it can make you look cheap. One of the most common strategies is to reframe the problem and explain how much your software can save the company in comparison to its cost.
- “I miss this feature”
The easy way to deal with it is to say that the specific feature is in the pipe. Don’t. You’re smart. Smart don’t lie. Features can take time to be released and people have no patience for bulsh*t. Instead of walking on this shaky ground, try to dig into your most precious resource: your homework. You know the customer needs and you know your product perfectly. Think about creative ways to address the true pain of your client with other features. Maybe the functionality they’re looking for isn’t the most efficient tool to overcome the issue. You know best, so don’t be afraid of offering alternative solutions - looking confident never hurts.
There are many more objections that may come up during a sales process. Don’t hate us but there is only one solution: practice. The more you rehearse, the more ready you’ll be to face any non-expected questions.
Systematize your follow-ups
There are two main phases in the sales process: before you schedule a demo with the prospect, and after it.
- Before the demo
To hook the client for a demo, you must generate solid first contact. It’s tricky but not rocket science. Create sequences of personalized messages to hook your lead and decide about the timing for each of them - spread them over time, don’t be a spammer. In order to maximize your outreach, make sure to generate multiple touchpoints: Email, LinkedIn friend request, LinkedIn message, pigeon carrier, the merrier the better. But for the love of Gosh: don’t be the guy who asks the prospect if they got the email about you sending them an email. Be creative, personal, and show a true interest in the prospect’s needs.
- After the demo
Once you show your product magic to your almost-signed-client during the demo, follow up with content that brings them real value. Don’t give your prospect homework - create your plan based on your first discussion and shape your second call according to their needs and goals. At the end of the talk, make sure to schedule a call for Q&As and expectations alignment. It’s crucial to close every discussion with an actionable item to follow up - so they have no way to run. In the case they don’t show interest in your software after your demo, try a softer approach and give them space to breathe. No need to harass them, no need to give up. Just create a softer flow of messages based on marketing content they may find interesting, and leave the hardcore sales on the side.
Don’t leave their mind with marketing content
Whether you signed your clients or not, you want to keep in touch with them continuously to make sure that they’ll remember you all the time. And there’s only one way leading to your leads’ engagement: content marketing. At the end of the day, marketing and sales are two sides of the same sword. By shaping your content, you can create additional value for your leads, incentivize them to convert (or upgrade their package), and most importantly, learn about their preferences to nail your sales process. To do so, you can use a variety of tools. Each of them serves a different purpose:
- Email marketing: A prospect has left you their email address. The least you can do is send a welcome email - you’re not a savage. Then, create an automation flow of emails while each of them tackles a different content angle. From industry research to fun facts, users’ testimonials, company milestones, product releases, webinars, case studies, and blog articles, the content you can create is endless. Once you’ll collect your stats (open rate, click rate, and all the infamous metrics), you’ll be more equipped to optimize your content strategy.
- Social media: Every business needs a social presence. It allows to communicate with the prospect directly, to amplify the company’s voice, and to reach potential leads with a wide variety of items. Each social network enables you to try a different approach and to learn about your community in a “naturally” segmented way based on behavior. No need to explain why LinkedIn users have different content expectations than Instagram users. The most beautiful part? You’ll gather tons of insights that will benefit you later on.
- Blog: Your blog is your content bank. Writing good content on topics that are interesting to your audience is a win-win-win for your business. You can educate your community by sharing valuable information, position yourself as an authority in your field, and most importantly, bring sh*t loads of traffic to your website.
Of course, there are many other marketing tools at your disposal such as social promotion, ebooks, white papers, events, and more, but the points above are a solid start - and we promise to address everything in the upcoming articles. Word.
Keep your trials short and your plans long
When it comes to sales, the length does matter. Intuitively, it might sound logical that the more time people have to test a product, the better they get used to it and willing to pay for it. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In only three days, most potential users can understand if the product fits their needs and if the usability is good enough. More than that, the sense of urgency of having 14 days only to understand the product or software will incentivize them to try it more intensively. Of course, some companies will opt for a freemium model with limited features in the free version, and paid plans for customers seeking more advanced functionalities. It really depends on the nature of the software and the maturity of the company. That said, most software companies do offer a free 14 days to their customers - it’s considered a best practice, but your call dude.
On the other hand, when it comes to billing, you should try to sell yearly plans - duh. It doesn’t have to be the only option: you can sell monthly plans at a more expensive price (but make sure the yearly prices are divided by 12 so people see the “benefit” of buying a yearly plan over a monthly one). The logic behind that is super simple. You want your customers to use your service for the longest possible time, to recover your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) as quickly as possible, and of course, to better predict your revenue. There are also many benefits of offering monthly plans - the most obvious of them being to remove adoption barriers for the customers. Once again, your call dude. You know your product, your company, and your users the best, so trust your guts.
*If you got the pun, we love you.