5 pieces of wisdom that will change the way you sell your SaaS

by Ramin Assemi

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Some people will tell you the secret to driving SaaS sales is a great onboarding experience.

Others might tell you that it’s all about customer success.

Are they right?

Well … yes and no.

These are just two pieces of the puzzle.

Here’s the thing: SaaS sales is complex. While both customer success and onboarding matter, there are other things that equally influence SaaS sales.

You’re probably wondering, “Ok, well what are they?”

We’re going to make it easy for you. We’ve gathered five insights from five of the best sales and SaaS experts to help you drive sales for your SaaS product.

Let’s get to it!

1. Stop rewarding your sales team for having leads in the pipeline

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One of the most heavily discussed topics in sales is the number of prospects and leads in a company's pipeline. While a thriving pipeline can be beneficial to acquiring new customers, many sales managers and sales execs place too much emphasis on the pipeline as a metric.

Jason Lemkin, founder of SaaStr and Adobe Echosign (check out what his co-founder Jeff Zwelling said about our sales software), points to a shift in thinking as one of the key tactics that his VP of Sales, Brendon Cassidy, used on the journey to $100K MRR. Jason recalls,

“He ended pipeline as a metric — and any real credit for it. Pipeline is an important sales tool. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t close it. Brendon ended endless charts and discussions of pipeline. We discussed actual deals, that could close. But Pipeline as a metric to aspire to, died on Day 1.”

In the early days of a SaaS product, you need to focus on driving real results. Jason explains that “Pipeline for This Month is useful, but still dependent on how various reps get probability right.”

The key takeaway here is that you need to focus on increasing your revenue per lead and the rate in which those leads are closing. Focusing on anything else can lead to vanity metrics.

2. Don't say yes to everything (even for money)

What’s the Profitable Distraction Trap? It’s when you have a product that you’ve been trying to sell for months, but are distracted by a new one-off opportunity like creating a custom app for one of your prospective customers.

The challenge with saying “yes” to these opportunities is their potential long-term impact. Consequences range from your resources and focus being shifted elsewhere to missing out on a learning exercise to figure out why your product doesn’t fit their needs.

As Yoav Schwartz, the founder and CEO of Uberflip, explains it:

When you add a feature, you have to consider how it impacts every other portion of your offering. So inevitably, adding a seemingly small feature takes longer for you than it would for a custom shop starting from scratch. More importantly, when you’re done developing this feature, you have to support it as it’s now part of your offering. Was that feature really serving the greater good, or does it have a whole bunch of bells and whistles only valuable to that one customer that paid you?

If a feature requests aligns with your roadmap, great! It might just be a matter of moving ahead of schedule. However, if a feature doesn't align with your overall vision, prioritize your product’s future over a seemingly easy win in the present.

3. Price point influences the value you offer

Wiley Cerilli, Venture Partner at First Round and former co-founder and CEO of SinglePlatform, believes that price is more important than most people think.

Cerilli gives the following advice: “They will believe your product has whatever amount of value you tell them. If you charge $20, people will think, ‘Oh, it’s only worth that? I don’t want to spend time on something that’s only giving me $20 worth of value…'"

To test the impact of pricing, Cerilli would run A/B tests where he would charge one group more than the other to see how it influenced engagement. He found that the more people paid, the more likely they were to log in and use the system. From there, he’d fix the price with a discount and the customers would feel like they were getting a deal.

Derek Halpern, investor and founder of Social Triggers also understands the importance of pricing:

When people pay for something, it gives those people a sense of accomplishment, pride, and ownership, meaning they’ll value the goods or services more and complain less. Who doesn’t want satisfied customers who don’t complain? Exactly.

Don’t be afraid to charge what your product is worth. You'll know if your SaaS product is too cheap if you never lose customers because of pricing.

4. Create a sales presentation focused on customer success

When you love the product you’re selling, it’s easy to fall in love with the different features. It’s more common with founders, but there’s still a handful of salespeople who focus on features more than they focus on results.

Your customers want to know how your product can help them, not how many features it has.

Share success stories from customers who have been able to achieve goals similar to your prospects’ goals and it will increase your conversion rates.

To successfully share these stories, follow the “situation, solution, success” formula recommended by executive speech coach and President of FrippVT, Patricia Fripp:

  • Tell a story about a satisfied client using the client’s own words to illustrate the situation. Imagine one of your clients asking for your help; how would they articulate their challenge or their problem?
  • The solution can be delivered in your words. For example, “This is what we did to help Client X. We did this, this, this, this.”
  • The success – the happily ever after – has to be in the client’s words. This is because only your client’s words can adequately express how wonderful your product / service / solution is.

Using this framework will turn your customer success stories into great, compelling stories—stories that drive customers to buy.

5. Your sales team needs to be consistent

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Whether it’s sunny, wintry, the end of year, or 6 AM in the morning—your sales team needs to consistently deliver results. The best sales people put in the effort, day after day after day.

Too many sales professionals and entrepreneurs are falling into the trap of believing that you can work smart, rather than work hard. That’s BS.

In SaaS sales, you need to be willing and committed to doing both. Work smart by ensuring you have all the tools you need to optimize your sales funnel but work hard to ensure that those leads and prospects feel as if you’re focused on their problems.

Pick up the phone. Send the email. Always be shipping.

Learning never stops

If you want to succeed in SaaS sales, you need to consistently invest in your own development and personal growth. You need to stay on top of the technology that can give you an upper hand and study the strategies that will help you close deals faster.

We’ve already covered some of the best insights for selling SaaS. In our free sales success email course, we deliver even more insights for those looking to master their craft.

This course covers how to give a demo that actually sells along with seven deadly sales sins that startups often commit. Be sure to check it out—you’ll be glad you did!

If you have any questions about how you can use these suggestions in your company, leave a comment below, and we’ll try to help you out.