In many ways, our sales skills have arguable atrophied the past few years. In the peak Go Go Days of 2021, sales wasn’t exactly easy, but it was often closer to order-taking than we’ve seen in a generation. Budgets rapidly inflated, and many inbounds were ready to buy before the first call.
Fast forward to the last 12-18 months, and at least for some, sales has gotten so much harder that we’ve lost a bit of our way, from overdiscounting (bad) to threatening prospects (very bad) to threatening existing customers to upsell (worst of all). Have we lost the picture? Is sales still first and foremost, the guide and ally of the customer in SaaS?
With that, it seemed time to dust off our Top 10 Simple Tips to Close More Customers. They work especially well now.
Dear SaaStr: How can I boost my sales if I am in B2B sales?
My top tips for AEs:
- Grab your CEO and bring her into bigger deals. Ask your CEO to join you on a few sales calls a month. Deals will close at a higher rate if the CEO joins. Customers love to talk to the CEO. Even the CEO of a 4 person startup. In tougher times, CEOs often sort of hide from tough news, as do we all. Don’t let them!
- Slow it down and hyper-personalize your emails and communication. Don’t misuse tools like Mixmax and Salesloft and Outreach. Slow down, research the customer, get to know their needs, and who they are. Tell them how your product truly will solve their problem. Watch your hit rate go up. Even today, at least 95% of the outbound emails I get aren’t even remotely personalized. That just doesn’t work anymore. And personalization isn’t, “Hey, I see we both grew up near each other!” No. Personalization is, “Let me tell you how one of your top competitors double sales using our app in just 30 days …” or “I see you’re mobile app can’t fully process payments in real time. Here’s how two large similar customers use us to solve just that problem” or
- Pitch >all< the stakeholders. Force yourself to. Take the time to do a personalized demo and pitch for everyone that might use your product. Make the time. Be proactive. Ask who else would benefit from a demo, or a review of the app. And prepare a personalized demo and slides for them. Yes, it may take 5 demos to close a tiny deal. Learn to do this, though, and you will become a better rep. Even today, when budgets usually have to go through the CFO and 3-4 stakeholders often have to sign off on any given deal … I still see most AEs treat every deal as single-threaded. No. Force yourself (or your sales team) to identify 3 stakeholders for each deal, and log them in your CRM.
- Start a weekly webinar for your (or ideally, all) prospects. If the company isn’t doing one, you just do it youself as an AE. Invite all your prospects each week. This is a great way for them to continue to engage, even if they don’t want to do a traditional sales call this week. More here: Webinars Almost Always Work | SaaStr
- Listen to each other’s calls. Get Gong or Salesloft or whatever and listen to the calls of the top closers.
- Deeply, truly understand the product. Know every feature, every use case. That’s who customers really want to talk to. And why they sometimes buy from one vendor over another. Study up here. Sales reps that know the product cold win in this current world.
- Work harder. This isn’t as trite as it sounds. Are you really working as efficiently as you can? As hard as you can? Are you wasting a lot of time? The best reps really do get more done with each hour.
- Treat each prospect like a king or queen. Especially the smaller ones. Don’t talk down to smaller customers or deals. Every customer cares about their business, small or large. Treat even the smallest customers with the same respect as the big ones, and watch your close rates go way, way up here.
- Always add value with each email, call, Zoom, etc. Are you sure that email you are about to send adds new value? Make every interaction count. Make sure each one adds value. If it doesn’t, slow it down and figure out how to add value.
- Be hyper-responsive. No one wants to wait 24 hours for a sales rep to call them back. No one. Email or call them back within 90 seconds. Watch your close rates go up. Especially, when the competition doesn’t. Talking to a rep within minutes of clicking “Contact Me” is magical. Especially if they really understand the product and the problem.
- Help your customers more after the deal closes. You’ll be tempted to move on to the next deal. But if you keep helping after, that dramatically increases the odds they refer you to other potential customers.
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