Cloud-driven commerce has transformed how we use technology, and we expect it to do as much. But the SaaS-savvy customer of today does not fit into the current rigid, outdated sales process. SaaS companies must adapt and develop a future-proof sales model that delivers answers and solutions to what customers are looking to buy.
Evan Powell, Co-founder at Reprise, and Rudina Seseri, Founder and Managing Partner at Glasswing Ventures, decode how to build a high-converting sales team that syncs with modern buyer needs.
Past, present, and future
A few years ago, there was a tried and tested route where sales reps guided customers to figure out what they needed. Today, your prospective customer spends over 50% of their time on independent research. This change in buyer behavior affects everything from how they expect their needs to be met and their spending habits, making a transformation of the sales process imminent.
“In the last three years, customers have significantly increased their SaaS purchases. Customers are more sophisticated and know how to purchase.” – Rudina Seseri
While customers are savvier than ever, the dated buying process has remained complex and difficult. The companies that will succeed in connecting with buyers are the ones that are architecting their products around the way buyers want to buy. Winning over buyers will become easier if you stop selling to them and, instead, enable them to buy your product.
Building teams equipped to meet the needs of the current and upcoming market will require a major strategic shift focusing on three main areas.
- Product & Engineering
Marketing from the get-go
Think of your website as your one-minute elevator pitch. A customer’s first interaction with your product tells them exactly how you solve their problems and whether they will enjoy working with you. Making the right first impression is key to keeping your customers interested in your offer.
“In the first 15 seconds on your website, I want to know if your product will solve my problem.” – Evan Powell
Remember that your average buyer has most likely bought SaaS before. They’ve dealt with buyer remorse and broken promises. This is why interactive experiences on your websites are crucial. In-depth articles on how your product solves various problems and allowing your marketing toolkit to be product-led shows the customer they are being taken seriously.
Use product-led principles in your sales
We don’t only mean offering a free trial when discussing product-led models. Even if you aren’t offering a free trial, buyers still want to experience your product. Why not give it to them?
Kill the discovery call
There are several problems with discovery calls. Only a few people have the time and patience to sit through filling out a form and then a long-winded call that discusses everything about the product.
Next, there is a lack of trust. Buyers don’t trust you to meet with decision-makers directly. They’ve been burned too often. They trust their experience with your product more than any material you can send them.
Make sales a precision exercise
Stop waiting for customers to give you the information you need. Instead, do a little digging. Look at what they are complaining about or posting on social media. Listen to what they’re asking for help with in their calls.
It’s tempting to think about users engaging with your product to get something out of it. It might surprise you to find out how they actually feel. What is their first impression? Does it excite them? Are they motivated to try/buy it?
The actual data speaks volumes. Incorporate features that track, measure, and give you insights into how users work with your product. It’s powerful to know what your product features do for customers already using your product.
Quit trying to innovate in isolation. Instead, create a feedback loop to determine how your products work for them. For example, listen to sales calls to figure out how people are talking about their problems to determine if your features provide obvious/easy-to-see solutions.
Empower your champions
How do you get in the room with the real decision-makers? Give the people you are talking to targeted materials as if you were pitching to the decision-making executives yourself.
Interactivity is key. The proper demos for issues your customers face will get their attention. Highlight value propositions that you know will matter to them. Help their representatives advocate better for you by making the ROI clear.
This is where ‘discovery through demo’ comes in. Give customers what they came for and get the information you can use. Do your pre-call homework, then show them a piece of the product that might be of value to them. Tapping into their needs will empower them to respond more favorably.
Build your sales pitch into your product and engineering
A lot goes on behind the scenes of a product. There are those who dream and innovate and those who take it to customers. What’s needed is a paradigm shift in the sales process. The way a product is sold must now be built into the product itself.
Sales teams need more than lists of features and empty promises. Switch things up by thinking of sales as a core piece of your product design.
“Product interaction doesn’t start once the customer has bought your product. It starts from the first moment they see the product, whether through your website, a demo, or elsewhere. That’s where your design process begins.” – Rudina Seseri
- Make marketing more effective by applying buyer insights earlier.
- Improve your sales pitch by tailoring your solutions to what customers are looking for in real time.
- Customers today are high-information buyers, and we need to interact with them accordingly.
- Think about how you would approach a SaaS purchase today and tune in carefully to answer questions even before they are asked.