Dear SaaStr: What Does A Salesperson Need To Do To “Earn Your Business”?

Solve my problem Just truly solve my problem.

The beauty to sales in SaaS is as sales professionals, for the most part, you aren’t selling a commodity or a fungible product. You can’t just go down the street, or to another website, to get a better deal on the Ford F-150. Yes, there sometimes is a bit of negotiation on price, but even that is usually within a standard range of discounting.  And yes, there is competition, but even there, the competition isn’t identical.  Every vendor usually is better than another in some way at least.

Sales in SaaS, done well and done right, is about adding true value by solving a customer / prospect’s important problem.  Often, a Top 3 Problem.

This is why the best sales execs have real relationships with their customers.  It’s not because they golf, or are so nice.  It’s because a prospect had a Big Problem, a budgeted problem — and the sales exec understood the problem, and marshaled the resources one way or another to solve them.

If a prospect has decided to talk to sales in SaaS, they are at least interested in having their problem solved.  They aren’t wasting their time. What they want to know is:

  • Are you the right vendor to solve my problem? Explain to me why for real, not with competitor bashing or over-simplifications.  Way too many SDRs and even AEs don’t understand the product well enough to tell me how the product can solve a big problem for me.
  • How exactly will you solve it, for real? Let me explain my specific challenges and explain to me how you specifically solve my problems.
  • Can I try before I buy? Can I make a smaller commitment before a larger one? How do I know I’m not getting ripped off?
  • Who else like me is also your customer? And how exactly do they use it?  Knowing this quickly and accurately really helps.

Answering these questions correctly will earn my, and most buyer’s business, in SaaS.

Put differently, usually, you don’t really need to “sell me this pen” or go through similar fungible product sales exercises, at least not exactly. SaaS sales is usually “show me how this pen will solve my problem.”


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