What is SaaS Sales? What you need to know
Selling the use of web-based software to other companies comes under the term SaaS (or Software as a Service) Sales.
The companies paying to access the software benefit from technological capabilities that would otherwise be beyond their reach.
It also means they don’t have to sustain the expense of building and maintaining any infrastructure. Neither do they have to create an internal team of experts possessing the required expertise to smoothly operate everything.
If you’re in the business of supplying Software as a Service, then all these responsibilities are yours.
Thankfully, it can be highly profitable as long as your company also possesses the expertise to efficiently sell the benefits of your product.
And that’s the responsibility of SaaS Sales.
As in any business, a SaaS company can only grow through acquiring new clients.
Yet it must also retain current users, while creating extra business through processes such as upselling.
The many benefits and features of the software capabilities you’re offering must be clearly communicated to your clients, whether potential or current.
SaaS Salespeople, then, need to be highly knowledgeable of their subject matter. They must be so well-versed in how the software works that they can answer any queries put forward by the prospect during presentations.
They need, too, to understand the requirements of the clients they’re hoping to persuade to come onboard.
Each presentation must be tailored to meet the needs of each prospect. It must answer every question the client may have about the service and the degree of attention they can expect to receive.
Sometimes a SaaS Salesperson just has to admit they don’t know enough about the complexities of their product and ask more-knowledgeable developers or engineers to attend the meeting.
The main thing is putting across the many benefits of Software as a Service and closing the sale.
Software as a Service benefits
As clients are accessing the software’s capabilities online, they not only benefit from lower entry costs but also profit from easier upgrades, smoother customisations, and better, more seamless integrations.
All provided and regularly serviced, naturally, by the highly experienced and skilful team brought together by the SaaS company.
Not surprisingly, SaaS is a billion-dollar industry – and it’s increasing in size ever year.
Remember the PC market in 1983?
The search market in 1998?
Or the smartphone market in 2003?
Well Software as a Service can be favourably compared to them all.
Quite obviously, there’s no better time than now to be in SaaS.
Especially if you know how to sell SaaS.
The importance of SaaS Sales
No matter how good a SaaS product is, no one’s going to buy into it unless they know about it.
Even before a SaaS product is launched, a viable approach to marketing and selling should already be formulated and implemented.
This includes knowing and defining the marketing and sales approaches that will drive revenue.
It also includes identifying all possible prospects, then forming a strategy catered to this well-targeted audience.
Moreover, what are the most efficient means of interacting with those potential clients?
And what do those potential clients want to hear about the service that will persuade them to close the deal?
This could well depend on the SaaS Sales model adopted.
The Transactional SaaS Sales model
The most common and most scalable of SaaS Sales models is Transactional Selling.
Aimed at small and medium businesses, the software service costs are generally high, meaning that the purchaser expects a personalised relationship.
The software must be customisable to fulfil individual needs, performing a wide variety of possible uses.
In this model, contracts generally range quite widely in price. A well trained and knowledgeable SaaS Sales team is a necessity.
They’re also typically empowered to provide discounts and share tiered pricing models.
Generally, a higher Average Selling Price (ASP) means your prospect will expect transparent and frequent invoicing and a signed contract, inclusive of customer service.
If the ASP is low, it’s unlikely that a full SaaS Sales team is either required or affordable.
This brings us to the second SaaS Sales model, Customer Self-service.
The Customer Self-service SaaS Sales model
Customer Self-service involves selling lower-priced SaaS at high volume.
As it can’t support a full sales team, customer service isn’t comprehensive. Rather, websites encourage signing up online, targeting individuals or small teams.
The lower fees invariably lead to faster sales cycles. There are very few stages lying between first contact with the prospect and the closing of the sale.
As common strategies for attracting customers often include various offers, however, promotions including something like a 30-day free trial will typically lengthen the sales cycle quite considerably.
The Enterprise SaaS Sales model
The third model is Enterprise Sales.
This is complex or niche SaaS software sold at low volume and a high price.
Benefiting larger companies or corporations with the budget to support the high cost of these solutions, the Enterprise Sales model increases the number of stakeholders needed to sign off on the deal.
This can lengthen the sales cycle process by weeks or even months. It’s a deal that’s also usually accompanied with more legal and technical red tape.
It’s therefore essential to make sure executives of a high enough standing attend any sales presentation being made. They’ll need to have the authority and capability to sell the idea of the service being provided to any number of colleagues throughout their organisation.
As the SaaS solutions on offer are often full-scale, highly specialised, and cutting-edge technologies, the SaaS Salespeople must possess the ability to work closely with developers, forming a sure understanding of the innovations involved.
Enterprise SaaS Salespeople will similarly be expected to spend a great deal of time working closely with potential clients, answering queries and demonstrating the software in action.
The more refreshingly innovative the SaaS solution is, the more you must prepare for a longer sales cycle.
New markets must be educated and persuaded. That means more time is spent communicating the advantages and value to potential clients.
If sales cycles promise to be extended periods, that time must be accounted for when setting out any budgets.
A SaaS Salesperson can’t be expected to achieve unrealistic goals.
The future of SaaS technology
Software as a Service is already a rapidly growing innovative technology sector.
To ensure your own success in the business, however, you need to do more than develop an advantageous technical offering.
You need to:
Define your price point.
Define your clients.
Define how you will achieve sales.
Define the simplest way of extending your business reach.
In other words, you need to brainstorm the fees to be charged, the market you’re aiming for, and the sales strategies that will ensure both a successful launch and future.