Rethink Commerce Blog

3 Essential Strategies For Selling A SaaS Solution

Posted on May 25th, 2015 by

Wouldn’t things would be a lot easier if your SaaS solution could sell itself? But, unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen.

In reality, no matter how great the software or service, it’s not going to sell without a sound sales strategy. And unlike other business models that may be able to get a way with something that begins and ends with acquisition, your SaaS strategy needs to take into account the entire digital commerce lifecycle. To do that you need build your sales strategy with the entirety of the lifecycle in mind.

Here are three essential tips to help you succeed. 

1. Don’t Forget About Customer Acquisition

Initially, growing your customer base is an obvious step to helping your software succeed. But once you’ve gained that initial customer base, it’s easy to focus on other aspects of generating revenue, such as cross-selling and up-selling. And while these are certainly important parts of your software’s long-term success (as we’ve discussed extensively in the past), it’s important not to lose sight of the selling basics.

As Forbes puts it, “winning enterprise SaaS companies focus their sales teams on new customer acquisition.” Because they recognize the continued importance of growing their customer base, SaaS leaders create a separate customer-success division to focus on the other aspects of selling, while customer acquisition remains exclusively in the hands of the sales team. That’s because existing customers will only be willing to engage in a certain amount of up-selling and cross-selling. For a consistent revenue stream, customer acquisition has to remain an organizational focus at all times.

2. Take Inbound Marketing Further

It’s easy to look at marketing and selling as two separate, linear functions within your SaaS organization. According to this traditional approach, marketing takes potential customers to the point where they’re ready to buy or sign-up for a trial, at which point the sales team takes over and convinces them to actually begin using your software. But as someone familiar with SaaS marketing and sales, you probably know that this traditional approach rarely works.

Instead, inbound marketing strategies like SEO, blogging, and email can help throughout the process of selling your software, from raising awareness all the way until after the sale. That’s because inbound marketing, in essence, is relationship building. Through its various strategies, you guide potential leads through the sales funnel until they’re users of your software. By the time they are customers, you’ll have established more than just a revenue source; you’ll have created brand evangelists that praise and promote your software through their own digital channels.

3. Make Customer Service an Essential Part of Your Sales Strategy

Because we started with a seemingly obvious strategy in customer acquisition, allow us to finish with a curveball. We admit that customer service is rarely thought of as an essential selling strategy. However, when implemented strategically, it can be just that. Though effective relationship building and inbound marketing have the potential to create brand evangelists, ineffective customer service can derail those efforts.

A happy customer with a routine question or issue who has to wait for an answer longer than he or she thinks necessary will think twice about responding to up-selling messages or recommending your product to other potential users. On the other hand, a trial user who is still on the fence about whether to pay for the full solution could be swayed simply by a positive customer-service experience.

That’s why you should stop treating customer service as an afterthought and begin to incorporate it into your sales strategy. In addition to new customer acquisition and inbound marketing, it’s our third essential strategy to selling your SaaS solution.

Avangate powers modern Digital Commerce, solving the complexity of online commerce, subscription billing, and global payments for Software, SaaS and Online Services companies. Backed by a proven cloud platform, unmatched expertise and a depth of digital commerce services, Avangate helps digital business leaders drive the fastest path to revenue, maximize the value of every customer, and expand global reach. Contact us for more information about how our digital commerce services can help you grow your business.

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Raj Badarinath

VP, WW Product Marketing and Alliances

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Comments (1)

  • Alex Conde says: June 1st, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    Helpful advice for SAAS and other sales challenges as well. Thanks.