There is no better time than now to sell SaaS. The market is looking promising with an estimated annual growth rate of 18%. 99% of businesses use at least one SaaS solution, with about 7 in 10 enterprises having ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ users. And companies are allocating more budget for SaaS services.
Industry-specific SaaS providers in particular are being enriched with the ability to adapt faster to the needs of the focal market and their clients. Yet the application of software sales also comes with the challenge ahead, for customers to resist the changes that come with seemingly unattainable quotas and technological advances. This article will discuss some of the challenges and opportunities of selling industry-specific SaaS.
A small lead pool
Industry-specific SaaS providers focus on solving niche enterprise-specific problems. At times, it may even seem that you have run out of lead. What happens when you convert your lead pool into a customer?
Opportunity: First, work to scale with your customers – grow as your customers’ business grows. One of the top priorities of niche providers is to increase the success of their customers. Second, consider extending to similar niches where your SaaS tools are also relevant. Don’t be afraid to enter the small market in the same vein as your current customers.
Take inspiration from these winning SaaS marketing examples from well-known brands in the industry.
The wrong goal is to reach the audience
The stagnant increase may be an indication of the wrong target audience advertising. Re-analyzing your target details can help you narrow down your target market. As much as possible, specify more. For example, you may soon realize that you are selling to a complete purchasing committee with multiple stakeholders managing different divisions of the company.
Opportunity: Focus on one-on-one conversations with your ideal customers. Listening to them can give you more information about your target customer profile. Learn how they use your SaaS tool. Identify the unique needs and challenges of different departments within the company. Find out how your software can provide solutions that will meet these unique challenges. In the process, you can better describe your buyer’s personality. Finally, learn to identify which decision makers in that purchasing committee have more influence than others.
Getting false hope from incompetent leadership
SaaS agents who educate their clients are more successful than those who aggressively try to close a deal. However, they will not fall into the trap of expecting to be more qualified when they ask for a free trial or a demo than those who do not.
Opportunity: Increase your lead scoring or lead qualification process. You can save money, time and energy otherwise used in low-quality leads. Questionnaires and checklists can help you qualify. Improve your lead scoring model to filter demo users who are not planning to convert.
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It is difficult to explain your solution to the potential of sales representatives
Niche industries can be complex – managing more employees, working across multiple time zones, locations and the like. Thus, industry-specific SaaS solutions can also be complex. These tools fully support a wide range of enterprise users, categories and goals. Integration with other enterprise applications is also required. In addition, there may be no free version as the product is more complex.
In addition, training SaaS sales team who have a deep understanding of the product can be a challenge. Failure to provide critical information about SaaS solutions can make it more difficult for your customers to understand the value of your product. Unqualified salespeople can drive away qualified leads.
Opportunity: Start with a basic knowledge of SaaS tools and invest in training your sales rep. Also, teach them how to get any additional information they may need along the way. Sales teams need to be proficient in answering questions, managing demos tailored to your clients’ needs, talking to different decision makers, educating and discussing with prospects. Also, encourage and retain trained sales representatives to avoid employee turnover costs.
Understanding longer sales cycles
Patience and exceptional follow-ups are the secret to prosperity in an unusual sales cycle at SaaS. In particular, SaaS providers who have recently launched their sales programs may lack precise information on how long it will take to close a contract. This can lead to unrealistic expectations, unnecessary pressure and unmet quotas. Another problem is staff turnover which replaces team members who leave the company.
SaaS sales will not occur in a single transaction. It may take weeks or months for the purchasing committee to approve the purchase. The complexity and price of SaaS tools can further prolong the sales cycle. In contrast, less complex and less expensive solutions will sell faster.
Opportunity: Since monthly and quarterly quotas are difficult to predict and manage overlapping sales cycles, consider benchmarking to improve your expectations. Things to consider include pricing, product complexity, your particular industry and the needs of your customers. It may take a while to understand the buyer process which you can use to set more realistic sales goals.
The lead is lost in the long sales cycle
As it may take longer for multiple decision makers to approve a purchase, leads may be lost in the coming weeks, months, or years. The problem is not having a limited pool but a weak lead follow-up. Ignoring leads can be tempting when they are not ready to make a purchase decision.
Opportunity: Encourage your sales team to lead their buyers through every step of the way until they are ready to take that important step. Consistency is key to the SaaS industry’s long sales cycle. Avoid ignoring lead by having a system of follow-up leads over time. Help them along the sales pipeline by addressing concerns, educating and adding value.
Lack of mandatory content for lead conversion
Niche-specific SaaS buyers are willing to be educated. They want to read case studies, white papers, original research and blog posts. How they use videos and content that solves their questions. Moreover, they will have different concerns at each stage of the buyer’s journey. It’s important not to overwhelm them with information they don’t need at first, but later they may want to know because they understand more about your proposed solution and the value it offers.
Opportunity: Engaging with your prospects makes it easier for your sales team to hit their quotas. But first, you need a content library that will add value to your customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Map the relevant content to the awareness stage, then to the consideration and finally to the decision stage. Having the right content and timely delivery of this information to the right prospects will better prepare your buyers to be sales-ready.
Dealing with resistance to change
One of the reasons why enterprises take longer in the sales cycle is the fear of change. They have been using their systems for a long time and have invested time and money in them. Asking them to switch to more efficient and dynamic solutions, however, can be much more complex than asking. In addition, SaaS solutions that require companies to adapt their existing vendors to the new system will slowly take over for fear of damaging their relationships.
Opportunity: Communicate with primary system users who have a better understanding of the solutions that your SaaS tool offers. They can help you work better with key decision makers because they understand how much the solution will save them. Let your prospects use product trials so they can give first-hand testimonials about how your SaaS tool has made their job easier, more secure, and less expensive in the long run.
Converters are not using the system
Even if they say yes, users may not fully use the SaaS tool. Users may stop using your product without taking full advantage of the SaaS tool. This will affect your client’s reputation for retention. Find out if this situation is a hindrance for users, so they stop using it.
Opportunity: Concentrate on establishing a great user experience from scratch onboarding. Manual intervention may be missing components. Stay tuned to help them reduce the pain of getting new software. The pain of being less uncomfortable than the pain of change.
In the process, you’re helping your customers understand the product personally. Also, you can identify any complexities in your UI that need to be refined to suit your market better. Work on establishing personal relationships with customers. It can support your customers lifetime value and bring referrals. An effective strategy for retaining clients is to listen to customers and create features that meet their needs. Add customer support like live chat to enhance the overall customer experience.
Before you go
SaaS sales requires a strategic approach that should be intentional and consistent. Growth and innovation are inevitable as you overcome challenges. Lastly, keep in mind that SaaS relies on customers to constantly use and benefit from the software through multiple deals.