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How to Improve at SaaS Sales in Eight Steps

How-to-Improve-at-SaaS-Sales-in-Eight-Steps

The SaaS industry proliferated throughout the years, and will only grow more with a predicted global revenue of $113.1 billion by 2021. TechCrunch even paralleled the growth with the PC, smartphone, and search engine revolutions.

In other words, the opportunities are massive, and this is the right time to seize the opportunity and grow your SaaS business. However, you’re not alone in the marketplace. More possibilities mean that more competitors are after the same target users.

If you want to improve at SaaS sales, you will need to have a unique value proposition and apply the best strategies to grow your customer base. After all, what’s the point of selling software if you don’t make money to grow your business even further?

For that reason, we’ve decided to underline the crucial eight steps that can help you substantially boost SaaS sales.

1. Reduce Churn the Right Way

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One of the crucial metrics that you need to track as a SaaS company is churn rate. It expresses the percentage of customers that decided to leave your product during a specific period.

Churned Customers / Total Customers

A reduced churn rate shows that your product is really valuable and that the lifetime value (LTV) is high as well. When discussing sales performance, you should not approach churn lightly and measure it for the time that suits you the best.

Churn is a major challenge that SaaS companies face, and to address it, you need to benchmark what the best rate for your business would be and implement the necessary tactics to attain it.

Work on Retention

The primary factor that can help you counter churn is to develop a methodical and effective customer retention strategy. Of course, you need a steady stream of new customers as well, but your current ones must be pleased by the product as well. Retaining your customers is the key to growing a prosperous SaaS business. So, what are some realistic tactics that you can use to improve customer retention?

Start by aligning your team towards retention. The sales team is on the hunt for new customers, marketers qualify leads, and developers are always busy on improving the product features. Each team has different focus points, but one thing that should be the focal point of everybody is customer retention.

Afterward, focus your attention on engaging the users. Emphasize the benefits of your products to your current customers, instead of only trying to acquire new customers. Send them messages, invite them to test features, and offer help when they’re stuck with a specific business problem that your product can solve.

Don’t forget to communicate with customers on every channel they hang out on. Besides social media and email, in-app notifications, and even SMS messages can be particularly important for retaining enterprise-level clients because they drive bring immediate attention towards your message.

Request a regular feedback from your customers. Customer support reps are the best channel to receive feedback from. They can help you grasp the end-user needs better and enhance your SaaS to address those needs successfully.

Another thing to deploy when working on increasing retention is predictive analytics. They identify when there’s a risk of losing a customer. When the analytics software warns you about the risk, you need to immediately reach out and try to keep the customers that want to cancel.

Analytics should also help you assess if there are any particular features of your SaaS product that push customers away, which is also excellent feedback to help you enhance those features.

Whatever you do, make sure to take proactive action. Continue to investigate where the users are having problems, and how many tickets they’ve sent for a recurring issue. For each of the tickets, see where you can prevent the issue from happening again in the future or find opportunities where you can address problems much faster.

2. Boost the Average Revenue per User

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One of the best techniques to improve the revenue from your SaaS sales is to boost the Average Revenue per User (ARPU). It’s a metric that helps you measure the average revenue that each of your SaaS users generates for a certain period. You can calculate it by using the following formula:

ARPU = Monthly Recurring Revenue / Number of users

The following methods will help you boost ARPU and reduce churn in the process:

Boost-the-average-revenue-per-user

Grow Your Product

As a SaaS company, you should always seek to improve the product’s potential and growth. Every improvement can increase the value of your product, which automatically translates into an enhanced ARPU for your SaaS business.

Work on Your Pricing

Clearly, by increasing your prices, the ARPU will rise as well. However, when increasing rates, you need to back that up with an enhanced product and with a strategy in mind. You need to be transparent with your customers and tell them the reasons behind the decision to increase.

Upsell and Cross-Sell

Another way to increase the ARPU for your SaaS business is to upsell and cross-sell to your existing customers.

Each user might want to use the product in various ways. Some will need only the essential functions, while others will need the entire package of features available to them, and they will always be hyped when you offer them an upgrade.

Customers that already trust the product and your brand will be more willing to upgrade to the new premium features than brand new users.

3. Increase Sign-Up Rates

Increasing sign-ups is perhaps the simplest step to improve SaaS sales. Needless to say, you need to continuously market your landing pages, but is that the only thing that will guarantee a sign-up?

Certainly not. Nobody will sign up for one of your packages if you haven’t optimized the sign-up process properly. Here’s what you can do to optimize the sign-up process and urge potential customers to examine what you offer.

Have a Clear Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

The value proposition lays down what prospects will gain by using your SaaS. It must be unequivocal, and prospects must realize what you offer and how you will resolve their problem from reading the UVP alone.

mint UVP

Image Source: Mint

Put Customer Reviews to Work

A genuine and positive customer testimonial is perfect for convincing new website visitors that consider trying out your SaaS product. Research shows that 90% of users’ purchasing decisions were influenced by reading positive product reviews.

pipedrive testimonials

Image Source: Pipedrive

If you think that the current customer testimonials are not good enough, send an email to your customers and ask them for their feedback so far. Gather the best reviews and choose which ones will be displayed on your site. Don’t forget to address negative reviews and examine if something went wrong with using your product. Use every type of feedback to enhance your product.

Explain How the Product Works

Walk the potential customers through the product features, how they can use them, and the benefits of using the product. Don’t forget to showcase screenshots or videos as a preview for the SaaS features.

crazy egg screenshot

Image Source: CrazyEgg

The above tips to boost sign-ups are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving sales and conversions. But, they’re an excellent starting point to help you improve your conversion rate.

4. Invest in PPC Marketing

PPC can play a significant role in your SaaS sales growth. If done right, it’s one of the most potent steps to increase your revenue. In that regard, the following are some of the best practices that help us achieve consistent sales growth through search engines.

Target TOF (Top-of-The-Funnel) Leads

When targeting top-of-the-funnel (TOF) leads, it’s all about interacting with users based on search interests and browsing history. Let’s take the following keywords as an example:

how to choose a crm

Right now, “How to Choose CRM” shows 50 average monthly searches. The competition is low, with a proposed bid of just $29.26 per click.

In contrast, “CRM Software” shows 27,000 average monthly searches. But, the competition is much higher, and the suggested bid for a click is $40.09 at the time of writing.

crm software

Clearly, you have a better shot with the long-tail keyword to capture at least fifty new customers. If you be inventive with your ad copy, you will be able to bring even more clicks to your landing page.

Build Trust

Picture this – you’re walking into a smartphone store, and someone immediately shoves the contract in your face without even asking. Perhaps you need to test a device, or learn more about a particular brand, right?

The same applies to SaaS sales. You need to nurture the relationship with your leads before placing a PPC advertisement. The UVP needs to be tailored for the ad, and for the right moment when you place the ad.

To build trust, you need to educate your leads, work on your brand identity, and only after you’ve seen results from that, push prospects to buy via PPC ad.

When you demonstrate your expertise through your content, you can create remarketing campaigns on search engines, social media, and YouTube. Just stay patient and don’t deter leads by offering them the product too fast with your ads.

Be Competitive

Bidding on competitive search terms is an excellent way to collect new leads and customers for your SaaS product. If users are interested in your competitors, they already know what type of software they need. They’re already prepared to buy, which means that you should only be at the right place with your ad when they search.

hubspot competitive keyword bidding

Optimize Your Landing Pages

With high CPCs and intense competition in PPC marketing, your landing pages will be the key to sales success. Even the slightest change can either make or break your performance.

Teambit Landing page

Image Source: Teambit

Sending prospects to a landing page that is not optimized for conversions is a literal waste of money and nothing more. The following are some of the best ways to improve your SaaS landing pages:

  • Offer Above the Fold: According to a Nielsen Norman Group study, 80% of landing page visitors won’t scroll down to learn more about your offer. That indicates that you need to ensure that the value proposition is always stated above the fold first.
  • Be Consistent: People that land on your page will expect exactly what you’ve promised them with your ad. If something is not consistent with the ad, you can bet that the visitors will exit the page immediately. Don’t allow that to happen!
  • Be Visual: We process visual information faster than text. On your landing page, the hero section should include an immediate visual that tells prospects what the product is about. Make a positive and lasting impression with your visual content.
  • Include Social Proof: Adding genuine ratings, customer testimonials, and high-tier clients that you’ve worked with will increase trust, and people will be more inclined to purchase your product.
  • Talk Benefits: Don’t speak only about the product features on your landing pages. Instead, show prospects what benefits they’ll gain by using the product.
  • Be Clear: Don’t write an essay when discussing benefits and features on your landing page. You have only a few seconds to gain the users’ attention, so you need to make sure that everything is crystal clear on your page.
  • Remove Navigation: A landing page is not your homepage. Keep it uncluttered by removing all types of navigation that can redirect the users away from your offer.

5. Interact on Social Media

You can create a distinctive SaaS product, but how about your social media strategy? How can you distinguish your marketing that much, so you can regularly interact with prospects and gain more customers as a result?

The best social media strategies for SaaS companies:

  • Boost Credibility: Through social media, you can reveal more about your company, the team, the culture, and the causes that your business cares about.
  • Build a Community: Social media is all about engaging with the target audience and igniting conversations.
  • Retain and Captivate: By sharing product tips and tricks, as well as case studies and other educational content on social media, you’ll get to establish your product with your customer base and attract new prospects as a result.

Let’s analyze how HubSpot, inbound marketing giant dominates on social media channels.

HubSpot

Image Source: HubSpot

One typical day of Twitter with the brand consists of the following:

  • Product Information

  • Engaging Questions

  • Industry Information

  • Inspiring Quotes

  • Videos

On their LinkedIn page, they use similar content as on Twitter, but adjusted for the LinkedIn audience, and posting it only a few times per week:

  • Sales Tips

  • Marketing Advice

  • User Insights

On Instagram, HubSpot usually posts content once per day, using an assortment of images, graphics, and videos to engage the audience:

  • Inspirational Messages

  • Videos

  • Funny Content

  • Product Feature Promotion

6. Invest in Credibility

In software development, credibility is everything. Prospects are aware that there’s a product that can solve their problems. So, the only thing that comes to their mind is whether you are capable of fulfilling their expectations.

The following are some of the best tactics to help you achieve credibility in the marketplace as a SaaS company:

Be Seal-Approved: According to the U.S Department of Commerce, half of the American Internet users were discouraged from an online purchase because of privacy and security concerns. You can quickly eliminate these fears on your website by including trusted seals for privacy, security, and legality.

trust seals

Image Source: Salesforce

Genuine Testimonials: A real testimonial from a satisfied client can be a really potent sales weapon. By presenting the positive experiences that the customers have with your SaaS, potential users will be more convinced that your product can deliver results for them.

zendesk clients

Image Source: Zendesk

Elaborate Case Studies: A detailed case study can be even more effective than any type of testimonial. It walks the potential customers through the entire process of using the software to resolve a specific issue.

lastpass case study

Image Source: LastPass

Be Available 24/7: Featuring online support chat, telephone, and a physical location where customers can contact your team in case of issues is a good indicator that you’re a transparent company that means business.

zoom contact us

Image Source: Zoom

Showcase Awards: Put your accolades and significant awards on your homepage, to reassure potential clients that your company is recognized for its quality work and dependable to work with.

sophos awards

Image Source: Sophos

7. Keep the Free Trials Short

Product trials are frequently used for promotion and onboarding in SaaS. However, they’re not always used properly. A trial can show how valuable your product is. But, prospects can also use a one-month trial to either get what they want out of the product and leave, or get bored with the limited version and also leave. Or, a free product version might be just enough for the majority of the users.

Take Evernote as an example. If you use their basic free package and manage to get everything organized, you might not need their premium plan at all.

evernote plans

Image Source: Evernote

That is why you need to keep the free trials short and limited. If someone can’t realize the value of your product in less than a week, you either don’t know whom you’re selling to, or there’s something wrong with your product.

Also, there’s rarely a product that’s being tried for a full month. Most people take shorter product trials more seriously because, by the time a month-long trial ends, lots of them will even forget that they’ve signed up for it.

So, this prompts the question – when are longer product trials better for your SaaS sales?

There’s only one case when a more extended product trial is adequate. That is when prospects are so dependable from it, that it does not make any sense for them to quit or try another product. Take Dropbox as an example.

Once you start using it, do you really want to transfer your files to another product? Plus, if you upgrade, you get to use loads of cloud space for the entire team.

Bottom line, it really depends on your product. However, it’s always better to shorten the sales cycle and convince potential customers with a quick trial than wait for them to convert forever.

8. Optimize Your Email Marketing

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Even if prospects sign up for a trial, they might forget your SaaS if you don’t remind them via email. Email marketing is one of the best ways to convert them into customers. The following are some of the most useful tips that can help you profit from your campaigns:

Personalize

For a better response rate, you need to leave a personalized stamp on your email messages. You can either send emails from a personal address (sales personnel), or emails that don’t look like they’ve come out of a template creator tool.

Your sales emails should look more like they’ve been sent from a real person. With that, the response rate will be much higher, and the chances of getting that sale will be significantly higher.

Set the Right Triggers

The emails need to be triggered in accordance with users’ actions. If you don’t time the emails based on actions, the messages will arrive at a moment that makes no sense to prospects.

Each of the users can move through your sales funnel differently. That is why you need to segment and trigger your messages based on user behavior and send the messages when the reader is ready for them. For example, let’s say that a certain prospect hasn’t engaged with you in a while. It’s the perfect moment for a re-engagement email.

Optimize for Mobile

Look at your analytics. What ratio of your messages are opened on mobile devices? Even more, how many of those emails are entirely read on mobile?

Here are a few suggestions that can help you optimize your email messages for smartphones:

  • Keep things concise. On a smartphone, the screen property is much smaller, and users should not zoom in or wait for a media to load forever.
  • Have a clear CTA.
  • Use a one-column template.
  • Test things out — monitor how the messages render on various mobile devices and adjust accordingly.

Write a High-Converting Copy

The content in your emails is crucial for improving your SaaS sales rate. A compelling copy that speaks the target users’ language can help a lot. When writing your email marketing copy, keep in mind the following two key aspects:

Write-a-high-converting-copy

  • Stay Relevant: A relevant content will always persuade prospects. Understand their problems thoroughly and convince them that your product is the solution with your email.
  • Educate: You’re not a cliché Wall Street stockbroker. Take your time with a prospect. Provide a few educational emails first before you ask for the sale.
  • Be Concise: Nobody wants to read an essay in an email message. Keep it brief and to the point.

Wrapping Up

The competition in the SaaS industry is fierce. Things move fast, and to move things forward and scale, you need to use the steps mentioned above effectively.

We hope that the advice above will help you move the needle of your sales rate ahead and boost your revenue in the process. Consistently provide value to your leads, engage with them, and convince them to try out your software. Play for the long run. Yes, selling can be tough. But, the results are unquestionably gratifying and worthwhile.

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