Software as a Service or SaaS is a different beast compared to other technology products or services. Unlike any other service, there is an always-on connection between the providers and the customers. In addition, SaaS customers are pretty well-informed and are usually technology experts as well.
The ordinary sales approach will not work well because the information that the salesperson can provide can easily be accessed by the prospective customer. More often than not, SaaS providers take advantage of the internet to make people aware of what their offerings are. Their websites almost have everything customers may need and a good chunk of the sales process is about funneling prospective buyers while they’re already on the website, letting them find the information they need (usually takes more than one visit) and waiting for them to take action like signing up for a free trial, a free demo, or a newsletter subscription.
The problem is that with so many SaaS companies in every niche, getting attention is now very difficult. The most effective solution is data. With effective data, SaaS companies are able to:
Identify the market that needs your SaaS
One of the biggest mistakes companies commit is that they try to sell to everyone. They believe that increasing available market size also equals more customers. That is an inefficient way to do things as the company will be exhausting resources on prospects that are unlikely to sign up. This is especially true for SaaS providers because each SaaS is very niche based, and not everyone needs it.
What you should do is identify who needs your SaaS and focus on market penetration. How do you do it? Through tools that give you your needed information like market segments, pain points, customer profiles, user cases, qualification criteria, etc. Leading UCaaS provider RingCentral actually gave more focus on winning the business of enterprises for their Office and Global Office service. Now, the enterprise and mid-market segments account for over $115 million in business, which translates to 86% overall growth, as well as around 45% growth in RingCentral office sales.
SaaS providers should identify their market and focus on market penetration instead of expansion. From there, deeper data can be acquired once targeted prospective buyers enter the sales process.
Personalize your approach to prospective buyers
In his article “Innovation in e-Commerce: Building a Highly Personalized Customer Experience,” Salesforce Marketing Cloud Vice President of Predictive and Web Products, Eric Tobias said that the future of customer experience is going towards a world where ads, emails, mobile offerings, and even stores entered are personalized for each customer. While that may be far off into the future, there have already been steps taken towards it.
Instead of broad macro strategies that aim to reach as many people as possible, you should aim for market penetration by using the data you have, including customer interaction data, to personalize the approach on multiple marketing and sales channels.
Based on interaction data, conversations with customers, and observations, companies can create customer profiles with unique qualification criteria and identifiers, which can, in turn, guide their approach to website content, email, mobile offerings, and other customer touchpoints. This makes for a more personal SaaS marketing and sales strategy.
Improve customer experience
Sales and marketing can do all they can to sell your SaaS but if current customers are not happy with their experience, you will lose them. Even worse, they will talk about it as well which will hurt your reputation.
This is why you want to give users the best customer experience possible when they are using your service. And how do you give your customers the best experience? Through feedback data. Listen to your customers. Open as many feedback channels as possible like feature requests and ratings, bug reporting tool, technical and general customer support, etc. Gather data by staying connected with your users.
In addition, pull up product usage metrics to get objective insight into what aspects of your SaaS is often used, seldomly used, or are never used. With this information, you can identify where your customers are having difficulty and what areas of the product are their favorite one.
By listening to feedback and digging deeper on how your product is used, you can identify customer pain points and eliminate them. With this process, you are able to provide a continuously evolving SaaS that fits your market’s needs.
About the Author
Mark Dacanay is a Digital Marketing Professional who has been working with a B2B company offering cloud-based services for more than 5 years. He is obsessed with anything about the cloud – the technology, not the fluffy stuff in the sky. You can reach him through Twitter and LinkedIn.Follow on Twitter More Content by Mark Dacanay