Before you start drafting a sales strategy for your software product, there’s something you’ll like to know first.
Think about this…
A client purchasing a Netflix subscription and a client purchasing a software subscription. What do you think is the core difference between the two cases?
Simple logic(we’re sure you’ve guessed by now).
In software sales, a customer spends hundreds and thousands of dollars, whereas they barely spend anything on Netflix. Moreover, the software impacts an entire department or company.
Based on the fact that selling a software product such as Dropbox, Convin, Trello, Freshdesk, etc., is complicated when dealing with a team, department, and organization-level.
Hence, a human being(not a robot) needs to understand the client’s requirements. And then implement the solution at an enterprise level.
As evident, a salesperson(Buyer’s pal) is an essential part of the software sales process.
We prepared a detailed blog on B2B SaaS sales strategies. We discussed ten practical strategies sellers could implement.
Today, our approach would be to discuss seven elements of software sales that support the sales strategies further:
- Strong Value Proposition
- Revisit the 3P’s
- Customer Portfolio Research
- Build Customer Rapport
- Solution Selling
- Automated Sales Tools
- Market Trends
Let’s dive right in.
Seven elements of software sales
1. Are you communicating your Value Proposition correctly?
So, what do you like about the value proposition above?
Is it friendly? Simple? Casual? Direct?
Yes, you are right. It’s all the above and much more.
Using a value proposition like the one above, brands can communicate the exact problem they are solving.
The reader would find themselves in a position to resonate with the product and the brand.
Crafting a solid value proposition would need you to address the following:
- What’s your biggest strength for the customers?
- What problem are you solving?
- Why are you different from your competition?
That's how your value proposition will sound.
But don’t complicate the message. Keep it short and simple!
And the last and most important one is that a salesperson must believe in the value proposition and be passionate about the product or service they are selling.
2. Do you have the right product and pricing strategy?
A key observation–companies fail not because of their product, but because of poor pricing and product strategy.
As a software seller, you must be excellent at positioning, product strategy, and pricing.
Slack is a brilliant example of product strategy. Initially, they used a user-first product development growth strategy. They developed the platform with user feedback and review.
Also, they used a 2000 message milestone challenge. They saw that whenever teams reached around 2000 messages, the team/company was more likely to stay.
They used the 2000 messages as the activation point and concentrated on the onboarding phase. They encouraged users to reach the 2000 message mark during the onboarding period.
Just like slack, several organizations are implementing similar software sales strategies.
With the fast-changing SaaS landscape, sellers need to change their approach too.
If you are dealing in multiple product then the positioning and pricing for different channels will vary. These decisions should be strategically decided in advance and iterated with the help of sales analytics reports.
Sadly, many companies fall into the trap of not having a dedicated person to fix the pricing strategy for the product. See the data below from OpenView.
3. Customer Portfolio Research
Microsoft’s content focuses on what they learn from their customers and what are their current customers expecting. After every sale, Microsoft conducts thorough research on its existing client base and industry. This further enhanced the sales and marketing activities of the company.
Expanding on Microsoft’s sales strategy, identifying your profitable customer should be a top priority.
When you start learning what type of customers are engaging with you and depending on your products or services, you’ll know what sales techniques are working.
You may have a customer profile created initially; now, keep that aside and recreate one by looking at the current customer base.
🔹 What does your customer do?
🔹 Who are the decision-makers?
🔹 What are their challenges?
🔹 What is their day-to-day routine?
🔹 Where are they spending their time?
🔹 Are they on Linkedin?
🔹 Do they participate in webinars?
Researching for the ideal customer turns more lucrative when the customer’s more familiar with you and the company.
Want some free advice on how to research a C-suite executive?
4. Do you have a long-term relationship plan?
Another exciting fact about Microsoft is that they stress on relationship selling. They use social selling, sales data, and brilliant customer service to deliver value at the right time and right place.
Building a relationship starts with knowing who you need to develop relationships within the buyer’s team. It could be an influencer or a decision-maker.
Depending on the account ticket size, you may have to spend time with a CXO in the organization. Hence, the sales strategies for different target audiences need to be carved accordingly.
Relationship building isn’t limited to talking over the phone. Building rapport starts early with social media and emailing and gradually shifts to more video conference calls and email nurturing.
Many software sellers also take help from resellers, distributors, and partners to maintain good relationships with the customers.
You are in for some brilliant advice on building relationships using Social Selling From Microsoft’s Senior Sales professional. Check it out!
5. Are you selling a product or a solution?
“The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to.”- Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, and Nick Toman.
It’s a well-known fact that customers are aware of their problems, but they aren’t aware of the solution. Every customer is searching for a solution, but no customer is looking for software.
A seller creates urgency and a need for software. In actuality, the software is never the solution.
Let’s understand this by an example; a company struggling with quality vendors is not looking for a vendor management platform. The solution is a vendor qualification and scoring mechanism built into the vendor management software. So, a rep is expected to sell the scoring mechanism first and talk about a medium(the software) at a later stage.
Solution selling demands talking about the benefits of a product or a problem resolution.
A note to remember: HBR article states, that a B2B customer performs 60% of the research before engaging with a seller. Hence, salespeople need to perfect their solution selling game and engage customers until deal closure.
6. Are you automating email sequences?
In this point, we’d like to give our example proudly.
Majority of our sellers are spending 75% of their time selling and only 25% of their time on admin tasks. Admin tasks and a few selling-supported activities such as automated email sequences, dedicated chatrooms, CRM systems, call recording software, task assignment, and scheduling tool are driven by technology.
The team is religiously using alerts, reminders, and alarms to be on top of customer detail changes.
Automating tasks for the sales activities is not just a help to the team but raises the bar for customer experience.
As per data published on Spotio, sellers are spending 64% of their time on admin work.
The fewer time sellers spend on administrative tasks, the more time they spend selling. Automation helps increase the time for selling and adds more opportunities for personalized selling.
Every time a seller uses an automation tool, they can offer better customer service, personalized experience, strategic follow-ups, and exceed sales quota.
Are you interested in knowing more about sales quota and its importance?
7. Are you following market requirements?
Freshworks, Microsoft, Zendesk, Slack, Dropbox, Asana, Autodesk, Intuit, and Workday.
Because of their innovative sales strategies, the companies discussed here reached the top and grew exponentially.
Out of the many sales practices, the one common practice these software selling companies applied was sales analytics to time the market and chase the trends.
Unless software selling teams are on top of market trends, these companies are most likely to die–sooner or later.
Following the customer trends and market movement can determine all the other sales strategies.
You must follow a few trends before time…Check these seven market predictions.
Software sales strategies can be created and recreated. Unless sellers and sales leaders imbibe the seven elements in the sales process, it’s hard to receive the expected outcome.
Sales leaders must enforce these seven elements and guide sellers through them.
Moreover, motivate reps to use the software sales strategies more effectively to win deals and earn hefty incentives.
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