6 Steps to Successfully Increase Sales for Your SaaS Startup
Updated: Jan 13
"How do I grow my Sales?" is a question that many SaaS companies ask themselves when they are in the early stages of their business. The answer to this question depends on how you want to grow your Sales, but there is one thing that all successful SaaS startups have in common: an effective Sales Growth Strategy. This blog post will discuss six steps for developing a Sales Growth Strategy for any SaaS company!
Step 1. Identify your ideal customer profiles
First, define an ideal customer profile and discuss why you need ICPs in your sales growth strategy.
An "ideal customer profile" is a company's best-case scenario of a customer. It is a data-driven definition that includes its ideal customer demographics, psychographics, and behaviors.
A company can determine its ideal customer profile by analyzing its current customers and prospects, interviewing employees who work closely with potential customers, and conducting research on the internet.
Since people in different industries have different values and priorities regarding both products and services, companies need to define their target industry to create messaging that speaks to this audience.
Ideally, every company should know who its ideal customers are. This is because having an ideal customer profile allows you to focus your marketing and sales efforts on attracting customers who are the best fit for your product or service. Not only does this help you save time and money, but it also allows you to create a more personalized experience for your customers.
There are a few ways to identify your ideal customer profiles. One way is to look at your current customers and ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are the most profitable and most satisfied customers?
- Who do we enjoy working with the most?
- Who referred us the most business?
- Who are we seeing the most growth from?
Other criteria should include:
-How much are they currently spending or likely to spend on solutions like the ones we sell?
-How long will the sales cycles likely be?
-What size company is likely to buy from us (employees, revenue, locations, other)?
-What geography should they occupy (local, regional, national, international)?
Step 2. Develop key personas
Similar to the above, we must define personas before diving into why and how to use buyer personas to help increase SaaS sales.
Buyer personas are a fictional representation of a target customer. They serve as a guide for how you should speak to a given person or buyer. You would use this persona to understand their pain points, frustrations, motivations, interests, needs, and desires.
Buyer personas help your sales team quickly connect with the customer, anticipate their needs, and provide them with a compelling offer. When you have buyer personas in place, your whole team becomes more accountable because it's easy to answer the question, "who are we getting this for?"
Buyer personas give us a name, face, and story that helps our Sales or Marketing teams better understand who is on the other end of the conversation. The conversations between Sales/Marketing reps and customers are often one-sided affairs. Sales want to know all about what's going on without knowing anything about what's happening on the customer side. Everyone has experienced being left out of important client information once or twice before - establishing clear persona boundaries can help Sales reps better position themselves to fill information gaps.
The beauty of having well-defined personas is that they also help Marketing teams produce content that resonates with their target audience, and Sales teams develop more personalized pitches. The persona-content strategy should be an ongoing two-way street where Sales can provide feedback on which pieces of content have been most effective, and Marketing can provide Sales with new leads that are persona-fit.
The final step is to put all of this into one playbook that your sales team can use as a reference guide when speaking with customers. Having a playbook ensures everyone is singing from the same song sheet, which will help reduce miscommunication and increase close rates.
Step 3. Create strategic sales and marketing messaging
Sales messages need to be tailored to the right audiences and the correct type of buyer persona. Sales messages need to be engaging and persuasive, but they also need to tell a story your prospects want to hear. Sales messages should encourage action and change behavior, leading to customers. Sales messaging should build credibility and engender trust through transparency, specificity, honesty, brevity, simplicity, interest- building stories that speak directly about what is in it for them and any risks or limitations around the offer.
When creating sales messaging that engages prospective customers, it's essential to keep the buyer's journey in mind. The buyer's journey is the process buyers go through when making a purchase, and messaging can break it into three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. Sales messaging should be tailored to each step of the buyer's journey to engage prospective customers and convert them into customers.
In the awareness stage, buyers are just starting to become aware of the problem they need to solve or the opportunity they want to capitalize on. Sales messaging in this stage should focus on educating buyers about the problem they need to solve or the opportunity they want to take advantage of. It should also highlight how the buyer's current situation is not ideal and how the product or service can help them solve their problem or take advantage of the opportunity.
In the consideration stage, buyers better understand the problem they need to solve or the opportunity they want to capitalize on and are looking for more information about how the product or service can help them. Sales messaging in this stage should focus on building credibility and trust with prospects by using proof points like case studies, customer testimonials, etc., and addressing any concerns they may have. Sales messages can also include a breakdown of key features and benefits to help educate buyers about how the product or service works and what makes it unique.
In the decision stage, buyers have already decided to try out the product or service. Sales messaging in this stage should focus on building excitement and urgency around trying out the product or service now rather than putting it off until later. Sales messaging can also include a limited-time offer like a free trial period that will expire soon if prospects don't sign up now. Sales messaging should also have a call-to-action to get leads interested in trying out the product or service and moving them towards signing up for it. Sales messages can be crafted by keeping your ideal customer profiles and buyer personas in mind.
Step 4. Build a customer-centric sales process
What is a sales process?
A sales process is a structured way of selling your product or service. It helps you identify and qualify potential customers, build relationships with them, and close deals. A sales process is often broken down into stages or phases. The stages typically include:
- Prospecting: Identifying and contacting potential customers
- Qualifying: Determining whether a customer is a good fit for your product or service
- Closing: Converting leads into paying customers
-Servicing: Retaining customers and building long-term relationships
Sales processes can vary from company to company, but the foundation of a sales process is the same. Sales processes are designed to help SaaS companies turn leads into paying customers by providing them with repeatable and scalable selling steps that they can follow every time they speak with a prospective customer. The more you sell, the better your company gets at selling.
So what is a customer-centric sales process?
A customer-centric sales process is designed to understand the customer's needs and provide them with a solution that meets those needs. To create a customer-centric sales process, it is vital to understand the customer's business and the challenges they face. The salesperson must then communicate how the company's products or services can solve those challenges. The sales process should be consultative and involve the customer in the decision-making process. It should also be tailored to the specific company and its products or services. Sales teams that are successful in growing sales often have a customer-centric sales process.
Step 5. Select 4 to 6 growth metrics to measure performance
Sales growth metrics are numbers that track sales performance, such as the number of sales calls, the percentage of qualified sales lead conversions, and the number of paying customers. Sales growth metrics can help SaaS companies identify what is working in their sales strategies and what they need to refine to increase their revenues. Sales growth metrics also help B2B SaaS companies know when they need to make changes to their business models or how they execute their sales strategy.
Sales growth metrics allow a SaaS company to compare itself against other SaaS companies with a similar business model and product/service offerings. Sales growth numbers also provide historical context for future improvements by letting management know how much progress the company has made over a period of time. Sales growth metrics are essential for all stages of a SaaS company's life cycle, from startup through early-stage and even on into their growth and mature stages.
There are four common sales growth metrics SaaS companies track:
- Number of Sales Calls
- Percentage of Qualified Sales Lead Conversions
- Sales Revenue
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Number of Sales Calls - This metric measures how many prospects the sales team is contacting daily, weekly, or monthly. The higher the number of calls, the more opportunities the sales team has to sell their product or service. However, if most of the leads generated are not qualified, this metric will not show that the sales team is not as effective as possible.
Percentage of Sales Lead Conversions - This metric measures how many qualified opportunities for a SaaS product or service convert into paying customers. A company's percentage of sales lead conversions will vary with each stage in its life cycle from startup to mature SaaS business.
Sales Revenue - Sales revenue tracks the total amount of products and services sold by a SaaS company over a specific period, such as per month or quarter. Sales data can come from invoices sent out to existing customers after their first purchase, new customer purchases, upsells/cross-sells with current customers, etc. It is essential to subtract any discounts, returns, or refunds when calculating this number.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) - CAC tracks the amount of money spent by a SaaS company to acquire a new customer. This metric is essential for companies trying to increase their revenues because it can help identify which marketing channels are most effective in acquiring customers. It also lets management know how much they can spend on developing new customers without negatively impacting their profits.
Other sales growth metrics could be tracked, such as the number of leads generated from social media sites, webinars attended, or tradeshows participated in; however, the four listed above are some of the most common and valuable metrics for SaaS companies. Sales growth metrics are essential for SaaS companies to keep track of regardless of their stage in the life cycle. Sales growth metrics can be tracked manually or with management software depending on how many salespeople a company has and other departments, such as marketing automation, CRM, or another resource.
Step 6. Establish a recruiting and selection process to hire top sales talent
Having a process for hiring top sales reps reassures CEOs and sales leaders that this is not a 'shot in the dark; these are specific steps they can take to make sure the company hires top sales performers.
It might seem as though hiring any person with some initiative will do, but think again - the goal of every business should be to hire the best people possible. No matter how small or seemingly unimportant, every position needs to be filled with someone who has grit and determination, so they bring out the best side of your company culture.
A recent report conducted by Sales Benchmark Index found that 30% of all hires don't work out over time. That's 4% higher than the standard attrition rate. The sales hiring process is critical to the success of your SaaS company, and CEOs and co-founders must take the time to get it right.
Hiring Top Sales Reps:
- Define the role and responsibilities of the position in detail - what will they do on a day-to-day basis? What are the expectations?
- Create a detailed job description including specific qualifications, skills, and experience needed for the position
- Draft a recruiting message or advertisement that accurately represents your company culture, values, and what you're looking for in a candidate
- Source potential candidates from online sources such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, etc. as well as through personal networks
- Screen resumes and cover letters to find the best candidates
- Conduct phone screens and in-person interviews with qualified candidates to determine who's a good fit for your company. It would be best if you also screened for Sales Ability, Sales Experience, Sales Leadership Skills, and cultural alignment during this process
- Use negotiation tools such as counter offers or bonuses when closing top talent. Don't forget that salary isn't everything - Top sales performers are looking for other ways to grow their income. Hence, high-paying commission structures are another way to attract high-quality sales reps into your team.
Above all else: there needs to be mutual respect between both parties; it doesn't matter how much money someone makes if they don't believe in what they're selling because the business runs the risk of losing that sales rep if they don't believe in the product or service.
Emphasize company culture, benefits, and what you're offering outside just money. If someone is considering your business - do everything possible to give them a reason to join another sales team within another SaaS company!
Will you be the next SaaS unicorn?
Growing sales in a SaaS startup or early-stage company is complex. However, the B2B SaaS companies that are successful in increasing sales do so because they followed a proven framework to help them build a cohesive sales growth strategy.
In this article, we've given you a proven framework for how to build a cohesive sales growth strategy for your SaaS company. While we can't guarantee you will be the next unicorn, we can assure you that if you leverage a proven framework for developing a sales strategy, you will increase sales consistently and predictably.
If you want help doing any or all these things, let us know. Our expert team is ready and waiting to partner with you to create a SaaS sales growth strategy tailored specifically for your company regardless of whether you are a startup or early-stage SaaS company.
Building a successful SaaS company is hard. The odds of failing are high and it creates a lot of pressure on CEOs who know they need to grow sales quickly. But how? To address this question I've written, Sales Growth Simplified, a step-by-step guide for how to build and implement a SaaS sales growth strategy in days, not months. You can check it out here.