How to build your SaaS sales strategy: leveraging a proven framework
Updated: Jan 13
Sales is the lifeblood of any SaaS company, but unfortunately, many fail to grow their sales fast enough to survive. In fact, according to McKinsey's, Grow Fast or Die Slow report, software companies that grow at just 20% each year have a 92% chance of ceasing to exist within a few years. This means start-up and early-stage CEOs need to build their sales strategy immediately. However, most CEOs lack sales experience and do not know how to build a cohesive sales growth strategy. So what is the answer? CEOs need to leverage a proven framework for developing a successful sales strategy that can solve this issue by covering the critical components of a successful sales growth strategy. This article will cover what a framework is and why you must have one.
What is a framework?
To get started, it's essential to understand the definition of a framework.
A framework is the basic structure or skeleton of something that gives it shape and stability. A framework provides the foundation on which an organization can build its processes and systems.
Why do you need a framework?
In relation to developing your SaaS sales strategy, this means having a pre-determined plan that helps you organize your thoughts and ideas to achieve specific goals. A framework is essential for CEOs of SaaS companies because it provides a structure for them to build their sales strategy. This means they can start with a solid foundation and then add processes, systems, and goals to help them achieve their desired results. Having a framework also ensures that all aspects of the sales growth strategy work together cohesively towards the same purpose. Without it, things like your marketing activities and sales outreach can become disjointed and not work as efficiently as they should.
Lastly, frameworks provide CEOs with a sense of security during times of change. As your company grows and changes, you may need to adapt your sales strategy accordingly. However, by having a framework in place, you can be confident that your sales strategy will remain intact and work as it should.
What components are in a sales strategy framework?
Now that we know why it's essential for CEOs to have a framework let's look at the critical components of a proven and successful framework. There are six critical components required to build a cohesive SaaS sales growth strategy and a proper framework will address each one.
The critical components of a SaaS sales growth strategy are:
Ideal customer profiles
Sales growth metrics
Sales recruiting & hiring
That might seem like a lot, and you may or may not be familiar with each of these components, and why they are essential, so we have provided you with a high-level overview of each below. For more in-depth information, click here.
Ideal customer profile
An ideal customer profile (ICP) describes the characteristics of your best customers. To create an ICP, you'll need to answer questions like who are our current and potential customers? What needs do they have that we can solve? What industries do our products or services work well in? How much revenue and profit comes from our current customers? How much revenue could prospective customers generate? What geography do our best customers operate in? There are many more questions you can ask but ultimately it will depend on your business and target audience.
ICPs are very important because they help you proactively seek out potential customers that are a good fit for your product or service. It also ensures that sales and marketing efforts aren't wasted by targeting the wrong type of prospects, which happens quite often when companies don't have an ICP in place.
A persona is a fictional character created to represent a particular buyer or customer. To create personas, you'll need to answer questions like what are the names and ages of our customers, what is their job title, what kind of companies do they work for, what needs do they have that we can solve, how much money do they have to spend on our product or service, etc.
Having personas will help you better understand your customers and their specific needs and challenges as well as help you attract and engage your prospects. You will use this information as a foundation on which to build your sales messaging, marketing activities, etc.
This is how you communicate the features and benefits of your product or service to be appealing and valuable for potential buyers. Sales messaging should also address common objections that potential clients may have about buying from you, such as price point, time-to-value, level of expertise needed/lacking by the customer's team members, etc. To create effective sales messages that provide value for prospects and existing customers, you need to know exactly who they are (personas). This means taking some extra time upfront researching your customers and their pain points. And finally, your messaging needs to convey how you have helped other companies address similar challenges to build the confidence that you can help them too.
The sales process is the steps you go through to convert prospects into paying customers, including how long each stage should take, what tasks need to be completed at each stage, etc. You can either create your own unique sales process or use one of many available templates, which will help keep things consistent across all stages of the buying cycle, so every prospect experiences a smooth journey from initial outreach to onboarding.
Some examples of standard stages in SaaS companies' customer journeys are lead generation/qualified leads (prospects), meeting for demo or proposal review with the product marketing manager or account executive, followed by quote request & contract negotiation, pricing discussion with finance team members), close decision-maker within the company.
Sales growth metrics
Sales growth metrics track how well your company is performing to acquire new customers and grow revenue. There are various metrics that you can use to track your progress. The important thing is that you choose metrics that will help give you a clear picture of how well or poorly your sales strategy is working and if it needs any adjustments.
Common examples of SaaS sales growth metrics are customer acquisition costs (CAC), customer lifetime value (LTV), gross margin, churn rate, net promoter score (NPS).
Sales recruiting & hiring
Word of caution now. You can use the proper framework to help you build a perfect SaaS sales growth strategy. Still, if you do not have the right salespeople to execute your strategy, you will struggle to achieve your revenue targets. For this reason, you need to have a process for recruiting, selecting, and hiring top sales performers every time. As the CEO, you need to be actively involved in this process.
How do I get started?
We've developed a simple, effective, and proven framework to help start-up and early-stage SaaS companies build their sales growth strategy. If you're ready to start building a cohesive sales growth strategy for your business or want more information on how SalesLab Consulting can help take some pressure off you so you can focus on running the other aspects of your business, contact us today.
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 building and implementing a SaaS sales growth strategy in days, not months. You can check it out here.