The rise and rise of SaaS (Software as a Service) market is changing the way people do business these days. To illustrate, by 2021, SaaS revenue is projected to grow by $113.1 billion. And it gets even more interesting:
Around 73% of organizations are expecting their apps as SaaS by 2020. Whereas, 38% of organizations have indicated they are already running their operations on SaaS. These organizations claimed to have higher employee engagement where 86% of end-users found SaaS more helpful than desktop alternatives.
The increasing trend of using the software as a service notwithstanding, it is also a fact that selling your SaaS product is not easy. This article is written to help you learn effective tips and techniques to fast-track your SaaS sales.
Imagine you have a SaaS product being sold effortlessly. Your SaaS business is coming along nicely and you are enjoying collecting revenue without having to worry about marketing, promotion, and reaching out to customers.
If you want to live this dream, consider affiliate programs.
Affiliate programs are all about getting affiliate partners on board with a pre-determined commission for each sale they make. Needless to say it’s one of the rigorous strategies where you ask someone to sell your product who already has access to your target audience.
SurveySparrow has set up such a program giving marketers an engaging and rewarding experience. Here are some benefits associated with it:
Beside SurveySparrow there are other SaaS affiliate programs with attractive commission offers as well:
But how to reach and pitch your affiliates? Consider following these steps:
You definitely don’t need a partner who promotes your product to someone who is not your target audience. It is stated that 90% of your SaaS revenue is generated by only 10% of affiliates. Therefore, your mission should be tapping that 10% of affiliates who actually generate sales without wasting your time. Identify who is hovering around your defined target audience and contact them.
Now that you know your potential partners, it’s time to reach out to them. Start prospecting, list out companies and their concerned employees.
Once you are done with prospecting, plan multiple touchpoints to reach potential partners. It could be:
Send your prospects a pitching email followed by multiple follow-up emails. You must be wondering how to extract verified prospect’s email addresses. You can use the following software to dig out the required email address.
Bear in mind that your emails stand out from the others received by your prospect. Therefore make these cold emails more personalized so you don’t appear as bot or spam.
ii) Social Media
Once you send your prospects emails, add them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. This strategy would ultimately help register you in your prospect’s mind.
Once you get in touch with multiple prospects, get them on board. Provide them with the required material. It could include:
Moreover, discuss your terms, conditions, budget, offerings, commission, etc., so there isn’t any miscommunication between you and your prospect.
The bottom line is: Affiliate programs should give you access to an already established audience, making market entry easy. It can generate an instant influx of revenue from multiple revenue streams. Though it has its benefits, the commission associated with it could be hefty. Some of the affiliates demand 60% commission which is a challenging demand to meet.
You can directly ask your customers to recommend you to their acquaintances. A study conducted at Goethe University indicates 18% of customers show greater lifetime value if they are being recommended to businesses as compared to customers from other channels.
No matter which stage of the product lifecycle your SaaS stands, customer referral could always help to increase user base depending on strategies of your referral program. You could set up cash or non-cash incentives for referrals. A study conducted by the University of Chicago reported that non-cash incentives were 24% more effective in boosting performance than cash incentives.
Moreover, this is how successful companies execute their customers referral programs:
It is reported that Amazon gets 35% of its sales from upselling and cross-selling techniques. According to Forrester, most of the online sites agreed that around 10-30% of their sales were generated through upselling and cross-selling techniques.
So what are upselling and cross-selling? Imagine you went to get fast food and ordered one regular fries for $1. Order taker tells you that you can get an upsize fries for just $1.25 instead of $2. That order taker is trying to upsell the fries where you could pay him 25 cents extra for upsize fries, a gain of 75 cents.
Around 54% of SaaS companies prioritize upselling considering a win-win situation for both companies and customers.
Now, imagine you went to the same fast food outlet where this time around the order taker suggests you get a drink along with the fries. This time the order taker is cross-selling.
Cross-selling is selling complementary products with the product that customers already own or buy. According to a recent SaaSRadar report, the SaaS companies within $25-$75M range show a low churn rate due to cross selling their products to one-third of their customers.
Offering irresistible free tools to the community has the ability to create an impact and convert your free trial users into loyal customers.
Look at how Rankz – An online suite of growth marketing tools used this strategy effectively:
After quickly getting early users on board through Facebook groups and Reddit, Rankz now wanted to build a sustainable traffic channel. Being SEOs themselves they knew the industry pain points. They decided to build an internal tool which was able to check the availability of 100,000 domains in just 60 seconds. Rankz launched this tool for the public free of cost. The tool was incredibly efficient that they witnessed 7000 SEO pros using the tool to get 203 million domains and on average 2.5 million checks a day.
Afterwards, they limited the usage for free trial accounts. Once users signed-up for a free trial, they were being encouraged to buy the core product via a 7 days email series.
Rankz mentioned they were planning to launch 6 additional such products which won’t only ensure an increase in organic traffic but also help the community.
In this era where marketers are talking a lot about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Chatboard marketing and Google paid ads, one simply can’t deny the importance of cold email marketing. This technique has the capacity to generate around 3800% ROI which shows its effectiveness till date. Around 80% of marketers consider email marketing as the most effective digital marketing strategy for customer acquisition and retention. 59% of consumers say marketing emails affect their purchase decision.
But how to get the maximum out of this ROI friendly technique? Well around 50% marketing experts consider personalized emails as the most effective email marketing strategy. In fact, 82% of marketers have witnessed an increase in their email opening rate if email content is being personalized. So, make your email more personalized when reaching out to your customers. Always mention the customer’s real name instead of using Miss/Mr./Mrs. Also, send an email with your personal email id, so you don’t appear as a bot. For example, you should rather use email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org
Launching a lifetime deal means you are offering customers your SaaS product for the lifetime at a discounted rate. This could be your most effective sales strategy in early stages of your SaaS product’s life cycle because:
But how to let your potential customers know that you are launching lifetime deals? Well, you can use Facebook communities, LinkedIn and Slack groups to make an announcement. However, there are sites, which help you launch your lifetime deals, such as:
These sites help you announce your SaaS lifetime deals to their user list. For example, AppSumo has a user base of 800,000 members, which means around 800,000 people would get to know about your lifetime deals through AppSumo announcement.
If you are wondering how to launch lifetime deals on an LTD site then the following are the prerequisites:
Tip: Process of reviewing the form can take several months. Therefore, it is recommended that you get in touch with the site representative directly (through email or LinkedIn). Conversation with the representative should clearly include the introduction of the product, offer (deal) and how it differs from other, usual offers:
Tip: Prepare the team by rehearsing all the product features and anticipating questions and queries in advance
Once your lifetime deal is announced via LTD site, you need to:
While these are effective techniques, do remember you will be losing recurring revenues. Moreover with more lifetime subscribers, the focus of business could be shifted from retention to more sales. This could result in lower quality SaaS products.
Customers go for the best budget-friendly products. They have a habit of knowing other users’ experiences and reviews of a particular product. A study shows 92% of online customers check product reviews before making a purchase.
So, with a strong product in terms of value and price, get yourself listed on SaaS review sites. Not just this, get the best possible reviews to convert review readers into your customers. Following are some of the best SaaS review sites:
Google Adwords has two networks, Search Network and Display Network. In the Search Network, Google places text ads in search engine results, whereas in the Display Network, Google places visual ads across a huge network of sites.
According to Dan Shewan, a web content specialist, the average CPC for Google Ads falls between $1 to $2 on search networks. Whereas, the average CPC on Google Display network is below $1. With this cost difference in mind, it makes sense to advertise your SaaS on Google Display network, which can give your product more exposure. According to Google, its Display Network ads reach 90% of global internet users across 200 million sites. Moreover, to get maximum out of the Display Network ads, it is recommended to use video ad.
What is product led marketing? Ruben from Practico Analytics explains:
“While there are a lot of different channels to try out (organic, paid, etc), I have found that a product-led marketing strategy is one of the most effective ways to grow. Product-led means using your product as a part of your marketing strategy. This typically translates into offering parts of your product for free and sometimes even without having to sign up. Stripe (payment processing solution) is a good example here. They would let users play around with the product without having to provide a name or email address. This allows users to understand your product with minimum friction and eventually become your biggest advocates.”
Your product could be the greatest marketing weapon, if used properly. Let your potential customers try it for free.
Never sell your product to the wrong person. It may seem convincing to increase your user base and revenue influx instantly by selling your product to a cross-section of people, but that would cost you in later stages. A wrong customer would always be having complaints and require intensive customer support. They would be spreading negative feedback everywhere about your SaaS, which could then discourage the right customer from getting on board.
It is therefore very important in knowing and identifying your right customer. How do you do that? Consider the following:
i) Create your ideal customer’s persona
ii) Identify your potential customer’s needs
iii) Figure out their decision making process
iv) Determine your competition
Content marketing is one of the best ways to help your customers find out the solution to their problems. By understanding the customer’s purchasing process, one can optimize content strategy and get the qualified customers on board.
Take a look at the SaaS purchasing process and content requirements below:
Figure out your customers pain points that your SaaS can solve. Identify the top keywords that your customers might be using to solve their problem. Create keyword optimized content to grab their attention. You may use Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner to prepare the list of industry’s top keywords.
At this stage, your customer is aware of your existence. Now you need to create content that could help you earn their trust. So, create free, helpful and gated content to generate and nurture leads with email drip campaigns.
Once you have leads, create content to get them to sign up for your SaaS free trial version. This would let your lead to have the hang of your product.
At this stage create content to convince them to convert. Help them dig out more value from your SaaS product. Provide them case studies and testimonials showing how your product is helping others with the same problems.
Create content to retain your customer. Afterall, you need recurring revenue. You can help them by providing guides and tips to get maximum out of your SaaS. Give them updates about existing or upcoming products.
Garrett Moon considers great products backed by strong customer support as the only sales strategy worth following.
So how can you tell whether your SaaS is a good market fit or not? If you experience the following then its a sign that it’s not a good market fit:
On the contrary, a market fit product assures you:
However, as discussed earlier, strong customer support is equally important even with a market fit product.