How Do You Speed Up SaaS Sales?

Last month, we staged our first Sales Confidence live event in Central London. We were privileged to hear some of the best sales Founders and leaders in the SaaS industry speak. The nuggets of insight and advice we received were invaluable, and everyone left buzzing with ideas. Based on the talks at the event, we’ve put together the Sales Confidence Skills Series. Even if you couldn’t make it, you can still share in the knowledge.

Any questions?

After our guests had done their separate talks, and I’d asked a couple of questions to get the ball rolling, I asked for questions from the audience. Our first question came from Xavier.

‘How do you take a SaaS product that’s recently entered the market as a consultative sell, and try and shorten the sale, making it a scalable product?’

Neil Ryland

Neil Ryland, CRO at Peakon, kicked things off by saying he’s a big fan of the work of Chris Pham, who came up with the 10X Business Development model.

The key is to develop a ‘young, hungry, intelligent’ sales team. Start with the easy wins, the low-hanging fruit. Focus ruthlessly on what will become your key accounts. Use this as a platform on which to build.

‘In order for us to scale it, we need to get a market share of those key accounts that will be most successful for us as a business. Get those products out.’

Simon Kelly

Simplicity is the key, according to Simon Kelly, who has led sales teams at Microsoft and LinkedIn, among others. The more human your sales operation is, the more complicated it can be, but if you want to take the personal element out of the sales process, buying has to be as simple as possible.

‘At the beginning you have to hand-hold clients, but as you start getting scale you have to dumb down the offering in a way. Make it very simple. At the beginning, you have a lot of options, and it can confuse your customers. Just make it simple, especially if you’re going internationally.’

Andrew Gilboy

Andrew Gilboy, CRO at GoCardless, went next. He wanted to focus on content, a subject very dear to my heart!
The advent of SaaS means the consultative sell doesn’t really work like it did 20 years ago, because it’s so difficult to scale. You don’t have the time, the resources or the manpower. Content can fill that gap between consultancy and scale.

‘Look at your sales process. Where is it consultative? Chop it into its component parts. What content can I inject at various parts here? You could do a consultative sales video? Do it all online. It takes a lot of the time out of it. You’d be surprised.’

Neil (again!)

Andrew’s idea spurred Neil to add something else. He advised automating as much of the sales process as possible.

‘We invested quite heavily in automation early on. We invested in our sales toolkit. Anyone who goes on our website, we get their data, it’s enriched. We can get content out to people straight away. Most of the time when people come to us, we already know they’re going to buy something. We just have to make sure they buy from us! We get to this level through the automation.’

Changing the game

What’s clear is that SaaS has changed the sales game. When you’re disrupting an industry, you need time to explain it to your customers. However, you don’t have that time. You need to get users and revenue in quickly or you cannot scale. With a combination of strategy, content and automation, it’s possible to find a solution to this problem, but you need to act decisively.

Over to you now. In your SaaS sales operation, what have you done to speed up your sales process? Let us know down in the comments.


About the Author

James Ski works for Linkedin and advises companies on recruitment, employer branding and how to achieve scalable, predictable sales growth.

If you would like to be first to read his published posts focused on sales confidence sign up to his blog here

You can also follow him on Linkedin or on Twitter @jamesas

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