Did You Achieve Your Goals in 2019?
How was 2019 for your organization? Naturally, you had a set of goals you wanted to achieve. These might have included reaching a certain revenue or expanding your team. Maybe one was taking your platform to the next level based on a year or two of customer feedback. Or perhaps one of your goals was to achieve more financial independence. Whatever goals you pursued in 2019, sales was tied to the success or failure of each one. If you achieved them, what SaaS sales best practices did you use? If you didn’t achieve them, what could have been done differently?
For growing SaaS companies, sales is critical. While it’s important to focus on acquiring new customers, it’s also just as important to focus on growing your relationships and revenue with existing subscribers. In fact, it’s far easier and less expensive to do the latter than the former. But there are some important SaaS sales best practices to consider before you dig into your strategies for both audiences that will help to shape the foundation of your sales efforts.
SaaS Sales Best Practices for Success in 2020
It All Starts with Your Sales Team
You could build the most refined, complex, and data-focused sales strategy imaginable, but it would amount to nothing without the right people driving it forward. While your SaaS platform and technology form the backbone of your platform, your people form the backbone of your entire organization. They’re the ones who build, enhance, communicate, and share value. And while all teams make an impact on growth for your company, growth comes from sales.
Start up front with hiring. Develop an interview process that tests the candidates against the traits of your organization and what it historically takes to close a new sale as well as more customer-oriented qualities like personality and problem-solving. Score candidates in each category against a weighted score to determine if they’ll meet the mark. For example, curiosity — an incredibly important SaaS sales best practice in itself — helps reps learn more about customers’ problems as well as uncover other areas of opportunity. If on a scale of 1–10 the max curiosity score is 9, and the candidate scores a 7, they have a weighted score of 70% (7 x 9 = 63 / 90 * 100). Ideal candidates should be as close as possible to the max score (90%).
While this process is designed to ensure you get the best candidates upfront, it doesn’t mean employee development should stop — especially when it comes to sales. Once aboard, it will be critical that sales leaders continue to refine their team’s skills. For example, conduct weekly playbook reviews to analyze calls or other engagements with prospects and existing customers. Review what went well and what could’ve been done differently. Set metrics goals as well as promotion paths to give associates an understanding of what it will take to get to the next level.
And remember, according to former HubSpot Chief Revenue Officer Mark Roberge, “Success and failure in sales are highly quantifiable. Take advantage.” Learn more about this approach in our latest eBook on growing your SaaS company safely and sustainably.
Remember That It’s All About Solving a Problem
Your SaaS platform is designed to solve a specific problem. Whether that’s managing HR-related functions like hiring or benefits administration, or if it’s a more complex process like workflow automation for a specific industry like healthcare, your customers decide to subscribe because they feel that you’ve solved their problem. It’s important to remember this at all times.
It may be tempting to expand some feature or version of your platform and allocate resources toward it, but does that make the problem even easier to solve? Are you solving peripheral problems and challenges, too? Or are your efforts derailing your solution from its initial purpose? And just as important is understanding how your solution continues to solve problems over time. While a customer may have subscribed now for a quick solution, if your platform doesn’t continue solving the problem scalably and efficiently, you’ll lose them.
Pay close attention to how customers are engaging with your platform. Do they fall off after month one or two? Do they hang around for a couple of quarters only to stop logging in? Or is their utilization so sporadic that you have no idea (spoiler alert: if your subscribers are doing the latter, that means there was no real problem solving achieved in the first place)?
If your customers are disappearing, make every effort to understand why. Don’t just send them automated email messages. One of the best SaaS sales best practices is keeping things human. Have a customer success representative or sales team member reach out if necessary to understand what the problem is. And then, learn from that problem, try to solve it for that customer to keep them subscribed, and implement a solution for others that may be experiencing the same challenges.
Leverage Strategic Funding to Accelerate Your Efforts
As a growing SaaS company, you understandably have little in the way of assets. Your revenue is governed by the number of subscribers you have and at which level of pricing they’ve subscribed. It can be difficult for growing SaaS companies — even those with MRR in the hundreds of thousands — to acquire the resources they need to accelerate their sales efforts. But this is the one area where you’ll be able to make the fastest impact. What are you to do?
Our final SaaS sales best practice is to obtain resources to support other sales efforts and magnify them for faster and greater success. One such solution is venture debt financing. While it may sound strange going into debt to grow your business, venture debt financing provides the capital SaaS companies need but struggle to get elsewhere. Whereas bank loans require collateral, and equity financing will require giving up part of your ownership in your company, venture debt provides capital in the form of an incredibly flexible loan.
If your company has at least $150,000 in MRR and meets other criteria, you can obtain debt financing to accelerate your sales and marketing efforts. You don’t even have to take the full loan amount. You can borrow in tranches for what you need now, thereby saving you from paying interest on the full loan amount. And it all comes with the same level of partnership you’d receive in working with an equity-based investor.
Make 2020 Your Best Year Yet for Sales
If you’re ready to put these SaaS sales best practices to use for your organization in 2020, contact our investment team today. We’ll help you understand your options and work with you to structure your financing in a way that’s not only sustainable for you but also helps you achieve your goals faster than ever. Fill out the form below to get started, and a member of our investment team will be in touch with you within 24 hours.