SaaS Sales: Ditch the Script and Use Social Proof

June 8, 2020

How do you sell something that you cannot demonstrate in a physical form?

Tangibility has historically been a crucial element of closing a sale. Selling something that your customers cannot hold in their hands to access the look and feel of the product brings with it a whole lot of challenges.

What is SaaS sales?

SaaS stands for Software as a Service.

In SaaS sales, the primary product offering is web-based software. Since using a SaaS product is more complex than a traditional product, sales reps need to have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the product. The prospects also need to be engaged through training and education in order to close the deal.

How can the sales reps excel at SaaS sales?

Excelling at SaaS sales is a daunting challenge. The sales process, selling techniques, length of the sales cycle and key metrics that you need to track in SaaS sales vary from conventional sales.

The subscription based selling model that SaaS products follow needs the reps to change the selling mindset from one focused at closing the deal to one aimed at acquiring repeat business through ongoing subscriptions.

It requires the sales reps to delve deeper into the customer’s needs and wants and mandates a deeper level of commitment on the salesperson’s part to successfully close a deal and build a lasting relationship. A scripted approach to engage the prospects isn’t the way forward when dealing in SaaS sales. Instead, go forward and leverage the power of social proof to get the conversions rolling. Here’s how.

1. Secure the meeting

At this early stage, your goal is to

  • Secure a meeting
  • Get subsequent permission to have an exploratory call.

How do you get the permission? Hook your prospect naturally.

Develop their genuine, solid interest in your solution. Too many SaaS providers cold call and come across as disingenuous and ‘salesy’. Instead, ask some questions and pique their interest

I have experience in selling insurance door to door. Here’s what I took away from that experience: if I knocked on someone’s door and instantly inquired about their current insurance situation, I would still be in rural Manitoba.

Rather than that insane approach, here’s what afforded me some success in those days: I took control of the conversation. I shook the home owner’s hand and introduced myself. I came through as a person with a genuine purpose in offering something of relevant value. And I didn’t accomplish that by disturbing homeowners at their doorstep with a robotic, clearly scripted sales pitch.

At the end of the day, no matter what your political leanings, everyone can engage in this sort of small talk. As I saw firsthand, most people were happy to take a few minutes and complain or vent about the government. This was how I developed a natural transition into offering insurance.

You don’t have to be a field sales rep to leverage this technique. Even if your medium of communication is email or phone, these principles remain exactly the same.

2. Social Proof

Establishing social proof for your clients demonstrates that what you have to offer is worthwhile. Simply telling someone the benefit of your product or service will only get you so far. By providing evidence of others benefiting from your product or service, you build credibility that will be influential to your prospect.

How can you implement social proof? There are 3 main types of social proof that can be utilized.

A. Similar Social Proof

Similar social proof is what comes to mind when you think of social proof. Determine what the characteristics of your prospect are, and tailor your conversation in a way that they can relate. Demonstrate that others in similar situations are benefitting from your product. This instills a desire from your prospect to benefit in the same way.

B. Aspirational Social Proof

Your prospect will have little interest if they don’t believe that what you have to offer will propel them forward. Aspirational social proof is utilized by considering what your customer prospect wants to be like. This can be done by providing reviews and testimonials from customers that your prospective customer wants to reach. Strategically providing aspirational social proof triggers the ambitious nature of your prospective customer, and consequently peaks their interest in your product or service.

C. Endorsement

Endorsements are the most easily recognized form of social proof. When you think of endorsements, you usually think of a celebrity advocating a product – it isn’t limited to that. Find someone that your ideal customer trusts, and have them demonstrate the value. This is a great strategy especially if you don’t have a customer that has reached the success necessary to effectively utilize aspirational social proof.

3. Demonstrating Value

Some clients question the amount of risks I take.

I take them because if I lost it all tomorrow, I would work as an inside sales rep at any company and crush my quota.

Here’s how I would do that.

When cold calling my prospect, I would take control of the situation; offer something tangible and substantial, and provide social proof. In the door to door sales days, this was literally done by shaking hands. As in, when shaking their hand I wouldn’t let go; they had to listen to me. That approach is how you turn the call from cold to warm. And it applies to any medium!

Ensure that you have something that your prospect actually wants. If so, give it to them. That could be a

  • Free trial
  • Promo code
  • A discount

In any case, make sure you position it in a way that’s not spammy.

Don’t be the automated voice that gives away a free cruise. Don’t be the scripted robot. Everyone knows that’s a scam. The phone will click, just as the door slams.

Starting to see the relevance? Offering social proof is the proven method for not appearing spammy.

For example, if you’re cold calling logistics firms to sell your software, offer value right away. Let them know the numbers: how many other firms are currently using that free item. Right off the bat, you’ve demonstrated real, tangible value. Once they’ve given you some sort of permission to continue, that’s your time to shine.

If your exploratory call is under five minutes, do it on the spot. If it’s longer, let them know (this shows them that you value their time), and offer to set up a time that matches their convenience. From here on, it’s self explanatory. Here’s what it should look like:

Then, schedule follow-up appointments to engage in a demo or see if it’s possible to do the demo on the spot.

4. Track Your Results

There is a key to making the above work perfectly. Be sure that you have already emailed their access/promo code, free collateral, or follow their Social Media. This way, it’s more of a follow-up call than a cold call. That gets your foot in the door.

I would send out all my emails with email tracking, on Tuesday and Wednesday. This gives me the ability to see who has actually opened the emails. For anyone who has logged on and used the promo code – I’d call them ASAP. Don’t worry about looking too thirsty, you’re fresh on their minds and they’re actually using your service. Naturally, it’s the best time to speak with them. Alternatively, if they haven’t opened your email or used your promo code, I would follow up on Thursday (anytime other than between the hours of 11-1).

If you got something from this article but want to know how to stop your prospect from interrupting you midpitch, let me know.

At Rosegarden consulting, we firmly believe that empowering sales teams with the right tools and training is the key to unlocking business growth. Contact us if you too are looking to up your sales game.

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