The B2B Software market is agile and highly dynamic. B2B sales processes can be rather lengthy due to the complex nature of the industry’s products. Highly customisable solutions tailored to specific company needs often require added attention to detail. Yet, the chances of landing a deal decrease drastically the longer a deal drags on beyond its original timeline. Salespeople selling software as a service must maintain a solid sales strategy and adapt to and align with customer timelines.
Some common questions we hear from sales teams looking to improve their performance include:
What are the essential first steps in setting myself and my team up for success?
Which core sales principles should be made integral parts of my B2B sales process?
How do I best reach out to decision makers in the later stages of a deal?
How do I convey the right message at key stages within the sales process (e.g. as part of your value proposition) and how should I frame the “features” conversation?
To help answer these questions and gain further insight into the successful sales engagement, we reached out to a number of B2B SaaS sales team leads across Germany for input. Throughout our conversations, our contacts highlighted some of the most frequent causes for low lead conversion rates, loss of speed throughout the sales process and lost deals – and they’re not always the result of poor salesmanship skills or botched pitch delivery. Common culprits of lost deals include poor client-vendor alignment, absence of problem-led focus on solution selling as well as a lack in overall creativity in the final stages of a deal.
Below, we’ll outline a number of viable approaches to tackling the aforementioned challenges as well a number of general tips on how to close a deal fast and not lose in the last minute. Dealcode will also highlight the importance of each proposed solution for successful sales engagement and lead conversion within the context of B2B SaaS.
Know Your Prospect’s Timeline
The first significant shortcoming in an otherwise productive salesforce is due to poor alignment between the buyer and seller. In other words, the buyer and seller aren’t on the same page regarding their respective timelines or simply aren’t upfront about important aspects of the deal. According to one of our interviewees, when both parties aren’t adequately aligned, essential elements or key stages within the sales process can be put off. More often than not, you may be left to have the “tough talk” regarding contractual elements such as selling conditions or run-time at the end stages of a deal. Here, buying committees may need to reconvene to sift through the details. In short, your sales process will drag on.
What’s the solution? Businesses can adjust their sales cycle to align with the buyer’s timeline instead of their own quota deadlines. What does this entail? First, by prioritizing customer experience, sales reps following a customer centric selling approach should gradually begin to take on the role of a trusted advisor to the client. Sales teams which incorporate a customer centric sales process aim to elevate long-term client relationships above more immediate benefits. Proper alignment with your client on all fronts will help avoid such uncomfortable situations and foster trust, speed up the deal and free up more time for your team. This also helps the sales team prioritize the whole experience they offer instead of sales metrics they must reach.
Core B2B Sales Principles: Solution Selling
Solution selling holds a special role in the B2B SaaS industry. No matter whether you’re engaged in enterprise level or SMB sales, this one core set of sales principles should guide your approach to and actions in every sale. In short, solution selling prioritizes a highly specialized problem-led approach to sales in place of a traditionally generalized product-led sales pitch. In other words, sales reps aren’t pitching their best-performing software subscription or select features to all companies to cross their path, rather they’re providing tailored solutions to companies depending on their particular challenges or overall business needs.
However, lose sight of this approach at key points within a sale and it may cost you. One common mistake sale reps make towards the end of a deal has to do with how they frame their offer. Instead of sticking to solution selling, it can be tempting to highlight the various features your particular product has to offer. While these do make up important elements of your entire offering, you can’t sell your product on its features. Here’s how the “features discussion” can become problematic.
If you rely on your software’s features as the crux of your pitch in your value proposition, you run the risk of sending your potential buyer the wrong signal. Sell a product on its features and you convey the notion that your solution serves as a “quick fix” rather than ongoing collaborative cooperation. In addition to this, leading with the “features discussion” essentially provides your lead with a compiled list of solutions they can go ahead and solve on their own. This in hand, it’s quite easy enough for surefire leads to head straight to your competitors, and for a lot cheaper. Features give buyers the choice to solve individual problems one at a time – solutions offer a path towards lasting improvement through innovation. In order to seal the deal, be sure to sell more than just your product and close with your proposed solution.
Keep in Touch Creatively
In our conversations with sales executives across Germany, another common shortfall in closing deals which was brought to light was creativityat key stages within the sales process. However responsive sales reps can remain at early stages of a deal, leads can easily lose touch amidst for any number of reasons. Therefore, it’s essential that sales reps make a habit of checking in with prospects regularly and with proper messaging. However, even the most attentive sales reps can miss their window or miss their mark on content. And the complexity particular to B2B SaaS transactions certainly doesn’t make keeping leads on the line any easier.
Creativity in the final stages of an otherwise well-handled sales process can be the difference maker between a lost deal and last-minute save. One method of checking in with contacts is through social selling. To remain on your lead’s radar, the subtle touch of a brief message with relevant content or news can do just the trick. The goal here is to gradually reestablish or maintain communication via the appropriate means. Just remember the golden rule of social selling: Sell to your prospects like you would want to be sold to.
B2B Sales Success Rides on Alignment and Timing
In sum, there is no one “magic touch” to selling B2B SaaS to accelerate sales processes and guarantee you’ll land deals. However, the simple steps mentioned above will ensure you’re well prepared to meet buyer needs, stay connected and ahead of the curve at all times.
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