The global market for Software as a Service has seen continuous growth fueled by factors such as increased automation and agility. For scale, the total global market is projected to be valued at upwards of $60 billion for the period of 2019 to 2023. Businesses are increasingly seeking to innovate with the help of software solution providers with the average number of SaaS apps used by businesses growing to 16 in the year 2017. This steady stream of innovation throughout the past decade has seen this high demand met with ample competition. For example, while there were only around 500 marketing tools on the market in the year 2007, fast forward a decade and this number has reached a total of 8,500. So, if growth is on the horizon, what’s the key to tapping into this vast customer base as a seller?
Solution Selling: The Consultative Approach to Sales
Sales models vary depending on your target customer. However, no matter whether you’re engaged in enterprise or SMB sales, there is one core set of sales principles all B2B SaaS sellers should stick to: Solution Selling. 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 to all companies to cross their path, rather they’re providing tailored solutions to companies depending on their particular challenges or overall business needs.
Particularly in B2B SaaS where one-size-fits-all solutions are hard to come by, adopting the customer centric selling approach can play a pivotal role in maintaining a solution-oriented focus at every stage within the sales cycle. SaaS Solution providers following this customer-centric sales methodology will be better poised to effectively engage potential buyers and speak to their business needs. The best part is: Solution selling doesn’t require a major overhaul of your sales team or process. In the following article, Dealcode will show you why solution selling is king for B2B SaaS. Together, we’ll examine the benefits and run through the simple steps towards adopting a solution selling sales approach.
Why Solution Selling?
For sellers, the growing B2B SaaS market is rife with competition. B2B software providers must set themselves apart from the crowd with compelling, individualized solutions which speak to the heart of customer’s needs. While self-service models for smaller scale ventures do exist, medium to large scale businesses often opt to purchase software with the help of sales team and a buying committee or group of stakeholders. The products involved in enterprise level deals are often sold at low volume/high price and feature full-scale, highly specialized cutting-edge software. Sales processes are frequently rather lengthy and involve close collaboration between the prospects and the company’s sales teams to answer questions, demo software and meet with executive stakeholders.
In other words, the B2B SaaS sales process involves many moving parts. Miscommunication, misalignment between teams or a lack in responsivity, preparedness or related mishaps can cost weeks, possibly months in time lost. With the stakes as high as they are, buyers come prepared - which means you should, too. In order to ensure a deeper engagement at all subsequent stages within the sales process, sellers must signal to their potential buyers they have their best interests in mind (and not dollar signs post reaching their quotas). Remember, you’re selling a solution as a part of a larger exemplary customer experience – not a product. How do you show your client your sales team is solution-oriented?
First Steps: Know Your Prospect
Sales reps must lead with curiosity and empathy in all interactions in order to fully understand the challenges the customer may be facing. Solution providers must ensure close collaboration and the seamless flow of information among teams within their organization in order to foster a clear understanding of customer needs. As a first step towards solution selling, sales team members must gain a thorough understanding of who the client is, what their business is about and what their pain points are. Responsive and devoted reps with a vested interest in the customer’s success will begin to take on the role of a trusted advisor and less that of a salesperson.
Solutions Prioritize Long-term Success
How do you make a compelling case for current and future collaboration? Stick to your customer-centric approach and sell a holistic solution to your client’s various challenges. This type of sales approach helps companies foster sustainable long-term relationships with their clients. And particularly in the B2B software industry, it makes a lot of sense to pull out all the stops to ensure client subscriptions are there to last. If your customer decides against a long-term relationship and cancels earlier than planned, the initial cost invested into customer support and onboarding may not be covered. Solution selling is one way to ensure a good fit.
When you sell a solution, you’re no longer selling your one product or quick fix, but an investment in a collaborative effort between both parties. The ultimate goal is to nurture a client relationship which moves beyond solving a current issue or meeting their immediate needs. Your company should be the first stop for future customer needs as well.
Future over Features
It’s particularly important to keep this goal in mind when at the finishing stages of a sales cycle. When you move to close a deal, your closing case should remind your prospect that they’re investing in an experience rather than a product. To put this in concrete terms: While your software service bundle may possess a wide range of useful and innovative features, don’t let your product be defined by its features.
If you let your software’s features carry the weight in your value proposition, you send a signal evoking a notion of a “quick fix” rather than a collaborative cooperation. In additional to this, the leading with the “features” discussion essentially provides your lead with a compiled list of solutions they can look to have solved by your competition for cheaper. Instead, be sure to sell more than just your product and close with your proposed solution.
Solution Selling: The Value of a Consistent Customer Experience
Solution selling has left its mark on the industry. Buyers now value the experience accompanying their purchase, or the “full package” suppliers provide their customers from start to finish. For B2B SaaS buyers, a consistent customer experience spans multiple channels from point of first contact all the way to deployment. And these potential future B2B customers are utilizing more and more resources to research products and vendors prior to reaching out. In other words, they come prepared as ever – and that means you should, too. Make solution selling a priority in your sales team and send your client the right signal from day one.
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