Outbound Sales in SaaS: The Secrets to Winning
Sales teams at any company have one main goal: generate revenue 💰💰💰
This isn’t easy, especially with making cold calls and trying to sell something a prospect will never physically hold in their hands.
We’re talking about SaaS sales and the role of an outbound sales rep, a critical part of any SaaS organization.
Here’s everything you need to know as an outbound SaaS sales rep to succeed. Let’s get started.
- What is SaaS sales?
- Why outbound sales is crucial to building a pipeline
- The key challenges of SaaS sales
- SaaS sales development reps
What is SaaS sales?
To understand SaaS sales, let’s define software as a service (SaaS). This is where software businesses sell their product through a subscription-based pricing model.
Customers can access SaaS software directly from the cloud instead of installing it onto their computers or devices.
SaaS sales is selling software using this model 📈
A sales development representative (SDR) sells software to customers that they can access through a portal or website and start accessing the product immediately.
Like any other sales model, SaaS sales involve building trust and rapport with potential customers. As well as learning their pain points and answering their questions.
But there are ways in which SaaS sales development is unique. For instance, SaaS sales has no physical or tangible product.
Here are some top tips for winning SaaS sales from SDRs at Cognim 🎬
Only a decade ago, customers would have received a CD or USB drive to install the software. It may have collected dust once installed, but customers owned it forever.
With SaaS sales, the subscription ends. So it’s more like customers are renting the software, not buying it. Additionally, with traditional sales, customers usually pay a one-time fee.
But in SaaS sales, customers buy a subscription, which could be monthly, annually, or pay-as-you-go.
SaaS sales also come with important metrics to track.
Let’s take a closer look at some 🔎
- Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): Revenue a company expects to bring in every month based on current customers’ subscriptions.
- Customer lifetime value (CLTV): Revenue an average customer will generate for your relationship with them.
- Annual recurring revenue (ARR): Revenue a company would bring in over a year based on the current subscription value.
- Deal velocity: The average time it takes for a lead to move through the pipeline.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC): The average cost of signing a new user.
- Churn rate: The percentage of customers leaving every month or year.
- Win rate: The percentage of total leads your SaaS sales development team closed over a specific timeframe.
Why outbound sales is crucial to building pipeline
For SaaS sales to succeed, an outbound sales strategy is key.
Outbound sales are when a member of your sales team conducts cold, direct outreach to potential customers through phone calls, emails, or social media.
It differs from inbound sales, where you use content and social media to attract prospects to your product or services.
Outbound sales are crucial for building a pipeline because, usually, SaaS sales have a longer cycle.
It depends on factors like the type of customer being targeted, the price of the SaaS tool, how complex the product is, and if free trials are offered. Effective outbound sales can help streamline where possible.
The outbound SaaS sales process
Before you start outbound sales in SaaS, you need a good strategy. Let’s take a look at the key points to consider.
1. Identify the target audience with buyer personas
You need to go further than just identifying your ideal customer profile (ICP). This includes narrowing down who your audience is, the problems they’re facing, and why your SaaS tool is the solution.
2. Set prospect criteria
You don’t want your SDRs chasing down unqualified prospects, so qualifying leads with specific questions and criteria is a must.
3. Simplify where you can
This means developing email templates, call scripts, and closing techniques that are unique to what you’re selling.
4. Consider objectives and goals
Having activity goals and sales quotas can set your reps up for success.
Activity goals are measured by:
- Number of dials made
- Emails sent
- How many meetings are in the calendar
5. Conduct outreach
Time for sales reps to roll up their sleeves and start getting in touch with leads. Remember that each cold outreach technique has its own strategy and KPIs to measure success.
6. The art of sales cadence
You’ve likely narrowed down which of your leads have potential interest in your product. Now you need to continue to engage with them by following up, this is called sales cadence.
Once a meeting is booked by an SDR, the prospect has a demo with an AE who will try to close the deal.
7. Have a customer support plan
Supporting the customer may not always be up to the outbound sales rep, but it’s always good to have a plan. Knowing where a customer runs into bottlenecks can be a part of the solution, which will ultimately help AEs close more deals.
The key challenges of outbound sales in SaaS
SaaS sales come with unique challenges, so don’t expect non-SaaS sales reps to make the transition overnight. Even experienced SaaS SDRs get stuck by rejections and objections.
Morgan J Ingram, Director of Sales Execution and Evolution at JB Sales Training explains how to overcome the common objection “this is my personal number, don't call me" in the clip below 🎬
The SaaS world is growing bigger all the time. There’s always going to be a ton of competition, no matter your vertical.
A good rep knows about their competitors and what makes the product they’re selling better than the rest. Finding ways to stand out can be difficult. But it’s all about playing to your strengths and working on any weaknesses.
What’s more the unknown is scary. As April Dunford recently outlined at SaaStock “40-60% of B2B sales purchase processes end in ‘no decision’ due to it being the lowest risk option.”
“We’re happy with the solution we’ve got” can be another common objection for SDRs due to this. But that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal, no SaaS solution is truly irreplaceable if you know how to pitch the value of yours.
Ollie Pleasants, Account Executive at Harness explains how to overcome this objection:
“One way in which I’ve learned to objection handle this is respecting that they have something in place that works. There’s no point getting defensive.”
“I then go on to say, it’s great to hear you’ve got something in place that’s working at the moment. Bit of a random question, but if you had to rate your current SaaS solution out of 10, what would you give it?”
This helps to keep the question open. After the prospect gives you a score it’s easier to ask them to outline areas for improvement in the existing SaaS solution.
Of course, if customers do decide to switch on their own, it’s very easy to do so in SaaS. That’s why churn rate is an important indicator of how good your product really is. It’s such a fast-paced area and in a blink of an eye, the features and functionality that make your service unique can be copied.
SaaS sales development reps
Attracting and retaining the top talent for your outbound sales team starts with a great job description. Good compensation helps secure the best SaaS SDRs, along with the usual great benefits you’d expect at a tech company.
Some SaaS SDR roles like Chili Piper are fully remote for example. Alina Vandenberghe, the co-found and CEO explained recently how they “had to assume the best results and see the best in people” in order for this to work globally.
You need to know what to look for in an SDR. Though there are different personality types, great sales reps often have these characteristics 👇
- Inquisitive nature
- A good listener
- Eager to learn and take on feedback
- Consistent work ethic
The secrets to winning at SaaS sales
Winning at outbound sales in the SaaS industry can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
We’ve taken you through our top secrets to winning (shh, tell your whole team) 🤐
Just to recap, the secrets to winning at outbound sales in SaaS are:
- Know your SaaS solution inside out
- Understand your ICP, users, and buyer persona
- Find out a sales cadence that works
- Hire the best SaaS SDRs you can
- Look at the metrics of success in SaaS sales closely
💡You might also like: How to Increase Outbound Sales Calls [+ Sales Leader Advice]