There is so much to consider when nurturing a lead through the sales funnel. Who do you contact? What’s the best time to follow up with a lead? When is it appropriate to bring up pricing? How do you avoid being pushy or overselling?
To complicate matters, B2B sales are unique because you aren't selling to a singular person, but to an organization. This means you have to learn how their decision-making and approval processes are structured - which can be different for every organization you approach. There isn't a perfect formula or science to do this.
That being said, however, there are tactics you can use (and tactics to avoid) that can help you with every prospect. Below I’ll explain four mistakes that are commonly made when pursuing B2B SaaS leads and how to fix them.
Forgetting To Provide Extra Value In Follow-Ups
SaaS has been growing heartily, especially as more businesses realize the power and benefits of switching from traditional software to cloud-focused solutions. According to a 2018 SaaS Industry Market Report, 38% of companies pushed for a SaaS-exclusive approach, and 78% expect to be almost entirely SaaS dependent by 2020. Meeting this rise in popularity and demand has led to an increasing number of SaaS startups.
This means more options for consumers and more competition for you. Since your prospects are likely talking to several competing SaaS companies at the same time, you will need to actively demonstrate the value that your company and its product bring to the table (the value that the competition doesn’t offer).
Contentful, a SaaS CMS (content management system), does a great job of this in a video that they share on their homepage. This video showcases the difference between what they deem “legacy” CMS and its product. This quickly and effectively demonstrates the Contentful difference and why its SaaS solution is superior.
The Fix: Don’t undershoot the value of what you have to offer. Mention the value of your proposition each time you follow up with the customer; otherwise they may forget or be persuaded by a competitor who does.
Following Up “Just to Check-In”
The buying journey for SaaS business solutions is long and takes time. Prospects don’t invest after a single call or meeting. It can take several steps to nurture a prospect and then convert that prospect into a bonafide client.
As you nurture a lead, it is essential to follow up multiple times (as many as 6 phone calls can be required before you even reach a prospect!) and be actively communicative. During this time, it is important to avoid making the big mistake of calling/emailing only to “just to check in” (like maybe your mom did multiple times a day every day while you were in college ;)). Not only does this express to the lead that you’re impatient, but it is also a missed opportunity to showcase additional value to the prospect.
The Fix: Make sure you have a tangible reason behind every communication effort. "I wanted to reach out to you to say hi and share this new report we've published on the importance of back-office SaaS solutions." This approach enriches your real value proposition, refreshes your company/product in the mind of the prospect, and doesn’t create the sense that you’re impatient or acting like that worried parent (love you, Mom!).
Wasting Time on Prospects That Aren’t Interested
Every SaaS sales or marketing professional has had some leads that never mature, despite every effort to help them through the sales funnel. And for some leads it’s because they had no intention to purchase in the first place.
Accepting the fact that a potential client is not interested is not easy. But, it’s best to face it head on and move forward. Spending too much time trying to convert a prospect that has no interest could turn them off to any future relationships.
The Fix: Craft a simple breakup email that demonstrates that you’re still interested in a relationship, but you don't want to be a bother or waste the lead's time if they aren’t. This type of email helps close the loop with the lead and may even create that sense of urgency to push them towards buying. You can also express that if they aren’t interested now, they can reach out to you if they are in the market for SaaS products in the future.
Not Asking Lost Leads For Feedback
Even if you don’t make the mistakes I mentioned above and avoid the multitudes of other pitfalls that can disrupt the B2B SaaS sales process, the majority of your leads may still not convert into customers; that’s just the nature of the business.
Yet, the leads that never bloom into customers are still valuable, particularly for gaining insights into why. One of the biggest mistakes that sales or marketing professionals can make is closing the door on a prospect who says they aren’t interested without first asking for feedback. Doing so means you’ll miss out on some important insights that can help you improve your future sales process.
The Fix: Ask your lost leads questions; many will be happy to provide feedback. Their answers will often result in actionable insights towards developing stronger strategies to meet today’s needs for future prospects. Implementing a data analytics tool can also enable you to measure the successes and failures of your tactics. Etsy Marketing Tool (EMT), a SaaS solution for vendors on Etsy, for example, was able to adopt a data-driven approach to their decision-making model that led to 270% more signups for 450% more monthly revenue.
The sales process for B2B SaaS companies can be challenging. It's full of potential pitfalls and mistakes that sales or marketing professionals can unknowingly commit and thereby disenchant their prospects and increase churn.
The more time you and your teams commit to learning from the mistakes, the better your communication tactics will be and the more successful sales your company will see.
About the Author