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Selling software-as-a-service can be a challenge for many salespeople. If you're not prospecting well enough, however, it can be almost impossible. Here are five common mistakes salespeople must avoid when selling SaaS solutions:
1. Not Digging Into Their Current Solution
A common objection is that prospects are already happy with their current vendor. Many salespeople use this objection as an easy way to get out of digging further. They'll simply thank them for their time and promise to check-in several months down the line.
Salespeople should stop using this as a roadblock and start looking at it as an opportunity. Start digging into their current solution by asking the following questions:
- Do you mind if I ask who exactly you're using at this time?
- Why are you so satisfied with your current solution?
- What else could they do to ensure an even better experience?
Once you know who they're using, you'll have lots of advantages. You can create a plan that shows exactly how easy it would be to transition between solutions and list out the benefits of doing so. This information provides enormous opportunity if you're able to leverage it properly.
2. Mismanaging Contacts
One huge mistake many salespeople make is that they simply only reach out to a single contact. When you're pitching a software solution, many different people need to be involved. The managers of teams using the software, the purchasing office and any IT executives are all critical allies in the decision-making process. If you're missing support from any of them, you might not be able to close the sale.
Even if there's only one key decision maker, you don't want to waste your first impression on them. Being able to come to them with a recommendation from one of their colleagues or employees gives you a huge advantage. They'll be much more likely to actually listen to your pitch and give you serious consideration. Blowing that first contact, however, can ensure you never get a second chance.
3. Failing to Talk About Budget
Knowing a prospect's budget is incredibly important. It helps you instantly determine whether or not they're a good fit for your services and lets you know what tier of services to offer. You must find this out for each individual prospect since IT budgets vary wildly among companies. Some research even shows that small and mid-size companies will often spend more than larger ones. Making generalizations about budget results in spending time on sales you can't close or leaving money on the table.
Even though it's important to talk about your prospect's budget, it's not always easy. If your prospects are hesitant to share their budget with you, try to get a rough idea in other ways. Ask about any other IT projects they have on the table or ones that have been completed recently. Find out what their current IT environment looks like, and how often they refresh equipment. This should give you enough information to build out a reasonable estimate of their budget.
4. Purchasing Your Leads
Buying an email list is an easy way to keep your sales team busy, but it's not especially effective. The problem is that these lists are usually outdated and overworked. Many of your leads may have already moved onto another company or are in another position, and the vast majority of them will have been called repeatedly by other companies that have purchased a similar lead list. This is why the average open rate for paid prospecting lists is between 0.01% and 0.1%.
Your best bet is taking the time to find prospects the old fashioned way.
5. Determining How Savvy They Are
Knowing exactly how tech-savvy a particular contact is changes the way you sell to them. That's why it's so important to determine their level of expertise early in the process. If you're dealing with somebody who has very little technical knowledge, a simple user interface is important to them and something you should highlight in your pitch. Take your time and explain everything clearly. If you're talking to the IT Manager or an engineer, on the other hand, you'll need to be prepared to field technical, tough questions. The key is figuring this out as early as possible.
Prospecting is a difficult part of the sales process but by avoiding these five common mistakes any salesperson will close more sales than ever.
Danny Wong is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company. He also leads marketing for Receiptful, a platform to supercharge all customer interactions for eCommerce stores, and Tenfold, a seamless click-to-dial solution for high-performance sales teams. To connect, tweet him @dannywong1190 or message him on LinkedIn. For more of his clips, visit his portfolio.