Sales enablement professionals are a dedicated bunch. They work tirelessly to support the organization’s sales reps with the ultimate aim of making them better sellers. That being said, it’s important to consider the perspective of the person that your sellers are selling to.
The buyer is obviously a key component of the sale, and so as a sales enablement practitioner you should be able to put yourself in their shoes.
Here, James Fielding, Head of Sales Enablement at Grant Thornton Australia, shares wisdom to impart on your sellers, from a buyer’s perspective:
Selling more sales SaaS - from a buyer's perspective
Rarely a week goes by where I don't get a call, email or InMail from a sales rep looking to offload their sales SaaS. And guess what? I'm ok with it.
Yes, I'm happy to take conversations, see demos and read materials as I look to challenge my thinking and see what's out there. My view is that I'll either learn something, or buy something I need.
But the truth is this: I rarely make or sponsor a sales SaaS purchase
Why; you ask? Is it budget? Lack of need? Solution quality? Internal sign-off? Buying experience? Change management? Opportunity cost?
The answer is: all of these, and more.
You see, I rarely make or sponsor a sales SaaS purchase as the potential benefit to my business (and to me personally) is either marginal or unproven and therefore not worth the effort.
To make or sponsor a sales SaaS purchase, I'll need to jump through (many, many) hoops to secure buy-in from stakeholders in technology, risk, finance and management. And once I secure this buy-in and formal sign-off, there's a huge demand on my time and I'm the one carrying the risk of adoption and performance uplift.
Speaking to other buyers of sales SaaS, I'm far from alone in this thinking. Sure, my needs and perceptions may be skewed by the unique world of professional services, but the challenges I face as a buyer are universal.
If you want me (and others) to buy your sales SaaS, you need to improve your offer, support my path to purchase and share risk - you need to become a genuine partner.
Here are 11 ways you can do this:
- Rationalize and/or compartmentalize your solution to solve a few problems really well, and price accordingly. The more focused and inexpensive the solution, the easier it is to explain, secure budget, implement and secure adoption. You can then collaborate with the buyer to build out solutions over time: it's the old land-and-expand play.
- Share the risk of adoption and performance uplift by having your fee contingent on agreed success metrics. In short, put your money where your mouth is. As a buyer, it's much easier to secure initial and ongoing investment when you can point to real-life improvements to revenue, cost savings, risk mitigation, behavior change and so on.
- Cut the buzzwords. Nobody has any clue what you mean when you ramble on about machine-enabled revenue acceleration, AI insights or hyper-automation! Rather than making your solution sound impressive, it makes it sound complicated and unproven. And if it sounds too much for me, you can bet your life they'll be eye-rolls and groans from those controlling the purse strings.
- Work at the buyer's pace - not yours. Buyers don't care about your targets and whether it's the end of the month or quarter. It's a buying process, not a sales process. If the buyer feels like you're pushing, they'll lose trust in your motives (i.e. they'll get a big whiff of your commission breath) and will either kill the deal or ghost you.
- Don't be hasty in seeking a meeting. Although I'm happy to take meetings, most buyers aren't and will avoid you like the plague if you push too hard for one. Instead, seek to disrupt the buyer with challenging insights and entice them to engage with your content, case studies, DIY demos and so on. This approach will see you engage many more prospects, build trust and have better, more qualified meetings.
- Don't get hung-up on discovery. If the buyer doesn't want it, that's fine. The reason many buyers don't want discovery is that they don't want a manipulated view of your capability. Personally, I don't want to waste time educating you on my business, as it's easier for me to get to grips with your capability. I also expect that you should know my business (if not, why are you engaging me) and can challenge me with insights from like-businesses or best practice.
- Develop a suite of material on privacy, data protection, integrations, etc. This material needs to be readily available and address the concerns of stakeholders in technology, risk, HR and finance - including specific concerns for the market they operate. This material needs to be branded, well-formatted, and in PDF. If not, it gives the appearance that you're making it up on the fly.
- Illustrate a realistic path to adoption and benefits realisation. Additionally, partner to support that path. It's not enough to have the odd catch-up and give stats on usage. You need to be intimately involved, to educate and support on change initiatives, set milestones and so on. And the process needs to be supported with communication templates, training material (incl. on demand videos), competency checklists, users surveys and so on.
- Be transparent with pricing. Have it on your website, share it freely and openly talk to it. If your pricing is too much for the potential benefit for my business - I can quickly qualify out and save you time. And as mentioned earlier, make your pricing more desirable via the rationalization/compartmentalization of your solutions and tying your fee to agreed success metrics.
- Keep sharing insights and resources. Just because a buyer doesn't purchase straight away doesn't mean they won't in the future - as needs change, budgets become available, they change jobs and so on. Buyers gravitate to salespeople that add value without the sniff of a sale, as you're seen as an objective adviser.
- Get better at outreach. So much of the outreach I receive is generic, cheesy and a tad needy - as it's full of fake praise, superficial personalisation or sales-speak. Instead of putting my name on a mug and asking me to 'roll the dice' - just talk directly to the challenges I face and entice me to learn how these challenges can be overcome. And if you can't talk to my challenges, don't engage me.
The key takeaways
So, there you have it. The key takeaways for becoming more serious about selling more sales SaaS:
Focus on your offer, support the buyer's path to purchase, and share the risk of adoption and benefits realisation. Not only will you sell more, you'll experience less churn, enjoy selling and have buyers advocating for you. Happy days!
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