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Scale Quickly With Proven B2B SaaS Sales Strategies
By Quiet Light
Sales and marketing drive the success of B2B SaaS businesses. Whether you’re in the early stages of product development or seeking to accelerate growth, it’s critical to implement proven B2B SaaS sales strategies that can help you succeed.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about B2B SaaS sales strategies, including:
- How they differ from B2C sales strategies
- Common challenges facing B2B sales teams
- How to create a winning B2B SaaS sales strategy
- Specific B2B SaaS strategies you can start using today
How B2B SaaS Sales Strategies Differ From B2C
While there is certainly overlap between many B2C and B2B sales strategies, there are some key differences that distinguish the two. By understanding the unique qualities of B2B sales, you’ll be better equipped to create a winning strategy in your business.
A few characteristics that are typically unique to B2B sales include:
- Relationship building is key
- Longer sales cycle
- Higher acquisition cost
- Higher price point
- Greater emphasis on service
- Lower churn rates
“While there is certainly overlap between many B2C and B2B sales strategies, there are some key differences that distinguish the two.”
Relationships Are Key in B2B Sales
For many B2C SaaS companies, sales are generated directly through businesses’ websites without the need for a sales representative. You certainly wouldn’t get on the phone with a sales rep from Spotify to sign up for their $10 per month music streaming service.
On the other hand, business customers often require more engagement and communication leading up to the B2B SaaS sale. This means that B2B SaaS businesses need to focus on more than just landing pages and other passive marketing strategy options. To drive sales, they need to cultivate personal relationships with the customers and clients that they serve.
Given the importance of relationship-building, most B2B SaaS companies must put significant energy into building skilled teams of sales reps. In addition to finding the right people, these SaaS companies must also invest heavily in technical and sales training.
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Longer Sales Cycle
The higher engagement requirements for B2B sales also correspond with a longer sales cycle and sales funnel.
Unlike many B2C sales cycles, B2B sales often take place over a significant period of time. Part of this has to do with the more complex nature of many B2B SaaS products compared to B2C.
“Unlike many B2C sales cycles, B2B sales often take place over a significant period of time.”
For B2C SaaS products that are simple and straightforward, customers can usually make their purchasing decisions quickly based on the information presented on a single product page or app store. However, the purchasing decision isn’t as simple for B2B SaaS offers that involve numerous features and complex functionality.
B2B SaaS sales often require a longer lead nurturing process, back and forth sales communication, product demos, and group conversations.
Higher Customer Acquisition Cost
Each of the steps mentioned above amounts to a sales cycle that is more costly for SaaS businesses to operate.
Instead of simply driving traffic to a landing page to drive sales, many B2B SaaS companies must invest in numerous other steps. Often, expense areas include paid advertising, lead nurturing campaigns, sales rep salaries, and SaaS sales process development costs.
Higher Price Point
The longer sales cycle and higher acquisition costs of most B2B SaaS businesses come with serious upside potential. Generally, each B2B buyer is willing to pay significantly more for the SaaS services they purchase.
Compared to most B2C customers, B2B customers render significantly more value from the SaaS services they work with. For example, if you sell data management software licenses to large companies, it’s likely that your software is a critical part of their revenue model.
Similarly, if you provide a comprehensive content marketing platform for creating, optimizing, and managing large quantities of website content, your company may play a critical role in the success of your customers and clients. In these situations, you’ll be able to charge a premium for the software licenses you sell.
The Importance of Customer Service in B2B SaaS Sales
Just as sales reps are an important part of most B2B SaaS sales strategies and B2B marketing, customer service reps are often equally important for maintaining happy customers and clients.
“To satisfy the customer service requirements of most B2B SaaS companies, most owners have to invest in hiring and training skilled account managers and customer success representatives.”
When you’re selling complex SaaS products at a higher price point, your customers are going to expect you to help them out when challenges arise. If you leave them wondering how to solve critical functionality issues, you’ll run into immediate trouble.
To satisfy the customer service requirements of most B2B SaaS companies, most owners have to invest in hiring and training skilled account managers and customer success representatives. Often, these roles work in conjunction with the outbound sales team to ensure a smooth and coherent customer experience.
Lower Churn Rates
It may take more time and energy to acquire B2B SaaS customers, but they also generally stick around longer.
Unlike many B2C customers, B2B customers often become highly reliant on the SaaS products they use. For example, if your customers’ entire teams are using your platform on a daily basis, it’s going to be quite difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions. In order to move to a new platform, they would have to coordinate with their team, go through training again, and change aspects of their business.
Having said that, businesses do cancel SaaS subscriptions when they become dissatisfied enough. As in all businesses, keeping your customers happy is the best way to keep them for life.
In the B2C versus B2B debate, there are areas in which each model has its strengths.
Common B2B SaaS Sales Challenges to Overcome
While B2B SaaS companies often enjoy enormous profit potential, there are also certain challenges they must overcome. Four common challenges you might encounter as a B2B SaaS company owner include:
- Understanding what your customers want
- Selling to committees of buyers
- Scaling your SaaS sales team
- Generating a positive ROI
Understanding What Your Customers Want
Like all businesses, B2B SaaS businesses must hone in on their customers’ wants and needs. However, because their customers’ needs are often more complex than B2C customers, this step can require extensive research and discovery.
To develop a proven product and SaaS sales model, SaaS founders must become intimately familiar with their target customers. For this reason, industry expertise is an absolute necessity in many cases. B2B SaaS companies that understand this have the chance to become a sales leader in their industry.
Selling to Committees of Buyers
Unlike most B2C SaaS businesses, B2B companies typically sell to firms that have multiple decision-makers involved. Needless to say, this adds complexity to the process.
With several people in different positions involved in the sales process, SaaS sales reps must learn how to address a variety of sales objection topics. They also need to be able to run meetings and facilitate communication between multiple parties. This element can present a significant sales challenge for any SaaS salesperson who lacks the requisite skills and experience.
“Unlike most B2C SaaS businesses, B2B companies typically sell to firms that have multiple decision-makers involved.”
Scaling Sales Teams
For B2B SaaS companies to succeed, they often need to grow a talented and knowledgable sales team. This requires B2B SaaS owners to make smart hiring decisions and implement effective training and management practices.
For SaaS owners who don’t have HR experience, this can present challenges. Therefore, it’s critical that someone on the leadership team knows how to build and manage a team of sales reps. This allows SaaS teams to accelerate their sales velocity and increase revenue.
Generating a Positive ROI
With numerous elements involves in growing a B2B SaaS business, it’s no surprise that most incur significant costs. Therefore, profit can be elusive for companies that don’t have an efficient sales process.
Unlike many other businesses, it can take quite some time for B2B SaaS companies to reach profitability. However, once they do, their potential can be significant. For this reason, SaaS investors have the chance to experience significant growth after acquisition.
How to Create a Winning B2B SaaS Sales Strategy
There are several general steps you can take to create a winning B2B SaaS sales strategy. These include:
- Understand your customers
- Research your competition
- Develop an effective pricing strategy
- Focus on benefits rather than features
- Implement upsells
- Measure your results and refine your market strategy
Understand Your Customers’ Needs
All businesses must understand their customers’ needs, and SaaS companies are no different. In fact, this step is especially important for B2B SaaS companies, since their customers’ needs are often more complex than others.
As mentioned, many SaaS founders develop solutions for industries in which they’re already familiar. Being knowledgeable about the pain points and goals of a particular buyer segment gives you a major advantage when it comes to crafting a successful SaaS product and sales plan.
Additionally, it’s important to gather as much independent research as possible when evaluating your market. Surveys and interviews are two effective ways to get start the discovery process.
Research Your Competition
Part of the discovery process involves researching your competition. To develop an effective sales strategy, you have to know your competition.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to gather information about what your competitors are offering and what their customers think. Take some time to study their offers and read customer reviews and forums. Look for ways in which your competitors are succeeding, and especially, ways in which they’re not. If you’re an early-stage SaaS business going up against an established competitor, your success will largely depend on your ability to identify their shortcomings and provide solutions that they’re failing to deliver.
Of course, you should never try to duplicate your competitors’ products exactly. Rather, study what they’re doing in order to find opportunities for improvement.
Develop an Effective Pricing Strategy
Every sales strategy relies on an effective pricing strategy. Therefore, it’s important to spend some time developing a strategy that optimizes your chances of success.
In general, your B2B SaaS marketing and sales strategy should be based on a blend of your developments costs, customer acquisition costs, ongoing support costs and overhead, and the competitive landscape. By considering each of these elements, you should be able to establish a pricing strategy that allows you to be both competitive as well as profitable.
Focus On Benefits More than Features
Often, technically-minded individuals love to talk about features. However, more than likely, your customers will care much more about the benefits that those features offer.
When developing a sales strategy, be sure that you’re always speaking to product benefits rather than features. Not only will this enable you to connect with customers more effectively, but it will also help you avoid confusion. Confused customers generally say, “No.” This point should be near the top of the list in any SaaS marketer guide.
Because the needs of B2B SaaS customers are often complex, there are significant opportunities for SaaS companies to develop upsells. After all, if your business has a long SaaS sales cycle and high acquisition costs, shouldn’t you be seeking to maximize revenue?
To create upsells, you must first identify additional pain points that your customers are facing. Once you’ve developed solutions to those problems, you can implement upsells to deliver additional value to your customers and revenue for your company.
It’s important to note that your customers shouldn’t need to purchase your upsells in order to use your core SaaS offering. If they do, your customers will feel deceived, and for good reason.
Measure Your Results and Refine Your B2B SaaS Sales Strategy
Information and data should inform how you optimize every aspect of your SaaS business, including your sales process. By measuring your ROI across all of your marketing and sales activities, you can constantly improve your sales efforts.
For example, if you’re measuring the effectiveness of multiple lead nurturing campaigns, you can identify what is and isn’t working. This enables you to cut the ‘losers’ and optimize the strategies that are delivering the greatest results.
“By measuring your ROI across all of your marketing and sales activities, you can constantly improve your sales efforts.”
While the foundational principles of SaaS sales remain relatively constant, the specific tools and tactics are constantly evolving. By constantly researching SaaS marketing tips, you’ll be in a great position to implement a winning B2B SaaS sales strategy.
B2B SaaS Sales Strategies that will Pay Off in 2022
B2B SaaS businesses that implement the right strategies have the opportunity to have their efforts truly pay off. A few key strategies for 2022 and beyond include:
- Understand your buyer personas
- Get clear on your key differentiators
- Create an effective lead nurturing strategy
- Invest in marketing automation software
- Train your sales team to use consultative selling techniques
Understanding Your Buyer Persona
We mentioned this above, but its importance cannot be overstated. B2B marketers must have a clear and full understanding of their buyer persona.
Knowing your ideal customer is about more than just understanding their needs. B2B SaaS businesses must know what social media platforms, forums, events, and masterminds their prospective customer frequents. Sales and marketing become significantly easier when you hone in on who your customers are.
Get Clear on Your Key Differentiators
As a SaaS company owner, you must be clear on what sets you apart in your market. Without such clarity, it’s impossible to establish an effective digital marketing and sales strategy.
Also, it’s not enough for your SaaS product to be unique. Your sales reps must be intimately aware of how your offer differs from your competitors. Having an educated sales team makes it significantly easier to emphasize your products’ unique benefits when communicating with customers.
Create an Effective Lead Nurturing Strategy
Your lead nurturing strategy plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of your sales team. If you’re not nurturing your leads well, your sales reps will have a difficult time succeeding in their roles. In turn, your company will have a high customer acquisition cost and lower marketing ROI.
In most cases, a B2B lead nurturing campaign should include a blend of email marketing, social media remarketing campaigns, and sales rep engagement. The more you can stay relevant in your potential customer’s minds, the more likely they’ll choose to become paying subscribers.
Invest in Sales and Marketing Automation Software
Without sales and marketing automation software, it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of communications with your potential customers.
By implementing sales automation strategies, it’s significantly easier for sales reps to track communications at each stage of the sales cycle. Not only does this save reps significant time and energy, but it also ensures that they’re delivering the right messaging at the right times. Additionally, it minimizes the chances of emails slipping through the cracks.
Consultative Selling Techniques
The best way to show that you can provide value is to demonstrate value. Therefore, don’t wait until customers start paying you before you start serving them.
Instead of focusing solely on selling, train your sales reps to offer valuable consulting services to build trust and credibility with potential customers. If your customers can see that your sales reps are truly experts in their field, they’ll be much more likely to enter a long-term relationship with your company. Consultive selling is especially important for B2B SaaS companies that offer products at higher price points.
“Instead of focusing solely on selling, train your sales reps to offer valuable consulting services to build trust and credibility with potential customers.”
Growing a SaaS business is never straightforward, but the right steps can make the process much more simple. By implementing these strategies and constantly learning, you’ll be well-prepared to scale your SaaS business well into the future.
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