How can I increase SaaS sales?
That’s the question that keeps software business owners and marketers up at night. Acquiring new customers is one of the hardest things to do in SaaS, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. After all, nothing happens until that initial sale is made.
In this article, we’ll highlight five exceptionally effective tactics you can employ to significantly increase SaaS sales.
It may not be most exciting lead generation method out there, but for pure efficiency, good old fashioned pay-per-click advertising is tough to beat. You simply write the ads, create a landing page, flip the switch and start getting visitors that very same day.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are especially effective for self-service SaaS companies because the cost of changing solutions is often very low. An effective strategy is to target business managers who are already searching for alternatives to their current software, and direct them to landing pages comparing their software to your own.
For inspiration, here’s a great comparison page from Freshbooks, aimed at people looking for a Quickbooks alternative.
This strategy is powerful because it targets visitors with high purchase intent, and gives them exactly the information they need to determine that your software is the right choice. Because the content is highly relevant to their search, these pages will not only directly generate direct leads, but will also increase your website’s quality score, an important factor that goes into where your PPC ad is placed and how much your cost-per-click is. The higher the quality score, the better your ad placement and the cheaper your CPC will be.
Social media audiences usually fall into an 80/20 distribution: 10% love you, 10% hate you, and 80% haven’t made up their minds yet.
Each of these groups can be leveraged for leads in a different way:
• Amplify positive shout-outs from fans. Testimonials from loyal users are some of the best social proof you can get, and you should be spreading the good word whenever you get a chance. You can share it on social media, post it on your blog, and include them on landing pages. Think of it as word-of-mouth advertising on steroids.
• Address issues and negative comments from haters. Engaging with negativity in a respectful, professional way has two main benefits. First, it nips rumors and inaccurate complaints in the bud, before they have a chance to get out of hand. Second, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your excellent customer service, which will win you respect among your followers.
• Answer questions from undecided prospects. Most of your followers will be on-the-fence about your solution, but that just means they’re only a few questions away from becoming customers! Directly answering questions from these “neutral” followers and leading them to resources on your site will allow you to build a relationship and educate them on the value of your solution.
Done skillfully, actively engaging with followers on social media is one of the best ways to generate new leads.
B2B buyers do their homework before purchasing software, and third-party review sites are some of their most trusted sources. In a recent Capterra study, 66% of software buyers said that reading product reviews significantly impacted their purchase decision.
There are several reasons why review sites are popular:
• They rank highly in search due to regular content updates, high relevance and strong visitor engagement
• As third-party sources, they are considered more trustworthy than vendor sites
• They make it easy to compare products from multiple vendors side-by-side
If your solution is not already featured in the major review sites for your market, you should make it a priority to reach out to their editors and solicit those reviews.
And once you secure those reviews, explore the paid options available to make your review stand out. For example, many review sites offer a “detailed review” service, which is similar to a paid listing that gives readers more information about your product.
Securing a prominently featured positive review is great positive validation for your product, and will drive a lot of direct traffic to your website. You should do everything you can to make that happen.
In B2B software, credibility is king.
By the time a typical B2B buyer lands on your site, they probably already know a bit about your solution and how it solves their problem. The most important question they’re asking themselves at this point is: can this solution and company really deliver on their promises?
There are several major ways you can establish credibility with new visitors, and you should do your best to implement every single one of them:
• Well-Known Trust Seals. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that half of American internet users are “deterred” from making online purchases due concerns over privacy and data security. You can allay these fears by prominently displaying trust seals for technical security (e.g. Norton), business credibility (e.g. BBB) and financial legitimacy (e.g. Visa/Mastercard).
• Customer Testimonials. Social proof is a powerful thing. By showcasing the positive experiences other customers have had with your software, you’ll be able to prove to prospects that your software delivers real results.
• Detailed Case Studies. These are even better than short testimonials, because they actually walk the prospect through various use cases for your software, and how it can help specific team members in their organization. Case studies are one of the best ways to give prospects deep insight into your software’s unique value.
• Customer Service Contact Details. Featuring these front and center will show that you are easily accessible in case of any issues or disputes. Visitors are much more likely to buy from a transparent company.
Having all of these credibility indicators on your site will help reassure customers about the effectiveness of your solution, and your reliability as a vendor.
Free trials have become the industry standard in SaaS, especially if you’re not a big brand like Salesforce or Hubspot. If you don’t currently offer a free trial, you could be hindering your conversion rate, and should consider implementing one.
Simply put, free trials take all of the risk away from the customer. All of the credibility indicators in the previous section can help to put prospects at ease, but nothing builds comfort like a no-obligation free trial.
Having said that, you should make sure to keep your trials short – no longer than 14 days in most cases. The main reason for this is that most people simply don’t use free trials for the full duration anyway – most jump ship after three days. Keeping the trial short will cause users to take it more seriously, and will cut short procrastination. By ensuring that your users are fully engaged for the trial period, you significantly bump up your chances of conversion.
Also, shorter trials mean shorter sales cycles. If you can cut down your sales cycle from five weeks to three, you’ll greatly reduce your customer acquisition costs.
The SaaS world can sometimes feel like an F1 race track – extremely competitive and moving at breakneck speed. The way to get ahead is not simply to work harder, but to employ effective tactics that will help you scale your sales efforts. By implementing the suggestions in this article, you’ll be able to leave your competition in the dust.