When marketing your B2B SaaS product, more often than not companies call their solution a platform. Here's what to consider as potential downsides.
Want to know your sales approach? Check your price tag.
There’s no tried and true formula for marketing and selling B2B SaaS products. Even experienced salespeople and marketers will need to significantly reshape their standard pitches, tone, and messaging when moving between companies in the space.
With a huge variety of approaches at your disposal, any reference points you can use to hone your strategy are useful. A prominent differentiator between SaaS products and thus between their respective sales strategies is price.
Recognizing the commitment your buyer is making
There exists among SaaS companies a particularly large range of pricing; from $10/mo subscriptions for small businesses to enterprise deals totaling hundreds of thousands annually. Recognizing how your average deal size will affect your marketing and sales process and best practices is important.
If someone is going to be spending thousands upon thousands for your service, they’ll likely expect a great deal of proof that your company is a thought leader, that you are experts in your field. Spending a lot of time with each prospect will be commonplace.
When it comes to smaller deal sizes, however, devoting the time and resources needed to close every client simply won’t be feasible as you rely more upon volume. In this case, proving your expertise need to be handled to a greater degree by your marketing department, posting to your blog, sharing information on social media, and more. This is particularly true of businesses that allow their customer's self-service purchasing.
When you price your product, you are asking the customer to make a commitment of a size according to the scale of your prices. It’s important that your marketing, sales pitch, customer service, and learning resources reflect this commitment.
Big deals, Big expectations
When striking enterprise deals, selling to companies with hundreds of potential users or devices, your sales team is your most valuable asset.
The larger the deal the more important trust is in the conversation, which makes any marketing or sales tactics that are not highly personal and targeted likely to fail. Otherwise reliable channels like paid media and account-based marketing often fall flat when large companies are seeking a solution they will be investing tens, if not hundreds of thousands into.
From the marketing side, devoting the bulk of your time and resources to inbound marketing tactics will be the best use of them. Optimize your website, provide large amounts of free content, and make your company the go-to resource for those researching your industry and type of service.
Your sales team will often be the key players in these deals, however, even assuming your potential lead has been drawn in by great content and sees you as a thought leader in your field, they are unlikely to quickly commit. And so the long sales discussion begins.
As the price of your product increases, prepare to likewise increase the effort and time given to the client by your sales team. Despite the digital era we are working in, a human connection is still essential to closing large deals, and fostering this relationship wherever possible should be a focus of your team. Schedule a call instead of an email, an in-person meeting instead of a phone call, any way you can show the human side of your business and establish trust.
Don’t forget: when you sell B2B, you are still very much selling to people, and humans trust humans, not businesses.
Midsize deals: where sales and marketing walk hand-in-hand
B2B SaaS companies vending services priced between $5,000 and $50,000 annually operate in a baby bear zone, not too big for a sales-driven approach, not too small for a product and marketing-led approach.
At this range, a delicate balance needs to be struck between not overloading your sales team with huge volumes of leads to tend to while also not leaving it up to customers to guide themselves through the funnel when they really should be speaking to sales. Take time to determine the hand-off point between sales and marketing and have frequent meetings between the teams to adjust it. Is your sales team speaking to too many poor-fit leads? Are leads dropping out of the funnel at a place where sales could be moving them forward?
Finding this balance is difficult, and many businesses will struggle to maintain a healthy marketing department and effective sales team, both of which need to be in top shape as they both hold a large amount of responsibility for moving leads through the funnel. Coordination between sales and marketing is critical here.
Micro-deals mean mega-marketing
Once a company’s service’s pricing drops into the low thousands or down farther into the hundreds, a sales-driven model will not be viable. Low pricing demands a high volume of sales, making dedicating salespeople’s time to individual prospects highly unprofitable. Thus, you must rely on your marketing department to draw in and guide your leads to a purchase, reserving the sales team for special cases.
For many businesses with small deal sizes, they will have a product-led marketing approach in which sales takes a backseat to marketing’s efforts, free trials and freemium plans, and self-service purchasing. At this scale, a reasonably sized sales team would not be able to service all of the incoming prospects entering your funnel. What’s more, to your prospects, lower-cost means lower risk, and they will be much more likely to purchase without any contact from sales needed to establish trust.
With more leads and customers come more contacts to keep track of. While a sales team with only a few working leads may be able to keep track of your prospects in their meetings log, as this number balloons with low-priced items, having a reliable customer relationship management solution (CRM) is crucial. Using these systems to process all of your contacts’ information and log their actions keeps this information from being lost in a sea of contacts and also allows you to take a broad view of your prospects and customers.
At this price range, a great challenge you may experience is simply knowing when to dedicate additional time to specific accounts and when to simply leave them to find their path through the funnel.
Separating high-value contacts with lead scoring
A great way to identify high-value contacts in a sales system in which a salesperson does not come into contact with a large proportion of your leads is lead scoring.
Look at attributes shared by your customers and opportunities with a high likelihood of closing—what do they have in common? Company size? Budget? Industry? When you’ve constructed a picture of a quality lead, one who is within your ideal customer profile, you can generate a grading system according to the attributes you’ve selected. When a lead fits these criteria, CRM tools like HubSpot can automatically score and flag these leads for you to look over and follow up with.
Looking to form or develop your ideal customer profile? Check out our free guide and template.
When determining the structure of your marketing and sales departments and how they will coordinate, it’s important to consider the huge impact the price of your product will have on buyers’ decisions and perceptions as well as the volume of prospects and customers you will need to scale to. Make sure to clearly communicate to all teams involved how this will impact their role and where resources should be best directed. Remain conscious of the level of trust your prospects will need to have in you before making a purchase.
For more on the differences between sales and product-led growth, listen to the Bite-Sized Marketing Snacks Podcast episode on the topic. If you’re interested in the relationship between sales and marketing, see this blog on Why SaaS Sales And Marketing Are One Team.
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Vaughan endeavors to create intriguing and well-informed material. He is excited to make a positive impact with his work and to continually expand and make effective use of his skills in and knowledge about marketing.