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4 SaaS Sales Challenges in 2019 and How You Should Tackle Them

Vy Dang
10/4/19 4:39 PM

It’s an exciting time to be in the software industry, there is no doubt. According to the SaaS Mag, there are 34,727 software products across 745 vertical sectors listed on the business software review site G2

Coupled with that, the shift in customer behavior in today’s digital world is no longer a debate. If you don’t catch up with how people think and shop for new technologies, you fall behind in the already over-crowded space. Inevitably, SaaS sales reps now face more competition and unprecedented challenges. 

Challenge #1: Stand out from the crowd 

The neck-to-neck competition between SaaS products, even in one vertical industry, makes the process of evaluation overwhelming for potential buyers.

To make things more difficult, feature-based communication doesn't help buyers understand why some features are cooler than others, and what's most suitable for them.

Eventually, buyers turn to the default and easiest comparison: prices - and features, in some cases. And we do not want that. 

How to fix: Sell benefits instead of features, and say it in the customer's language. Too often the sales on-boarding revolves around your product features, and your pitch starts with your value proposition. But all that makes little or no sense to the customers - who are only interested in their business. 

Dive into your prospect’s world and step into their shoes. If you don’t know their goals, their pain points, their KPIs measurement, you don’t have the right answer to why they should buy your product.

Resource: Keenan from A Sales Guy has laid out the key things you should learn about a customer’s business: 

  • Their process and how they manage their process, and how your solution can add value to that 
  • What their KPIs look like 
  • Who their customers are 
  • What common challenges they are faced with 
  • How they do their job and who reports to them 
  • What external forces or issues affect their business 

Challenge #2: Buyers are busy 

This sales challenge does not exclusively apply to SaaS industry. Buyers are busy. They have a lot on their plate and juggle a variety of responsibilities, professionally and personally. It’s one thing to grab their attention. But it’s another thing to sustain and drive the conversation forward. 

How to fix: Empathy + Understand their motivations. Putting yourself in the shoes of buyers helps you to cut your messages to the essentials and make it more intentional. For every action desired from the buyer, there should be a strong why. Why should they open your email? Why should they book a meeting with you? Why should they buy? On a deeper level, what makes them get excited or concerned? 

Resource: A nice guide on understanding buyer’s motives are these episodes by our all-time favorite podcast B2B Growth

Challenge #3: Lurking competition 

This is related to challenge #1 as you’re trying to cut through the noise and differentiate your product. Lurking competition means if you don’t do a good job of adding value to the buyer’s business, someone will do.  If you don’t get what really matters to your prospects, someone will. 

How to fix:  Ask better questions + Listen. Yes, just ask more probing questions and listen. It’s ridiculously simple, yet not every salesperson does it or does it right. Using the right tone for the right questions at the right time, sales reps would be able to get more valuable insights in how their product could help the customers and move to the next stage. 

Resource: A More Beautiful Question book by Warren Berger sheds light on how salespeople can use questions to help buyers look at things differently, setting the stage for change.   

Challenge #4: More sophisticated buyers 

Okay, okay. We all know that all the fancy technologies make people behave differently - eyes glued to screens, instant overseas communication. They like to DIY their shopping.

Thank you, I’m gonna look around first.

They said smilingly, rejecting interaction with store assistants, and nowadays  salespeople.

As buyers are becoming more independent, the role of salespeople is shifting from the ultimate source of information to a consultant. The establishment of trust is no longer solely based on physical interaction, but on all digital touchpoints in the online world. 

How to fix: That means not only do you need to take care of your sales appearance, but you also need to enhance your online image. Hardly any buyer books a meeting without checking your company LinkedIn and your social media profile.

Social selling is the buzzword in today’s world of sales not for no apparent reason. Trying to connect with buyers and prospects on the Internet helps salespeople engage more and earlier in the modern sales process. That way, you can gain more influence and understanding of your buyers’ needs. 

Resource: Social selling mastery is a sales book recommended by Keenan. This book provides a blueprint to social selling without the risk of seeming pushy and sneaky. 

Some of these sales challenges are classic, like busy buyers and competition. Some aren't. But that's why sales is one of the most exhilarating professions.

As the sales game levels up, you'll have to step up too. 

Happy selling!   

Next read: 10 Effective Sales Email Templates Guaranteed to Break the Ice 

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