The fact that sales is changing is an open secret. Especially in the IT sector. Because with an increasing shift from the classic business with software licenses to more and more cloud solutions, there are a lot of new conditions for your sales team. Instead of a closed product, an ongoing service is now being sold. This has a big influence on the processes in the buying center of your potential customer. It also affects the sales mechanisms that help you get the most out of your business.
1. a variable pricing requires a look into the crystal ball
One of the obvious differences between a classic license and modern models of software-as-a-service is the different pricing. With SaaS, this is usually based on usage. In order to be able to make the customer a tailor-made offer in this respect, also in the long term, the sales representative must not only understand his current usage behaviour, but also be able to make valid forecasts for future development. This requires much deeper insights. Some of these insights can be gained from collected or purchased data, but some must also be provided by the customer himself. In this respect, a genuine relationship of trust between the customer and his account manager is essential.
2. complex decision-making processes with many contacts
Cloud solutions usually affect numerous different areas of competence within a company: IT, specialist departments, data protection officers and so on. This often results in a larger buying center with more decision-makers and correspondingly tougher and more time-consuming negotiations. Here, the sales representative must be willing and able to act as an intermediary between the various interests. This requires a deep knowledge of one’s own product as well as the customer’s situation.
3. cloud services are cancelable – and expandable
The sales team of a SaaS provider is challenged not only before the successful deal, but also after it. Cloud services are not only comparatively easy to implement, they can also be cancelled. A target-oriented onboarding process can be decisive for success in order for the customer to recognize the added value of the solution and actually exploit its potential. In addition, customer feedback can and must flow even more directly into product development. Sales has a stronger internal role than before as an agent of the customer, who passes on his experiences and wishes to development.
Last but not least, close contact with the customer is absolutely essential in order to keep a close eye on its development and to identify upselling potential in good time.
What the successful SaaS sales representative requires
In order to meet these changing requirements, your sales team needs two things in addition to a basic awareness of the situation. First: an extremely deep understanding of the company’s own product and its technical framework. And secondly: an extremely deep understanding of the interested party or customer as well as the specific challenges they are currently confronted with. The technical understanding must be created through intensive cooperation between development and sales team. Increasingly, data collected by algorithms is being used to gain value-adding information about customers and leads. With the Implisense API, for example, you can integrate hundreds of daily updated data points on all companies listed in the German Commercial Register into your system. Based on concrete signals, you not only gain an insight into the current situation of the respective company, but can also draw conclusions about which aspects of your software-as-a-service will most effectively meet the needs of this customer at present.
You can find five theses on the B2B sales people of the future in this previous blog post.
Software companies have to adapt to the changed conditions in sales in order to market their cloud solutions effectively. But this is also a great opportunity: Use the strategic restructuring process to build up your modern sales 4.0 with the help of data intelligence – for optimal use of resources and maximum conversion.