SaaS business are both scalable and profitable. This is why so many software companies have adopted this model. But acquiring new customers for your SaaS product can be just as difficult, if not harder, than every other business model.
So how to stand out from your competitors and increase sales? This article explains what the best companies do to get customers and offers seven examples from popular SaaS companies to learn from.
The demand for software as a service products has grown rapidly. According to BMC, 99% of organizations use SaaS products and the SaaS market is predicted to reach $482 billion in 2022.
For SaaS businesses, this means that the competition is growing, so companies need track essential metrics and employ new marketing strategies to acquire customers.
Main SaaS Sales Metrics to Track
Before you start your sales effort, it's important to know what SaaS sales metrics to track and measure. According to a recent DataBox survey, there are 5 main metrics that most SaaS sales teams track:
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Conversion Rate
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
- Monthly Active Users (MAU)
The Databox report has another 10 metrics worth keeping an eye on as well:
Knowing these metrics and paying close attention to the most important ones for your business can help to measure the success of your SaaS sales initiatives. As a result, you can understand what tactics lead to your business growth.
Let's look at seven SaaS sales and marketing case studies to get some real-world learnings.
#1 – AppsSumo: Send Cold SaaS Sales Emails
AppSumo is one of the most popular lifetime deals platforms with millions of users and weekly SaaS launches. AppSumo has found effective ways to cut through the noise and market their products to potential customers.
AppSumo knows how to create engaging cold emails for SaaS buyers that provide recipients with valuable information and that establish a connection with prospects, ultimately sparking them to make a purchase.
Here’s a good example of this strategy from AppSumo. Not only does the company provide readers with brief information about its product, but it also includes an informative product video and a clear CTA.
#2 – Hubspot: Market Products on Social Media
Social media marketing is par for any SaaS company. But getting people to actually engage is really difficult. Hubspot knows that potential SaaS buyers use social media to do product research, learn more about potential solutions, and even make purchases.
To that end, Hubspot has a social media presence on all popular social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even Instagram. At first glance, using a photo-sharing tool like Instagram isn’t the best option for dry and text-heavy SaaS brands, but Hubspot has found a great social media strategy for this platform to keep its audience engaged. As a result, the company has built a healthy following of 420k people.
When Hubspot markets on social, they start by creating a social media marketing plan that outlines the goals, target audiences and messaging. They also know a lot about their users and segments by analyzing behaviors, needs, and preferences. This enables Hubspot to leverage this large community to educate and sell, but also drive a large volume of referrals.
#3 – SignalHire: Share Demos or Free Trials
Creating demos and free trials is a go to strategy for many SaaS companies. But SignalHire has it down to a science.
Offering trials is a great way to demonstrate the value of your SaaS application and lower the barrier to conversion. SignalHire has a forever free version of their product with a limited feature set, but also provides a risk free trial of their paid plans. This strategy serves the company well because people aren't forced to use a product that doesn't have the right features. SignalHire gives their new customers a chance to try the right solution for their particular needs which increases conversion rates.
SignalHire is also known for hassle free cancellations, something that all too many SaaS companies don't do. Most customers really appreciate this and are much more likely to the product if they have confidence cancelling won't be a pain if the solution isn't a fit.
#4 – HelpCrunch: Offer Time-Limited Discounts
Similar to free trials, other companies offer "time-limited" discounts to attract new customers. HelpCrunch is known for this approach. Going with the discount approach isn't as compelling for clients that aren't familiar with your solution, so it's best combined with a free version or trial of some sort. But limited discounts are effective at pushing customers past the pay-point.
HelpCrunch regularly offers these discounts, including big deals for Black Friday as shown below.
#5 – Sellfy: Create Affiliate Programs
SaaS affiliate programs can be hit or miss. It takes some real effort to get the ball rolling and actually see a decent volume of new subscribers. Sellfy has done a good job with theirs.
First, Sellfy has a compelling affiliate model for partners giving up to 40% recurring revenue back to its affiliates. This is one of the key factors in motivating affiliates.
Like most SaaS affiliate programs, Sellfy has a dedicated page and admin section for participants to manage their referrals. Notice how Sellfy has a "dynamic" commission model which increases the bonus percentage as sales go up.
And we really like how they give an example calculation of commissions so partners know exactly what they're going to get for the effort they put in.
#6 - Stamped: Run Paid Ad Campaigns
Paid search advertising is great because of customer intent. When a user types in a keyword they're searching for a that particular topic. That means SaaS companies can target users further down the sales funnel. That said, paid ads can be costly and effective audience targeting is not simple.
Stamped, is a popular reviews and loyalty program which runs a range of paid search ads. The example below shows targeting customer intent on Stamped's direct offering "customer loyalty programs".
But Stamped also does top of funnel advertising focusing on lower intent keywords like "increase customer value" whereby a customer could be looking for a range of solutions to that need.
Stamped knows this so they build landing page experiences that respond to the level of intent. When users are higher up in the funnel, Stamped focusing on providing useful content while hinting at the value of their product.
#7 – Clario: Provide Excellent Customer Support
The lowest hanging fruit for SaaS companies to convert and retain customers is providing amazing customer support. Clario is an identify security product which focuses heavy on customer support and experience.
Customer support doesn't just begin when a customer becomes a customer. Smart companies like Clario know that helping customers is an acquisition strategy too. Clario is quick to respond to questions about their product and even providing hands-on support for free trials, something a lot of SaaS companies don't offer.
In one example, Clario offered its target audience free online tech support from 600+ experts to help people solve their security issues online. It was a great way to show that the company truly cared about its customers. Clario knew that not everyone that got this free offer wouldn't become customers, but they did it anyway and saw a boost in overall sales still.
Bonus Tool: Smartsupp for Chatbots
Smartsupp helps you increase sales by seamlessly integrating live chat, email inbox and Facebook Messenger in one customer messaging platform.
Choose The Right SaaS Sales Best Practices
You need to cut through the noise, and there are many SaaS sales and marketing tactics to choose from when building your business. In this article we've covered seven of them. Not all may apply to your business, so take what works and leave the rest.
The important thing is to be thoughtful about how you sell. And remember, selling isn't just about having sales people on phones. Sales people are only as good as the leads you feed them. The above strategies will undoubtedly drive more leads and higher quality opportunities for your team to close. Good luck out there.
Guest post by Hugh Beaulac, a content strategist behind the AssigU project who also helps SMBs create digital marketing strategies for their businesses.