Did you know that over 70% of SaaS startups struggle with sales in their initial years? The challenge isn’t just about acquiring customers but retaining them and ensuring consistent revenue growth. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re looking for strategies to supercharge your SaaS sales.
This article delves deep into 17 proven tactics that successful SaaS teams employ to close deals and boost their revenue. From understanding customer pain points to leveraging the power of data analytics, we’ve got you covered.
By the end of this read, you’ll have a comprehensive toolkit to enhance your sales strategy, drive conversions, and ensure sustainable growth. We’ll explore tactics that are backed by research, data, and real-world case studies, ensuring you get actionable insights tailored for the SaaS industry.
Expect to uncover strategies related to customer engagement, pricing models, sales funnel optimization, and much more. Let’s dive in!
#1 Always follow up
You need to own the follow-up. Don’t leave a sales call with ‘We will come back to you.’
You need to know what’s happening next.
Ideally, you can already align on a clear next step (e.g. follow-up call on Friday 11:00).
#2 Apply Sales Discovery questions
Focus on your Sales discovery to find the true pain points of your customers and in order to show them the real value of your product.
Knowing the real pain points help you draft better follow-up communication.
Great discovery questions help you qualify, keep your pipeline clean and focus on the most promising leads.
Every great sales discovery should give you at least the following answers:
- Does the prospect have a problem/pain? If yes, what is it?
- Are they aware of the problem?
- Do they want to solve the problem?
- What implications does it have for them, if they can’t solve the problem?
#3 Ask for the close
If you’ve done a great sales demo (discovery questions, pain points confirmed by the customer) then show the value of your product. If the prospect is a great fit for your product) it’s time to go for the sale.
Even if they can’t decide, you can always ask ‚’why‘ and learn what’s missing for them to take the decision.
Now tailor your follow-up based on that.
Always follow up.
#4 Be closer to your customers
Have at least 1 call per week with customers and potential customers.
With every call, you will learn (about pains, feature requests, marketing messaging, etc.).
You can also build a customer advocacy program to turn your most influential customers into brand ambassadors.
If you just starting out with your business (or expanding to new markets) build a launching partner program. It’s basically a group of early customers and they provide you with insights, and regular reviews of the roadmap & help you to grow your brand in the industry, make intros and referrals, etc.
In exchange, you can offer them special conditions
#5 Build an objection battle cards
“Create a list of the top 5 objections and learn how to handle them. The most common objections include: 1. Your product is too expensive 2. We can’t decide right now 3. We miss XYZ feature You can also include competitors in your battle cards. Revise your communication and see if you can already anticipate them in your communication (e.g. Welcome Email sequence, FAQ…).”
#6 Create a Sales Forecast / Activities needed (reverse engineering)
Align your team with specific growth activities they need to deliver every week. Discuss those activities in your weekly (or monthly) meetings.
Growth goals can be for example:
- 3000 website traffic per week
- 30 new sign-ups every week
- 20% conversion to active user/ sales-demos
- 1 new paying customer every week
Reverse engineer what you need to do (input: Growth activities) to achieve the goals, for example:
- 2 blog posts every week
- 100 cold emails every week
- 1 webinar every month
#7 Experiment on your own: 7-days free trials increase sales and retention
📈 Scientific research: 7 days free trials (vs 30 days), led to:
- → 5.6% more conversions
- → 6.4% better retention (over 2 years)
- → 7.9% higher revenue
- → Trials work best if people use them intensively.
- → Shorter trials create an urgency effect.
- → So people use them more.
- → And are more likely to learn about the product and buy.
Data: Thomas Mckinlay, who shares mind-blowing marketing recommendations based on scientific research
#8 Implement an Expansion/Upselling strategy
The key role of customer success is to drive expansion revenue (and reduce churn).
Create a strategy around how you can increase the revenue with your existing customers. This includes:
- – Upselling strategy
- – Cross-selling strategy
- – Pricing Strategy
This also includes product optimizations: How to streamline the process and make expansion (especially upgrading) frictionless (no additional checkouts or payment steps).
#9 Improve your Cold calling skills
- See the structure of great cold emails. (important to have a trigger event/strong Why you call them)
- Have a strong opening sentence (trigger based)
- Ask open-ended questions to get a conversation going
- Can you make use of social proof?
- Listen more than you talk
- Have a clear ‘goal 1’ and ‘goal 2’ in mind
- Test different times + create a calling hour habit
- Create an objection handle sheet to handle the most common cold call objections
- Record your calls and optimize your tone of voice (a positive mood is needed for great calls)
- Always ask for referrals/intros
#10 Increase your ARPA
ARPA is the average revenue per account.
10 ways to increase your ARPA:
- Price increases
- Nudge to higher pricing plans
- Scalable pricing model (with the right value metric)
- Restructure your pricing packages
- Expansion revenue with an upselling strategy
- Invest in activation (in combination with scalable pricing)
- Expansion revenue by cross-selling complimentary products/services
- Reduce churn by implementing churn alerts
- Always remind of value (e.g. on every invoice) to reduce churn
- Establish Account Manager / Customer Success (for mid-market)
P.S. Know the difference between ARPA and ARPU (average revenue per user).
#11 Limit and standardize your discount policy
When offering a discount, always ask for something in return. Otherwise, you devalue your product and lose trust.
Offer discounts only in exchange for:
- Long-term commitment
- Upfront annual payment
- Taking part in a case study
- Intros/referrals to other companies
- Signing/onboarding in the next x days
👉 Learn more about it here.
#12 Revamp the top 3 jobs to be done
Customers don’t buy your product because of all your features.
Actually, they don’t care.
Customers “hire” your product. They care about what’s in for them.
Your product helps them to do their job better:
- e.g. create beautiful websites/convert lots of traffic in signups/close more deals/get customers’ insights (—> Jobs to be done)
They want to feel [emotional results using your product] – e.g. healthier/more productive/smarter
👉 Revamp the 3 main jobs to be done for your ideal customer (do research, customer interviews, read reviews, etc.).
Adapt them in your customer-facing communication.
#13 Revamp your 1-sentence value proposition
Your 1-sentence value proposition is key for all your sales and marketing communication. 👉 We enable/empower/help [ICP] to [Main Result] by [Solution] 👉 We, [company XYZ], create software/platform for [ICP] that enables/empowers/helps them to [Main Result] by [How] 👉 My/our product/service helps [the target group] who want [jobs to be done] by [minimizing a pain] and [maximizing a gain] unlike [your competitors]
#14 Revamp your Sales Funnel
Product-led growth: Lead —> signup —> active user/PQL —> paying user —> successful user
sales-led growth: Lead —> MQL —> SQL —> customer —> (active customer & succesful customer)
- Measure conversions
- Decide on activities and how to move them through the funnel (e.g. sales demo, email campaign, in-product messages…)
- Don’t stop with ‘paying’ customers – invest to make them ‘successful paying customers’ – this means defining what a successful paying customer is for you and optimizing your activities to get them to this stage.
#15 Run weekly sales meetings with your sales team.
Here is what they could look like:
- Review metrics from last week (team level + individual rep)
- Outlook on the upcoming week (what does the pipeline look like)
- What are the challenges and blockers (and who can help you with that?)
- Others (e.g. Update on special projects e.g. new objection handling template or email templates)
Important: Celebrate successes (e.g. share new deals in slack with the team) + make sure everyone is prepared for the meeting (e.g. metrics and questions are prepared).
P.S. On top, I recommend having monthly ‚closed lost review meetings‘ (review in the team why you lost a deal & how to get better) + meetings between sales, customer success, and product (to give product feedback to feature requests and market insights).
#16 Take conscious decisions on Top-Down vs. Bottom-up Sales motion
Do you target the company/decision makers or users/employees directly?
Especially in the early stage you should focus on one clear sales motion and don’t try both in parallel.
10 key differences between a Top Down (ABM) vs. Bottom Up Sales Motion
- Target decision maker vs. Target users
- Larger deal size vs. Smaller contract size with upselling over time
- Faster and more structured (top-down) roll-out vs. (Bottom-Up) opportunistic expansion
- Few(er) leads top of funnel vs. Wide(r) funnel with lots of leads
- Sales-led growth (Sales demos) vs. self-service product-led growth (Free trials)
- Show value (in sales meetings) vs. experience value (aha moment of your product)
- Most sales touchpoints before using the product vs. most sales touchpoints after product sign-up (focus on activation, expansion & retention)
- Multiple stakeholders vs. one buyer persona/user
- Longer sales cycle vs. fast(er) sales cycle
- Lower churn vs. higher churn
#17 Try offering Annual Payments
Encourage long-term commitment by offering discounted annual payment plans.
For instance, if a monthly subscription is $20, offer an annual plan at a rate equivalent to $15 per month, totaling $180 for the year.
💰 Annual plans can enhance customer retention and ensure a steady cash flow.
In summary, the SaaS landscape is competitive, but with the right tactics, your team can stand out and achieve remarkable sales milestones. We’ve discussed 17 effective strategies ranging from understanding your customer’s journey to leveraging advanced analytics for sales optimization.