SaaS Sales Problems

SaaS Sales ProblemsSaaS sales problems can quickly kill Software-as-a-Service businesses.

Take two of the most common:

  • My prospects aren't Internet savvy
  • My prospects don’t have enough time or interest to talk to my sales staff.

These issues have been hanging around for a decade or more. And when you combine them, you see results like former Boost CEO Amit Mehta encountered...such as 85% of people who download your app never installing the thing. Pretty serious SaaS sales problems, right?

His solution, detailed in a recent article about the meteoric rise and fall of Boost, was to have a lightbox pop up explaining in three simple images how to install the app.
saas sales problems

Image Credit: Amit Mehta

This change doubled his user base, and had a considerable impact on sales in his freemium model.

The Importance of Your Audience In Fixing SaaS Sales Problems

You can see why it's so important to consider your audience when it comes to SaaS.

If your target market is made up of business techs who regularly get into the nuts and bolts of desktop operations, and know what a registry is, that's one thing.

And if your market is regular public who, as they do with televisions and microwave ovens, use the technology typically have zero idea of how it actually works, that's quite another.

In Amit's case early on, the fact that different browsers have different processes for installing apps consistently blocked all but 1 or 2 in 10 of his "Joe Public" proto-users from installing it.

The problem I find with a lot of web-based SaaS apps is that they don’t properly onboard users on how to use the app. You need to hold your users by the hand and show them EXACTLY what to do. ~Amit Mehta

Boost got to #646 on the Inc. Top 5000 by fixing these SaaS sales problems, so this is good advice to take.

SaaS Sales Problems Are Often a Result of the Curse of Knowledge

A lot of this is the Curse of Knowledge striking again. You and your staff, as the developers, are embedded into that world. You know the terminology. You know the processes. You know the Whats and the Whys.

But your customer?

Do they know these things?

Or are they embedded into a different world, a world where those things don't matter much to their daily lives? Are they completely unaware of the concepts, beliefs and technologies you are so familiar with and casually work with ever day?

In that case, there's quite a gap to bridge, isn't there.

And what else does Amit say?

Validate that you have an app that people actually want to use and pay for! ~Amit Mehta

Well well, what a surprise.
>> If you have a problem anywhere along your conversion process—from attracting customers to delivering your product or service—talk to Jason Kanigan. He is a process improvement expert, copywriter and sales force developer. And he's been working in the IT field with VARs, SaaS developers, and network security firms for a decade. <<


How SaaS Vendors Get It Wrong

saas vebdirsSaaS vendors habitually have a critical problem.

And it leads them to do unproductive things in their sales and marketing process.

We'll be looking at these timewasters and sales losers over the next few posts. Here's a surprise: the same issues plaguing the field in 2007 remain today. For now, though, let's concentrate on the seminal issue.

A lot of SaaS vendors built something nobody wants.

The founder thought it was a cool idea. They went ahead and dumped the few, precious resources they had into their "baby."

What's the issue? They made it in isolation.

Look at that list of SaaS sales problems from 2007:

  • I don’t have enough leads
  • My customers want to customize my application
  • Getting new customers up and running is too long and hard
  • My prospects aren’t Internet savvy
  • My sales cycle is too slow and takes too much effort
  • My prospects always seems to want that one thing we don’t have
  • My prospects don’t have enough time or interest to talk to my sales staff.

These apply to ERP, accounting software and CRM tools as well, many of which are sold as SaaS solutions.

Why do you think these things happen? Does it sound like the SaaS solution matches up with the buyers' problem?

The Key Issue of Struggling SaaS Vendors

They didn't solve a problem a buyer said they'd pay to have fixed.

If you're one of the SaaS vendors, now you've got a real problem.

You've got a solution in search of a problem.

See, it's not what you say that gets people to buy. It's what they say.

Their problems. Their situations. Their specific language.

Yes, the terminology they use.

When you don't use the language your buyers use to describe the problematic situation they're in which your solution will get them out of, you miss your target.

What do SaaS vendors who don't know this do?

Run to features.

We'll be looking at this in more detail later, but nobody ever bought because of features.

That's why demos don't work.

Cranking Up the Number of Demos Is NOT the Right Solution for SaaS Vendors

Occasionally, if you run enough of them, a demo is going to accidentally match up a problem with your solution.

But this is an accident.

You won't really know why they buy.

And it's obviously incredibly inefficient.

SaaS vendors run into a couple business-killing issues when this happens:

1 - Not Invented Here syndrome, which makes them believe the only possible solution is to do more demos

2 - Burnout of tech staff forced to do unending demos and becoming increasingly frustrated with the results.

We'll look at each of these in greater detail in upcoming posts.

For now, though, if you're one of the crowd of struggling SaaS vendors, ask yourself...

"Did I build something buyers actually want enough to pay for?"