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?"


How To Be a Local Startup Agent

local startup agentAn expert platform member asked how to be a local startup agent for an out-of-country parent company they would like to represent.

Whether the parent company is out of town or out of country, the essence of your goal is the same.

Show them how you will bring them customers.

A specific estimate of customers. People who are identifiable: they have demographic and psychographic characteristics.

Get your plan written down. Present it to them.

Have this ready in slide and PDF form.

Approach this seriously, like a business plan. Get specifics. Numbers. Facts.

What the Home Company Is Looking for In A Local Startup Agent

What the parent company is looking for is this:

Do you have a plan? Are you credible? Can you be trusted to represent and manage their brand and long term interests, and do as good or better a job at it than they could themselves in your area?

So many people are dreamers. You'll stand out merely by having your plan written down, and taking the action of getting in front of them. Obviously this is effective positioning.

Think about it from their perspective. What would they like in a local rep? What level of sales would they expect? How would they like to see you reach the marketplace?

If a physical product is involved, how will you transport, store and deliver it? Are their border issues? Tariffs? Quarantine? How will you overcome these if so?

How To Demonstrate Your Ability to Be A Local Startup Agent

Show, not tell, what you're going to do in pictures, graphs, charts.

Make sure you have an Executive Summary up front, which is an overview of the most important information.

Every decision maker has room for a person who has a definite plan. Don't be worried about size. If you are a small organization, look at how you can partner with larger ones for infrastructure and expertise.

Business development in a startup is different from that of a mature organization. The founders and leaders of the parent company may be in the mature mindset: keep this in mind as you prepare your presentation for them. You may have to bridge that gap. Scott Pollack has an excellent article on the two points of view regarding business development that you can use in your understanding of how to be a local startup agent.

Your job, more than anything, is to demonstrate to these decision makers that you are trustworthy, reliable and can handle the long term interests of their brand in your playground.

>> Would you like help with your local startup agent plan? Find out if we're a fit. <<