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Sales professionals have the superpower to sell anything and everything!
While this is true, it is also true that some sales strategies don’t work every time. The product and target customers should ultimately define your sales strategy. Developing a software sales strategy has its fair share of challenges.
Unlike hardware sales, where the sales reps need to sell physical products, software sales reps need to master the art of selling digital products. As a result, software sales cycles are longer and involve multiple stakeholders.
This guide explains some stellar B2B sales strategies to sell software effectively.
How is Selling a Software Different from Selling Hardware?
Selling hardware is completely different from selling software. Hardware products are tangible, so potential customers can see and touch them before making their ultimate purchase decision.
However, software solutions require a completely new approach because they are available digitally. Therefore, the focus of sales reps selling software solutions remains on winning prospects’ trust by offering them a solution to their pain points.
Here are a few aspects that make a software sales strategy unique from a hardware sales strategy:
Product marketing matters!
Product marketing is the cornerstone of software selling. In B2B organizations, product marketers are responsible for a lot of product-related decision-making, starting from research, creating roadmaps, collecting customers’ feedback, communicating with the development teams, and so on.
When it comes to selling software, product marketers can be of great help to the sales reps. Sales reps can collect relevant materials and resources to understand each software in depth. Accordingly, they can explain the solutions during sales calls to win over prospects’ trust.
With assistance from the product marketing team, sales teams can figure out a strategic way to share information about the software they are selling. Sales reps can understand which software benefits should be included within their sales decks to persuade the prospects.
Adding product managers during product demo sessions is also a proven method of success in B2B software sales.
Frequent changes in the industry
A hardware or a physical product doesn’t change or upgrade too frequently. Think about mobile, laptops, wearable devices, etc. On average, a new series is introduced for these products at least once a year. Hence, the sales reps have a whole year to learn about the new products.
The scenario is totally different in the case of the B2B software industry. Software solutions require upgrades very frequently. It could be months, weeks, or even days. Therefore, the software sales reps need to learn about these updates thoroughly to explain them to the prospects.
The sales and marketing teams should have a consistent workflow of collaboration with product teams. That way, whenever there is a new software update, the marketing and sales teams should get a quick notification to start learning more about it.
Software sales cycle is longer
B2B software sales cycles are longer, irrespective of the price of a software. Largely because of multiple digital touchpoints and multiple decision-makers involved in the sales process. Hence, pushing the prospects directly to boost sales doesn’t work here.
Instead, B2B sales reps should have sufficient content available to build and nurture relationships with the prospects and slowly navigate them throughout the sales cycle. Nudging them to purchase won’t make a difference as B2B prospects make a purchase decision after several rounds of evaluation.
5 Sales Strategies to Close Software Sales Deals Quickly
A longer software sales cycle can turn out to be beneficial for B2B sales reps. It means there are a lot of opportunities for the sales professionals to hook the buyers throughout the sales cycle. This eventually means better chances of closing the sales deals.
Here are a few tips for developing and implementing effective sales strategies:
1. Don’t forget to offer “Free Trial” or “Book a demo”
Your software sales strategy should aim at “showing the prospects how” and not “telling what to do”. A value-focused CTA makes all the difference in software sales calls. The goal of any software company should be to help prospects find a solution to their challenges without going into too much detail.
There are two ways to do that:
- Product demo - The purpose of a product demo is not always to convert a lead and close the deal. Rather, to help the leads understand what your product can do and how it can make a difference. If the product demo session goes well, the prospects will likely follow up with sales teams for next steps as they realize that the product is worth investing in.
- Free trial - A popular B2B software sales trend is offering “Free Trial” to prospects. The idea is to let the prospects explore the product and its benefits independently. It is a great way to engage prospects and ease their purchase decision-making process.
Here are a few options to keep your trial periods strategic:
7-day trial period - If the product you sell is straightforward and affordable, offering a 7-day trial period can be sufficient. A short trial period will ensure that your sales cycle is not unnecessarily extended.
14-day trial period - Multi-tier products with several advanced features require a little more time to comprehend. Hence, a two-week trial period is more suitable in those cases. It is enough time for the prospects to get an overview of the features and make a purchase decision.
30-day trial period - If your product is highly complex and belongs to the expensive price range, the maximum trial period you can offer is - 30 days. A month-long trial period is sufficient for multiple stakeholders to try the product and decide.
2. Invest in upskilling
The B2B software industry is frequently changing. To sustain in this industry for a long period, businesses need to invest in the upskilling and training of the sales teams. The sales reps should receive consistent training to boost their product knowledge and improve their SaaS (Software as a Service) sales process.
The B2B sales training program can cover the following aspects:
- Product and market training sessions where the sales reps are coached closely by the product development team to understand the product and the target market. This training will help them comprehend the product thoroughly.
- Sales training to explain the software sales process to the reps. This training will help the sales reps identify and act on every opportunity they encounter.
- Consistent coaching for all sales reps, irrespective of how long they work for the company. This training will help the reps to get familiar with all the latest market trends.
Manual sales coaching can be time-consuming. In fact, it is difficult to offer targeted training to each sales rep manually.
The best way to provide real-time, automated coaching is to use a tool like - Salesken.
Salesken’s built-in sales coaching software can help sales teams to:
- Identify improvement points by analyzing each sales conversation with an Emotion detection engine.
- Get personalized and targeted training for each rep and constructive feedback to improve their sales process.
- Engage the sales reps with real-time cues and boost their productivity.
3. Emphasize on customer success
An ideal software sales strategy doesn’t focus on lead generation alone. It should also find new and innovative ways to retain customers for a long time. That’s where customer success comes into the picture.
Each sales team should have a customer success manager who closely interacts with the customers. Their responsibility is to ensure that the customers receive the value they were promised.
To achieve this, software businesses should create a feedback loop connecting customer touchpoints to the sales team. That way, whenever the customers have feedback about the product, the sales team can be notified.
Successful customer success initiatives help sales reps to sell more products, features and benefits to the same customer. For example, most software companies regularly release new solutions or upgrade existing software. They can sell these solutions to existing customers with successful customer success strategies before acquiring fresh leads.
4. Prepare a compelling sales pitch deck
A sales pitch deck is the presentation that sales reps use during sales calls to interact with and persuade the prospects. A great sales strategy is to develop effective pitch decks that clearly articulate the benefits associated with a product.
Here are a few tips for creating visually attractive and informative sales pitch decks:
- Make sure that your pitch decks don’t have a lot of unnecessary information about the product. Instead, only include to-the-point information on how it can solve the prospects’ pain points.
- Visuals can communicate such data that long chunks of text cannot. So try to use compelling visuals like infographics, charts, photos, etc. in your decks.
- Avoid using jargon to the pitch decks. Instead, try to keep it simple and easily comprehensible for the prospects.
- The pitch deck should tell a story that addresses prospects’ pain points and offers a solution. If it is not well-structured, it is unlikely to leave an impact.
Sales teams should collaborate with the marketing team to get content for the pitch decks. Adding high-quality, informative content can make it a winning sales pitch deck.
5. Inbound marketing is underrated!
The significance of inbound marketing can never be ignored. Attracting potential users toward your sales funnel is challenging, but it is not impossible. A successful software sales strategy should be a mix of inbound and outbound activities.
The essence of inbound marketing is to create informative content that nurtures the prospects and pushes them toward the closing stage of the sales funnel.
Some of the simplest ways to power up inbound marketing activities include:
- Creating thought-leadership content on different channels like website blogs, social media, etc. This will help the B2B professionals win prospects' trust and build a reputation in the industry.
- Hosting events and webinars on various industry trends, topics, and news can also be great. However, instead of selling your products in these webinars, sales reps should try to create a demand for their product by adding value.
- Sales and marketing teams should develop a story that connects your brand’s purpose with the value proposition. The more relatable this story is, the better the chances of acquiring customers.
Software sales are all about adding value to the prospects. Therefore, we have shared some tried and tested strategies to help the sales reps evolve their career in software sales and achieve success.
If you are a sales manager or budding entrepreneur planning to develop a unique software solution, these strategies can help you take the first step.
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