Questions

What are the practical steps to sell a B2B SaaS product?

We have a B2B product ready and validated by a relevant customer. Where do we start for targeting our ideal customers (medium/high level executives)?

5answers

It's pretty simple: you define the target customer, create messaging to match their pain points, you do outreach via email and/or cold calling, schedule demos and close deals. Inbound marketing will play a role too, but that takes time you don't have.

Of course, the devil is in the details.

The target customer needs to be defined down to an individual level and you need to validate the specific pain point for that specific target customer. Moreover, depending on the impact of your product, you may need to create messaging for any potential influencers in the decision making process.

Once you've created the messaging you'll need to build a prospecting list. The easiest way of doing this is to use LinkedIN to create a narrow prospect list. Ideally you'll have a small group of around 50 target accounts to start, this way you can fine tune the outreach and messaging strategy for each account.

Assuming you've gotten your messaging right you can expect a 15-20% response rate of which maybe 50% will lead to a demo. In my experience, this is where most companies run into problems because they assume that demo = qualified lead and rush through this process.

The key is in the follow up because most of the sales process is going to happen without your involvement; prospects WILL seek out information from other sources and compare you against your competitors. This is where having a strong content strategy to reinforce the value of the product is crucial.

At a simplistic level, success is Saas sales is based on the volume of productive activity multiplied by your conversion rate at each stage. Setting up systems to measure activities is crucial for scalability.

Hope this helps.


Answered 4 years ago

I've worked with over 50 B2B companies to help them generate, nurture and close your leads.

I think the question you asked is premature.

B2B Saas startups usually goes through 4 stages discovery, validation, efficiency, and scale.

Validation from one customer is a start but is not enough validation to move to the efficiency stage.

If you disagree try answering these questions which I recommend every startup have answered before move to the efficiency stage:
1) Does my B2B product solve the needs for 5 (high level) or 10 (medium level) executives?
2) Which types of executives does this product work for? (answered so granularly that if you provide a smart assistant with some knowledge of online research with the explanation she/he can come back to you with 25 targets)
3) Which types of executives does this product not work for? (answered so granularly that if you provide a smart assistant with some knowledge of online research with the explanation she/he can eliminate executives not a fit on their own)
4) Do we have a clear elevator pitch of which problem/goal my product helps executives solve that gets curiosity? TEST: When I tested it with 10 executives, 3 of them expressed curiosity?
5) Do we have strong relationships with at least 3 connectors who know the types of executives in #2? Are these connectors champions of my product such that they are willing to make at least 3 introductions each?

If you don't have the answers to these questions you need to get them. Happy to help explain further over a call if you need.

If you do have answers to these questions and are truly ready to move on to the efficiency stage then share them with me before our call so I can help you figure out the best path forward to developing a target list, reaching out, and closing them.


Answered 3 years ago

Hello, first I would like to help you clarify in your mind something I have seen take good effect with my clients; that is that you must realize that a B2B unless you are selling a large capital cost necessity such as electricity for a plant or large number license subscription that is turn key (consider AutoCAD) you most likely don't have a B2B. If you are selling a CRM platform that is used by a small % of individuals within a company whether is 1-1000 - focus on the percentage within the firm - or if you are selling a product only used within a corporate setting but is not a capital investment you are most likely selling to professional individuals.
In this case you approach the same way you approach any general consumer product, your market is narrowed down to promote only to the key people who will make the decision but you expose through various channels, you capture emails and other contact, you cold call and ask for the position (maybe linkedin or google before hand)
send follow up emails, email campaigns - the idea is to heavily expose so that those in charge by the time they need to make a decision they have already experienced your brand already and have you standing by.


Answered 4 years ago

Is your customer paying to use the service? That's real validation.

Take your existing customer and use them as your ideal customer profile. Size, problems they have that your solution fixes, industry, etc.

Build your list of prospects that fit this profile and sort by whether they have the problems/symptoms of the problems or not (this will require advertising or phone prospecting to find out.)

Once you've identified a prospect who fits the profile and acknowledges having the problem(s) that your solution fixes, selling should be straightforward. Do they value fixing that problem more than letting it continue? Is the cost of letting it go on greater in their minds than the price of fixing it?

"If they say it, it's true. If you say it, you have to defend it." Get them to say it.

Let's talk if you want help in figuring out the profile, and getting script or advertising copy together to start sorting prospects with.


Answered 4 years ago

Great question!

Here is a 32-step tutorial on how to generate warm leads using a lead scrape, a couple free extensions, a CRM and a salesperson to not only generate, but properly nurture your new leads from cold to closed.

I have been asked often about my approach to LinkedIn lead generation and how it works in conjunction with digital ads and telemarketing. Here is a very quick/dirty guide that will help clarify the process, timeline and stack needed:

What you will need:
* Google Chrome Browser
* A Linkedin profile
* LinkedHelper
* LinkedHub
* A verified email list
* Cold email templates
* Tool setup for [cold] email sequences

Week 1: Start Gathering Data

You can either write a scraper (Upwork, the world's largest online workplace search for “scraper”) or use a tool (recommend https://data-miner.io/). If your list requires some serious digging let me know your criteria and I'll see if the team I use can help. If you are in need of a fast and effective You can start this step 1 week before you have an SDR trained and ready.

1. Set scraping criteria - industry, title, location, company size, Linkedin profile (Y/N?), phone number (Y/N?)

2. Create a google sheet with correct headings for your CRM - search your CRM + “bulk import .csv template”

3. Load one example of a good lead to the sheet

4. Share sheet with your scraper

5. Order

6. Verify these yourself if you did not order a pre-verified list - Use a tool like Verify Email Address Online

Week 2: Start Connecting

This is a very powerful step that requires LinkedHelper to automate the connection requests. You can upload your scraped list, as well as run the bot on any network search.

1. In your Google sheet with the scraped contacts, create a new tab for “Linkedin Profiles” - find/copy/paste the LI profile URLs to one column there.

2. Download this Chrome extension: Linked Helper - automate work with LinkedIn

3. Login to whatever Linkedin account you want to use to prospect this list.

4. Follow these instructions to load the LI profiles list to LinkedHelper: https://medium.com/linked-helper...

5. Select the options to invite/connect and view profile - This will give them two notifications (viewed your profile and requested connection)

Week 2: Auto-Messaging Sequence

Like cold emailing, you will be able to cold message connections gained in the previous step with a timed sequence using LinkedHub. This allows you to serve more messages and more impressions without much downside (like spam complaints).

1. Create a LinkedHub account - linkedhub | LinkedIn Lead Generation

2. Setup your connection sequence - use a simple one-line connect message like “It’d be great to have you in my network.”

3. Time your second and third messages appropriately - The second message should not be a sales message. You want your second message to go out 1 min after they approve the connection, and be a simple one sentence "thank you for connecting" message. Use the contact fields to personalize it.

4. The third message can be your “ask” - make it a great offer, or something unique for your LinkedIn connections otherwise it won’t get much of a response.

5. Add the URLs you used in your scrape to as the target for this sequence - Make sure to add the exact search terms which will include everyone on your list of contacts. Use title and industry search terms, and multiple URLs if you have to. Contacts not in your email list may get these messages, but this is ok, so long as the search criteria is for potential customers.

6. Start sequence

Week 3: CRM Retargeting

The main purpose of CRM retargeting is to serve brand impressions and educate your list on what exactly it is you do. The last thing you want to do is cold email or cold call prospects who have zero idea who you are and what your company does.

1. Load your lists to each platform for ad retargeting - Depending on your list size, you have Adwords (1000 minimum) Facebook (relative, but no min), Adroll (500 minimum), Linkedin (3000 minimum).

2. Facebook - Use FB to serve video ads explaining your product/service to the audience to educate using a medium they’ll engage with.

3. Adroll - Adroll you will use to serve impressions of your brand. You do not even care about the clicks.

4. Linkedin - You want to serve valuable content that shows thought leadership on Linkedin - ebooks, white papers, and webinars - collaborations with other brands is preferred.

5. Adwords - Load your videos to YouTube and serve “TrueView” ads to your retargeted list.

Week 4: Cold Emailing

Now that they have [hopefully] been served one or two impressions of your brand, it’s time to send them a cold email sequence. It’s very important you do not do this too early. You want it to be as warm as possible, which is why we serve LinkedIn profile impressions and ads to these people first. It’s also important you use a correctly timed sequence with if/then rules so that you make sure not to bother those uninterested, and you keep inboxing.

1. Load contacts to your CRM - If you used the formated bulk sheet provided by your CRM, you should be able to simply upload the contacts. If your CRM allows for tagging, tag every 200 contacts with a unique letter (A, B, C….). This allows you to easily decide who to send what/when by segmenting them by tag in your CRM.

2. Run a spam and record test - Before you send a single cold email, make sure you have the correct any record issues - verify DKIM/SPF settings with your host. Make sure email clients can verify you are permitted to send from that address by following the corrections this site gives you: Newsletters spam test by mail-tester.com

3. Use a drip sequence - Make sure unopened emails get the same email two days later with an alternative headline. And those who do open, but do not click get another option later. And if you are using a CRM, make sure sales is notified while someone is browsing the site so they can contact/close them right then. I recommend CRM Software - Customer Relationship Management - Agile CRM

4. Limit sending to 200/day - The last thing you want to do is show up on any blacklists. Too many complaints in a day will get you listed. This is why we want to throttle sends. Make adjustments to messages that are getting no clicks/replies and complaints before sending the next batch.

Week 5: Cold Calling

The process is created to make these calls much 'warmer', but you will want to make sure your SDR's or AE's understand the brand impressions each contact has been served prior to these calls - i.e. "We are connected on Linkedin..." or "I sent the details to your ___@___ email...".

1. If your CRM is giving you notifications when contacts are browsing, make sure to call those prospects immediately - CRM's like CRM Software - Customer Relationship Management - Agile CRM will allow you to install their tracking pixel on your site and setup desktop notifications for if/when contacts are on your site. Make sure your team has these on and are calling during the browse.

2. Next, call those who have opened, but not clicked - Then call those who have not opened.

3. Finally, call your Linkedin connections.

4. For these cold campaigns, one your SDR or AE's tasks should be getting them to open/reply to the email. This keeps your IP health up so you can continue cold emailing.

Week 5: Triggering Follow Up Sequences

Follow Up sequences should be ready for each type of call - no answer, not interested/ready... So you can keep these contacts in your funnel and at least offer them relative content they may be interested in. Have a few sequences ready to be deployed when the call is done.

1. As soon as the call is done, trigger the appropriate sequence.

2. At the end of every sequence should be a transfer into some sort of evergreen content drip - This last step ensures no contacts are ever left floating as they continue to get your content regardless if they are in an approaching/nurturing sequence, or not interested in the product, but have not opted out of emails.

From here you can get into content marketing and true lead nurturing techniques using whatever you have of value to display thought leadership and trust - case studies, white papers, collaborative content with known brands...
Reach out to me here if you need help.
-Alex


Answered 2 years ago

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