How can we reduce the saas sales timeline?

We sell WiFi analytics which is fairly new, it goes to the marketing team, IT and management for approval... Average sales timeline is 4 - 7 months.


There is a LOT to unpack here, and without knowing a lot more about your process, ideal client, the problem you're solving for them, it is hard to give a detailed and concise answer.

But I'll give an "In general" one:

Sales are often held up my a lack of accountability or the ability to make a decision. To shorten that, you (the seller or vendor) must anticipate the needs/questions/roadblocks of your customer.

Ideally, your sales team has materials that preemptively address these concerns and equip your customer with the information they need, before they need it.

For example, if your solution is usually discovered by a middle manager, and you know their boss needs to sign off on the purchase, you should be publishing content that enables that middle manager to inform their boss. "12 Things Your Boss Needs to Know Before Signing Up for WiFi Analytics" for example. Empower your customer to make their job (and, ultimately the decision) easier. If your client reports to the C-Suite, you can usually use money to help the process along. Produce data and research that shows comparable firms save 3% the first year and 10% annually after they have introduced similar solutions.

Get in the mind of your buyer, understand the problem they are trying to solve, and be the solution. Sell the benefits to them for using a product like yours.

If you'd like more specifics, feel free to book a call here on Clarity.

All the best,

Answered 6 years ago

This is an important question. It is also a broad question. Let's start by defining each section of the sales funnel and move onto focusing on the section where you can get the most leverage: Qualification.

After working with hundreds of SaaS startups and leading Sales teams at several others like Groupon, OrderAhead, Thanx, and Storefront, I've been able to formalize the sales funnel with the following stages (starting from the top and moving down):

1/Research and Lead Generation - define your target and where to find the complete list of them
2/Prospecting - the type of outreach you wish to perform (e.g. phone, email, LinkedIn, etc.)
3/Qualification - finding a real buyer who wants to buy right now
4/Demo - showing off your product
5/Proposal - sending off a contract
6/Close - locking in the contract

Now, let's focus on Qualification. Qualification is the most important part of the sales funnel because when performed correctly, it allows you to sell your product to folks that are 100% interested in what you have to offer. It's actually more like disqualification than qualification. To properly perform (dis)qualification, you'll need to answer two questions about your prospect:

1. Are they a buyer?
2. Are they a buyer right now?

Buyers (almost) always have a budget and are either the decision maker or are part of the decision-making committee. A buyer cares about your offering enough to pay for it, now, in order to solve their problem, now. A buyer is NOT someone who just wants something/anything, like a CEO who wants HR software but has fourteen other fires to put out yesterday. If the lead you’re working isn't a buyer right now, put them into your marketing funnel and move on. Next, right now means your timeline. This varies significantly based on your industry and product. For point of reference, at Groupon (a highly transactional sales process), the sales cycle was 30–45 days. At enterprise companies, the sales cycle could take north of 12 months. Identifying right now can be the difference between closing a deal and wasting several months hoping a deal will close.

Check out this article in Bootstrapping Sales for a more comprehensive overview as well:

I recommend a rigorous qualification process to set up your Demo for success. Run correctly, you may end up focusing your time on fewer leads, but they will provide you with greater conversion and faster deals.

Feel free to ping me anytime, and we can set up a call via Clarity. Happy hunting!



Answered 6 years ago

Please read The New Strategic Selling by Miller & Heiman.
The best way to get user buy in is to let them use it for free.
One more problem you need to solve is to build use cases and case studies for different types of industries and organizations and then sell those stories, rather than your services.

Answered 6 years ago

First, you should have incoming leads generated by marketing and/or referrals, rather than cold calls.

Second, you need to work on building a relationship with prospects.

Third, if these are custom solutions which require IT and management approval, then representatives from those groups should be involved in the advanced stages of the sales discussion.

These 3 things can help you reduce your timeline.

Answered 6 years ago

Hi, I'd say the best way is to automate the process as much as you can, and optimize the onboarding and pricing:

1. Create a self-service version of the product, the simpler the better.

2. Figure out key actions the user need to take and see if you can automate it for him.

3. Add help videos on every page/section of the app

4. Make the pricing easy to get into or at least provide a long trial period, it'll make it easy to make the decision to test it.

5. Upload full tutorials/webinars to youtube for free and let people find out about the product and learn it themselves.

Answered 4 years ago

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