What techniques do top SaaS organisations use to improve their sales sequences? We explore key techniques you can use to enhance your processes.
When you’re writing and testing your own sales material from scratch, you might lose perspective on other effective methods you aren’t trying. So instead of re-inventing the wheel, why not look at some of the world’s best SaaS companies and see how they close deals?
As a recent Inside SaaS Sales study conducted by Process Street in partnership with sales email tool PersistIQ found, there are key similarities between how world-class firms close deals, which may help to inform and improve the way you communicate with leads.
This post will explore some of those common success strategies, reviewing real sales emails and voicemail transcripts that highlight some tested approaches you can use to improve your sales sequences.
If a lead isn’t getting back to you, it could be for a few reasons: maybe they’re evaluating other products, are too busy to respond, or perhaps they’re not interested at all. So it would make sense that simply sending a generic “Hi, I’m just following up” email isn’t going to achieve much. Indeed, this form of follow-up isn’t a common practice amongst the 280 SaaS companies analysed in the Inside SaaS Sales study. In fact, most made the effort to focus on highlighting the benefits of the solution, again and again.
Datanyze, for example, uses their follow-up sequence as a way to cement the idea that their product has proven, real-world effects on revenue:
You can remind leads about the benefits in a number of different ways, but a method that recurs time and time again while analysing the data was is use case studies.
Case studies give your claims proof, especially if you’re using examples from a business in the lead’s industry.
Alternatively, instead of giving hard money-related reasons why the lead should continue through the signup process, some companies prefer to take the softer approach, focussing on how the solution addresses a specific challenge:
This approach will vary, depending on the motivations and business challenges that each individual contact you have at the company is experiencing. But as long as the right beneficial value is there (and you’re speaking with the right, qualified lead) you might have an effective angle. For example, someone in charge of operations in a data visualisation team likely cares more about a solution that makes their team’s lives easier than a solution that improves revenue.
Building trust is a lot about familiarity and context, and trust is vitally important in enterprise sales and marketing. In lot of the sales communications collected in the study, sales agents made reference to their reason for contact - such as a previous email or voicemail - reassure the lead that they’re not being repeatedly messaged out of the blue.
In the sequence above, the Janrain sales rep makes reference to each piece of previous communication, both to give them a reason to get in touch again, and to jog the lead’s memory if they’ve received the voicemail but been too busy to respond. Keep in mind that as email typically forms the central pillar of any outreach strategy, any supporting chat and or voicemail messages should equally reference any email communication for continued context across all touchpoints.
Assuming that leads don’t have the time to follow up, they certainly don’t have time to read long and rambling emails. In the study, the average length of sales emails was surprising — at 129 words. Even marketing emails (which usually aimed to give a compelling pitch why the reader should attend a webinar or read a blog post), only averaged 133 words.
In the example below, Rainforest deals with busy, unresponsive leads by sending emails just one line long. The fact that it doesn’t look ‘overcooked’ also helps to build familiarity; the emails read like quick texts from a friend.
HubSpot’s research found that emails between 50 and 120 words had the best response rate among the 4 million examples they analysed. The longer the email gets, the less likely it is to get a response.
The brevity of Rainforest’s email also forces it to be very direct. Including one question (“What is your availability?”) is proven to increase response rates by 50% over emails that don’t have a direct ‘ask’.
There are of course, many other tactics used by the experts to support the buyer and help them build the internal business case around some key elements.
Namely, to see a positive result when engaging with a contact, be sure to:
And from your first contact with them, be sure you’re working to qualify your contact out on timing and budget for best relevant return.
Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street, where he writes on startups, SaaS, and workflows.