Sales

SaaS sales vary from zero touch models where the user self serves to field sales models, where enterprise sales teams seek to manage long drawn out sales cycles. Having clarity as to the appropriate sales model for your SaaS business can make or break you.

The following resources help to ensure you are evaluating the various route to market for your application and aligning sales methodology with the value proposition.

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An argument for specialized sales teams — an interview with aaron ross

In this article I interview Aaron Ross, co-author of a new book, Predictable Revenue. Aaron discusses his experience at Salesforce.com starting a new group that used an innovative outbound prospecting approach (involving no cold calls) to create new leads. Aaron’s group came up with several important breakthroughs which enabled them add over $100m in incremental recurring revenues over a few short years.

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You're in the business of selling promotions

On the prospects list of every SaaS startup, you will find a list of company names and next to them a projected dollar amount projecting the potential revenue from closing the deal. Each line item might represent a sale to team, department or the entire company. Regardless, there is a single champion advocating internally for the company to invest in this software product. If the project succeeds, that person will be promoted.

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How sales complexity impacts your startup’s viability

There is no question that success for the entrepreneur starts with a breakthrough (or at the very least great) product or service. Yet too often, entrepreneurs fall into the “field of dreams” mentality (in the words of Terence Mann, AKA James Earl Jones: “build it and they’ll come”). But the truth is that defining the product is just the beginning.

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SaaS economics – part 1: the SaaS cash flow trough

This post provides SaaS entrepreneurs with an Excel spreadsheet model and graphs that show the cash flow trough that happens to SaaS, or other subscription/recurring revenue businesses that use a sales organization. These kinds of SaaS businesses face a cash flow problem in the early days, because they have to invest up front in sales and marketing expenses to acquire customers, and only get payments from those customers over a delayed period of time.

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How to shorten your sales cycle and avoid wasting time

One of the questions I’m most often asked by CEOs is how to hire sales people. I’ve written a lot about recruiting and hiring at startups including my controversial post on whom not to hire and my rapid response to the flame war. I’ve also written extensively on sales and on which sales execs to hire and how to think about the different kinds of sales leaders.

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The marketing math behind scaling a SaaS salesforce

A terrific SaaS VP of Marketing once told me, “If the sales team is focused on hitting this quarter’s revenue target, then the marketing team ought to be focused on next quarter and the following quarter.” In SaaS companies, one of the marketing department’s primary responsibilities is generating sufficient customer interest to enable the company to achieve their revenue targets.

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Three SaaS sales models

hoosing the right go-to-market sales model for your SaaS startup can be a make it or break it decision. Choose right and you grow smoothly from seed funding to A round to B round and beyond. Choose wrong and you spend precious cycles chasing your tail as cash runs out.

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The enterprise sales learning curve

“It always takes longer and costs more” laments Don Valentine of Sequoia Capital, one of the most successful and respected venture capitalists today. This is consistent with our own extensive involvement in entrepreneurial companies over the past twenty-five years where it is the truly rare company that meets or exceeds its initial plans.

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SaaS startup strategy | three SaaS sales models

hoosing the right go-to-market sales model for your SaaS startup can be a make it or break it decision. Choose right and you grow smoothly from seed funding to A round to B round and beyond. Choose wrong and you spend precious cycles chasing your tail as cash runs out.

View article

How to shorten your sales cycle and avoid wasting time

One of the questions I’m most often asked by CEOs is how to hire sales people. I’ve written a lot about recruiting and hiring at startups including my controversial post on whom not to hire and my rapid response to the flame war. I’ve also written extensively on sales and on which sales execs to hire and how to think about the different kinds of sales leaders.

View article

How to sell without being a salesperson

“You’re always selling” is one of those sayings you often hear about building startups. But many entrepreneurs try to avoid being a salesperson, as it still has a bad connotation. I’ll proudly admit, however, that I started my career – and learned the most tricks – in a job associated with the worst of all stereotypes: the used car salesperson.

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3 useful tips to help your early stage startup acquire paying enterprise customers

A lot of noise is being made lately about the trend that venture money is flowing away from consumer startups and flowing into enterprise startups. As a B2B company, I am personally excited about this, but I am here to tell my fellow early-stage (seed-funded or unfunded) enterprise startup entrepreneurs that acquiring enterprise customers is no joke.

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Persuasion tactics of effective salespeople

Without language, you wouldn’t be able to share your ideas, display your personality, or express yourself to the world. You couldn’t communicate your needs and desires to others, and the never-ending dialogue within your mind would grind to a halt. The words we speak truly define who we are. However, since we are continually talking all the time, we often take it for granted.

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How we generated thousands of sales leads by mapping one process

As the first business employee at Lucid, I have personally answered thousands of support inquiries over the last five years. From that experience, I’ve learned that support tickets come in every shape and size—from the very simplistic “how do I do X?” product questions to a complex partnership proposal. Another key learning? If many of your best sales leads are not coming from your support channel, you’re doing it wrong.

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Growth hacking strategy

Most things we can read about Growth are very operational. You need to run experiments in order to improve your growth. Quid about Strategy? What comes before? When thinking about Growth, most people think about CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) on the ToFu (Top of the Funnel). They don’t really understand what is the power of Growth.

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A salesperson’s seven deadly sins

n the late sixth century, Pope Gregory described the seven deadly sins from the least serious to the most, as superbia, invidia, ira, avaritia, tristia, gula, and luxuria. Translated from Latin, they are pride, envy, anger, avarice, sadness, gluttony, and lust. What do you think are the seven deadly sins of salespeople? Here’s my list, in order of least to most severe.

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Ten reasons salespeople lose deals

Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to interview several hundred business-to-business salespeople about how they win over prospective clients and the circumstances when they lose. These interviews were conducted with salespeople across a wide variety of industries including high technology, telecommunications, financial services, consulting, industrial equipment, healthcare, and electronics, to name a few.

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The greatest sales deck I’ve ever seen

A few months ago, my friend Tim took a new sales job at a Series C tech company that had raised over $60 million from A-list investors. He’s one of the best salespeople I know, but soon after starting, he emailed me to say he was struggling.

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How B2B sales can benefit from social selling

Outbound B2B sales are becoming less and less effective. In fact, a recent survey found that connecting with a prospect now takes 18 or more phone calls, callback rates are below 1%, and only 24% of outbound sales emails are ever opened. Meanwhile, 84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions.

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How to close a sales call

Remember the last time you were being pressured into doing something you didn’t want to do? Whether the pressure came from a boss, colleague, spouse, or child, your natural response was to resist and push back. It’s human nature to resist high-pressure tactics. So, how should the closing of the sales call be structured? The answer is to create a primary closing strategy, utilize fallback positions, and select the appropriate technique to deliver the close.

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You’re not finished selling until you change your customers habits

It is easy to think the sales process ends once a customer has signed a contract or downloaded an app or created an account. But it’s a huge mistake. Great products have a point of view on the way things ought to work. GMail chose labels over folders for email categorization. Pandora chose recommendations over libraries for music libraries. Looker chose spreadsheets over an SQL prompts for data exploration. None of these ideas matter if they aren’t used.

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B2B sales hiring for startups

Ready to hire salespeople but don’t know where to start? You’re in the right place. Steli Efti, the CEO of Close.io, recently did a webinar on B2B sales hiring. Although it’s geared towards B2B companies and startups, the principles can be applied to most companies.

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