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The SaaS Sales Handbook. From Leads to Loyalty.

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Welcome to the world of Software as a Service (SaaS) sales, where success is not merely a transaction; it’s an ongoing journey. In this article, we will delve deep into the intricacies of SaaS sales, understanding its unique challenges, and exploring effective strategies to excel in this dynamic domain.

What Is SaaS Sales?

SaaS, an abbreviation for Software as a Service, represents a revolutionary approach to delivering software applications over the internet. Unlike traditional software distribution, where users had to install applications on their local devices, SaaS offers a cloud-based alternative. It provides users with access to software and its features through a web browser.

The core essence of SaaS sales lies in offering users not just software but solutions to their problems. It’s about delivering value continuously throughout the customer journey. The SaaS sales process typically involves a series of stages:

  1. Generating interest in the product
  2. Encouraging users to try it out
  3. Converting them into paying subscribers (usually on a subscription basis)
  4. Ensuring they keep using it over time

Now, let’s dive deeper into what sets SaaS sales apart from other sales approaches.

Why Is SaaS Different from Other Sales?

Selling SaaS is a unique endeavor compared to selling traditional products or services. Unlike tangible products where customers can physically inspect the item, try it on, or choose its color, SaaS offerings are intangible and exist in the digital realm.

However, this distinction doesn’t mean SaaS lacks opportunities for users to evaluate and experience the product. In fact, SaaS sales heavily rely on a well-structured sales funnel that includes elements like free trials. These trials act as virtual “fitting rooms” where potential customers can “try on” the software before making a commitment.

The Way In: Content and Connections, Inside and Out

The journey of SaaS sales begins with understanding your company, your product, and your target audience. Developing a robust SaaS go-to-market strategy is essential. Your approach can vary depending on several factors:

  • If you’re introducing a completely new product to the market, content marketing might be crucial in educating potential customers.
  • For SaaS solutions with specific customer requirements and substantial costs, methods like cold calling and participation in trade shows become significant.
  • If your team possesses a high-quality list of qualified email contacts, crafting compelling messages becomes a priority.

The key is to explore multiple avenues to reach your audience and identify the most effective ones. It’s about striking the right balance between inside and outside sales strategies to maximize your outreach.

Try It on for Size, No Changing Room Needed

A pivotal aspect of SaaS sales is enabling potential customers to “try on” your product without the need for a physical changing room. Offering free trials is a game-changer, particularly in the realm of web-based sales. Free trials offer several advantages:

  • They help assess the prospect’s genuine interest in your product.
  • Identifying and rectifying user experience issues and technical glitches is possible during trial phases.
  • Proving the value of your product can turn trial users into enthusiastic advocates during the decision-making and purchase process.

In cases where your SaaS product has a steep learning curve, having an on-site representative available during the trial period can make a significant difference. This becomes even more critical when you adopt a Sales-Led Growth approach as part of your go-to-market strategy.

The Tough Part Might Be After the Sale

Once a user downloads your SaaS product, the initial sign-up is just the beginning. Many SaaS companies offer flexible cancellation policies, removing barriers to customer churn. Ensuring that customers remain satisfied and continue using your product demands ongoing effort:

  • Consider offering discounts for long-term usage to incentivize loyalty.
  • Frequent updates are crucial, especially in competitive markets, to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Active customer relations and monitoring SaaS sales metrics are integral to understanding customer behavior and needs.

How to Build a SaaS Sales Strategy

Building a successful SaaS sales strategy requires a nuanced understanding of your product’s unique attributes and the market it serves. Several key factors influence your approach:

  • Price: Determine the pricing structure that aligns with your target audience and market positioning.
  • Complexity of Use: Assess the ease of use of your SaaS product and whether it requires extensive onboarding or training.
  • Market Size: Understand the scope of your target market and its growth potential.

Now, let’s explore three fundamental SaaS sales strategies, each tailored to different scenarios:


The self-service model relies on generating awareness about your SaaS offering. It enables clients to use and pay for the product without direct human interaction. Examples include Zoom and Slack, known for their ease of use and large target audience. This model suits low-cost, user-friendly SaaS solutions.


Enterprise SaaS sales take the opposite approach. It involves dedicated sales teams pursuing large clients, establishing relationships, and often conducting in-person meetings. Complex products with a limited market typically benefit from this strategy. BrightEdge, for instance, requires demos at various sales stages and offers customer success managers for ongoing support.


The transactional sales model falls between self-service and enterprise. It offers software at various price points with corresponding features and services. Many SaaS pricing pages feature tiered offerings. This strategy caters to both large and small clients. Examples include Xignite and Zendesk, offering configurable products based on user needs and pricing plans.

In Conclusion

  • Successful SaaS sales involve a continuous journey from customer introduction to sustained usage.
  • Understanding your product, crafting effective trial experiences, and maintaining post-sales activities are critical for SaaS companies.
  • Three primary SaaS sales strategies include self-service, enterprise, and transactional, each suited to different scenarios.

In conclusion, SaaS sales require a unique blend of customer-centricity, adaptability, and a keen understanding of market dynamics. By implementing the right strategy and consistently delivering value, SaaS companies can thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.

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