The SaaS Sales Edition

Isolation tips are more pertinent now than ever, and few know how to better cope with isolation than astronauts like Scott Kelly. Many of us are on our second or third week of social distancing, but to put it in perspective, he spent nearly a year by himself on the International Space Station. 

Some of the most common advice we’ve heard is around setting a schedule—Kelly agrees schedules are a must, but also wants you to make sure you pace yourself. This could end up being closer to a marathon than a sprint, so prepare like you’re in it for the long haul.

This week we’re diving into sales tips which should be helpful to B2B SaaS operators and really sales people in most industries. Hope you enjoy!

⛅ Last week we mentioned that 87% of B2B sales leaders thought their Q1 would be affected by COVID-19, but the fact is salespeople still need to sell in times of crisis. If you find yourself struggling to close deals in the current climate, remember to stay focused on your customers’ long term needs. This crisis will blow over, so basing a pitch around it is a short term play. Your customers are more likely to try to get the most bang for their buck right now, so proactively encourage them to stretch the use of your product as far as it can go and get maximum value. Most importantly, try to be flexible and support any smaller customers if you can. They’re getting hit the hardest, and who knows, that altruism might pay off later.

👍 There’s a fine line between the salesperson who is helpfully persistent and the one who sends dozens of pushy emails. Even though your response rate will largely be influenced by your level of email personalization (ditch the boilerplate templates!), a well timed followup or two can have a big impact and is often appreciated. The rule of thumb is to wait at least a day or two to send your first follow up, and when you do, make it a concise recap of your first. You can always send a second follow up as well if you think the person has a lot on their plate, but after the third follow up, it’s time to pull back and wait for a response on their time.

📹 We’ve all been using video calls more recently, so it’s a good time for a reminder to treat these meetings just the same as face to face ones. That means coming prepared and opening your video app ahead of time to make sure everything is good to go with your camera and mic. The “can you hear me now” or “see me” is easy to avoid but often not. Not everyone is cool with (or at least expecting) video for the call, so start your meeting without video on unless you made it clear earlier. Lastly, it’s much harder to manage a large group over video than in person, so try to keep invitees to 3-4 (or the absolute essentials) and present a clear agenda beforehand to offer some structure.

📧 Emails aren’t worth much if they don’t get opened, and the first interaction a reader has with yours is the subject line. The most common ones include things like “Following Up”, “Update”, or “Question”—we bet if you search your email with those terms you’d get more results than you knew what to do with. To stand out from the crowd, try to remember to make your subject lines “SMART”: specific, meaningful, appropriate, relevant, and thoughtful. That’s a lot to apply to what should be a concise 30-40 character subject line (the length most sources recommend), but doing so can be the difference between an email being ignored or forgotten, and not.

Leading a sales team is especially difficult if it’s your first time. The Sales Manager Survival Guide is a great read for any new sales leaders or vets who’re open to a quick refresher. Some of the best advice in the book is around taking over another leader’s team—while you may see countless things to fix on Day 1, fight the urge to start making material changes for the first month or so unless they’re absolutely necessary. This will help give a complete look at how the team operates, and also ensure you don’t rock the boat too early in your tenure. We also like their bit on ending any employee feedback session with an action or goal that can be reviewed the next time you meet, which makes tracking simple and can end things on a high note.