Episode 033: Sales and Marketing Coordination with Randy Wootton

Posted on May 18, 2020May 19, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , ,   Leave a comment on Episode 033: Sales and Marketing Coordination with Randy Wootton

On the surface, it would certainly seem that sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. What we really want to create is sales and marketing coordination. However, in reality, there is usually some extreme division between those on either side, to the point where it almost seems like they’re on two different paths. In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I talk with Randy Wootten, president and CSO of Seismic.

Show Notes

On the surface, it would certainly seem that sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. What we really want to create is sales and marketing coordination. However, in reality, there is usually some extreme division between those on either side, to the point where it almost seems like they’re on two different paths. In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I talk with Randy Wootton, Chief Strategy Officer and President at Percolate, a Seismic company.

Achieving Sales and Marketing Coordination

Ideally, the marketing department would talk with the sales team, and vice versa. However, in many companies, sales and marketing coordination does not exist. On the sales side, they complain that the leads are weak or improperly vetted. On the marketing side, they say that the sales staff aren’t closing, despite having such highly qualified leads. Obviously, both statements can’t be right.

Talking sales and marketing coordination with Randy Wootton of Seimic.
Randy Wootton

As I discuss with Randy, it seems like the fundamental difference between the two sides is that one uses data a lot more than the other. In my experience, because the sales staff is out there building relationships and talking with clients, numbers and statistics are met with derision. Most high-end sellers aren’t going to rely on charts and graphs to close a deal – it’s all about how you talk to the prospect. Overall, the sales team puts much more emphasis on specific points and details, even if the data is mostly anecdotal.

On the flip side, since so many marketers use analytics religiously, they don’t interact with clients regularly. So, when trying to capture new leads and push them through the sales funnel, marketers rely on data to qualify a prospect, rather than talking with the person directly.

Unfortunately, this lack of sales and marketing coordination can increase customer churn rates because the marketers are selling one thing while the sales team is selling another. A lack of communication about what’s going into each sale can lead to disaster.

Being Customized Without Being Creepy

Seismic is a firm that helps companies – both large and small – create tailored content to reach customers. These days, the “shotgun” approach doesn’t work anymore. Users are far savvier than in years past, which means that they expect a certain level of personalization in each interaction.

Marketing vs Sales
The fundamental difference between the two sides is that one uses data a lot more than the other

The struggle, according to Randy, is to provide that customization without being creepy about it. We’ve all had that experience where an ad pops up on Facebook or Instagram that seems to have come straight from our thoughts. We don’t remember searching for that product or service, but here it is in our timeline.

As a SaaS company, the content has to tow that line well, and that messaging needs to get to both the marketing and sales team. All too often, marketing has created content that speaks to an individual customer, but once that person talks to a sales rep, the rep has no idea about it. In most cases, that sales and marketing coordination disconnect can lead to higher customer churn. Clients expect the company to have a cohesive strategy at all times.

Quality Over Quantity

One anecdote that Randy recounts is how he sold Seismic to one of his enterprise-level clients. Evidently, the company was spending $40 million per year on advertising content but estimated that only about half was delivering toward the bottom line. So, with a perceived loss of $20 million, the cost of Seismic pales in comparison.

What Randy and his team do is go in and figure out what messages are getting to clients and how they can be tailored even more to compel action. So many companies believe that quantity is necessary to stay above the competition. However, a targeted message at the right time can get a lot more traction than 10 generic ones. It’s all about figuring out the when, the why, and the how.

We talk a lot more about creating better sales and marketing coordination, so check out the episode here. And, if you want to find out how to reduce customer churn with Seismic, you can learn more at www.seismic.com.

CRM Software: 3 Principles to Get Value Fast

Posted on April 24, 2020April 2, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on CRM Software: 3 Principles to Get Value Fast

Companies big and small will generate hundreds or thousands of data points from a wide array of programs and systems.
Unfortunately, while all of this information is crucial, it’s worthless if we can’t digest it. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is here to help. In this article, we want to discuss how an AI customer experience can provide the analytics possible to build a better sales team and a streamlined customer experience.

As a business owner, a big struggle can be building a more substantial customer base and using it to propel long-term success. Managing it with CRM software, can be an even bigger struggle.

Fortunately, we’re living in a golden age of technology, which means that you can theoretically be one app away from reaching that goal. However, just because there are a plethora of options doesn’t mean that they will all work. In many cases, even though the technology is powerful, it might not be well-suited for your business.

So, with that in mind, we want to discuss the best ways to utilize your CRM solution for your company. To help us understand the value of a good customer relationship management system, we enlisted the help of Thomas Kattnig. Thomas is the CEO of Sellsation, a company that specializes in CRM software for small and medium-sized businesses. Here are 3 principles that will get you value fast.

The Problem Isn’t CRM Software – It’s How You Use It

When it comes to CRM software, one of the biggest and most widely used in the industry is SalesForce. However, this software is designed for enterprise-level companies, which can make a powerful tool, but out of the reach of smaller businesses.

A significant reason for that disconnect is the level of skill and understanding that has to come with Salesforce. Yes, you can deploy the software for your medium-sized business, but then you have to hire consultants to help you use it efficiently.

Instead, you need to start by focusing your attention on the business model. What does success mean to you? Where are you trying to go? What solutions are you offering your customers? Finally, and most importantly, how is CRM software going to facilitate these goals?

All too often, businesses use a tech-first approach. This means that they think that buying a high-tech solution will alleviate their problems, but since they don’t know what those problems are to begin with, the software falls short.

Overall, before picking a CRM software solution, you need to outline where your business is headed and write down specific elements that the software has to address. From there, you can choose the right option for your needs. Thomas and his team have an excellent customer retention rate because they assist their clients with this process before onboarding them. By pointing yourself in the right direction, choosing technology is much simpler.

Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Team

CRM Software works best when you've aligned your sales and marketing team around its use.
CRM Software works best when you’ve aligned your sales and marketing team around its use.

Salespeople and marketers typically use customer relationship management systems. Unfortunately, these departments don’t usually talk to each other, so there is a significant disconnect that can cause problems.

If you want your CRM software to succeed, you need to make sure that it can facilitate communication between marketing and sales so that they can work as a cohesive unit. This way, salespeople don’t over-promise on a product, and marketing doesn’t have issues with setting up accounts and following up with clients.

Part of Sellsation’s success comes from the fact that they outline how each department works individually so that they can align themselves. When marketing does one thing, how does it affect sales and vice versa? By visualizing their relationship with each other, the business can create a better network of cooperation and coordination.

An amendment to that is how you incorporate your support team as well. If sales and marketing don’t provide the right tools for the client, then he or she will need much more help and support on the back end. That kind of system will lead to higher churn and less customer satisfaction. Overall, the CRM software needs to bring everyone together to move in the same direction.

Bottom Line: CRM Software Is a Tool, Not a Magic Wand

If you want to get more from your CRM software, you need to know how to use it first. Tons of features and benefits are great, but not if you have no use for them. Let your business model be the guide, and let your customers dictate which elements are most necessary.

If you want to find out more about Sellsation, you can check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here, or you can find them at www.sellsation.com.

Episode 025: Creating Successful Enterprise SaaS Products with Wolf Ruzicka

Posted on April 22, 2020April 19, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , , 1 Comment on Episode 025: Creating Successful Enterprise SaaS Products with Wolf Ruzicka

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Wolf Ruzicka, chairman of Eastbanc Tech. Wolf and his team have worked with some major players in the tech world, including Microsoft, Facebook, Nasdaq, and others. Eastbanc Tech is unique because it blends the flexibility and adaptability of a startup, but the company is developing software solutions for international corporations.

Show Notes

With SaaS products, a big part of the focus tends to be on startups. Since these are the companies trying to disrupt various industries, they tend to get a lot of attention and headlines. However, enterprise-level SaaS products are also changing the game – it just has more hoops to go through than a lean startup does.

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Wolf Ruzicka, chairman of Eastbanc Tech. Wolf and his team have worked with some major players in the tech world, including Microsoft, Facebook, Nasdaq, and others. Eastbanc Tech is unique because it blends the flexibility and adaptability of a startup, but the company is developing software solutions for international corporations.

So, we talked a bit about what makes Eastbanc successful and what they’re doing to change the world of SaaS products as a whole, including how to reduce customer churn.

Learning From Your Mistakes

 SaaS Products with Wolf Ruzicka
Creating Successful Enterprise SaaS Products

Because startup companies operate on a shoestring budget and don’t have a massive following, they’re allowed to make mistakes. Growing pains are just a natural part of the product development pipeline, and patches and fixes are par for the course. With enterprise-level software, however, the trick is to learn from other people’s mistakes if you can.

Wolf reminds me of an old saying, “stupid people never learn from their mistakes, normal people do learn from their mistakes, and smart people learn from other’s mistakes.” While it’s not always possible, that’s the goal at Eastbanc. Take the knowledge and failures from both other companies and your own experiences to streamline the development and innovation processes. That way, a customer churn analysis won’t be like reading an epitaph. 

Using KPIs as Motivation

One of the challenges that Wolf and his team encounter when incubating new software products is that it’s too easy to get complacent. Because there aren’t necessarily deadlines or expectations, there is no pressure for the product to deliver. So, instead of letting a project fall by the wayside, his team will develop KPIs and let the data hold them accountable.

In some cases, this strategy can be somewhat literal. If a big client like Comcast is looking for SaaS products to roll out, then there is some level of pressure to get it done by a specific deadline. No matter what, though, Eastbanc always operates under that level of scrutiny. Overall, as long as Wolf and his team hold themselves to the highest standard, they’ll continue to produce the highest quality products.

Layering the Customer Experience

Using SasS Products to Reduce Customer Churn
As technology develops, it builds upon the technology of yesteryear

As technology develops, it builds upon the technology of yesteryear. So it is with the customer experience. For a while, cloud-first approaches were the go-to option for companies trying to make it easier for clients and businesses. Then, a mobile-first approach to ensure that everyone could have maximum productivity on a smartphone. Next came a design-first approach, which centered around incorporating useful design elements to make the product more user-friendly.

In each case, the new focus didn’t replace the old one – it became part of it. Cloud technology is still a significant factor in today’s marketplace, as globalization and working from home become the new norm. Mobile technology is only becoming more ubiquitous as users become more comfortable using their phones for more types of transactions.

So, for a company to build enterprise-level software, they have to recognize how each focus blends into the next. Rather than picking one element (i.e., the cloud), the customer experience has to be consistent across the board – it’s a good customer retention strategy. Next on everyone’s radar is artificial intelligence, which will only add yet another layer.

We talk more about Eastbanc and the future of SaaS, so check out the episode here. If you want to get in touch with Wolf directly, you can find him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/wolfruzicka/, or you can find out more about his company at www.eastbanctech.com.

Episode 024: SMS Marketing with Brandon O’Halloran

Posted on April 20, 2020April 20, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Episode 024: SMS Marketing with Brandon O’Halloran

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Brandon O’Halloran, CEO of ReplyBuy. Brandon and his team have created a world-class system that enables companies to integrate SMS marketing quickly and efficiently. We discuss what makes ReplyBuy so valuable to its clients, and how SMS is poised to take over the world.

Show Notes

When talking about digital marketing, SMS marketing still seems like it’s on the cutting edge. Even though more and more businesses are using it, the platform has a few more years before it really becomes the norm.

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Brandon O’Halloran, CEO of ReplyBuy. Brandon and his team have created a world-class system that enables companies to integrate SMS marketing quickly and efficiently. We discuss what makes ReplyBuy so valuable to its clients, and how SMS is poised to take over the world.

An Intro to Conversational Marketing

SMS Marketing with Brandon O'Halloran
Brandon O’Halloran, CEO of ReplyBuy

Part of the reason why SMS marketing hasn’t become as widespread today is that many businesses don’t know how to use it effectively. For the most part, the value that comes from texting users is tied to the support system. A customer can chat with a representative about a problem via text instead of calling.

For Brandon, however, the key to success is by making the interaction two-sided. For much of SMS marketing’s tenure so far, the messaging has been one-way. A customer gets a text about a particular ad or offers with limited response options. For ReplyBuy, the best tactic is to start a conversation and make it much more relaxed and authentic.

I can attest to the effectiveness of this approach. Many of Brandon’s O’halloran’s clients are sports teams and entertainment venues, and I love hockey. However, the idea of answering a phone call from a sales rep to buy tickets seems so invasive that I don’t do it. A text, on the other hand, seems much more palatable, and I’m more willing to make a purchase when it’s that easy. Also, the ability to converse with a sales rep and ask questions via text is so appealing, not just to myself, but many users out there.

Finding Success Through Integration

Because SMS marketing has been around a while, there are several options readily available for companies to use. However, what sets Brandon and Reply By apart is the fact that they enable seamless integration. When talking about integration, though, we’re referring both to the technology and the adoption.

One of the primary benefits of using ReplyBuy’s software is that it can work with any CRM a company is using already. This way, reps don’t have to switch back and forth between programs, and the data extracted from these text conversations can be tracked and analyzed.

For Brandon, the other side of integration is finding those early adopters within the sales team. Because texting is still such a useful and engaging tool, many reps will have a higher success rate with it, especially compared to other channels like cold calls and emails. Once those “champion” reps get onboard with SMS marketing, it has a domino effect for the rest of the team. As a result, ReplyBuy has a really low churn rate.

Authenticity vs. a Sales Pitch

Finally, we discussed the methods of building a relationship with the customer via text. Spam emails and marketing emails are simply a part of modern life, so it’s easy to ignore them or allow them to collect in one’s inbox. A spammy text, however, seems like such an invasion of privacy.

So, part of Brandon’s onboarding process is illustrating how sales reps need to be authentic in their interactions. Rather than delivering a heavily scripted pitch, the initial message needs to be personal. That way, a customer is more willing to engage in a conversation, rather than unsubscribe from the contact list.

We talk more about ReplyBuy and how the company is changing the SMS marketing industry, so check out the rest of the episode here. You can find out more about the brand at www.replybuy.com, or you can text Brandon directly. Yes, he practices what he preaches – shoot him a message at 402-659-8921.

Episode 022: Recovering in a Downturn with James Avery

Posted on April 15, 2020April 19, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Episode 022: Recovering in a Downturn with James Avery

James Avery is in a valuable position to provide detailed insight into how a company can recover from a major downturn.

Show Notes

While we hope that every episode of the SaaS CX Show is prescient for CEOs and founders, today’s episode With James Avery is far more relative to today’s marketplace than most other times. With the novel coronavirus shuttering many companies and forcing brands to cut back or shut down entirely until the worst has passed, we thought we’d talk about recovering from a downturn.

James Avery is the founder and CEO of Adzerk, which he bills as the “Twilio for ads.” Rather than rely on a third party like Facebook or Google to run your marketing campaign, Adzerk enables you to build your own platform. We talked a bit about the need for such integration, as well as how businesses can turn misfortune into a long-term planning strategy.

Here are some highlights from our conversation. 

Avoiding the Digital Serfdom

James Avery
James Avery is the founder and CEO of Adzerk

Adzerk really came about because of the need for companies to remove their dependence on third-party platforms. While Facebook and Google are useful in many cases, the reality is that your business exists at their disposal. You could be making big money right now, but a single update or rule change can kick your brand to the curb. If that does happen, you might lose massive amounts of revenue overnight, through no fault of your own.

James calls this digital serfdom, although I’ve heard it as digital sharecropping. Regardless of how you name it, the gist is that you can’t rely on other people to help grow your business. Essentially, you’re outsourcing your profits, which can become highly dangerous.

It is a bit of a conflict of interest to recommend Adzerk to get around this problem, but as a business, you need to become much more autonomous. Basically, what happens if your keywords suddenly don’t work for SEO, and you have to start from scratch? You need a plan B. That brings us to our next segment-

Preparing for the Worst

Fortunately, James Avery is in a valuable position to provide detailed insight into how a company can recover from a major downturn. As he recalls, about seven years ago, when Adzerk was in its infancy, James and his team booked a substantial client. While that business paid for the first month, they were still using the software but not paying the bills. When James realized what was happening, it was a shock to the system.

Seemingly overnight, he had to turtle up – protect the most valuable assets of the business while trying to avoid the worst damage and survive. So, the management team got set on cutting costs and increasing revenue. Here are the tips he shared from this do-or-die moment.

Utilize Your Existing Customer Base

If you’re a startup, you may not have many customers, but it’s always better to sell to someone who knows the brand than attract a new lead. While that doesn’t mean you should jack up prices, you can talk to your customers about potential revenue streams.

For Adzerk, salvation came in the form of another high-ticket client. However, they wouldn’t be ready to launch for four or five months. So, the trick was to figure out how to stay operational until then.

Don’t Nickel and Dime Your Costs

Recovering in a Downturn

For whatever reason, perks are always the first thing to go, such as snacks in the breakroom. However, while this would make sense from an individual standpoint, it doesn’t do much for your business. Saving $200 a month on snacks isn’t going to right the ship – you have to focus on the big costs first before worrying about the little things.

Not only does keeping small perks make financial sense, but it can help improve morale. Your employees are going to have to work hard during the downturn, so you want to make sure they’re happy. If they’re miserable the whole time, it’s going to make the situation so much worse.

Finally, if you cut perks, then staff members see that you’re focused solely on the numbers, not the value. Then, if you ask employees to go beyond their job description, their response will be, “how much more am I going to make?” Perks show that value isn’t relegated to only money, and your staff will return the favor.

We talk more about how James Avery and Adzerk were able to survive their first big test, so check out the episode here. You can also find out more about Adzerk at www.adzerk.com.

Episode 021: CX for the Contact Center with Patrick Dennis

Posted on April 13, 2020April 19, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , , 1 Comment on Episode 021: CX for the Contact Center with Patrick Dennis

We talk with Patrick Dennis about developing your customer experience. Today you need to take both a macro view and a micro view. On the macro level, how many touchpoints are your customers experiencing, and what is their satisfaction level with each?

Time Stamp: 6:20 Coffee and car example. One of the challenges of managing an effective contact center is to understand where you fit in the customer’s life. For example, when talking about coffee, sometimes Patrick wants a quick cup from Dunkin Donuts. Other times, he wants to wait for a high-quality cup from Blue Bottle, which takes about 20 minutes. Most customers don’t have a single preference all of the time – they are multifaceted, and the contact center should be too.

Show Notes

One of the primary purposes of modern technology is to bring people together. Communication is such an integral part of society that it’s almost mind-boggling to consider all of the various methods at our disposal. Phone calls, emails, texts, instant messaging, snail mail – each one has multiple options, and new apps and channels come out all the time.

While technology does make it easier to communicate, many businesses are struggling to keep up with demand. In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Patrick Dennis, CEO, and founder of Aspect Software. He offers a lot of insight into how to make a contact center more customer-focused so that the experience is ideal from end-to-end. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Understanding Your Customer

Patrick Dennis of Aspect Software discusses the power of the contact center.
Patrick Dennis

One of the issues that plague many companies is the fact that they are quick to embrace technology without really understanding the purpose behind it. Yes, adding text messaging is great, but not if your customers have no interest in it. So, when building a contact center and establishing your touchpoints, it’s crucial to understand the needs of your clientele. Not only can you be serving different demographics, but each person’s preference can change as well.

As Patrick puts it, his mom still balances her checkbook every month, while he never uses checks. So, for a bank, they have to adapt their offerings to suit both Patrick and his mom, who will have wildly different preferences. On a more individual level, Patrick Dennis may prefer to use his phone app for various tasks, but want to call an agent for something more substantial (more on that later). In each case, the bank has to have a channel ready to accommodate him and other customers like him.

Macro vs. Micro Operations

When developing your customer experience, you need to take both a macro view and a micro view. On the macro level, how many touchpoints are your customers experiencing, and what is their satisfaction level with each? For example, let’s say that there are four interactions on average per customer. The individual has a 90-percent satisfaction with the first two, and 85-percent satisfaction with the last two. Overall, that sounds pretty good, right? However, when you do the math, that customer has a 58-percent rating of the entire experience.

So, if you’re not looking at your interactions from a macro level, you could be creating more customer churn than you realize.

Contact Center Macro Vs Micro

On the micro-level, many companies focus on data analytics. However, the data can only tell you part of the story. It’s always vital to understand the context of that data. For example, you may be trying to limit the length of calls to your call center to streamline operations. But, if a longer call time results in happier customers, then you don’t want to cut it short.

On that note, Patrick Dennis illustrates a pivotal point in modern communication – most customers want to speak to a representative when discussing significant decisions. Making a doctor’s appointment, moving money around between accounts, filing a complaint – in these instances, the customer doesn’t want a robot or automated system. So, while the number of calls may be lower, they are far more complex. As a business, you need to adapt to that.

Building the Experience Around the Customer, Not the Channel

Finally, we talk about how many companies are focusing on building out stacks around a particular piece of technology. One stack for live chat, one stack for emails, it creates silos that can interfere with the customer experience.

Instead, these businesses should be focusing on how the customer wants to interact with them. On average, individuals will change their preference over a year, and even over a single day. What’s important is that the interaction is consistent across channels, since the same customer can be using different ones. So, when building a contact center, companies need to recognize the reality of that and adapt accordingly.

We talk more about the basics of CX for contact centers, so check out the rest of the episode here. You can also find out more about Patrick Dennis and his team at www.aspect.com.

Enter the drawing for a free ticket to Aspect’s annual ACE 2020 conference here:

Episode 019: Effective Sales Process in Banking with Neil Stanley

Posted on April 8, 2020April 8, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Episode 019: Effective Sales Process in Banking with Neil Stanley

Neil Stanley talks with us about how today the average banking consumer is much savvier than in decades past. Rather than relying on a teller or manager to know everything, a new sales process is needed that recognizes customers can do the research themselves before walking into a branch.

Time Stamp: 14:00 uberizing the banking world. Because banking is so entrenched in the mentality of tradition, it’s hard to get managers and CEOs to adapt to shifting paradigms and a better sales process. However, by creating an “Uber”-level app, Neil Stanley and his team make it easier for this industry to accept change.

Show Notes

Usually, it’s not hard to find examples of adaptation and rapid development in the world of SaaS. However, one industry that seems to be slow to change is the banking and financial sector. Most of the time, big banks and institutions are timid to embracing change, thanks to a variety of factors, not the least of which is the looming specter of “tradition.” When the banking sales process lags, they feel it in their pocketbook.

Although getting banking managers and CEOs to adapt to new technology is a challenge, Neil Stanley and his team at The Core Point are making it more accessible. In this episode, I sat down with Neil to go over how his software is becoming revolutionary for bankers, how it has modernized the sales process for deposits, and what it means for other SaaS CX companies.

Bringing a Better Sales Process to Banking

Neil Stanley changing the sales process in banking
Neil Stanley

There was a time when the only way to do anything at a bank was to speak to a teller or a branch manager. Whether it was opening an account, transferring money, or one of a dozen other tasks, you had to rely on people to do it for you. This sales process is struggling in our modern world.

The first significant shift for banks was the advent of the ATM. Now, consumers were armed with the tools to do many of these things autonomously. These days, the most notable change is mobile apps. However, while institutions do adopt new tech, they are notoriously slow about it. Not only that, but the products they offer are still largely the same as they’ve been forever.

Neil illustrates this point by talking about certificates of deposit (CDs). Most banks only offer CDs with a maturity range of 12 to 60 months. However, no rule or regulation says they have to fit within those parameters. A bank could theoretically have the deposit mature at any time, but they don’t. Why? Because “that’s how it’s always been done.”

Tradition is a big hurdle for Neil Stanley and his team in changing the sales process of the bank, but his software is easy enough to understand that he’s able to get managers and CEOs on board with minimal training. Once they see the potential for upgrading the banking experience, they recognize the value in it.

Adapting to a More Knowledgeable Audience

Another reason why it’s so vital to shift the paradigm at banks is that the average consumer is much savvier than in decades past. Rather than relying on a teller or manager to know everything, customers can do the research themselves before walking into a branch.

What this does is upgrade the normal conversation – the sales process itself. Now, a customer will know to ask specific questions, which can complicate each interaction. If tellers aren’t more knowledgeable than the consumer, there’s a breakdown of trust and value.

This is another reason why The Core Point is so critical for the modern era. It not only empowers a bank to offer more flexibility, but it enables employees to keep up with the average customer.

Finding the Line Between Value Added and Simplicity

According to Neil, the biggest pain point for banks and other financial institutions to improve the sales process is data management and integration. First, because this data is so sensitive, and second because it can be so time-consuming to transfer information from one program to the next.

Thankfully, Neil and his team were able to create software that alleviated that problem, while also being easy to use and understand. As he puts it, they had to find the line between being complex enough to warrant adoption, but easy enough to avoid onboarding problems. In this way, The Core Point is symptomatic of SaaS as an industry, as most apps have to straddle that line all the time.

We talk more about banking and The Core Point in this episode, so be sure to check it out here. You can also find out more about Neil Stanley and his software at thecorepoint.com.

SaaS Lead Generation with LinkedIn

Posted on April 7, 2020March 27, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on SaaS Lead Generation with LinkedIn

As a SaaS owner, you know that the key to growth lies in lead generation. However, while this element is crucial for success, it’s much easier said than done. Many companies want to leverage the largest B2B social media platform for prospecting, but how do you make SaaS lead generation with LinkedIn work. All too often, companies come up against obstacles without a clear understanding of how to get around them.

As a SaaS owner, you know that the key to growth lies in lead generation. However, while this element is crucial for success, it’s much easier said than done. Many companies want to leverage the largest B2B social media platform for prospecting, but how do you make SaaS lead generation with LinkedIn work? All too often, companies come up against obstacles without a clear understanding of how to get around them.

So, with that in mind, we want to discuss some of the ways you can maximize your lead generation potential on LinkedIn. We talked with Adrian Boysel, founder, and CEO of Lead Butler. His software focuses on turning LinkedIn into a lead generator, which is not an easy task. However, in developing his program, he learned a few things, which can help you with your business.

Don’t Rely Too Much on Automation

A big part of SaaS lead generation with LinkedIn is automating your processes and drip campaigns. While this is helpful – there are only so many hours in the day – it shouldn’t be all-encompassing. In marketing, there are what are known as touchpoints – places within your sales funnel where the right interaction can move the lead to the next step.

Want to become more efficient with your content creation?

The trick is to find these touchpoints and rely on old-fashioned relationship building and engagement. Show your leads that you’re more than just a computer program with a variety of templates. For Adrian, what helps his business thrive is that he has people crafting customized messages for clients. While automation helps his team curate lists, it’s simply a foundational tool for one-on-one interactions.

Be Focused and Direct With Your Messaging

All too often, businesses believe that prospecting on LinkedIn requires them to develop some kind of “hook” for their audience. Perhaps it’s an anecdote or personal story, or it’s an opening paragraph that illustrates the need for your product.

SaaS lead generation with LinkedIn works best when you're looking for an authentic, real connection
SaaS lead generation with LinkedIn works best when you’re looking for an authentic, real connection.

Unfortunately, your leads don’t have time to read any of that, nor are they interested in it. Instead of trying to wow the person right off the bat, start with something straightforward. For Adrian, his cold message is along the lines of “I want real connections; if you do too, then add me.” Short and sweet.

The best way to think of it is that your initial message is to get a response, not to sell them on a product or your brand. Focus on the why of their response. Is it to get discounts and deals? Is it to save them time and money down the road? Distill your message into its fundamental element and use that as your pitch. The rest can come later. SaaS lead generation with LinkedIn works best when you’re focused and direct.

Curate Your Lists Well

Which is better – to have a massive list of 1000 subscribers or a curated list of 100? Before you answer, what if we told you that the number of responses was the same? If you’re only going to get 10 or 20 replies, then it’s actually better to have a smaller, more targeted list. That way, your capture rate is much higher.

One challenge that Adrian and his team faces is that Lead Butler will generate lists, but not everyone on it is a winner. You need to update and curate your records so that you can focus your attention on the leads that matter most. Yes, it will take time, but it’s a valuable investment in your growth.

SaaS Lead Generation with LinkedIn Can Be Both Authentic and Efficient

In short, you don’t have to sacrifice authenticity with efficiency. We talk a lot more about SaaS lead generation with LinkedIn in the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show, which you can find here. Lead generation only works as well as the people behind it. Make sure you’re putting the right energy where it counts.

How to Run a Demo for SaaS that Gets More Customers

Posted on March 4, 2020March 27, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on How to Run a Demo for SaaS that Gets More Customers

If you’re a SaaS company, you know the demo is a critical part of the sales process. But not all demos are effective. In fact, many are downright boring and end up losing the customer’s interest. This article intents to answer the question once and for all, how to run a demo for your SaaS company that actually gets more customers to sign up.

If you’re a SaaS company, you know the demo is a critical part of the sales process. But not all demos are effective. In fact, many are downright boring and end up losing the customer’s interest. This article intends to answer the question once and for all, how to run a demo for your SaaS company that actually gets more customers to sign up.

Learn how to run a demo that generates customers
Using a right demo script is critical to gain new customers

In order to describe the “perfect demo”, we need to talk about the types of demos. There are three different demo styles or scripts.

  1. The “Menu” Demo
  2. The “Feature Review” Demo
  3. The “Day in the Life” Demo

Each of these three scripts has a different feel to them. And they can all be useful in different parts of the sales process.

Whatever script you use, the structure is critical. You need to capture the attention of your audience in the first 2 minutes of the discussion. Otherwise, you might lose their interest – and the sale.

Once you get the sale, don’t lose the customer. Check out our SaaS Churn Checklist for ideas on how to retain your ideal customer.

How to Run a Demo and How Not to Run a Demo

The three demo types we’ll be focusing on highlight different perspectives on the purpose of a demo. Some are useful in some scenarios. Some are not.

The important thing is knowing what part of the sales process you’re in. If you’re trying to sell to potential users, you need to speak their language. Sometimes, however, we’re just trying to check boxes off an RFP questionnaire. That’s a completely different scenario requiring a different script.

But we’ll run through each one and highlight the pros and cons.

The “Menu” Demo

The “Menu” demo is the most frequently used demo script. In the “Menu” Demo, the demonstrator goes through each of the major functions of the software – as if going through the top level menu – and explains why they’re there and what they do. The demonstrator doesn’t go into each detail, but the overall context of each section is provided.

For example, imagine the main menu of your software were: Import, Review, Approve, and Reporting. Those menu items forms the script of how to run a demo of this software.

The demonstrator would spend some time on the Import function. Describe some of the major features, talk about why it’s there and when you would use it.

Then the demonstrator would move onto the Review menu item. Again, they would discuss what Review is for, who would use it and what major features are there.

And so on until each of the menu items have been covered.

The “Menu” demo is a popular way to run a demo because it’s easy to remember – you simply follow the menu. Hence the name. The demonstrator is sure to cover all the major points because they’re included in the menu.

The problem with the “Menu” demo is that it’s “software-centric.” The menu items were created to resemble some broad workflow, but not necessarily from the user’s perspective.

And if the menu was created without the user’s workflow in mind, then this script is even more disconnected from what a real user would do with the software.

If your software is even moderately complex, a user will rarely use all the menu items in a single session. In fact, many of the menu items might not be used on a regular basis. If your software is designed for the enterprise, then a user might not even need many of the menu items; they have been designed for other user types.

Despite how you might view the workflow, the menu items will likely not represent how your customer actually uses the software. And because of this disconnect, although the “Menu” demo is informative, it’s rarely persuasive.

The “Feature Review” Demo

The “Feature Review” demo is like the “Menu” demo on steroids. The demonstrator goes through each and every feature, every box, every option to demonstrate the power of the software.

The idea is to overpower the the prospect with all the possibilities and they will want to license your software.

That result rarely occurs. In fact, unless such a demo is required by a Request for Proposal (RFP), you should never run a “Feature Review” demo. They are overwhelming and usually end up making your software look complex and unwieldy.

Enterprise SaaS sales can be tricky. Listen to our interview with Gregory Giagnocavo about the unique challenges of the enterprise SaaS sales.

Just like the “Menu” demo, the “Feature Review” demo is “software-centric.” It’s all about your code and nothing about the customer. What the “Menu” demo tries to do is stick with the workflow embedded in the menu. The “Feature Review” leaves this intention behind, getting lost in functionality at the expense of actual function.

Most customer who watch a “Feature Review” demo end up impressed by the thought that has gone into each component, but often do not understand how the software actually works.

This “shock and awe” approach is not how to run a demo. You’ll find your prospects with more questions afterwards than they had before. And worse yet, they may be too confused to know what to ask.

The “Day in the Life” Demo

It turns out what your prospects want to know most is how they’ll use your software in their day-to-day work. You will want to think through how to run a demo that highlights the typical use cases your customer will go through.

The focus on use cases can be complex when you have enterprise software and multiple user types. That only emphasizes how important it is to structure demos around the audience.

Regardless of the different types of users, your demo needs to be “customer-centric.” It needs to focus on things your customer actually does. Build a script around what life actually looks like for your user – pre and post-implementation of your software.

The “Day in the Life” demo is a scenario-based demo. Start with a typical situation – ideally one your software makes easier. Set up the scenario verbally and then walk through the exact steps the user would take to handle that scenario.

Choose scenarios that are common rather than one-off “corner cases.” If you can include commentary about workflow that is happening outside the software, you’ll find your prospective user understanding better how your software will affect their work.

In the end, you’re shooting for dramatic changes in outcomes. You need to justify the return on investment in your software. And your demo should make it clear that the day-to-day work of the user will result in that ROI.

You will be tempted to “throw a few things” into the “Day in the Life” demo because your scenario doesn’t hit on some key features or functionality. Resist this urge. Your prospect will be won over by seeing how your software interfaces with their already existing workflow. Detours and breaks in the flow only serve to confuse the prospect. That disruption makes it less likely for them to see your software fitting “into their life.”

If you find your “Day in the Life” demos are missing key features and function, that should tell you something. Either you’re telling the wrong stories or your key features aren’t all that key.

If you adopt an agile development framework, some of these stories should already be a part of your internal language. You’re just showcasing them to your prospects now.

How to Run a Demo that Gets People to Buy

All the theory in the world isn’t helpful if you can’t visualize it in action. That’s true for your customers. And it’s true for you. To that end, here are some examples of outstanding demos you might use for some inspiration.

In the end, your goal is simple. More customers.

But to do that, your prospect needs to go on a journey with you. They need to see a relevant, valuable outcome. They need to recognize a problem with what they’re doing today. And they need to see you solving that problem.

These problems are a part of your customers’ daily life. The scenarios you describe in your software demo need to reflect those daily challenges.

Your potential customer will not be swayed by the latest feature or shiny object. Especially not when that new gadget doesn’t immediately address their pain points.