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.

Episode 018: Better Sales through Sales Analytics with Todd Abbott

Posted on April 6, 2020April 5, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments on Episode 018: Better Sales through Sales Analytics with Todd Abbott

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Todd Abbott, COO of InsightSquared. This software enables businesses and managers to streamline the biggest time suck – data entry. InsightSquared can take information and distill into processes and best practices, cutting down on analytics substantially. We talk a lot about how his system and AI, in general, can help companies in their quest for a better customer experience.

Time Stamp: 7:39 InsightSquared captures sales analytics incoming from both managers and customers, which enables consultants and supervisors to use their experience more efficiently. Rather than spending so many hours finding and compiling information, these high-ticket employees can be much more productive and insightful.

Show Notes

Todd Abbott

As far as technology goes, one of the biggest buzzwords these days is artificial intelligence. It seems that everyone is using it to varying degrees, and one area where it works wonders is data collection and management.

Unfortunately, although AI is excellent at condensing vast amounts of information, companies are still struggling to deploy it efficiently. In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Todd Abbott, COO of InsightSquared. This software enables businesses and managers to streamline the biggest time suck – data entry. InsightSquared can take information and distill into processes and best practices, cutting down on analytics substantially. We talk a lot about how his system and AI, in general, can help companies in their quest for a better customer experience.

Overcoming the Data Entry Gap

Sales analytics should be focused on the results, not wasting time in entering data.
Sales analytics should be focused on the results, not wasting time in entering data.

There are already so many apps available that can create sales analytics- SalesForce comes to mind as a big one. However, most of these programs suffer in the usefulness of their analytics. While you can compile information and get what you need, it’s highly time-consuming and burdensome. In many cases, you have high-level managers and executives spending most of their time on data entry and management, which isn’t an efficient use of their experience and insight.

InsightSquared alleviates this problem by pulling data from various sources and putting sales analytics into customizable dashboards. Even better, each manager can build a unique dashboard to look at the details he or she needs. Now, rather than spending hours inputting data, these executives can use it as a platform for improvement and adjustment.

Want to learn more about great user design? Check out this interview with Adrian Chenault.

Using Sales Analytics as a Coaching Tool

Another issue that many big companies have is the disconnect between what the salesperson thinks is happening versus what’s really going on. All too often, sales employees will put too much time and effort into a lead that won’t pan out, just because the lead is responsive or seems interested.

The reason that this approach is a problem is that, like data entry, so much time and energy is spent trying to qualify these leads. A manager may be able to go through the sales process and identify which customers are viable or not, but that’s something the salesperson should do instead.

Now, with machine learning, the system can use history and sales analytics to notify the sales team which leads are lucrative and which ones are a waste. This way, employees can remove a lot of the noise and focus on the sales that matter most. Essentially, the software is coaching a B-level salesperson to be more efficient and proactive.

Using AI to understand your prospect. Check out this interview with Drew D’Agostino.

Machine Learning and the Longer Sales Cycle

While there is a place for AI in a transactional business, where it really shines is in a longer sales cycle. There was a time when a rockstar salesperson could come in and use his or her experience and insight to improve a company’s sales, but now everything is moving much faster. Sales cycles that would take eight months only take two or three, which is why data management is so vital.

As Todd puts it, InsightSquared is much more valuable in these longer sales cycles because there are so many entry points and connections with the client. The longer it takes to close, the more complicated the process, so the software streamlines it along the way by providing the right sales analytics at just the right time.

We talk more about InsightSquared and how sales analytics can improve the customer experience, so check out the rest of the episode here. You can also contact Todd directly at [email protected] or visit them online at www.insightsquared.com.

SaaS Customer Success through Change Management

Posted on April 3, 2020March 27, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on SaaS Customer Success through Change Management

The basis of SaaS customer success is in the successful implementation of your software. For your customer that means, things on their side will likely change. You will likely need to address the necessary change management if you want to create happy customers who stick around.

The basis of SaaS customer success is in the successful implementation of your software. For your customer that means, things on their side will likely change. You will likely need to address the necessary change management if you want to create happy customers who stick around.

What is change management?

Enterprise change can be a very complicated proposition. Once you have so many departments and managers and supervisors in play, it can be easy to lose track of even the most basic information.

To make matters worse, a CEO or executive can recognize the need for changes, come up with a plan, and it ultimately fails. Maybe employees will follow the new process for a little while, but once they come up against a challenge, they will revert to old habits.

So, how can an enterprise-level business create solutions and implement a strategy to follow-through? While a SaaS solution can help, it’s only as good as the people using it and the process it supports. Here is a step-by-step approach to implementing a change management process that supports your customer success.

Step One: Assess Your Processes From A to Z

One of the biggest challenges that companies face is that they’re focusing on the wrong problem. At first, it seems like the most pressing issue, but once you get into the details of it, it turns out that the real problem is starting elsewhere. For example, maybe sales are in a slump, so you try to motivate the sales team. However, the actual setback is that the product isn’t delivering what the team is selling, so customers are less than satisfied.

So, one of the best methods to get at the root of a problem is to walk it back to its source. How many processes, people, and systems are involved in getting to the endpoint? To ensure SaaS customer success, you have to look at each component to see where things are falling apart and then focus your attention as necessary.

Jon LoDuca talks about how documenting processes enables knowledge sharing

Paul Moynagh, CEO of Commit Works, knows the struggle all too well. His SaaS company focuses on providing software solutions for mining operations. In most cases, supervisors are trying to get something done without paying attention to all of the different pieces required to finish the job. This lack of awareness leads to costly delays and downtime.

Step Two: Eliminate Silos

Here is where SaaS technology can really thrive. In most big corporations, each department is creating and sharing information back and forth, which can create a lot of logistical issues. Documents aren’t up to date, spreadsheet formulas get broken, managers don’t receive the correct details – it can be a mess.

The best solution is to eliminate those silos and create a system of open collaboration between departments. Rather than each person creating a spreadsheet or a document, they can work off of the same program and access it whenever necessary. This way, all details are accurate and up-to-date, and no one can claim they didn’t receive it.

In Paul’s world, that problem manifested itself with a flurry of spreadsheets that would never get organized. Data would have to be transferred manually from the office to the field, and it was impossible to update it efficiently. The result was that workers would go off-plan, which in the mining industry, can be dangerous.

Step Three: Influence Change Within the Environment

This last step of creating SaaS customer success is crucial because change only works when it’s implemented over the long term. All of your plans and ideas are worthless if no one follows through. There are several components that you can use to influence this change more efficiently:

  • Individual – train key members of the business in how to perform tasks and make sure that they get help whenever necessary.
  • Group – in most cases, you can use peer pressure to your advantage. If more people know what the plan is, they can hold each other accountable.
  • Environment – if you want someone to enter data on a computer, how can they do it without a computer in front of them? Overall, you want to structure the environment to be as conducive to change as possible. Remove obstacles and make it super easy to follow through on various tasks and objectives.

On the back end, you also need to monitor the situation and step in whenever necessary to keep people from falling back into old habits. Without accountability and reinforcement, the change will never take hold for the long-term.

If you want to hear more about Paul’s approach to supporting customer success through change management, check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here. You can also find out about Commit Works at their website, www.commit.works.

Episode 017: Successful CRM through Sellsation with Thomas Kattnigg

Posted on April 2, 2020April 5, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment on Episode 017: Successful CRM through Sellsation with Thomas Kattnigg

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Thomas Kattnig, CEO of Sellsation. Thomas and his team have created a highly capable CRM program that delivers results and has very little churn. In fact, according to Thomas, Sellsation has a 95-percent customer retention rate!

Time Stamp: 11:00 One of the biggest challenges facing medium and large-sized businesses is the disconnect between sales and marketing. Sellsation alleviates that problem by helping clients visualize the processes that both departments are doing so that they can find points of collaboration and communication.

Want to participate in the Sellsation Raffle? Follow these instructions.

Show Notes

Thomas Kattnigg

These days, one of the most significant elements in the SaaS world is customer relationship management (CRM) software. However, while so many companies try to develop new tricks and methods for startups to retain customers, there is a bit of a disconnect between the developers and the customers.

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Thomas Kattnigg, CEO of Sellsation. Thomas and his team have created a highly capable CRM program that delivers results and has very little churn. In fact, according to Thomas, Sellsation has a 95-percent customer retention rate, which is almost unheard of within the industry. I picked his brain about why his company has been so successful, and here are some highlights.

Helping Customers Find Their Alignment

Typically, the challenge that CRM software faces is that businesses don’t have a clear expectation of their goals. They know that they need some way to build relationships with customers, but they don’t have a specific objective in mind. Unfortunately, without that guiding principle, no CRM program will deliver – after all, how can it?

So, when Thomas and his team work with clients on Sellsation, they first discuss what the company is trying to achieve and how they plan to get there. Without that clear understanding of alignment, it’s impossible to utilize the software to reach the destination. Ultimately, even though Sellsation is a software company and not a service company, they provide some level of consultation to ensure that clients know what they want and what they need.

Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

Another challenge that many businesses face, both large and small, is the disconnect between sales and marketing. All too often, these two departments aren’t talking to each other or coordinating, which can lead to problems down the line. The sales team over promises on a product, or the marketing team is promoting something that’s hard to sell. Whatever the case may be, it can become a significant issue.

Sellsation bridges the gap between these departments by helping the business owners visualize the processes that both sides use and how they can merge. By seeing the similarities between sales and marketing and how one can feed into the other, it’s much easier to get them to coordinate. Overall, having a cohesive business model is the key to success.

Episode 009: Marketing Automation with Brad Banyas

Tying Sales to the Customer Experience, Not Just Revenue

Finally, many software companies (and businesses in general) take a narrow approach to motivating the sales team. Typically, it’s the commission that drives a salesperson to improve their efforts, but Sellsation takes a slightly different approach.

Because customer retention is such a vital KPI for the company, Thomas tells the sales team that their pay is also tied to the level of support that a customer requests after the fact. Ideally, new clients won’t have to open any new tickets because the sales and onboarding process was so thorough. If a customer is unhappy, the sales team needs to adjust its messaging and delivery.

We talk a lot more about CRM and how Sellsation is navigating and disrupting the industry, so be sure to check out the episode here. You can also find out more about Thomas and his product at www.sellsation.com.

Sellsation CRM Raffle

Sellsation has agreed to give away 1 free annual contract with 5 user licenses and an 8-hour onboarding & training package with a total value of $9400.

To participate, here’s what you do:

  1. Follow the Sellsation LinkedIn page
  2. Write a LinkedIn post stating: “Just submitted to the @sellsation CRM giveaway” and hashtag #sellsation and #thesaascxshow

That’s it and you’re in!

Sellsation will contact the winners directly.

How to Build an MVP for SaaS

Posted on March 31, 2020March 30, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on How to Build an MVP for SaaS

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.

Right now, we’re living in exciting times for both startups and entrepreneurs. Technology has made it easier than ever to start a business and build a product from the ground up. And in that frenzy of discussions, people continue to say: you need to know how to build an MVP for your SaaS product.

However, this lower bar of entry can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can get a team together and start working on a product immediately. On the other, it’s too easy to get bogged down in the details and set yourself up for failure.

So, if you want to avoid the usual problems of creating a successful startup, you can look at the methods used by membership sites. We talk with Ward Sandler, founder and creator of Memberspace, about how he turned an idea into a success. Here is what we discovered.

Let Your Customers Drive Your Ideation Process

All startups dream about becoming the “next big thing.” A lot of talk has been thrown around in recent years surrounding brands like Uber and Airbnb, with “growth hacking” becoming the go-to term for businesses that blow up in popularity.

Knowing how to build an MVP for your SaaS product needs to involve customer feedback as well as great design
Knowing how to build an MVP for your SaaS product needs to involve customer feedback as well as great design.

However, for every Uber, there are a thousand similar apps that failed to get off the ground. But why is that? Well, in most cases, it’s because the ones developing the app or product aren’t necessarily the ones who need it the most. And that tends to be a big “gotcha” when you think about how to build an MVP for your SaaS product.

Yes, you have a bunch of great ideas, but how are you validating them? What features and functionality are your users craving? What elements do they want that they can’t get anywhere else?

For Ward Sandler, it was a consistent request for adding a membership package to a website. As a site designer and consultant, Ward heard from his client about what features they needed. At the time, no one was offering a simple membership package solution, so he created his own.

Don’t know what an MVP is? Find out here.

This feedback loop drives how to build an MVP. You should also continue throughout your development, even after launch. Whenever you want to add a new feature or benefit, be sure to talk to your users about any specific pain points and how you can address them. A bonus feature that doesn’t add value is ultimately worthless.

Emphasize the Minimum When You Build an MVP for SaaS

Part of what makes research and development take so long is that startups believe that they have to have a full suite of features on launch. While that can be nice, it’s not necessary. Instead, focus on the core function of your product and let that be your foundation.

For example, with Memberspace, the site started with a simple solution – creating a program that forced visitors to sign up for a free account. No paywall, no tiered membership options, no analytics, just the one element. That simplicity is how Ward decided to move forward. He knew how to build an MVP for his SaaS product because he focused on the basics.

Once Ward and his team perfected that component, it was easier to add new features. With each addition, they went through a similar process. Now, they have dozens of functions to make the site more attractive to new customers.

You should take a similar approach. Distill your product or idea to its core component – what is the primary selling point? Build that until it works, then run beta testing to perfect it. Not only will this help you launch faster, but it will remove any potential setbacks along the way.

Cater to the Lowest Common Denominator

Another reason why startups can struggle is that they are building an app or product for tech-savvy individuals. While you do need to appeal to the early adopter crowd, you should have another demographic in mind – boomers.

Really, the idea is to make your product as simple and easy to understand as possible. Since the older generation can have trouble with new tech, they are an excellent resource for beta testing. If a boomer can understand what you’re offering and use the app correctly, then it will be foolproof. Even if you don’t think that older people or non-tech users will want your product, implementing this strategy will still help in the long run.

Bottom Line: Knowing Which Questions Need Answers Tells You How to Build an MVP

Overall, to be a successful startup, you need to know how to ask questions from your user base. Your ideas are valuable, but since you’re not the one buying the product, you need to solicit feedback from a broader selection of people. Your users will help you figure out how to build an MVP for your SaaS product. Then let your customers determine which elements should stay and which should be dropped. That process will lead to greater success.

Retain SaaS Customers in a Downturn: 3 Things To Do Today

Posted on March 30, 2020March 30, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments on Retain SaaS Customers in a Downturn: 3 Things To Do Today

In a downturn, customers may want to leave. You need a strategy to retain SaaS customers in spite of everything going on. Here are 3 things you can start doing today to retain your profitable and valued customers.

With the recent events happening around the world right now (Covid-19 at the time of publication), markets falling, the general economy taking a downturn, many business owners are wondering what is going to happen to them. More importantly, what will happen to their customers. Now it’s critical to understand how to retain SaaS customers when there’s a downturn.

As a B2B SaaS provider, you need to have a finger on the pulse of what other businesses are doing. While some companies are being forced to close temporarily, others are telling their employees to work from home, and yet others are going out of business entirely. Will something drastic happen to them?

Knowing how to retain SaaS customers requires preparation. Start now.
Knowing how to retain SaaS customers requires preparation. Start now.

The answer is that if you are a business owner, your company will most likely feel some kind of effect—especially if you run a SaaS company. So, if you run a B2B SaaS company you can expect to have some kind of disruption to your revenue flow.

So what do you do? Do you start cutting costs and laying people off? Well let me tell you. The smartest thing you can do is to focus on the most efficient use of your dollars to preserve as much of your revenue as possible.

You need to start worrying about revenue preservation, which means retention! Customer retention to be precise! You should have a very robust program focused purely on customer retention either in use, or in the creation process right now.

You should be doing all the “regular” things you would do to retain SaaS customers. For example, you should reach out via e-mail and let them know how you are handling the downturn and what they can expect from your company during that time.

This simple communication however is not enough!

Your customers are also business owners who are trying to intelligently plan what to do with their spending. You need to put yourself in their position and think about why they should keep paying you during this downturn.

Why should they pay for your particular subscription? Take yourself out of their position now. So, how do you get them to realize they need your services?

Let me share with you 3 action items that need to be a part of your planning for SaaS customer retention.

Know Your Customers’ Success Goals

You should already have a basic understanding of the return on investment that your customer gets for using your software. If you want to retain SaaS customers, now is the time to get really clear on it.

Understanding the definition of success will help you retain SaaS customers even when things have changed.
Understanding the definition of success will help you retain SaaS customers even when things have changed.

What is it that your customer is trying to do with the software? Realize that their entire world might be changing with this downturn, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if how they are using your software changes. You need to touch base with them and see what things have changed.

For some companies this may not be feasible, however, if you want to retain your SaaS customers during a downturn, you may want to reach out to key customers and get an update on what their expectations are for using your software going forward. Find out what would constitute a positive return on their software investment over the next 12 to 18 months then make adjustments as necessary.

You need to start talking about these success goals around your employees and in the office. For example, are your customers moving from growth to expense savings. Will that change how they use your software? Maybe they’re reducing staff and need to consolidate roles. How will that affect user management in your software?

Learn more about user management in SaaS

Start Monitoring Your SaaS Customers’ Usage Metrics

Under the same framework of the principle we just covered, your customers’ usage metrics may have changed. The key here is to identify early on if the success metrics have changed, and if so, you need to know what they are tracking now and what you should be tracking as a result. Once you have a system in place to track these metrics, you then need to create control charting mechanisms.

Control charting mechanisms are statistical tests that you can use on a data set to identify changes. This is especially useful if you do not have someone monitoring your customers’ usage metrics. With the appropriate measurement in place you can detect when a customer is doing something really different as opposed to what is part of their normal activity.

An example of a control chart is a 3-sigma alert. Let’s say your customer logs in 2 or 3 times a day. If they suddenly log in 6 times in one day, that may set off an alert about unusual activity. We use control charting for security and fraud alerts, but it can also alert us to unusual activity of your customer that could indicate a problem.

There are many more control charting applications. Having a proactive alert set up when one of these statistical milestones is hit can be a very useful tool when you’re learning how to retain SaaS customers.

Prepare an Offer to Retain SaaS Customers

A sophisticated software company will know some customers will want to cancel their subscriptions and licenses. Will you be ready? Or will your frontline sales staff say they need to “talk to the manager?”

To be prepared to retain your SaaS customers, you need to first define who your most profitable customers are. You don’t want to keep customers who aren’t profitable and in a downturn, it’s even more important.

Should you make a special offer to retain SaaS customers?
Should you make a special offer to retain certain customers?

Once you know who to “save” and who to let attrite, identify what kind of an offer should you extend to them. This is going to be different for every company. Some companies value profit more than volume or vice versa. Once you define this, then you can determine how much you can “pay” to keep a customer.

This payment will come in the form of a special retention offer. This offer can come about one of two ways: reactively or proactively.

The reactive approach to retain SaaS customers occurs when the customer comes to you to terminate their subscription and you provide this special offer to keep them longer.

The proactive approach to retain SaaS customers occurs when you can predict attrition in advance. This prediction comes from knowing what kind of changes in usage metrics are indicative of a customer wanting to leave. Once you’ve determined attrition is likely, you extend a special offer to those individuals before they cancel or terminate their subscription.

The proactive approach can be tricky and can make business owners nervous, however, if done correctly it can be very powerful.

To find out which usage metrics are predictive in order to retain SaaS customers, you would need to perform a quantitative analysis that will give you a high-probability of confidence on which customers are going to leave. This approach often provides the most success during an economic downturn.

Here’s why: during a downfall the customer is looking for ways to save money. Suppose they want to cancel 5 of their subscriptions and yours is on their list. Once someone makes up their mind in a downturn they seldom will change it, even if a reactive offer is made.

On the other hand, if a proactive offer is made giving them an incentive to keep your subscription, then chances are your software is not even going to make it on that list to begin with.

You don’t want to use the proactive approach unless you are confident in your ability to predict attrition. This requires some quantitative work. If you do not know how to do this, hire an expert to do this for you. It will be well worth the investment!

If you are interested this analysis, talk with SaaS CX experts. We’ll guide your approach.

Three Principles You Can Use Now to Retain SaaS Customers

So as a recap:

  1. Get clear on what your customers’ success goals are and realize that those may have changed.
  2. Watch your customers’ usage metrics.
  3. Prepare a special offer for your profitable SaaS customers.

These are all things that you can start doing immediately to retain SaaS customers. If you would like to talk to an expert about different quantitative analyses or if you’d like to do an “emergency” retention analysis, contact us.

Episode 016: Smart Office Transforms Contracting with Tom Coffin

Posted on March 30, 2020April 5, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment on Episode 016: Smart Office Transforms Contracting with Tom Coffin

In today’s episode of the SaaS CX show, I’m talking with Tom Coffin, founder, and CEO of Simply Reliable. The company’s flagship program is Smart Office, which enables contractors and other businesses to bring together so many different aspects of their business in one easy-to-use tool. I talked with him about his journey and what he’s learned along the way.

Time Stamp: 12:56 – Focusing on completion. So many SaaS companies tend to focus on a specific part of the business process for contractors, but what makes Simply Reliable – smart office for contractors – so much better is that it’s an end-to-end program. Contractors of all shapes and sizes can reach completion without having to manually bring together disparate programs and systems.

Show Notes

Tom Coffin

Although we are living in the golden age of technology, this easy access to new tools is something of a double-edged sword. As the saying goes, “there’s an app for that,” but with so many different options out there, it can be hard to keep track of and manage them all.

In today’s episode of the SaaS CX show, I’m talking with Tom Coffin, founder, and CEO of Simply Reliable. The company’s flagship program is Smart Office, which enables contractors and other businesses to bring together so many different aspects of their business in one easy-to-use tool. I talked with him about his journey and what he’s learned along the way.

From Smart Homes to Smart Office

What got Tom and his team into the SaaS industry initially was the growing market of smart homes. People who wanted to connect all of these different systems within their house to each other. Everything from the doorbell to the lights to the heating and cooling unit had to be put under one umbrella, which created its own set of challenges. Since each of these components is built and designed individually, they are not necessarily created to be a cohesive unit.

The same is even more true with business. There are so many processes that have to happen on a single project that it can be quite overwhelming, particularly for small business owners. Tom recognized that there was even more of a need for something like Smart Office in the professional world, so he got to work.

See how one company leveraged their understanding of process into successful change management in this episode of The SaaS CX Show.

Full-Circle Cloud Computing

What makes a smart office "smart" is having the business processes mapped from end to end.
What makes a smart office “smart” is having the business processes mapped from end to end.

What makes Smart Office such a compelling piece of software is that it’s an end-to-end system. From the moment the business reaches out to a customer, they can build a proposal, organize the project, assign tasks, have workers check off those tasks, and then send an invoice once it’s all done. Afterward, the contractor can reach out to the customer again and potentially make a new sale.

This kind of approach is transformational because it focuses on the customer experience, not a specific component. So many programs out there are designed to solve one problem, but won’t assist you with the steps that come before or after. Overall, Tom and his team have become so successful because there is no disparity between parts of the project. In essence, a single manager can get a full view of everything without having to track down data from various silos.

Achieving Profitability From the Onset

One issue that can plague contractors specifically is that they can accept a new project, do all the work, and then afterward realize that they didn’t really make any money. All too often, when doing the post-mortem on a job, a contracting business will discover that the project wasn’t as lucrative as it seemed at first.

This is another area where the Smart Office delivers. Because managers and business owners can see the full picture, including costs and expenses, it’s so much easier to determine how much money the business is making. Better yet, by alleviating the struggles of bringing together so many systems, a contracting company can save even more time, which cuts down on labor.

We talk a lot more about Smart Office and the value of a full-circle system in this episode, so be sure to check it out here. Also, you can find out more about Tom and his program at www.simplyreliable.com.

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.