What drives someone to purchase a SaaS product? Is it that it ticks all the boxes on their requirements list? Perhaps it’s the cheapest provider out there, or maybe the buyer just really hit it off with the person on the other end of the phone? Product, Price and Personality (PPP) are the 3 themes that will come up time and time again and are often reasons cited by customers when they choose not to move forwards. But what if real buying decisions have nothing to do with these 3 things? What if you’re only thinking that way because that’s how the landscape has always been set up? What if you could control the narrative and add value beyond just ticking boxes?
The problem with PPP is that they’re all independent of each other. If you tick all the boxes on Product and it is the best priced, but you sound lethargic and bored when presenting the product… you still won’t win the deal. Equally, your product could do 10% of what the customer wants and could cost 2x more, but some deals will still close simply because of how strong the consultant is. Given that every customer will have a different definition of PPP preference, you’re setting yourself up to fail and have a very low win-rate if PPP remains your focus. Welcome to the world of Educate, Wow, Repeat.
Educate: Ticking product-based boxes is very short sighted – customers always want more and needs are constantly changing. It’s just not good enough to offer the customer what they think they want. You have to go above and beyond and add real value, value beyond how to use feature X… the kind of value that challenges best practises, offers new methodologies and most importantly of all… makes the customer think.
Wow: Making me think about a new concept is cool, but it’ll be forgotten by the time the next pot of coffee has brewed if you don’t back it up. This one really isn’t rocket science but it’s crucial – if you’re going to offer an alternative, you can’t just show small incremental value, you have to blow the customer’s mind and prove that your suggestions add incredible value. This is the easiest thing to measure because customers will literally say ‘wow’, or if you’re in-person they’ll noticeably move forwards in their chair. If you do this right, you’ll also notice a return to discovery-land. They stop nodding and saying how great it is and start saying “can you also do X/Y/Z?” This is proof they’re not just ticking boxes, they’re now in full creative flow… your sales call just turned into 2 colleagues and a whiteboard trying to change the world.
Repeat: I don’t believe anybody buys based on a demo. I don’t believe anybody buys based on PPP either – sure, they’re factors, but the reason you buy a product isn’t because it’s the best, it’s because it’ll help you. You buy it because you believe YOU can replicate (or even improve) the value you saw throughout the sales process. For some products (and some features), this may be as simple as knowing that if you exactly replicate what you’ve been shown every week/month/quarter/year, it’ll help significantly, but in many cases it’s about expansion beyond that individual use-case.
Example: Let’s say I give you a new way to monitor your market using keywords. The version I show you is for smartphones (and it’s mind-blowing of course!), but you also make TVs. Under Repeat I’d tell you to build this setup out across your other lines of business… now you’ve been taught something new, we’ve highlighted a surprising fact that’s made you lean forwards in your chair and I’ve given you a way to build this out across a number of other segments, instantly repeating the value you’ve just seen. Rather than ticking boxes, your brain is now in overdrive thinking about all the other ways the system can help.
Incidentally, I haven’t forgotten about PPP – they are still important signals and factors, but we’ve pivoted the way we handle them to a more indirect, value-focussed approach.
- Product: We’re not just ticking boxes, we’re rewriting the text alongside them and giving you an edge
- Personality: Forget wanting to go for a drink with the salesperson, you now want to hire them. Not because they threw a bunch of jargon at you or got you a good deal, but because they changed your view, they made you think, they added value.
- Price: I moved this to #3 intentionally as it’s way less of a factor now. You’ve differentiated from the rest of the market, so how can you be compared to them?
So there you have it… a new way to look at the nature of SaaS sales. If you’re a salesperson thinking that this all sounds great in principle but how can you kick it into action, start focussing on Wow first. It’s the easiest one to slot into your existing process. Instead of “This feature does X”, let the product do the heavy lifting whilst you just focus on value. Force yourself to hit every screen and use a sentence like this:
- “This is interesting because…”
- “The first thing that jumps out at me is…”
- “Think of the amount of time you could save by instantly spotting…”
- “It’s so fast and simple to spot things like…”
There will be more posts on putting this into action in the near future! Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve found this informative.