This is the second blog of a 4 part series that explains the SaaS Sales & Marketing Survival checklist and gives you valuable advice on how to ensure that your SaaS business will not only survive, but be in a strong position to grow out of the current COVID-19 crisis.
If you’ve not downloaded the checklist, you can access it here
Other blogs in this series are:
SaaS Sales and Marketing Survival Checklist
Keep on Selling Support and Close
If you’re a sales rep or business development manager (BDM), you don’t need me to tell you that things are very different from how they were a few weeks ago. Within a very short space of time, the daily routine of responding to leads and enquiries, growing pipelines, and hunting for the right-fit client has changed. For some, it’s resulted in much less activity.
In these uncertain times, it feels like some of those activities don’t quite fit.
So what do we need to do to adapt?
What are businesses going through?
Businesses have been focusing on how to protect themselves, their staff, and clients in the current COVID-19 landscape. Most likely, any new purchases or outsourcing is on hold, or cancelled altogether.
Companies are probably going through something like the Kübler-Ross grief cycle, or change curve. There are typically five stages people go through when reacting to a traumatic/tragic/life-changing event:
For business owners, the initial reaction to the current situation would likely have been a feeling shock. Is it really happening? How have we gone from having a flourishing business to seeing it drop off a cliff?
Next, is anger. Why us? A feeling of overwhelm and helplessness in the midst of what has happened. Then, the fightback; something can be done to combat this, all doesn’t have to be lost, there is a way to improve.
How to respond
What does this mean for BDMs / sales reps? It is our job to identify where our prospects and clients are on the curve and respond appropriately:
- What are their concerns, worries, priorities?
- How can we help to address them?
- What resources do we have to help educate them?
The key is to listen, acknowledge and explore in more depth to ensure all challenges are understood – then we can respond with a solution.
If you follow the sales mantra of ‘always be helping’, this won’t sound like anything new. In these times, it means we have to be more empathetic than we have been before.
Really listen; don’t jump straight in with an answer.
It’s pretty crushing if deals that looked likely to close before the crisis hit have been lost altogether now. You’ve spent a lot of time helping prospects with their problems, having conversations and nurturing your leads; the loss is certainly frustrating and disappointing.
Don’t try and change their mind; they’ve made their decision.
Bear in mind that their business has been affected; they may have lost clients or have clients ask for contract/payment breaks. This means their budget forecast is going to change. Ensure you maintain a good relationship with them, agree on a time to catch up again and wish them well.
We have to keep going. There’s still business to be done. But if your clients and prospects seem a little unsettled at the moment, it’s important to address their concerns.
What will the working relationship look like? Reassurance needs to be given that they will receive the same level of service and communication as before; outline expectations and what is needed from them, and what will be fulfilled by your business.
Has anything changed? There could be changes to contract terms, deliverables (due to realigned goals/targets), and changes within their company structure.
How will they be onboarded? At Klood, typically, a strategy day is organised to kick things off – face to face if possible. Provisions need to be put in place if this is how onboarding is normally done. A strategy day is still crucial but now carried out through a series of Zoom meetings.
I thought I’d outline the SaaS lead generation tactics I’ve been using.
- Inbound leads – still responding. We are still marketing; it’s imperative to continue and ensure Klood’s lead flow is consistent. Our inbound leads haven’t halted (phew!); so, just as I normally would, I am reaching out to find out more about their needs. Did they find what they were looking for with our content? What is it they need help with?
- The current pipeline – checking in with them. How are they doing? Is there anything they need help with, any content/resources I could share to help with any challenges they’re facing? With sensitivity and understanding, they may be in a very different position to the one they were in.
- Leveraging tech (more than ever) – HubSpot, Vidyard and Zoom.
More about number 3…
At Klood, we are platinum HubSpot partners, so the software is ingrained in everything we do. The CRM (which is free by the way) and sales tools give reps the organisation needed to do their jobs. I’ve spent some time segmenting leads, setting up queues in my task lists, and arranging when to reach out to them in the short and long term, prioritising inbound leads. When we took the decision for the team to work from home, I didn’t need to worry about setting up a phone system; all calling is done through HubSpot using my browser.
Zoom – always our go-to as a company for virtual meetings/calls, but now even more so. Easy to use and easy to create a meeting link, the alternative to a face-to-face meeting. Prospects can also book a Zoom meeting with me using a link on the homepage of our website, straight into both of our calendars. It’s also great for keeping our team social while working remotely; we’ve arranged a weekly Klood virtual drinks for the team to catch up.
Vidyard – changing the sales game. I’ve been using video in my sales process for a long time now, but in the past few weeks, it’s proved invaluable for contacting leads and prospects. It’s been tricky getting through to people on the phone, so the alternative is to email. What can be done to stand out and create an impression amongst all the other emails people have land in their inbox? A personalised video. The platform itself has a chrome extension (free!); you can record in a click. And the results speak for themselves: response rates can triple, open rates can go up by 40% and crucially, 75% of decision stage prospects where video was involved in the process closed deals.
Take a look at Vidyard’s blog for more information.
There are lots of training resources available on their website to get you started.
My top 3 tips for video would be:
- Use a small whiteboard with the contact’s name written on it. This immediately grabs their attention and they can see the video is just for them. The feedback I’ve had from this has been very positive, the personal touch compelled a response.
- Explain why you’re reaching out, but don’t talk all about yourself; offer help in the form of content/tips/advice– ask about them. What challenges are they facing, how do they organise their sales and marketing activity?
- Have a CTA at the end.-Encourage them to take the next step, whether that is booking a call or downloading something useful.
If at first it feels out of your comfort zone, it is like anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Your website and communication
Your online platforms will be the first port of communication for clients and visitors to receive information on how you are operating during the COVID-19 crisis.
Create content. Blogs, guides, infographics. Anything that enables you to share value and help the reader with their challenges, address their problems and questions. Share them on your social media channels and website. Use this time to update email communications and newsletters, review the current strategy you use to market to and nurture prospects.