By Matt Goldman
UBodnar / Pixabay
The Software as a Service—or SaaS—industry continues to boom. Several leading research institutions, such as Gartner and Forrester, predict double-digit growth to the year 2020. That growth led to an industry valuation of over $200 billion in 2016.
Every dollar earned, of course, requires a sale. While small or consumer-focused software sales may occur without person-to-person interaction, business-to-business software sales are more likely to require support from sales staff.
For sales personnel working with enterprise-level clients, the sales cycle may stretch months or even a year. Those elongated timelines can make it difficult to know exactly when to reach out to a prospect, or which message to deliver for maximum impact. Further, a single mistake may disrupt or waste months of arduous work by the marketing and sales departments.
How, then, can sales teams manage and nurture leads effectively throughout a sales cycle? A CRM can support business development in every industry, but it may have an even greater value for software companies. Here are the seven ways in which CRMs play a critical role in software sales:
1. Assess which marketing channels generate the best leads
Where does visibility for the marketing team stop? Do marketers know the relative value of a lead from an online form versus a tradeshow encounter? At some point, tracking the value of leads anecdotally no longer scales. A software sales CRM can help identify the most valuable marketing channels by following leads from initial contact to close of sale.
Even for small software businesses, a long sales cycle can make it difficult to recall a lead source. A CRM not only removes the guesswork but also eliminates manual input. Apart from reducing human error, an automated lead-origination process removes one more tedious step required of the sales staff.
Over time, deep knowledge about lead origin may also support the development of marketing automation. Which messages are most influential for sales? And when should those messages be delivered? Software CRM data can help businesses deploy the right messages at the right time—without added effort.
2. Find out what it takes to get to a client demo
There are many ways to get a client to try out a software product: ‘freemium’ models, trials, or in-person product demonstrations. The right method varies based on the software. For example, an electronic health record system might make the most sense to demonstrate in person, while a cloud-based accounting platform may be easier to provide as a time-limited trial.
In any case, a client demo often proves persuasive. Getting prospective clients to request a product demonstration is a unique challenge for software sales representatives. While text-heavy whitepapers or graphics may suffice for other products and services, those materials struggle to convey the interactive user experience of a software platform.
If a software trial is the highest value action for a lead, a software sales CRM can help sales staff reach that goal more often. By examining the CRM data, sales teams can methodically review the chain of interactions that led to a product demonstration. Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community