If it was as easy as selling hotcakes there would be no such thing as ‘Sales’
A dynamic and inspired sales team is still the fastest and most cost-effective way of getting your product or service in the hands of customers.
Most new SaaS companies thinks their product is going to sell like hotcakes – unfortunately, most of the time, they’re wrong. In the real world, most products aren’t as original or as easily understood as their makers believe they are. They need to be pitched to potential clients, usually by a human salesperson. Companies have other options for getting their products into customers’ hands, but in most cases, none are as effective as a team of skilled sales professionals. At the early stages of your business, having a sales team is critical for success.
In this article, we’ll look at why letting your product sell itself doesn’t work and why a sales team is still the best way to generate revenue.
Why your product doesn’t sell itself
The primary reason why your product can’t sell itself is the way your customers buy.
Firstly, most buyers still prefer to engage with a human being before they sign on the dotted line, particularly for a comparatively expensive product like a SaaS solution. This is changing. Research by Gartner found that SaaS buyers will complete around 60% of the buying process before they choose to engage with a salesperson, which is a much higher figure than it would have been ten years ago. However, buyers still feel they cannot find every answer they need to complete the deal without talking to a salesperson.
Secondly, the buying process can be complex, especially in larger enterprise-level organisations. There is not one decision-maker; instead, a buying committee of 6 to 10 people. It leads to a long and drawn-out process involving internal politics and egos. There is next to no chance that an enterprise committee could get to the point of buying without talking to a salesperson.
Finally, if your product is as original as you think it is, it solves a problem for your ideal customer that they don’t even know they have. They’re living their lives oblivious to the fact that they need a product like yours and the impact it can deliver. Unless someone points them in the right direction, they’ll never know.
Your sales team is the answer
Having a skilled sales team solves all of the problems above. Salespeople are there to answer the questions buyers may have once they have done their research, providing the reassurance and customer experience that gets the deal over the line. They are also there to help the person on the buying committee who will feel the impact of your solution the most navigate the long and torturous enterprise buying process. Salespeople help everyone in the organisation understand what is in it for them if they purchase your product.
However, what a sales team really does, that no one else can do, is solve the third problem. They create new value for customers, tapping into the pain the prospect didn’t even realise they had, showing them how their product enables the prospect to solve their problem and painting a picture of a better life ahead.
This isn’t just smooth-talking – just because a prospect doesn’t know about their pain doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t mean that your product won’t dramatically impact their business and make their lives easier. It just means they need someone to show them the way.
Why a sales team is best for early-stage companies
When you’re scaling a SaaS company, your instincts may not be to go down the route of hiring a sales team. After all, finding the right people takes time and you need valuable cash to hire them. What if they’re not the right people after all and they don’t perform? You’ve wasted time and money.
There are other options to get your product in front of potential customers, such as content marketing, SEO, social media, pay-per-click advertising and affiliate schemes, to name a few. However, none of them is as effective as a human sales team. Here’s why:
- Marketing plays such as content take a lot of time, with no guarantee that they’re going to work. Direct sales is a much faster way to get your product into customers’ hands. It is in your sales team’s interests to win deals as quickly as possible.
- Direct sales gives you a fast yes/no answer on whether your product is a winner. If a salesperson makes 1000 calls and each one is a flat out no, you may need to rethink your offering. It takes the guesswork out of launching.
- Sales is scalable – If your sales team are working at total capacity and generating revenue, you can increase your headcount and expect revenue to rise in proportion.
In addition, if you have done your sums correctly around pricing and budgeting, running a sales team should be more cost-effective than other methods. Many companies find their cost per acquisition is lowest from a sales team than pay-per-click or content, for example.
In a sector where you need to grow fast and dominate your niche as quickly as possible, having a direct sales team will always be your best bet.
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