Best of 2011: SaaS Sales Models Tips

Tip - theory into practice

Are you running a B2B sales or inside sales organization?
Do you have a freemium or free trial in your service?
Are you considering a low or zero touch sales model to increase velocity of your sales funnel?

These modern sales models are somewhat evolutionary as the official enterprise sales model is just not the customers first choice anymore.

Today, in my last “Best of 2011″ post series, I’ve gathered all the videos and posts from which you could learn about low and zero touch sales models and about free trial and freemium best practices so you could go ahead and build your ultimate sales machine!

Low Touch Sales and Zero Touch Sales Tips

Free Trial and Freemium Best Practices

>>Read other posts in this series<<

When Not to Waste Your Time on a SaaS Sales Prospect

Target the right prospects

Anthony Iannarino’s sales blog on “All Opportunities Aren’t Created Equal” got me thinking about prioritizing your time, given limited sales and marketing resources.

This is especially important for lean startups and high velocity sales businesses, where there are a relatively high number of prospects as compared to the number of sales and marketing resources.

However, prioritizing your time in a self service sales model is changing as compared to the traditional enterprise model where every prospect requires sales touch. Consider these reasons
why a prospect may not be ‘Mr. Right’ or ‘Mrs. Right’ in the traditional sales model (as mentioned in Anthony’s blog):

#1 – When a Prospect Has No Money. The art world’s ‘starving artist’ is the ‘struggling start-up’ of business. Both may produce beauty, but without a stable income neither is worth bringing
home to your parents.

#2 – When a Prospect Has Too Much Money. They have big ideas and big budgets to make them happen—they just need your software, customized almost beyond recognition; causing too much work and distraction.

#3 – When a Prospect Is Dissimilar. Trust, communication, shared values, and a united vision for achieving goals are all factors of a great relationship.

Interestingly, if you are offering an online, self service trial for your service and have a low touch or zero touch sales model, you may not need to be too concerned about these factors
upfront. You can let customers self qualify through your sales funnel. It is ok to have any of these three customers sign up for a trial. Then actions speak louder than words. When a prospect
is active during the trial and engages with your product as-is, he is probably worth your time.
If, on the other hand your prospect never logs into the free trial or is aggressively calling your support team, it may be worthwhile finding yourself another ‘date’.

Does your SaaS Business have a VP Customer Success?

Earlier this week, I spoke to Dave Rosenberg for his CNET Blog ‘Customer success’ VP role: To reduce SaaS churn.

At Totango, we care deeply about customer engagement and customer success. We agree with Dave that with SaaS “it might make just as much sense to focus on retaining (and garnering new revenue from) current customers as it would be to focus on gaining new customers”.

For companies with a zero-touch or low-touch sales model, customer engagement management is about much more than ensuring customer satisfaction. I wrote about that previously in my blog 4 Tips to Increase B2B Sales for example. It doesn’t matter who owns the customer engagement function and many modern sales leaders understand and implement customer success programs. Some B2B sales leaders have split their team into hunters and farmers, with the latter focused on customer success. Others now call themselves “Chief Revenue Officer” (as discussed in a recent blog by Phil Hernandez).

Still, the trend to assign a dedicated executive to manage customer engagement, is promising. Sometimes, you have to put your money (people) where your mouth is.

Some companies which already have a VP Customer Success include: ReputationDefender, Intacct (VP Sales and Customer Success), HubSpot, Salesforce.com, Sendori, Computer Associates, SAP, Marketo, InsideView, Zuberance, Success Factors, Zuora, JIVE Software, and Yammer (VP Customer Engagement).

On this blog, we plan to continue to monitor this trend.

For now, some appointments we have seen in recent months are below.

New VP Customer Success Appointments

Rudy Reyes, VP Customer Success at Alcove9

Rudy Reyes, VP Customer Success at Alcove9

  • On October 17, 2011 Alcove9 appoints Rudy Reyes, Vice President of Customer Success.
  • On October 3, 2011 Xignite appoints Cameron Karr as VP Customer Success.
  • On September 14, 2011 Jump Technologies announced the appointment of Adam Jacobs as Vice President of Customer Success.
  • On August 23, 2011 AtHoc appointed Sanjay Saini as its vice president of global operations and customer success.
  • On August 2, 2011 Zenprise Inc. announced it has named Christopher Doell as vice president, customer success.

Congratulations to all!

 

Customer Success Hot Line

If you know about a recent Customer Success appointment
please e-mail me at gnirpaz [at] totango [com]

 

 

About TOTANGO:
TOTANGO analyzes in real time customer engagement and intention within SaaS applications to help you grow your business

 

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