Sales Training and Consulting for B2B Companies

sales training and consulting

Why invest in Sales Training and Consulting?

There are normally two reasons companies invest in our Sales Training and Consulting services. Firstly, they are often in a hurry to find sales growth and are looking for a short cut, a growth hack. 

Often these companies would eventually find the right strategies and tactics themselves, but they may be keen to capitalise on their first mover advantage or satisfy the needs of external investors. 

For these companies we provide a shortcut, we help them avoid the pitfalls and roadblocks that every growing  business experiences. 

When you engage with Klozers your team has access to over 70 years experience in B2B sales and marketing. 

Our sales training can help you get the best out of your team, alongside our consultancy services that will help you deploy the changes identified by our consultancy

Let’s take a closer look at why it makes so much sense to use sales training and consulting services together.

1. Why sales consulting compliments your sales training?

Many companies make the mistake of rushing into training as the solution to improving sales performance. 

Indeed, training may be part of the solution, but it is never the whole solution.  Before any training takes place it’s important to understand the root causes of the challenges within the sales department and only when we truly understand the problems can we prescribe the best possible solution. 

By rushing into training we would be assuming that everything else that affects sales is 100% perfect, and that is simply never the case. 

As with anything, the greater the investment upfront in terms of the diagnosis, the more effective the training will be. 

This is because the training can then be customised to meet the exact needs of the business which makes it much more impactful.

Sales Training and consulting companies

2. Why is Sales Training so effective?

Sales training builds both skills and confidence, and those are simply unbeatable in front of a customer.   

The best salespeople are like athletes and they are hungry to learn more and stay at the top of their game. 

The reason they are so good is that they are constantly looking for an edge, an advantage, and this keeps driving them forward. 

These are small but important things that make the difference and gets more deals over the line.  Our training is designed to keep your team at the top of their game and help them benefit from the very latest insights and industry best practice.

Our sales trainers work hard to keep your team engaged and motivated during training sessions, using a range of mediums to maintain their attention and inspire them.

Your sales trainer will help your team sell more effectively whether that be over the phone, in-person or online.

They can help them improve their lead generation, closing and account management skills, and provide indispensable mentoring services.

3. What happens before training takes place?

Before your training sessions begin, it’s important to identify what you want to get from them. As a sales training provider we offer bespoke services that are based on your specific needs and challenges.

We can provide a full sales consultancy service in advance of any training.  This would typically include an evaluation of your current sales unit in relation to sales maturity and best practice.

We can also provide full training needs analysis so you can gain a better understanding of your requirements before staring any training course.

For sales training to be effective, they need to be delivered in a way that maintains your teams’ attention, which means your sessions will include a great deal of interactivity.

Our sales training sessions include a range of demonstrations, exercises, games and roleplay.

Sales Consulting Services
Sales Consulting Services

4. What is the aim of Sales Training

Our goal as a provider is not to deliver sales training, but to deliver results. 

Therefore we believe the goal of Sales training is to help you meet a range of sales goals faster than you would if you were to continue without any intervention.

Not every company’s needs are the same, but businesses often invest in sales training because they want to improve their staff’s sales skills, close more deals, create more conversions, make their staff feel more supported, improve morale and boost the average value of their sales.

However, ultimately all of these lead to one overall benefit – an improvement in results. Some companies invest in training because they have identified a particular problem that needs addressing which is being caused by a skills gaps within their businesses.

Training may also benefit your team if they seem to be lacking direction, or are feeling unmotivated. A lack of motivation can often occur because staff are unclear on what their roles are, or because the current strategies they are using are not working.

In many occasions this is why Sales consultancy is a perfect fit alongside sales training as it can also help you identify and deal with additional challenges.

5. How can a Sales Consultant help our business?

A sales consultant will help your business by taking a close look at your current situation, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and helping you make positive changes to drive revenue growth.

If you are not currently meeting your sales targets, our sales consultants can help you find out why this is happening and develop strategies to address the issues.

Our experienced consultants can help with optimising your sales processes and ensuring you get the maximum conversion ratios from the leads you are generating.

With our years of experience in B2B sales our sales consultants can introduce you to specific resources that will support your business.

These can include lead generation, marketing, sales tracking, and training programmes and software that will give you a better insight into how your sales team are performing.

Sales Consulting System
Sales Consulting System

6. Adding Sales Experience to your Leadership Team

When you are immersed in the day-to-day running of your company, it can be hard to assess your situation objectively.

It’s often impossible to find anyone around you who is not objective as your team all have a role which in some way will make them subjective. 

Our sales consultants aren’t just there to identify problems that you weren’t previously aware of, we are completely hands on and happy to work alongside your team to implement any solutions.

Where applicable we will highlight your strengths and help you make the most of the resources that you currently have. In most cases this revolves around the creation of a sales plan, which we work with you to develop and if required are happy to help with executing against the plan. 

Our consultants will work with you to help you improve relationships between departments and colleagues. For instance, we are often called upon for detailed advice on aligning sales and marketing departments so you’re delivering coherent messages to your customers.

Indeed aligning sales and marketing is one of our most popular services.

7. Which Companies benefit the most from Consulting Services

We typically have two types of customers of our consulting services.  The first are larger organisations who already have a Sales Plan in place. 

They need help executing and delivering against the plan as they simply lack the internal resources to do this themselves.

The second group are those looking for external and objective advice.  In some cases they have seen a substantial decline in sales recently or aren’t meeting their targets they need to reach and hence are reaching out for support.

These businesses hire us because we have a track record of turning companies around. Alternately you may need external support if you have experienced changes in your industry and you’re struggling to keep up with your competitors.

Companies also may hire us because they feel missed sales targets are starting to affect morale and staff retention rates.

By investing in training and consultancy services, you can show your team you’re determined to improve and start achieving more.

8. Build a Selling System

It’s also common for companies to invest in sales consultancy services because their sales processes are confused and unclear, with team members pulling in different directions.

We are a huge advocate of having a selling system. Finance has a system, operations have a system so why not sales. Building a repeatable scalable selling system is simply a must for any business.

By mapping this out we can help your salespeople to understand how and where they can influence buyers and sell to people on different parts of their journey, helping you secure more sales.

Our consultants can also help you gain a richer understanding of the data available to you, from both your marketing automation and CRM platforms

In many cases our clients either don’t have enough data or they are overwhelmed by data, and miss out on the most important parts.  Either way we can help.  

In Conclusion

Sales is an ever changing environment and more and more businesses are improving their performance, staff retention rates and workplace morale. 

For most of use this means competition is tough and by investing in our sales training and consultancy services we can give you that edge you need to not just compete, but win.  

Sales consultants and trainers can provide invaluable mentorship, help you identify and eradicate weaknesses, and help you make the changes that you need to not only survive but prosper.

Our team can breathe new life into your organisation and inspire people throughout your company. Whether you’ve been missing your targets or are simply ready to build upon recent success and take your business to the next level, there are many great reasons for hiring sales training and consultancy professionals.

If you are ready to hire a sales trainer, sales consultant or both, come and talk with us.

 

Sales Coaching – Why it’s more important than ever

Sales Coaching

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

Don’t buy Sales Training until you’ve watched this video

1. Sales Coaching - Why Invest in Coaching?

At Klozers we love sales coaching.  Watching people or a company who had previously struggled, suddenly find their feet and take off, is one of the main benefits of our job. 

However, as with anything in business, sales coaching must provide real value and a financial benefit to the business.  Unfortunately, many companies still do not invest in professional coaching for their salespeople and the most common reason for this is the cost. 

One could argue that if you can’t afford sales coaching then there is an even greater need for it.  Perhaps it’s easier for people to blame the cost, than for the coaching profession to admit they could do more to help justify the costs.

We were in that position ourselves until we changed the format of our own sales coaching in order to make it easier for our clients to measure the increases in their pipeline and the subsequent sales revenue that comes from this.  If you would like to learn more about this and how you can change your own sales coaching process then you can jump to the end here.

Additional resources on Sales Coaching

Coaching the best Sales Behaviours

Sales Coaching Online
GROW Sales Coaching
Executive Sales Coaching
Remote Sales Coaching and Training

Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups
High Performance Sales Coaching
Delivering Effective Sales Coaching
Sales Coaching Course

2. Sales Training vs Sales Coaching - what's the difference?

Many people get confused between what is sales training and what is sales coaching.  Not only is training and coaching different, they also have different outputs which are really important.

Whereby sales training is about the transfer of knowledge, Sales Coaching is about the practical implementation of that knowledge in the field.

The easiest way to think of this is if your company has technical people like engineers or software developers.  The training is what a developer would go through to learn how to write the code.

The coaching is what the developer would need to turn the code into a meaningful application for your business. This means that coaching is the part that drives productivity in the sales team.

One of the main benefits of coaching is that it reinforces the new skills and techniques learnt during the training.  Without coaching studies show that up to 98% of knowledge is lost within 30 days.

In other words, one off event-based training sessions have a very limited impact on sales productivity.

3. When to coach and when not to coach

A recent study by Sales Coaching is one of the most productive activities for any sales team, however, not every sales rep is coachable.  Some salespeople have a “superiority complex” and don’t believe they can either learn or improve. 

This can be falsely reinforced by hitting sales targets that are too low or by being the top sales performer in a group.  Other people will not responding to coaching as improving sales invariably means changing sales behaviours and every human being struggles to change their behaviours.

The last reason some salespeople do not respond to coaching is because they are simply stuck in their own comfort zone and without any really powerful reason to change then they simply carry on as before.

The irony is of course that in the majority of cases these people are in the most need of training and coaching.  With that said, unless there are exceptional circumstances you should not invest time or money in coaching people who have no desire to improve. 

You must either accept them as they are and the potential negative impact they will have on the wider group, or you must have one of those ”management” conversations with them.

Get started with our Sales Performance Coaching

4. Sales Coaching Models

There are many sales coaching models and frameworks that you can choose from.  The one we use both internally and externally is the GROW model which we find provides the simplicity and flexibility we require.  

It’s worth noting that coaching in sales can be very different to other forms of coaching.  For example, in Exec coaching, coaches are encouraged not to provide the answers and to focus on the questions. 

This forces the coachee to come up with the answer and the though process is that because its their idea they are more likely to believe it and then act on it. 

In sales when there are potentially millions of dollars in terms of deal values up for grabs and time is of the essence, the best sales coaches will switch from a consultative coaching process to directive coaching whereby they are training, coaching and advising the coachee what they need to do.

Grow Sales Coaching Model
GROW Sales Coaching Model

Opportunities for Coaching

There are many areas within sales that lend themselves to sales coaching.  The most common areas Managers should be focussing on for coaching we have found are around:

Sales Activity
Accountability
Lead Generation
Pipeline Coaching
Qualifying/disqualifying

Deal Coaching
Field Coaching
Pre-call planning
Post-call debriefing
Storytelling

5. Growing Sales Revenue

The more adept your employees become at selling, the more revenue they will generate for your business. We use the word employees because sales has changed and the most productive companies have people in every department that can sell to one degree or another. 

For example, many companies who have now aligned their sales and marketing now acknowledge that great salespeople can do marketing and great marketers can sell. 

Best in class companies have expanded this to their operations team who are now positioned as thought leaders and subject matter experts.  This helps build brand authority and helps to differentiate companies in the marketplace.

By investing in training based on the very latest strategies, techniques and market activity, you can gain a real edge over your competitors.

6. Virtual or Remote Sales Coaching

During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 many salespeople were forced to work from home. Homeworking was easier for some than others, however, many studies showed that people felt less connected and even unsettled when working from home. 

Many Field Salespeople who had spent their lives on out on the road where suddenly confined to their home and confronted with a completely new way of selling. These are exactly the sort of scenarios where coaching can help people adjust to new circumstances and maintain performance.

In many cases sales reps had to retrain on how to sell remotely using tools like MS Teams and Zoom.  Sales training and coaching can bring your remote team together and make it more than the sum of its parts.

The best sales trainers don’t just focus on boosting individual performance but foster a sense of teamwork and unity between your staff. To close big deals in the modern sales world takes a Team and not just one individual.  

If everyone is using a common sales language and are working together at the best of their abilities, you’re more likely to close bigger and better deals than ever before.

How to manage sales activity
Behavioural Sales Coaching

7. Increase Sales Productivity

Productivity can be difficult to measure in many roles, however, in sales there is a tangible figure every month that can be used as a good indicator. 

That’s not to say that your MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) or other revenue goals are the only indicator of productivity, but it’s always the ultimate figure that sales reps are judged by. 

Whereby sales training is about the transfer of knowledge, Sales Coaching is about the practical implementation of that knowledge in the field.  This means that coaching is the part that drives productivity in the sales team. 

With studies showing that 83% of employees want to learn new skills sales training and coaching can make your team more productive and efficient. Quality sales coaching sessions can inspire your team and help them get out of a rut.

You may find that some of your employees feel that they know all there is to know about driving sales. However, the market is always changing, and what works one year isn’t always as effective 12 months later.

Some of your employees may have more sales potential than they think, and training and coaching can help them unlock this.

8. Closing Bigger and Better Deals

Many times human beings create their own glass ceilings and get stuck.  Salespeople are susceptible to this and often suffer from self limiting beliefs around deal sizes, sales behaviours and the whole sales process. 

Sales training can give your staff the skills they need to secure bigger, more lucrative deals, however without coaching they will quickly lose the new skills and revert back to type.

A good sales coach helps embed the new skills and strategies your sales reps learn in training and helps hold them accountable to using the new skills. As your team become more knowledgeable and confident, they’re more likely to close more deals and bigger ones. 

By using highly experienced sales coaches who live and breathe sales you are in effect fast tracking your team past all the typical problems they will encounter that slow down company growth.

Your team will learn about the latest best practices that they can follow whilst attempting to close deals. The more successful your sales reps become, the more their confidence will grow. Success breeds success.

9. Win More new Clients

Often the most difficult activity in sales is generating new business.  Sales prospecting, lead generation, whatever you call it in your business filling the top of your sales funnel is always a challenge in B2B sales.

The problem with prospecting is that nobody wants to do it, but it still needs to be done.  Many of the problems associated with sales prospecting are connected to the mindset of the sales reps. 

It’s easy to churn out 70 calls a day, and even when you achieve some success it’s difficult to get motivated to come back in day after day and make more calls. 

The job of the modern sales coach isn’t just to help improve your telephone skills, or the number of dials you make every day. A great sales coach will take a more strategic approach, and work with you on the bigger picture – revenue goals, sales coals, sales campaigns that dramatically increase your sales results.

This in turn helps to motivate and inspire your staff, and get them thinking more strategically about the sales process.   

The ROI on Exec Sales Coaching
Sales Coaching ROI

10. Coaching your Sales Team in a Structured Way

It’s common for companies to know exactly what kind of training their teams need. However, many companies are unclear about how the training should be structured.

Structure is important because it ensures that the training sticks and is embedded in the organisation. Without any form of structure you will find participants forget up to 98% of what they learn in training.

Experienced sales training providers and coaches can help you examine your current sales culture and build a training programme that’s specifically tailored to your organisations needs.

A sales training provider can carry out research such as a training needs analysis before training and coaching takes place. Any sales training and coaching should also be aligned with the companies sales strategy. 

For example, if there is a need from the business to reduce customer churn the training and coaching on this topic might be a priority. 

Training can also be built around new product launches and sales campaigns and wherever possible should be built around your current sales challenges.

11. Boost Workplace Morale

Great sales coaching can also boost confidence and improve morale amongst your staff. Research by LinkedIn shows that 91% of people agree that teams that learn new skills together are more successful.

Furthermore 90% of people surveyed believe that team learning helps foster a sense of belonging to the organisation.

Whilst not everyone will, the majority of your team members are likely to appreciate the effort you’ve put into training them, and helping them improve their knowledge and skills.

Investing in training shows your staff that you care about their career development and want them to achieve more. If staff feel valued, they are more likely to meet their goals and stay with the organisation longer.

Employee satisfaction can be worth its weight is key when it achieving customer satisfaction and meeting business targets. Training can also refresh their knowledge so they can follow and new best practices and anything they may have forgotten or become unclear about.

Coaching Sales Behaviours
High Performance Sales Coaching

12. Increase Decision Making

Many companies struggle to grow because there are bottlenecks in their internal decision-making process.  These bottlenecks occur when sales reps do not have the confidence or knowledge to make any form of decision. 

This makes companies less agile and slow to react to changes in the market.  Many companies are investing in sales training and coaching in order to improve the decision-making skills of their sales leadership team.

Effective sales coaching can help your team recognise and capitalise on opportunities to drive not only your business forward, but their professional development too.

Sales trainers act as a sounding board and can listen to your Teams ideas and help them fine-tune them to make them more effective in real-world situations.

Other benefits of sales coaching are that your team can become more creative and you will foster an environment where they feel more comfortable discussing new ideas.

13. Product and Service Training

Buyers have very little time to spend with sales reps and when they do they want to talk to salespeople who understand their industry, their business and their own products and services. 

For new sales reps this can be a huge challenge as they get up to speed on products and services. 

Buyers expect salespeople to know all the answers to their questions, and their products inside out. including all their features and benefits. While training supports features and benefits, coaching provides the all important bridge between them, and what relevance and value they provide to the customer.   

Sales coaches can help reps gain a deeper, richer understanding of the context and relevance of the  products that they’re selling.  This in turn allows them to emphasise their value when discussing them with customers.

A quality sales coach will encourage your team members to talk about the most important features of your solutions, so your prospects can clearly see how beneficial they are, resulting in more sales success for everyone. 

14. Coaching Sales Managers

Many companies overlook one of the most important elements of any successful sales coaching program, namely the sales manager. 

In most cases a sales manager also fulfils the role of the sales coach and as such has a huge influence on the success of the sales team. 

Coaching sales people will have limited results if the overall coaching program does not include the sales manager. 

Modern sales managers set the bar in terms of productivity and sales performance, so unless they are learning and improving, neither will their  team be.

Most sales managers have neither been trained in sales management, let alone as a sales coach.

Running an effective sales coaching programme is very different from being a great sales person or sales manager. 

15. Virtual Selling

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns resulted in many traditional field sales reps being taken off the road and working from home. 

Despite most lockdowns having lifted the traditional field sales role has in some cases merged into a hybrid role and in other cases been removed completely. 

Virtual selling is here to stay and for most organisations this represented an immediate need for sales coaching and training to support reps in their changed environments. 

Sales Managers with no training as sales coaches where thrown into the limelight, and overnight were required to be the sales coach. 

In addition to their management duties, overnight they now had strategic coaching, tactical coaching, sales cycle coaching  team motivation, coaching sales calls, coaching underperforming sales reps, one on one meetings, group sessions to keep their team motivated, boost engagement maintain accountability and sales performance. 

All this whilst managing their own performance and continuing to meet the revenue and sales goals and overall sales success of the organisation.  Sales managers need support, they need professional development programs themselves if they are in turn expected to support other team members. 

Remote selling requires a different skill set and different coaching techniques in order to deliver results.  

16. In Conclusion

If you’re interested in providing structured and effective sales coaching program that’s specifically based on your needs, we would love to talk with you. Sales coaching can reverse any negative sales trends, make your team more adept at selling, improve your sales processes and increase morale within your workforce.

By getting your sales leaders on board and involved in the training and coaching process, you can increase the chances of the training being successful.

Sales coaching can also unite sales teams, help you close bigger, better and more lucrative deals, enhance your revenue, help you win new clients, and retain existing ones. Few companies regret their decision to invest in sales coaching.

Klozers has different sales coaching programs available for salespeople, sales managers and business leaders.  We have built our business on our ability to train and coach sales professionals across various industries and love what we do. 

How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

saas sales funnel

1. What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a sequence of actions, events or stages that a user goes through before purchasing a product or service. Sales funnels are designed to allow marketers to track, record and optimise the sales process to improve results.

You can learn more about our SaaS sales training here.

2. How to build a SaaS Sales Funnel

Your SaaS sales funnel is an essential part of your Apps success. If you’re offering SaaS apps then creating a repeatable, scalable and trackable sales funnel is one of the important steps that you need to take.

Sounds easy? Then think again. The sales funnel is where many start-ups transitioning into revenue generation struggle, and in many cases fail.

Before starting to build your funnel it’s worth first considering where you are in your app journey.

There’s a new way to deliver sales growth…

Don’t buy Sales Training until you’ve watched this video

3. The three main stage of SaaS development

Unfortunately, in sales there is never a one size fits all solution, and the starting point for how to build a SaaS sales funnel is dependent on where you are, in the terms of the three main stages of a SaaS business?

Are you at:
Phase 1: the start of the journey whereby the Founder and primary team are still trying to establish product/market fit.

Phase 2: where the founder and primary team members have proven product/market fit and are proving they can implement systems and processes that others can use to sell.

Phase 3, the final hurdle where you have a proven product market fit, you’ve identified and proven the right systems and processes for scaling and you are now ready to scale your sales, focus on client acquisition and build up your MRR.

The strategies you use for building a SaaS sales funnel will vary depending on exactly what you learned in Step 1 above.

So for the purposes of this exercise, I will assume you are at Step 1. If you are still struggling to build a sales funnel at steps 2 and 3 then either you missed something at step 1, or something has changed that has made everything you learned at step 1 stop working.

4. Build a marketing funnel before your sales funnel

With any business it’s important that you provide the optimal conditions for your sales team to be successful. In the SaaS world it’s not enough to have a great website, you need a website that:

a) can be found by your products and services in the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo & YouTube
b) can be found by the problems you solve in the major search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo & YouTube
c) can convert web traffic to marketing qualified leads

Many companies ignore this and rush to build an outbound sales team. The fact is that every potential prospect that your outbound Team gets interested will then go to your website to do further research.

Unless the web experience is equal to or greater than the prospects experience with your outbound team they will immediately switch off.

To build a marketing funnel you must create “compelling user first content”. This is content that the user is actively searching for not the content that your sales and marketing team want to push.

You SaaS marketing funnel is an essential part of your Inbound sales strategy. To do this successfully you will need to create high quality content at each stage of the buyer journey as shown below.

The content should subtly tell your brand story and the success you have brought to other users. Turn your early adopters into the Heroes not you.

TOFU – Top of funnel
The first part of your sales funnel otherwise known as TOFU is the awareness stage of the funnel. The prospect is aware of the problems they have and is investigating solutions.

Your website must have content that speaks to these problems and position your company as the Subject Matter Experts. The most popular content here would be:

How to guides
Explainer videos
Blog posts
Lead Magnets

At this stage, the prospect is in research mode, not buying mode and is simply gathering information.

Your prospect may not even be interested in solutions at this stage as they are still trying to accurately self-diagnose their own problems. It’s unlikely that your prospect will want to talk to sales at this stage.

We recommend you use marketing automation to track which articles/pages your prospects enter the site on as this is the problem that is top of mind for them. Knowing this can make it easier for sales to have a relevant conversation with them.

You may also have some success engaging the prospect with chatbots on your site, however many will want to remain anonymous at this stage.

Middle of Funnel
The middle of your sales funnel is when prospects start to evaluate specific solutions based on what they learned in stage 1. Middle of funnel content would include:

Presentations
Demonstrations
Case Studies

In practical terms they will have created some form of shortlist of potential suppliers, and they will then dig deeper into the details of each potential solution.

At this stage the prospect may still not engage with you as they are often simply researching on behalf of other people within their own organisation and their priority is still information gathering.

Bottom of Funnel
By the time your prospect has reached the bottom of your marketing funnel in many cases they have already “bought into” one particular supplier or solution.

They have made their decision largely on their web experience of the brand, your sales messaging and your ability to position yourself not only as a though leader but as a thought leader in that understands their problems.

Bottom of Funnel content would included things like:

Pricing
Comparison tables
Testimonials
Reviews

For simpler lower priced solutions you will find they are now ready to take a trial if you offer a strong Call to Action (CTA), whilst for the more expensive and complex solutions they will now engage with sales.

The image below shows where a simple marketing funnel transitions into a shopping cart and the more complex B2B sale transitions into a lead for sales.

Success lies not in choosing the right model, but building your own model based on data and trial and error.

Simple SaaS Marketing funnel
SaaS Sales Funnel

Most marketing software now tracks user behaviour on your website and may use lead scoring to alert salespeople when the best time to pro-actively reach out to prospects.

From our own experience the timing is nearly always to early and a well-defined lead nurturing programme is equally effective.

In order to do this you should build into your marketing an at least three different lead magnets that will help you turn your web visitors into a subscriber so you can keep in touch.

5. Advertising to fill your Sales Funnel

Many companies successfully fill their sales funnel via advertising. Digital advertising has matured to a level that allows significant tracking and reporting allowing you to within a matter of weeks understand what your Conversion Ratio and CAC will be.

In the first instance we would advocate “Re-targeting Campaigns”. This is simply the process of placing adds in front of people who have already visited your website.

Studies show retargeting is seven times more effective than new campaigns which is why we advocate this as a starting point.

This strategy works extremely well with a strong content marketing campaign. The most popular add channel for B2B would be LinkedIn, however, many companies have also done well with Facebook and Instagram.

Needless to say this would be defined by your audience. Advertising can be used in simple funnels to drive sales and more complex ones to drive new enquiries for sales reps.

More complex sales may need a defined sequence whereby users click on and advert to receive a lead magnet with each lead costing $3.

If you subsequently manage to convert 5% of these new leads you can then attribute $60 per sale from advertising to your CAC.

You can build a trackable sequence or model from any activity not just advertising. For example, events, webinars and telesales allowing you to understand which activities are the most cost effective not only at filling your funnel, but actually converting into orders.

6. How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel will vary depending on your sales strategy. Are you selling your App direct or are you selling through partners? Which channels have you decided to focus on initially?

1. Identify your Perfect Prospect Profile. This is the sales reps version of a marketing persona. It includes everything that a marketing persona would include, plus some additional information that helps sales understand and communicate at a deeper level with the prospect.

Sales Prospect Profile Template
Sales Prospect Profile Template

2. Build your sales messaging. Part of the product/market fit is understanding what business and or personal problem your product solves.

In our experience the most successful SaaS services are business solutions that solve business problems.

Once you understand how this relates to your own product/service at a deep level you can start to build your sales messaging.

This is the words and nuanced language you have proven that prospects connect with. It’s not enough to know about your own business and solutions, you should know about your customers.

You should know exactly how your solution helps your customer save money, make money and make their life easier.

3. Lead Generation Campaign.

Once you have identified your target prospects and built your sales messaging you will need to start work on a Lead Generation campaign.

There are two main approaches to Lead Generation as follows:

a) Inbound Lead Generation. Inbound lead generation campaigns are where the prospect contacts you first. The may fill out a form on your web page, telephone you or email you. In order to generate inbound sales leads you will need to do some form of content creation, ad campaigns, webinars, referral programmes or SEO.

b) Outbound lead generation. Outbound lead generation campaigns are where you reach out to prospects via telephone, email, direct mail, events or account based marketing. Outbound campaigns invariably means you will have to build an outbound says team which can be expensive.

The majority of SaaS companies use a combination of inbound and outbound, however, they nearly always have an emphasis on one more than the other.

As a very rough guide, SaaS services that are lower cost and targeting SMEs, are marketing led and have a predominantly Inbound focus.

SaaS services that are more expensing and targeting Mid-Market to Enterprise organisations will have a more sales led approach via Account Based Marketing.

7. What are the Stages of a SaaS Sales Funnel?

saas sales funnel
How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

The stages of your sales funnel are simply a series of steps that your prospects move through to place an order.

These stages can vary greatly and there is no one funnel that you can apply to every app. Even if the stages are the same the method by which you move prospects through the funnel may vary.

Your sales funnel is a great place to start collecting data in order to measure performance and make improvements over time.

In general, prospects should move through the sales funnel as quickly as possible – this is called the sales cycle or pipe speed.

Measuring the speed that prospects move through the cycle allows you to identify blockages in your funnel and areas where prospects slow down.

These “sticking” points are where you should look to make improvements.

8. When do I demo my SaaS product to customers?

The timing of SaaS app demos within the sales process has been the subject of discussion for many companies.

The answer unfortunately to the question is “it depends”. Many companies successfully demo their app at the start of the sales process, however, there are equally many who demo at the start and then have their prospects disappear into the black hole of voice mail and unanswered emails.

In short the cheaper and simpler the solution, then the earlier in the process you can demo and the more expensive and complex the solution the demo should be pushed as far back in the selling process as possible.

How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

The reality is that there is a tendency for Entrepreneurs and salespeople to rush to demo their app, hoping the demo will convince the prospect to sign up.

Even if the prospect is qualified and a good fit, a demo without any form of diagnosis of the prospects pain is in danger of losing the prospect.

Your prospect needs to know that you know and that you understand their world. This can only be achieved via intelligent and targeted questioning. If you want to speed the sale up, slow the sale down.

The demo is usually the salespersons greatest point of leverage and if you give it away to soon you will lose the leverage and in all likelihood the prospect.

As a general rule of thumb – push the app demo as far back in your sales process as possible.

Demos cost time and money especially for complex sales where more often than not a bespoke demo is required.

Any bespoke demo must only be delivered to the senior decision makers on the prospects buying team. If appropriate you can even have two demos within the sales process – there are no rules other than if it works do it.

Most sales reps make the mistake of using this part of the sales process to explain the benefits of the product in more detail.

When you’re telling you’re not selling. Use intelligent probing questions to get the prospect to tell you how the solution will solve their business pain.

You should avoid talking about features that you believe to be relevant to them. If you didn’t uncover this in the discovery stage of the sales process it’s inherently risky to introduce anything new further down the process.

For simpler lower priced solutions you will find they are now ready to take a trial, whilst for the more expensive and complex solutions they will now engage with a sales rep.

In order to demonstrate they have undertaken due diligence they will always speak to two or three potential suppliers.

This isn’t necessarily to beat a supplier down on price, but sometimes they need to validate to the wider purchasing group within their organisation why they have a preference.

App trials are also a good way to get users to sign up, however, the conversion ratio of trials to close is usually poor in most SaaS cases.

Depending on the pricing you could offer a managed trial, so they can evaluate your software while you manage them further down the sales process.

During a trial, the prospect can see how the product will work for them in practice. It’s important to time the trial wisely and ensure you have agreed in advance what happens if the trial is successful.

We’ve created the graphic above to try to explain visually how this might work for your organisation.

It’s worth noting in the example, the majority of your CAC will be marketing, whereas in the more complex funnel your costs will include marketing, sales + customer onboarding.

9. SaaS Sales Funnel examples

The sales funnels below are examples. You should NOT replicate these unless they fit with your sales process.

They are designed to be a starting point for those looking to develop a sales funnel.

As you can see from the graphic, there are many alternatives to the stages that go to make up your sales funnel depending on the type of funnel you are creating.

For purely digital funnels you could have:

Lead Magnet Landing page – where prospects arrive after clicking on your advert
Confirmation Page – confirming your free offer, trial or purchase
Upsell page – where prospects have an opportunity to add additional services or upgrade
Checkout page – where prospects pay for the service
Congrats or Thank You page – where you can sign post prospects with the appropriate next steps.

B2B-Sales-Pipeline
How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel

10. SaaS sales funnel metrics

When it comes to metrics we believe these are the common sales operations metrics and KPIs that most people are familiar with. Needless to say these metrics are important and you should be recording and reporting on them.

LTT – Lead to trial conversion
This is the number of leads who have converted to a trial.

DCR – Demo conversion ratio
The number of demos that successfully convert to the next stage in the sales process.

TTS – Trial to sale conversion
This is the number of prospects on the free trial who have converted to paying customers.

LTV – Lifetime Value of the customer
This is the average total value a customer will spend before leaving the service. Ironically this can be more difficult to measure the better your product is because, without customers leaving you will not know how long they stay and their total value to the business.

Churn – Number of customers leaving
Customers will leave and that’s not always a bad thing. If the customers who leave fit your ICP (Ideal Client Profile) then you have a problem. Customers who leave that don’t fit your ICP may be freeing up valuable resource that can be spent on your ICP.

MRR – Monthly recurring revenue
The monthly recurring revenue gives you an overview of your success, however, it’s only an overview and you need to look at the details within the data to gain a more accurate picture.

ARR – Annual recurring revenue
The annual recurring revenue gives a good overview of the business, but like the MRR you should study all the data to obtain a more accurate picture on the health of your venture.

Sales Cycle – The time from initial contact through to a closed order
This is typically short for lower value simpler solutions and longer for complex Enterprise sales. For example a sales to a Tier 1 bank may take 18 months from initial contact to close.

CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost
It’s important to understand how much it costs you to acquire a single customer. In an ideal world you would discover this in the initial phases of the business when you are proving the value proposition. Without this figure it’s impossible to put in the systems and processes to scale the business as you won’t know how much you can spend on the front end marketing and sales.

Negative Churn –
Negative churn is a powerful growth metric which indicates that the revenue from upselling and cross selling existing customers out strips the revenue lost when customers leave.

11. SaaS Proposal submissions

After the final demo, you should never offer to send a proposal.

Proposals cost time and money and if your prospect is interested they will ask you for a proposal.

If your prospect doesn’t ask you for a proposal then it tells you that they aren’t interested in working with you and you need to move back up the sales process to understand where you have gone wrong.

When the sales process stalls it’s rarely because of something you have done wrong at that moment – more often, it’s something you missed earlier on in the sales process.

Make sure you’re confident all the benefits of the software have been clearly explained to them and mapped out against their stated needs.

Where possible, always get your White Knight to help you co-create the proposal and sense check a draft version with them in advance of sending the official copy.

Before sending your proposal you must have a clear understanding of what the next steps are if you win or lose.

Without this you are most likely to spend the next three months chasing ghosts in voice mail.

12. Pricing your SaaS contracts

Many companies provide limited or no pricing at all on their website because they don’t want their competitors to see their pricing, or they think it will scare away potential customers.

You should be proud of your price and the value you bring. Let the competition undercut you and tie up all their resources on unprofitable deals.

People rarely buy the cheapest solution, so allow your prospects to undercut you.

If you’re still anxious about having your pricing on your website then think about how you feel when you are researching a solution you are interested in only to find the pricing page is littered with POA.

If you’re like most people you find this really annoying and quickly move on to the next potential supplier.

Lastly, another advantage of proudly displaying your pricing is that it qualifies out anyone who is not prepared to invest at that level.

This can save you lots of time and resources with prospects who simply have a different budget level.

There are numerous pricing strategies available to you, however, from our experience the only thing that is guaranteed, is that you will change your pricing.

As a basic rule of thumb if your prices are set too high for a short-term contract or paid trial, the prospect may fail to experience the full benefits of the software before the contract comes to an end, and they may decide not to renew.

Where possible you should reward prospects during the trial period for adding information and using the service.

For example, offer a shorter trial and incentivise users if they complete their profile/account set up.

Offer a further free period encourage them to use the product for example if they upload data into the system.

The idea is to “onboard” your new users step by step and make your product as sticky as possible.
If the prospect does want to go ahead you should use contracts with digital signature to speed up the sales process.

Never send contracts in emails or links to digital contracts as these can be easily ignored.

Arrange to get the prospect on the phone and talk through the contract with them. Once they have agreed to everything in the contract simply ask them to sign while you have them on the phone.

This way you retain control of the sales process.

13. Why the sales funnel is so important for SaaS providers

Many businesses have failed after struggling to implement a sales funnel. Marketing and selling SaaS products can be incredibly challenging, and chances are your target customers are already overwhelmed with offers from competing software vendors.

Think about which part of the buyers existing budget you are going to win revenue from. What direct or indirect competitors will you take budget away from?

You may be competing with some of the biggest and most powerful brands in the world that are providing generic solutions to the same problems you solve.

This means you need to offer something distinctive that your customers actually require.

A CB Insights study said 42% of SaaS start-ups fail because they’re offering products their target customers don’t need.

Convincing potential customers your software offers genuine value is essential.

14. Managing prospects expectations

Creating a sales funnel is all about building a journey all the way from web visitor, to subscriber and through demos and trails and ending with the contract being signed.

Your sales funnel should emphasise each of the key stages your prospects will travel through on their way to an agreement being made.

Be open, upfront and share the stages of the process in advance with your prospects.
You should pay close attention to any points of friction that might occur as your prospects travel through your sales pipeline.

This will give you the opportunity to make improvements to your funnel moving forward.
What’s most important is that you record all the data points in your sales funnel.

This will help you make decisions on facts rather than your gut feelings. It can take time for your sales funnel to become fully effective, and you may need to make several refinements before you have a truly optimised sales funnel.

Many customers don’t have a rich understanding of what they need when they first encounter you. Provide solutions not just products by helping prospects make the connection between the two.

What’s also true is users often buy what they want not what they need.

This is why it’s so important to ask targeted questions in order that you can accurately determine what their needs are so you can position your software in the most favourable way.

These questions will also tell you how near or far away they are to making a decision.

15. The Rise of SaaS solutions

It seems like everything in the world is now powered online by SaaS Applications. From Netflix and Amazon Prime to LinkedIn and Microsoft M365 we are now surrounded by SaaS solutions of one description or another.

Financially SaaS makes sense as it avoids heavy capital expenditure up front and de-risks the solution.

After all if it doesn’t work you are typically only ever locked in to a maximum of 12 months. Other advantages of SaaS include the way that it is normally quick to deploy and requires no maintenance on the part of the client.

Upgrades are normally delivered automatically, with clients generally being offered guaranteed levels of service.

Backups and data recovery are usually carried out on behalf of the client, so they can focus on what they do best, safe in the knowledge that everything’s being handled by the software developers themselves.

Lockdown has turbo charged SaaS
Remote working was on the rise even before the pandemic, so the fact that SaaS products allow individuals to work and collaborate from anywhere has only served to embed SaaS even deeper in our every day lives.

There are thousands of new products SaaS products being developed in every country around the world so competition is fierce, however, there is no apparent end to the appetite of consumers and business to SaaS solutions.

A coherent sales funnel could be the difference between your product being a viral success and being forced to return to the drawing board.

The Complete Guide to Channel Planning in Sales Management

Channel Planning in Sales Management

What are sales channels?

Sales channels are simply the routes to market you choose to sell your products or services. Channels fall into one of two main categories: indirect channels where you sell via a third party such as Amazon or direct channels whereby you sell direct such as via your own company website.

What are Direct sales channels?

Direct Sales channels are where you sell direct to the consumers of your product or services. In B2B Salesforce.com sells direct to all their consumers throughout the world. They have no partner, reseller or affiliate network. Many people credit the Salesforce business model as the first successful direct sales channel model for a global SaaS brand.

What are the benefits of Direct sales channels?

The benefits of Direct sales channels are they allow vendors to remove the margins associated with distribution partners, and therefore lower their price to consumers. It allows them complete control over their sales process and provides them direct access to their consumers to build relationships and brand loyalty.

What are Indirect sales channels?

Indirect sales channels are channels where you sell through a third party. For example, Amazon is an indirect sales channel for many manufacturers in the B2C world. Microsoft sell licenses through a network of LARS (large account resellers) who sell licenses to commercial businesses. In B2B there has been a trend to move away from selling indirect as brands seek a direct connection with their consumers.

What are the benefits of Indirect sales channels?

An indirect sales channel can provide fast access to consumers who already have a relationship and brand loyalty with your partner or distributor. Indirect sales channels can provide a faster and lower cost access to local markets that would be difficult and expensive for you to reach.

In some cases a Partner network may form an essential part of your distribution and post sale support. The benefits of Direct sales channels are they allow vendors to remove the margins associated with distribution partners, and therefore lower their price to consumers.

It allows them complete control over their sales process and provides them direct access to their consumers to build relationships and brand loyalty.

Examples of Sales Channels

Direct Sales Channels Company owned website Retail
Outlets
Salespeople Telesales
Indirect Sales Channels Dealers & Distributors Franchised Stores Manufacturers Reps eCommerce & Auction Sites

What are digital sales channels?

Digital sales channels can be direct and indirect and include selling direct from your own company website, selling indirect via an affiliate programme, selling via Value added resellers, selling via value added resellers.

What is a Channel sales strategy?

Part of Channel planning in Sales Management includes strategy which simply means what approach will you take to sell? This can be very simple or very complex depending on many variables.
For example:
Products/services that need more post sale support such as cars have primarily been sold via Dealer networks. (This is changing)
Products and services that need less support may be sold direct such as video editing software.
Products and services that need customising to meet customer needs may be sold via Value added Resellers such as enterprise software applications.
Products and services that need local distribution may be sold via traditional field sales such Pension Products (IFA’s).

As you would expect there is no one size fits all, however, every manufacturer/producer has the same simple goal – How do I maximise market penetration for the minimum cost?
They also have the same problem – how do I consistently motivate, incentivise and coach my channel to sell more?

How to Choose the right sales channels?

If you do want to reach the right customers in the digital age, you need to choose your channels wisely and find out where your audience is.

Whilst this isn’t the most creative strategy we suggest the following starting point for choosing the right sales channels:

a) What channels are your consumers on?

b) What channels are your competitors on?

In many cases when vendors try to engage on multiple channels they simply dilute their efforts, so it’s wise to limit the number of channels you engage with.

Whilst outsourcing sales to your channel undoubtedly allows you to save from hiring your own direct sales team, every channel as to be supported.

Supporting and enabling your sales channels takes time and money if you want to do it right.

Once you have selected the right channels and become present on them, you should be able to help whenever your consumers are using their favourite platforms.

With this in mind you should research your consumers before choosing which channels you want to use. To create the right channel strategy for your brand, you will also need to decide on the best way to introduce and promote your products and services.

What’s right for one consumer, company and channel won’t always be right for another. For instance, Facebook is typically more suited to the consumer market whereas LinkedIn is more suited for Business to Business.

How does market segmentation affect sales channels?

Market segmentation affects sales channels as you will inevitably have limitations on the budget and resources available.

As an example you may sell via a network of distributors in order to target SME’s but retain the option to sell direct to large Enterprise accounts who want to deal with the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).

By segmenting the market you can maximise your penetration and minimise your cost of sales.

At the most basic level you should segment your target markets into three groups based on revenue.

Once you have segmented your market depending on the resources you have available you could have the highest revenue producers in group A as Direct sales managed by you the vendor.

Group B could be managed via distributors and group C could be classed as un-managed and in effect they become a self service channel.

Channel Planning in Sales Management

Should I choose Multichannel vs Omnichannel?

In most cases if you have a range of sales channels, it’s usually a wise move to unify various teams within your enterprise and create a multichannel strategy.

There can be many benefits of bringing the channels together into a multichannel sales strategy such as, to align or even differentiate pricing, to reduce overheads or maximise profits.

Where Omnichannel differs is when done correctly, the end user has a seamless brand experience across all channels. Rather than focus on the sale the customer journey and loyalty become equally important.

Practical examples of this could be a Live Chat operator checks and shares the stock availability in a store to allow the customer to pay and collect locally.

A successful channel management strategy is likely to see internal and external teams come together to drive more brand engagement, which in turn drives sales.

How do I develop sales channels?

The best way to develop your sales channels is via extensive research and testing. This doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thorough.

After you have identified the channels, you should run a series of tests to see which channels perform the best. Only once you have data and facts can you begin to develop your channel sales strategy.

Please note: when testing channels it’s not enough to use lead generation data alone. The sales leads may never convert to sales so you must take into account revenue generated versus COCA (cost of customer acquisition).

Every sales channel should have a growth plan in order to maintain existing sales and provide future growth.

What are the best sales channels for small business?

The best sales channel for small business are web based because they allow them to scale quickly and remove many of the traditional barriers to sales such as geography, travel and people.

A small, well optimised website can compete with much larger international brands.

What are the best sales channels for SaaS?

The best sales channels for SaaS Businesses are to have one direct sales channel via your website and then have two indirect sales channels.

Of the indirect channels the first would be a referral programme and the second would be a partner or affiliate programme.

Please note the channels mentioned above are sales channels and should not be confused with marketing channels which are completely different. For example LinkedIn is a great marketing channel for SaaS however, you cannot sell anything on LinkedIn (currently).

You would need to take the sales leads from LinkedIn and direct them to your website or partners in order to generate a sale.

What are the best sales channels for B2B?

The best sales channels for B2B are direct via salespeople for enterprise sales and web based for products and services aimed at SME’s.

Most businesses need a combination of the above. You should also use partner and affiliate programmes when targeting SME’s to help widen your market penetration.

How do I Build product awareness across various channels?

Channel marketing involves supporting sales teams so that awareness around a product is raised. It also focusses on increasing customer knowledge so potential buyers are ready to interact with members of your sales team and in effect further along the buying process before they talk to sales.

Channel marketing strategies can focus on educating the prospect on the potential problems and implications not just building product awareness.

If a product already has a high profile, your strategy may be centered upon maintaining awareness of what’s great about your product and what makes it different from those offered by your competitors.

How do I use sales channels to Understand consumers?

Todays consumers and customers are arguably more informed than ever. They are able to access all the information they need from wherever they are.

As long as they are connected to the internet, they can source important details about your products and services within just a few touches of their screens.

As part of your research into understanding your consumers you should:
a) research online groups and organisations using tools like LinkedIn groups
b) run test campaigns with new distributors before committing to long contracts
c) Use distributors insights and customer relationships to gather market knowledge
Look for common pain points in online discussions and forums
c) run quick polls to test engagement levels
d) run “test” campaigns to see what messaging works best.
e) run surveys to better understand consumer needs.
f) focus groups

Consumers expect brands to have a rich understanding of their needs, be consistent and enhance their lives.

There are many channels you can use to reach your customers in the modern world, and it seems new ones are appearing all the time. Developing a quality channel planning strategy is essential, but most companies can’t build a strong presence on each one.

How to make the right investments in your channel?

Supporting and incentivising any channel can be expensive, so you will need to budget wisely.

Avoid spreading yourself to thin when you are building a channel marketing strategy – its better to focus on one or two channels and get them optimised before adding channels in that you may not have the time or budget to make profitable.

For example many companies choose to be present on each and every social media network they can think of, but it may be more effective to focus your efforts on the ones that your customers are using the most.

Marketing on any channel can be expensive, so you should start small and test everything before committing to larger advertising spends.

How do I create distinctive Channel campaigns?

The single, most powerful way to engage that vendors can use to engage their channel is to generate new sales leads for them to close and make money from.

Brands should avoid replicating what their competition are doing and be innovative both with their products and the way they present them to the market. Differentiation is key, as simply copying your rivals is unlikely to be successful and places you in the “me to” category where consumers use price as the differentiator.

Furthermore, what’s right for your competitors may not be as effective for you, so it’s always best to build strategies that are specifically aligned to your needs, circumstances and the requirements of your customers.

By all means you can take inspiration from what others have done, but it’s wise to ensure your strategy as a whole is unique to your brand.

It would be unusual to hire an Accountant who is neither qualified nor experienced, so in order for your Channel Sales Planning to be successful you may need to seek out external help.

It may not be possible to achieve what you want to without assistance from outside specialists who know the pitfalls from experience.

Beware of larger Brands

As new entrants to channels and markets making the right decisions at the right time is critical. Often large brands will dangle the potential of large orders in exchange for exclusivity. This may or may not be the right move for your brand. Every decision need to be evaluated on its merits with the wider context in mind.

For example the most common pitfall is where exporters rush to sign up International dealers who immediately “park” the new product or service.

They never intended to sell it but equally they didn’t want anyone else selling it in their territory.

It’s easy to get legal agreements that preclude this sort of thing from happening, however, you will still lose market traction, money and time while the lawyers from each side make money bringing the contracts to an end.

Do you go with the market leader and become a page in their catalogue, or do you go with the disruptive new entrants who are out to make a name for themselves?

It’s no surprise that the most successful multichannel marketing strategies have seen companies working with channel partners who understood their needs, but are also aligned by culture and values.

Social Media Platforms as Channels

Social Media cannot be ignored but equally, you should be very careful choosing any social media as part of your channel sales strategy.

These platforms exist to make money, and they will use any data your company pages, your employees and customers generate to sell to your competitors.

In addition, Channels you don’t own carry an inherent amount of risk.

Millions of Companies built up their presence on Facebook only for them to sell their customer data to their competitors.

Millions of companies built up their presence on Facebook only for them to be locked out and their pages closed.

That’s not to say they were wrong, you can make hay while the sun shines if that’s the best, most efficient route to market.

If you do decide to use Social Media you should partner with a data specialist, so you can get the insights you need to create profitable campaigns and drive your business forward.

They can provide an objective view to help you make the right decisions.

It may not be easy to get everyone on board with your new strategy initially, but they are likely to become more enthusiastic when they can see clear evidence that your methods are working.

Is offline marketing still important?

It’s vital to keep your consumers at the forefront of your mind when creating a multichannel marketing strategy.

Offline marketing remains relevant for many businesses, with some older consumers more likely to encounter your brand in newspapers and magazines rather than online.

Despite the lockdown and increase in hours people are spending online offline should still be considered.

For example advertising at large, televised sports events may fit with some brands.

Multi-channel marketing is focussed upon utilising various digital and traditional channels in order to reach your customers.

Additional channels that you can utilise to target your customers include text messages, social media, email marketing, chat, social media, direct mail, TV, radio, video marketing, podcasts and your website.

Studies suggest that most companies that use strong multi-channel marketing strategies keep around 89% of their customers.

How do I set clear channel sales goals?

To build a successful channel planning strategy, you need to have clearly defined goals in mind. You can only start creating your strategy once you have set your goals or objectives.

Once you have determined your goals, you should create a sales and marketing plan. If the goals and objectives are the destination the sales plan is the roadmap that you follow to reach your goals.

The plan will help you to start deciding which channels, how to engage those channels and which KPIs to track.

Part of this planning requires you to get a firm idea of who your customers are so you can find a way to connect with them, so you will need to carry out substantial research.

Where possible you should be automating your processes using software like marketing automation, email marketing, ad buying programmes and CRM systems, which track the interactions you have with your consumers.

For example marketing software can start creating profiles for customers from the moment they first interact with your brand online.

These profiles are then updated as they continue to interact with salespeople on and offline.

Consistency in Channel Planning in Sales Management?

Many people mock McDonald’s, however, there are many things they do extremely well, and we can learn from. For me, one of the pillars of McDonald’s success has been their consistency.

No matter where you are or who serves you, there is a level of consistency not just in the food, but the whole experience.

Your users experience should remain consistent across every channel. This means your tone of voice, logos, colours and so on should be the same on each channel.

If you don’t have a unified brand experience, this could leave your consumers confused and confused people don’t spend money.

Achieving this level of consistency is difficult when you sell via Indirect channels like partners, distributors or franchisees.

Car manufacturers spend millions annually on marketing and training with their dealer showroom network to try to achieve this type of consistency.

You need to find a way of tracking your results so you can see how well your campaign is working. Analytic software will give you key information on your performance on each channel and give you the insights you need to make changes to your campaign.

Some ideas that you can choose to measure would be:

Net Promoter Score to measure brand loyalty
Repeat purchase scores to measure quality and service
Upsell Ratio to measure sales

How to Sell to BIG Companies

How to Sell to Big Companies

Discover how to Find, Kloze and Grow Large Enterprise Accounts

Next FREE session – Tuesday 2nd Feb 2021

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How to sell to big companies
How to sell to big companies

How to Sell to Big Companies. In order to sell to big companies you need to first create a shortlist of targets that meet your perfect prospect profile. Next, focus all your sales and marketing resources to research and create a unique sales approach for multiple contacts within the big company you are selling to.

What’s Inside

SESSION 1

The WHO

Introduction to Enterprise Selling

Selecting the right targets

Segmenting your accounts

Mastering the complex sale

Prep for Session 2

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SESSION 2

The WHAT

The Door Opener

Right content, right contact, right time

How to write persuasive copy

The cadence of big account selling

The profitable, easy to deliver and replicate offer

SESSION 3

The HOW

What to say to Big Companies

How to control the sales conversation

The Contact Plan

Listen & Learn LIVE over the coaches shoulder

Your personal Action Plan

Course Author

How to sell your app to big companies

Iain Swanston

Founder, Klozers

After 35 years in B2B sales Iain just loves solving sales problems.
If you’ve ever attended one of his live events you’ll know, even during the breaks and after the event he always likes talking about sales. Iain is an Author, Speaker & our Lead Sales Coach.
Iain is on a mission to make sales easier for B2B companies and their salespeople.

“In the short time I’ve been working with Klozers I’ve used his guidance to develop positive new sales activities, techniques and a mindset that has significantly helped my sales confidence. As a results I’ve already seen excellent performance benefits that are directly attributable to working to the coaching.”

Alan Wood

Scotland Director

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

“This was my first ever sales training and genuinely still the most pertinent in my sales career. Iain taught us how to take leads through the sales journey from lead to opportunity to closure, I still use these skills today and encourage my colleagues to do the same. My earnings have more than doubled since Iain gave that pertinent training and his latest blogs have been shared internally between our sales and marketing teams as the advice rings true to what we are currently working on as a department”

Lynne Hall

Strategic Accounts Manager

E-On Energy

My coach was really flexible and was happy to talk in between my scheduled coaching slots, especially when I had burning questions and needed support fast. The debriefing calls we had after my sales meetings not only helped me understand where I could improve, they also gave me the right words to say, in the right sequence and at the right time.

Elliott Boll

Enterprise Learning Consultant

Docebo

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How to sell to a big company
Remote Sales Coaching – Sales Playbook

“The first session was full of useful and practical sales information. I took so many notes and have come away with exercises I will carry out to help further clarify our approach to sales. I would highly recommend”

Rebecca Pick

Founder

Pick Protection

“Great training session with so much information packed into an hour. Looking forward to completing sessions 2 and 3. “

Max Anderson

Director

SuperBot Experts

Very insightful content from Klozers this afternoon. Thank you Iain Swanston for the invite to attend. This shall be hugely beneficial for our business moving forward and I am looking forward to putting my learning into practice

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Regional Sales Manager

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Learn How to Sell to Big Companies

If you are new to sales at some stage you will want to learn how to sell to big companies.   It’s common for most ambitious sales people and businesses, yet this can be a challenging or even, a near impossible experience. 

For example, finding the right people to talk with (yes there will also be more than one decision maker) can be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, and then trying to coordinate all these decision makers can be like herding cats. 

The longer sales cycles that inevitably arise from having multiple decision makers in a complex sale, then frustrate most sales people as time drags on. 

The large revenues that Enterprise sales can deliver, more often than not, prove so elusive that the salespeople give up and focus on smaller opportunities, they know they can convert. 

However, in some circumstances it can take the same amount of sales resources to convert a small opportunity as it does when selling the same product or service to a big company, so don’t give up just yet.

Learn More, Sell More, Earn More

How to sell your app to a big company
How to sell your app to a big company

How to Sell an Idea to a Big Company

Maybe you don’t have a product or service but instead you have an idea that you want to sell. It’s the sames process and the fact is, it is possible to sell to big companies and large enterprise organisations, although it does need a slightly different approach.

The first FREE 60 minute session in this course walks you through the preparation and planning required before you approach big companies.

When you sell to big companies you may also need some additional sales resources that are not as commonly used when selling to smaller organisations, such as a Business Case, a Cost Benefit Analysis – don’t worry we’ve got templates you can use for all of these.

If this sounds like lots of work, then Yes it is, and because of this many companies will not rely on any one individual, instead they will work as a team to win large accounts. Part of that team should include Marketing in order that you can target the right people in the buying organisation, with the right messaging, at the right time.

Run the sales campaign as a mini project with scope, roles and responsibilities, costings, objectives and milestones. Needless to say that it usually makes sense to be targeting more than one big company if you are going to do this professionally, but don’t make the mistake of having too many, as the campaign can then turn into a marketing initiative which by their very nature are more generic.

The key to success is that all the messaging must be bespoke and relevant to every target which takes time, which is time that you won’t have if you have too many targets. Again this course covers everything you need.

Before you start selling to big companies there are however two important considerations you should address as follows:

1) Does your company have the capability to successfully deliver a project on the scale that a big company will require?
In most cases you will only get one chance to sell to a big company and delivering success for your first big company will also give you a reference point that will help you sell to other big companies.

2) Does your company have the financial resources required to sell to a big company?

If you buy materials in January to create stock for February and have agreed 90 day payment terms this means you have to run 150 days without being paid. Some small businesses are not sufficiently funded to do this, so be careful what you wish for.

Selling to big companies can transform your business, but like most things in life that are worthwhile it’s usually not easy and doesn’t happen overnight, but it certainly can be worth it.

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The Best SaaS Sales Training & Coaching for SDR’s & AE’s

saas sales training

1. SaaS Sales Training: Before you Start

How do you grow SaaS sales? How do you grow sales in your software or technology business?

Sadly most companies are doing the same generic marketing and getting the same generic results.

Growing monthly and annual recurring revenues isn’t easy for any organisation.

Behind every overnight success there is nearly always years of hardwork and maybe even some failures from which they learn and move forward.

B2B SaaS sales training can differ depending on the stage of the startup. The strategy and skills required in stage 1 Product/market fit, will vary from stage 3 Scaling.

Many companies make the mistake of jumping to stage 3 immediately and this can kill their growth. If you try and ramp up sales before you have a firm grip on the systems and processes that drive profitability, every customer you add will drive you further away from your profits.

the best saas sales training ever

Related content on SaaS sales:

HOW TO TAKE THE GUESS WORK OUT OF GROWING YOUR ARR

Before starting any SaaS or software sales training here are a few boxes we suggest you tick so that you get the most from your investment in sales training. Sales Training can differ hugely depending on the stage of the startup.

The strategy and skills required in stage 1 Product/market fit will vary from stage 3 Scaling. Many companies make the mistake of jumping to stage 3 immediately and this can kill their growth.

Stage 1 – Ensure you have a proven product/market fit.

Many start-ups rush to employ salespeople and try to scale up before they have proven their product/markit fit.

Product/market fit is simply the process have taking your value proposition and proving you can sell it to someone. As you would expec,t one sale doesn’t mean you have a viable business model,but it’s a starting point.

Many B2B start ups aren’t sure how to prove their product market fit so here are some questions you should ask your team:

1a. Do we have repeat business? Although they have value one off sales don’t actually prove much becasue they won’t help you grow recurring revenues. Locking clients into an annual contract of 12 monthly payments doesn’t equal 12 sets of repeat business.

It’s not until the annual contract renews that you can get a feel for how valuable they see your product.

1b. Are your customers in the same verticals? It’s usually a good sign if you are having repeat success within the same vertical.

That’s not to say that selling across different industries is a bad thing far from it, but in the early days it’s easier when you can be hyperfocussed and branch out as part of your growth strategy.

1c. Is you product solving the same problem? Again it’s not a bad thing if your product solves multiple problems, it’s just in the early stages this can lead to generic marketing and confused sales messaging.

1d. Are you receiving a regular flow of referrals? Most people will happily recommend a product or service if they feel it will of benefit. Whilst a lack of referrals may simply be because you haven’t asked – in this case what is your Net Promoter Score? Improving both of these before you start to scale your business will only make selling easier.

Product/market fit is a journey, not one single event and takes time, customer feedback and usually many iterations from the initial concept. Each iteration should be defined, measured and tested by the user base before being accepted.

1e. Lastly, you should never under estimated the feedback loop from your early adopters. This isn’t just about changing your MVP, it’s about listening and understanding the problems from the prospects perspective.

Seemingly small changes in the sales messaging and sales process based on feedback can have a huge impact in the results you will achieve.

The same feedback loop is invaluable for tech based businesses as they can use this to develop the product roadmap post MVP.

 
saas sales training
Saas Sales Training

Stage 2 – Systemise Sales

Once Product/market fit is achieved the next stage for Startups is to systemise sales. This can vary greatly, however, the general rules of thumb are, higher prices will mean more man hours are required to sell, and the larger the target customer the less automated the sales process.

Lower priced solutions targeting SME’s is more likely to be a marketing led sale and higher priced solutions to Enterprise organisations are predominantly sales led.

Systemising your B2B sales includes six main areas as follows:

  • creating a measurable and repeatable sales process
  • using automation technology where appropriate
  • segmenting markets and accounts
  • turning proven sales plays into repeatable sales process
  • Volume on-boarding process for new hires
  • gathering relevant KPI’s and metrics – closing ratios, pipeline coverage, average deal size, cost of customer acquisition, customer lifetime value and Sales Rep scorecards

Without these metrics you should not move to the next stage. The metrics should form a solid business case to investors and if they don’t you simply need to make some changes before moving forward.

Having one loss making sales rep and then adding 10 more as you scale, all the time hoping you will turn the corner of profitability isn’t recommended. Sales performance is therefore an important part of stage 2, both in terms of how you will measure it and how you will manage it.

SaaS Sales Training

Stage 3 – Scaling Sales

The last and final stage is scaling sales. In many cases start-ups rush to this stage due to pressure from investors or they are running out of cash. The reality is that the more time and effort you put into stages 1 and 2, makes stage 3 so much easier.

When you are ready we recommend you read “How to Build a SaaS Sales Funnel”.

Stage 3 creates huge changes in the business as you move from a small, mostly development based team, to hiring multiple sales, marketing, operations and HR staff.

Costs are huge however it shouldn’t be a concern because you have a proven product/market fit (stage 1) and the right systems & processes in place that are following proven KPI’s (stage 2).

Another challenge here is the mindset of the leadership team. In most cases they have gone for years focussing on saving money, and now they need to start spending money on more sales and marketing hires.

Often this rapid growth can decrease profitability even further as new customers are onboarded.

Moving from a mindset of survival to one of growth shouldn’t be underestimated.

2. Going Outbound

Starting any Outbound sales campaign is a dangerous thing, because when Outbound is done badly it leaves a scorched earth behind.

A scorched earth approach will not only limit future growth, it will dramatically increase the churn in your sales team.

Salespeople like winning and when they aren’t winning and earning commission they will quickly look elsewhere.

This will add cost to your recruitment, management and training budgets, in addition to the missed market opportunities.

Going Outbound is difficult and most businesses make the mistake of simply sending a generic email (including a first name and the company name is no longer classed as personalising) and following up with a nuisance cold call.

This approach will get you some sales, but you will be leaving thousands on the table. The best outbound strategies are one to few, not one to many and they are highly coordinated campaigns that deliver higher opportunity creation rates.

This involves sales and marketing working together to come up with the right target audience, the right sales messaging, the right initial approach and the right sales plays. All of which needs to be supported by content, collateral and campaign material.

There are two primary drivers for B2B success as follows that you should be aware of:

1. The initial approach from the sales development reps need to provide a “gift”. No one likes receiving cold calls and most sales people don’t like making them. What gift can you provide that delivers value to the user that will encourage the salespeople to pick up the phone?

What is of high value to the user, but low value/cost for you to deliver?

2. The faster the user receives value from the product/service, then the more likely they are to use the service, stay engaged and complete the on boarding process.

Instant gratification motivates users so use this to your advantage. Invest heavily in your on boarding and customer success programmes, because this will reduce your churn down the line.

Executive Sales Coaching Services
SaaS Sales Performance

3. Understanding Sales Training: The Basics

To train your B2B sales team to be the best that they can and bring in the most sales that they can, you have to use the science of learning. Just like students in a classroom, your sales team is going to study and work hard to try to bring about the best results.

For any student, whether they’re in a traditional classroom or not, there is a general 70:20:10 rule of learning. This is a widely-adopted rule that applies to nearly all scenarios of teaching and learning.

To train your sales team to their maximum level of efficiency, follow this:

70% on-the-job training

20% coaching based on performance

10% in-classroom learning

Work Based Learning
Sales Training Process

If you follow this basic guideline, you’ll see that your sales team will respond better to training and be able to do more with what they’ve learned from their time in training.

Another rule that you should pay attention to in regards to training your team is the idea of repetition. You can’t expect that every member of your team remember every rule, procedure, and policy that you’ve told them for the rest of their lives.

In fact, most people can only retain about 20% of what they’ve learned over a month. To reduce the amount of information forgotten (and ensure that your team is up to speed), you have to train everyone on your team continually.

In terms of sales training content, whilst every business is different we would advise you include topics like how to engage buyers, selling skills, building a sales pipeline, consultative selling skills, reducing sales cycles and account growth.

This means that you need to train even the most senior employees of your team continuously.

TREATING YOUR SALES TEAM AS STUDENTS

Whether you’re training a new group of salespeople, or repeating an old lesson to a group of executives, you should keep a classroom-like state in mind. All of your sales representatives are students when they’re in training. Therefore, you have to act like a teacher to perform effective sales coaching.

Think about some of the best strategies that teachers in traditional classrooms use. For example: “See. Do. Teach.” This is a phrase that’s widely adopted by teachers who are looking to make effective students.

What this means is that if you want your salespeople to be as effective as possible, you have to show them what to do, ask them to do it, and then require that they teach someone else how to do it. Not only is this repetitive. It also requires your team to show their skills in three different ways.

After a student (or salesperson) achieves this line of practice, they are said to have mastered the material. However, we all know that one listen-in and two practice calls aren’t enough to make effective salespeople.

REACTING TO PROGRESS MADE AS A COACH

When you’re teaching a new or old group of salespeople, you should see the act more as a way of coaching them, rather than training them. We’re sure you know, your role as a coach for the sales team is to give individuals feedback based on what they do.

Rather than dictating how they should conduct sales calls, you should give the salesperson feedback based on what they could improve on. Don’t forget to highlight things they’ve done correctly as this will enforce them to do those things correctly again.

As you’re acting as a coach, it’s also essential to focus on one performance indicator at a time. Think about the one quality that you think would send this salesperson above and beyond as they’re conducting sales calls and conferences.

Don’t overwhelm your sales team by picking too many areas of focus at once. Let them ease their way into making sales by fixing one attribute at a time. You’ll also find that coaching and teaching them this way is more manageable as their focus remains on one thing rather than several things.

SALES MANAGERS

Often the most neglected but important role in sales is that of sales managers and sales leaders. These are the people who set the bar for sales performance and what is acceptable or not. In many cases sales managers were either the top sales rep or simply a manager with little or no sales experience.

Whether you buy in experienced sales managers or develop your own sales leaders this investment in talent will repay itself many times over.

SALES PERFORMANCE

It’s worthwhile noting that Sales Coaching and Sales Management are very different skills but both play an important part in building and increasing sales performance. Where possible you should separate the roles as a coach cannot make a coachee do anything where as Sales Managers can.

SELLING RESOURCES

Your SaaS team will inevitably need resources to help them make sales. These resources will range from research tools, to prospecting tools, through to klozing tools like online presentation and digital sign off tools.

Other than mentioning Microsoft which everybody has anyway, we deliberately don’t provide a list of resources in order that this blog can remain vendor neutral, however, we’re more than happy to talk through the resources that we have found to work best.

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING

When you’re training salespeople most companies default to the traditional model whereby they hire a trainer for a day or two days in house training. This may work for some but from experience we have found that at least one member of your sales team will leave. It then becomes financially impossible to have a trainer return to train the one new hire.

We recommend documenting all the training in an electronic B2B Sales Playbook which is living, working document that can be updated and refined as your sales team matures.

Our Playbooks provide a single point of reference and storage for everything a sales person would need in order to be successful selling tech based solutions.

The Playbooks are built in Microsoft OneNote and work across both Windows and Mac devices.

Using OneNote for Sales Management - Coaching Notes
Using OneNote for Sales Management - Coaching Notes

WORKING TOWARDS LONG-TERM SUCCESS

Don’t assume that your sales force can be taught in just a week or even a couple of weeks. The coaching process should be viewed as a multi-year process that is made to bring salespeople from amateurs to coaches themselves. 

As you’re conducting your sales coaching program, you should never assume that someone doesn’t need training. No matter how much previous training and experience they have, you should be prepared to put them through a sales program. Even with these ‘experts,’ you should work to build their strengths.

While your sales representatives are succeeding and learning more about their role in the sales process, you should note how they could fill higher positions in the future. For example, you may have a sales representative who is showing great promise for a leadership role. Take note of this and encourage the representative to work towards a higher position like this.

Working towards long-term success means that you should consistently be working to better your sales representatives so that they can bring more business to your company.

ONLINE SALES COACHING

Traditional tech based sales training focuses on what we call the tactical part of sales training. Whilst this is hugely important, there is an inevitable ceiling that is created once you have optimised this part of you sales.

Klozers will work with your leadership team and ensure we deliver a holistic solution that maximises the market opportunity.

the best saas sales training ever

If you’re looking for a program to complement your on-the-job SaaS sales training, look no further than our online sales coaching. Our sales experts will coach your sales team to be the best they can be by highlighting strengths and building upon any perceived weak points.

We know that you’re looking for a strong sales force. The only way to get this is to invest in quality tech focused sales coaching like ours.

Klozers provides training for SaaS companies via our offices in United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Australia and the USA.

 

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