Let’s face it: your SaaS sales reps play a fundamental role in your company’s success. So they’ve got no choice but to bring their A game!
But it’s not easy!
When your prospects are considering buying a SaaS product, they’re facing:
(1) making significant changes to their systems and processes
(2) an extensive onboarding process
(3) a relatively long sales cycle and
(4) complex multi-month or multi-year contracts to tackle.
Not to mention, SaaS is changing.
The traditional SaaS purchase is changing rapidly. Buyers are entering a highly competitive market with an ever increasing number of companies vying for their attention. And buyer’s expectations are following suit.
To put it frankly, savvy SaaS buyers know exactly what they want and they’re not going to settle for less.
So coaching your SaaS sales team effectively is going to be a huge driver in your company’s ability to scale in this rapidly evolving environment.
What skills do SaaS sales reps need
We all know the basic skills sales reps must possess. They must be able to communicate effectively, speak confidently, negotiate tactically, be a superstar problem solver, have acute attention to detail and of course, be more organized than a German train schedule.
But as we’ve established, SaaS is a different beast.
In today’s market, selling SaaS requires a whole new level of skill, understanding and mindset.
Your SaaS sales reps must be able to:
To build a lasting relationship that takes a prospect through the journey of becoming a customer and beyond, you need to establish a solid foundation of trust from the outset.
Contrary to popular belief – trust is a simple thing.
Deep down, your prospects just want to know that you’re on their side. However, act disingenuously or inauthentically and that trust can be lost in an instant, and trust me, there’s no going back from there.
I think I’ve got the message across – SaaS is a competitive market.
As your competition goes up, your customers’ loyalty goes down.
Every day the market heats up with more products for your prospects to choose from. Don’t think that your customers won’t jump ship, without hesitation and without remorse!
This means that rather than merely sell a product, your reps have to create real, lasting value through the impact of your solution. Your reps must go deep into the pain points of your prospects, and perfectly align those challenges with your product’s solution.
So, your SaaS sales reps are climbing an uphill battle. And generic sales training simply isn’t going to cut it. That’s why the script is being flipped entirely away from SaaS sales training and towards SaaS sales coaching.
Coach your reps into SaaS sales superstars and watch how you consistently crush your sales targets and secure your place in the SaaS hall of fame.
“But how?!” I hear you ask.
Don’t sweat it – we’ve got you covered! We’ve created a surefire 10 step plan to coach your SaaS sales team to greatness!
10 Steps to turn your reps into SaaS Sales Superstars
1. Manage up
According to sales expert Norman Behar, many sales managers:
- Don’t feel they have the time to coach
- Don’t understand the benefits of coaching
- Have no idea how to begin coaching
Let’s get something straight. Personality and demeanor goes a long way, but no-one is born a naturally great salesperson. It’s a craft that develops and evolves over time.
So if you want to sell, you must make time to coach.
If you don’t have the time or resources for SaaS sales coaching – you need to align expectations with those you report to. Educate yourself and those at the top on the necessity of coaching your sales reps.
We placed this at number 1 for a reason: without a buy-in from your managers you’ve got no chance at investing the time and money it takes to coach the hell out of your sales reps.
Let me tell you, if you’re not coaching your sales reps, your competitors are, so get aligned and get investing!
2. Track performance
How you track the performance of your reps must be the foundation to your overall sales strategy, as well as your coaching framework.
Use the right performance metrics, and focus on just one at a time.
To know which metric to use, you must determine what stage your SaaS company is at, and break down whether you’re assessing growth on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.
Some questions to ask:
- Is your company fundraising?
- Are you trying to solve a cash crunch?
- Are you in the stage of gaining early traction?
- Are you focused on scaling?
- Are you looking to go public?
- Are you after a strategic partner?
What you’re looking for is week on week consistency.
This consistency then converts into a compounding effect over months.
The problem with jagged ups and downs, as opposed to steady upward growth, is that it becomes impossible to predict performance and plan for the future.
Look for a steady increase in both the number of conversions as well as deal quality.
You want to know out of every ten opportunities created, that the percentage rate of closing is steadily increasing over time.
3. Don’t impose
So everyone’s aligned and you’ve got your performance metrics ready to go. Let’s get down to the actual coaching of your SaaS sales reps.
This is a big one: do not impose your unique sales style on your sales reps!
No two salespeople are the same. What works for you will not necessarily work for them. Each rep has their own ‘sales identity’ and it’s up to you to let them find it.
Instead of pushing your SaaS sales team to sell the way you do, you’ve got to work together to understand their style and personality.
Where your reps are most comfortable and authentic is their strength.
Good coaching is all about encouraging your reps to work these unique strengths into their sales to unlock their own potential and growth.
4. Trust your reps
According to Ray Makela, managing director of Sales Readiness Group,
“People are very aware and often extremely critical of their own performance…the one or two points they make are right on target if we give them a chance to analyze their own performance instead of telling them what to do.
Not only will they be more likely to ‘own’ the solution, but they will often surprise you with the suggestions and insights they bring.”
Get ready to actively listen to your sales reps, just like you would your prospects. Let them bring you their insights on their calls, performance and opportunities for improvement.
To really put the power in your reps’ hands – try flipping the classroom!
We learn from teaching others – it’s a fact of life and the path to true mastery.
Give your sales reps the opportunity to explore problem solving together and provide feedback to each other in a group setting.
This will provide space to generate more ideas, creativity and perspectives to learn from and grow.
5. Lead by example
Leading by example is all about inspiring your team to copy your own behavior through being a genuine and authentic leader.
Modern sales reps want to see that your actions mirror what you say.
Leading by example builds trust and respect, boosts employee morale, fosters a positive work culture and most importantly, boosts productivity and gets results!
This coaching principle inherently involves keeping your ears to the ground and selling in parallel to coaching your team.
The best way to become a great sales leader is to stay hungry and keep developing yourself.
Always desire to become better and have the humility to know that you can always improve. And then show that example to your team.
No one closes every single call, and so there’s always room for improvement.
You simply can’t coast.
Be aspirational to lead your team to greatness. Whilst being eager to learn and ready to adjust and adapt.
Treat yourself and your team as eternal students, learning from podcasts, youtube, blogs and books – coming together collaboratively to share and implement what you’ve learnt.
6. Be in it for the long haul
Focus your coaching efforts on attaining steady long term growth. Know that it’s a process and you’re in it for the long haul.
Coaching your team is a long-term process and it can’t happen in one day. You’ve got to break down your coaching strategy into a series of phases.
However, learning science says that only 21% of what we learn remains after 31 days.
This is called the ‘forgetting curve’ and the way to combat this curve is to coach consistently and repeat, repeat, repeat.
7. Be hands on
If you want to hear the sweet sound of the office gong, you better start getting hands on!
It’s all about becoming a peer driven coach, learning together to create progress. Check in at different milestones and work collaboratively through hindsight training to assess and evaluate performance over time.
Dig into your reps’ sales calls together to see which calls they were most comfortable on and learn from the ones that didn’t go so well.
Listening to the highlights of pre-recorded sales conversations will help you identify exactly where they are lagging, giving you specific areas that your sales rep needs to be coached on.
8. Be adaptable
The SaaS market is changing, and so are your competitors and potential buyers.
Align the size of your team and the roles of each salesperson to match the needs of your buyers and your product.
Many SaaS companies are adapting to the changing times by streamlining their sales teams and increasing the roles, responsibilities and specialization of each member. Whereas other companies with different products and a higher volume of leads may still need a larger team.
Either way, make sure to adapt your sales coaching according to the roles and responsibilities of each individual salesperson in order to get the best results.
9. Go from ‘good’ to ‘great’
Coaching your reps is an investment from both sides to take your rep from ‘good’ to GREAT!
Teach your reps how to break through the ceiling of being good, to being a SaaS Sales Superstar by coaching them to meet prospects at their level.
This involves coaching a salesperson to be able to adjust their communication style, in real time on the call, to the communication style the prospect wants to be communicated with.
This is a skill built in being aware, attentive and highly adaptable – and this is what it takes to really succeed as a SaaS contract sales rep.
10. Be tech savvy
Without stating the obvious, your SaaS sales reps need to know your product inside out.
And I’m not just talking about the technical functionality of the software itself, but all the ways in which your existing customers use it:
How they use it, why they use it, what they love most about it and what value they’re truly extracting from it.
There are so many ways to use technology to accelerate your SaaS sales process. From CRM software to marketing automation, pipeline management tools, customer data management software and lead quality scoring tools.
At Superlegal, we know how important it is to bring your sales cycle to a close, fast!
So we set out to build a SaaS contract review and negotiation solution optimized for accelerating your sales cycle and closing deals as quickly as possible!
With Superlegal you will reduce time to close by up to 70% and make your SaaS sales reps’ lives a lot easier!
To discover how we can help you close your SaaS sales contracts, try Superlegal for free today.