The longer your modern sales process, the more likely it is that the customer will jump ship to one of your competitors.
In SaaS, customer acquisition happens over a number of steps — a customer becomes aware of your solution, tries it, expresses interest, negotiates with your sales team, buys it and then begins using the product. It’s important to attempt to shorten this process as much as possible and efficiently move people through the acquisition funnel.
With a shortened acquisition process, you’ll not only be able to capitalize on a lowered customer acquisition cost (CAC), but also ensure that there are more customers coming in than going out. When this is achieved and your customer lifetime value (LTV) is three times or more your CAC, your business has a profitable growth path before it.
5 Ways to Speed Up Modern Sales & Get Customers Faster
1. Smooth out the buying process.
Buying should be as easy as evaluating, or even easier.
If not, expect correspondingly high levels of customer abandonment. Price should be obvious, and contractual agreements should be simple and down to earth.
For SaaS solutions that rely on a large number of low revenue per user subscriptions, the process should be automated so that revenue per user is higher than CAC.
2. Leverage marketing automation technologies to provide extensive support throughout the customer acquisition process.
Marketing automation provides an effective and cost-efficient solution for developing customer interest and desire. When utilized correctly during the customer acquisition process, it can provide very effective support to closing the deal sooner than later.
SaaS solutions and associated websites are ideal for linking to marketing automation engines that can automatically supply personalized or targeted information to visitors, users of trial versions and prospective patrons in general. At a suitable stage in the customer approval process (when the customer writes something like “this is a good solution that can help my business”), the marketing automation application can alert a salesperson for a timely telephone follow-up.
Alternatively, in no-touch SaaS contexts, marketing automation can be used throughout the whole awareness-approval-purchase process.
3. Keep brand awareness levels high using cost effective viral marketing and word-of-mouth tactics.
When the sentiment to your brand is positive and top of mind, the decision of a prospect to pay for your product comes quicker. The prospect might even be inclined to pay more as well. Word of mouth is often the most effective way to get a prospective customer aware and interested in your solution.
Pure word of mouth marketing may have natural limits, but its companion strategy of viral marketing does not. Successful viral marketing is the dream of every SaaS provider, because prospects and customers spread the good news about your solution themselves.
If you want direct control over the rate at which you build awareness (and if your solution business model supports the expense), direct or “cold” calling of target profile prospects may still be the most effective – but also the most expensive.
Takeaway: Link SaaS solutions to marketing automation engines that can automatically supply personalized information to users (Click here to tweet).
4. Show You Care – Help Customers Save Time
In today’s SaaS economy, time (attention) is worth its weight in gold. Business users don’t just want instant gratification, they need it. Time is always in short supply and so is user concentration.
A free trial period for your product works best when it is instantly available, requires no financial commitment and shows results to the user quickly. Free trials should be designed into your service and shortcuts to relevant results can be provided with the right add-on tools.
By monitoring customer interest and applying fundamental marketing principles like A/B testing, marketing can hone in on a key set of results that customers are looking for. It can then provide the automatic online guidance to help customers achieve those results.
5. Remember: You Only Truly Acquire a Customer When There is “Deep Adoption”
If a customer signs up, but then leaves after the first month, you’re at a loss. The full CAC has been expended, making that subscription a net loss for the vendor. Prevent this by shortening the learning curve – the time and effort – to the customer who needs to learn how to use your solution.
Invest in user training on the SaaS platform so that customers can climb the learning curve and start using your solution ASAP. Welcome screens and user guides are a good first step, but a tool for online user guidance is the most effective in satisfying a new user.
There are more tactics to shorten customer acquisition process and lower customer acquisition costs. The trick is to focus on the tactics that produce the most positive impact in the shortest amount of time, gradually optimize and scale. Good luck!
About the author:
Boaz Amidor is a frequent contributor to the SaaSAddict blog. He is also the head of corporate and marketing communications at WalkMe, a cloud-based platform that accelerates training and boosts productivity.
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