SaaS Series: Building a sales process for the first few customers
Below are notes from a talk by Ankur Saigal COO of Capillary Technology. Going through materials to gain some knowledge on how to set up the sales process for uniQin. Lots of things he discussed, we were already doing. Also, we are in the 10-customer stage at the moment. Hence it really made sense as well.
We shouldn’t run behind everyone who could be a customer for you. Find out 3 to 4 people who can open doors for you(senior folks in your industry). Find some 3 to 4 months spending time on finding such people. This person should be able to open up doors to CXO-level persons. Hit at the top so we know if it's going to materialize or not and you can quickly decide and move to the next one.
Reach to the top(CXO level) and don't settle for the bottom. If you can convince a guy that we can make an impact on cost or revenue, that will win a customer for you. Try to attack the emotional pain of an individual. For uniQin, it was that every seller faces a huge amount of competition and pricing online is not very data-driven. The fear of leaving money on the table is a big fear. Find out what is that his boss/board wants him to care about, and what would be the big win that will help him move forward.
You will only get one meeting with a CEO, make it or break it in this meeting.
Show flexibility in solution deployment and commercial terms. It’s ok to do PoCs and Pilots for the customers. Never do a PoC for free of cost. This won't create value in your mind and also in the mind of the customers.
- The first set of customers should be found by the founders.
- Handhold decision makers with our solution.
- Be open for PoCs /Pilots, but make sure that there is skin in the game
- Find out thought leaders in the domain/industry
- Simple Deck
- Product Demos
- Product videos
How to be Customer Centric
- Understand your client
- Educate, don't pitch
- Emotional than rational ( find the emotional aspect to make the pitch, already discussed above)
- Help a client to buy
- Value in every transaction: Don't do checkin without having something to offer. Call the customer some time to give some piece of valuable information.
- Document what's working and what's not — evaluate why customers buy from us?
- Assess the current market and its nuances — list down all potential customers
- Once you are on board 7 to 10 customers, execute to achieve customer delight
- Create a team who can fix appointments for us — you still have to be the sales head
- Invest in client success testimonials
- Don't hire sales people from large organisations — tried, tested and failed :). Hire a person with a good pedigree, look at younger folks
Scaling ( After 10 customers)
- Explore setting up presales, sales operations, and branding functions
- Get a CRM tool for lead, pipeline, and activity management
- Start measuring input-output metrics across the sales cycle. Makes sales of a product over time
- Set up weekly/fortnightly governance
All the best with setting up marketing and sales for your SaaS startup! You will be successful with perseverance and smart work !!