Inside Sales and SaaS:
How to Grow and Expand Your SaaS Company Remotely
In the old days, people would usually go door-to-door to sell their products or services. As technology progressed, however, outside sales have slowly succumbed to a new player: inside sales.
This is especially true for companies in tech, B2B, SaaS, and even those selling high-end products like cars or flagship smartphones.
And with the pandemic persisting, inside sales became an even bigger titan than it previously was.
In this blog, we’ll be focusing our attention on SaaS inside sales. We’ll briefly discuss its definition and the strategies you’ll need to implement to help grow your SaaS company.
Let’s get right to it.
What is SaaS Inside Sales?
Inside sale is the act of selling a product or service remotely.
That means, unlike outside sales, this type of sales model is carried out within an office environment.
There’s no need to travel to events and conferences and talk directly to the prospect. Instead, you find these prospects online, nurture them (more on that later), and ultimately convert them to paying customers.
Thus, inside SaaS sale mainly involves generating interest in a company on the web in a bid to attract leads and onboard them if they’re the right fit.
The strategies involved in this endeavor are multiple but their end goal is all the same:
- Grow the company’s MRR (monthly recurring revenue), and
- Increase ARR (annual recurring revenue).
So what are effective SaaS inside sales strategies that successful companies use?
More importantly, how do you implement them without wasting too much time or valuable resources?
3 Inside SaaS Sales Strategy
Since our main focus here is to create buzz around your company, we’ll structure our discussion on three aspects. They are:
- SaaS content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media
1. SaaS Content Marketing
The pandemic has forced millions of people inside their houses.
As such, most of their time is spent on the web. And that right there is a massive opportunity for SaaS companies.
You already know where your potential customers are hanging out. The next thing to do is to draw their attention.
That’s where SaaS content marketing comes into play. It has tremendous potential to grow your brand awareness, attract traffic, compile leads, and turn those leads into clients…
…The question is: How?
How do you develop a content marketing strategy for your SaaS business?
What strategies should you use?
How should you structure your journey moving forward?
Let’s discuss some four main considerations when you’re creating your own SaaS content marketing strategy.
a. Define Your Audience
One of the first things you’ll need to do when creating a content marketing strategy is to clearly define who your target audience is.
To do that, you’ll need to create a customer avatar, a fictional representation of the people you’re going to serve.
GoPro is an excellent example of this. The company sells action cameras and they can market their product to just about everyone. Vloggers, content creators, travel enthusiasts, and several other groups.
But GoPro doesn’t do that.
Instead, its content marketing is geared towards extreme sports.
They target skiers, surfers, divers, skateboarders, longboarders, and anyone within that scope.
As a result, they positioned themselves as a camera company that captures extreme moments. And we all know how easy those extreme moments can go viral.
You can do that with your SaaS product too.
You need to define your audience first. After that…
b. Compile Your Topics
Once you’ve determined your target audience, it’s time to brainstorm the topics you’re going to cover. Now this will depend on your SaaS product.
Let’s say it’s a CRM (customer relationship management) software, which means you’re in the B2B space. So what type of topics are you going to cover?
Well, here are some ideas:
- How your CRM tool will find the right clients
- How your CRM tool will build and maintain customer relationships
- How can your CRM tool reduce your client’s sales cost
- How can your CRM tool improve your client’s sales metric
- How can your CRM tool improve your sales rep performance
- Why your SaaS solution is the best – this could cover price, features, and ease of use
These are just some of the ideas you can generate for your SaaS company.
To help you with your brainstorming, you can use free tools like Google Trends, Google Suggests, Answer the Public, and Keyword Generator.
These can tell you what topics your audience is interested in. Following that…
c. Determine The Content’s Purpose
Whether you’re an established SaaS company or just starting, the journey of your potential customer will always follow the same sales process. These are:
- Awareness – your content is geared toward educating your readers. Who you are, what problems you solve, your brand’s story, and more. Think of it as the first touch, the moment where you first meet your customer.
- Consideration – as they move to the second phase, you’re going to target their pain points. Empathize with them and relate how your product can solve their problems.
- Decision – here, you’re going to convince them why they should choose your SaaS company over the competition. Talk about your achievements, share data about your success, provide case studies, and showcase satisfied testimonials from your clients.
- Retention – once you onboard a client, you need to nurture that relationship so that they stay with you for years. Remember, a SaaS business has a subscription-based model. As such, the longer your customer stays with you, the more revenue you can generate.
- Advocacy – this content will focus on turning a paying client into an avid supporter. Share your mission, which is to do everything you can to help your clients succeed. Or maybe you can talk about how you’re helping fight climate change. Or you can simply talk about how you’re taking care of your marketing and sales team. Show them the positive culture in your company and how you overcome challenges together.
d. Don’t forget about SEO
Of course, apart from satisfying your audience, you’ll also need to satisfy Google’s bots and algorithm. To do that, you’ll need to follow a comprehensive SEO (search engine optimization) strategy.
Now, this topic is a rabbit hole, which will be too deep to cover in this blog. For now, let’s lightly touch on how keywords affect your SEO roadmap.
Keywords are words your audience input on their search browser to achieve whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish.
Now, keywords are mainly divided into two categories: short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords cover broad concepts like “CRM software” and “email marketing software.” These keywords are extremely competitive and difficult to rank with.
Meanwhile, long-tail keywords are more specific. Let’s take the example above. “CRM software” becomes “how CRM software can help a SaaS company.” “Email marketing software” becomes “Nurturing leads using email marketing software for SaaS companies.”
See the difference?
As you may have guessed, long-tail keywords are far more ideal, especially for a SaaS company in its infancy. It’s more specific, less competitive, and targets specific pain points, among other advantages.
2. Email Marketing for SaaS Products
Email remains one of the pillars of SaaS inside sales as it can increase your engagement, boost conversion, and nurture loyalty with your existing customer base.
Be warned, however.
You should always – and I can’t stress this enough – be diligent with your SaaS email marketing strategy. Track everything as much as you can.
According to Mailchimp, the SaaS industry has an email open rate of 21.29 percent and a click-through rate of 2.45 percent.
The good news is that you can still push this number higher if you religiously track everything.
Evaluate what’s performing better and why it performed the way it did.
Was it the time of day it was sent? The day of the week?
Maybe you did your research right and specifically tailored the email to a particular stage of a customer’s journey?
One of the things you’ll need to look out for is the educational-promotional email ratio. Briefly put, this ratio governs the balance between the type of email content you’re pumping out.
A good rule of thumb to follow is the 3:1 ratio, where 3 is for educational emails and 1 for promotional emails. Too much of the former will result in higher engagement but fewer sales.
Too much of the latter and your audience will unsubscribe to you because you’re offering no value.
Make it about them
You’d also want to take advantage of a person’s tendency to make it about themselves. Remember, your audience doesn’t care about your product. They care what they can get out of your product.
So always talk about how your SaaS company can help your customers achieve success in their industry. Better still, you should apply this to every email and content you’re publishing.
Instead of saying “We’ve created a strategic list to boost your website’s traffic,” tweak it to “We’ve compiled the best email marketing strategy for SaaS companies in 2021 to increase engagement, attract more traffic, and generate more sales.”
Lastly, you’d want to automate your emails to trigger specific actions from your audience.
For instance, you should send a welcome email to someone who just recently subscribed to your mailing list. Or send an email reminder when a client’s monthly subscription is about to end.
You can also send them an automatic email if a new feature goes live.
Who knows? It might even convince them to upgrade to a premium version.
This is just scratching the surface of what email marketing can do to your SaaS business.
But again, track everything so you know what’s working and improve underperforming campaigns.
3. Social Media
Social media doesn’t need an introduction when it comes to inside sales. Its number speaks for itself.
Facebook alone commands 2.89 billion active monthly users, while Instagram has 1 billion. That is a massive audience.
So how can social media help with inside sales in SaaS?
Well, one of the strengths of social media is online reviews. Now some might argue that social media is quite toxic when it comes to this concept, with customers being nasty and belligerent most of the time.
But you have to understand that a bad review is only a customer’s pain point. Address that pain point and you solve the problem, not only for that user but for your entire customer base.
Thus, you should pay attention to comments on your social media page and use them to improve your business.
Remember, a successful SaaS company use this platform to:
- Establish trust
- Increase SaaS sales through social proof
- Builds brand awareness
- And expand a brand’s reach
When you’re solving a bad customer review, you’re essentially turning that narrative around. You’re already checking all the boxes above. You’re building trust by accommodating your customer’s complaints. They might consider your business over the competition. And they might advocate your brand to their professional colleagues, expanding your reach that could attract more revenue.
That’s the power of social media.
And that’s just one aspect of it too.
Social media also smoothly merges with your SaaS content marketing strategy above.
Once a new post goes live, you can use your social media platforms to tell your audience to visit your blog. Your caption should talk about how the content can improve your customer’s business.
That way, your audience will see your social media pages as a useful resource. They trust you to keep them updated and inspire them when they’re planning to launch a new marketing campaign.
You can even interact with your audience directly. You can post polls, questions, and certain topics that will generate genuine conversation between your clients.
From there, try using the topics they’re talking about as inspiration for your next content.
Inside Sales and SaaS: Remotely Grow Your Business
The key takeaway here is that inside sales in SaaS are an extremely valuable strategy for growing your business. What’s even better is you can tap saas sales rep talent located all over the globe. You’re no longer confined to the talent within your vicinity.
And speaking of which, we published a post about that very topic (see the link above). It talks about the traits and qualities of a SaaS sales rep and how you can spot them from a distance.
So start your inside sales team today. You may not get it right from the get-go (who has, right?) but you’ll eventually improve it as you move along. The important thing is to take that leap. Cliché as it sounds, but every journey starts with your first step.
For more tips, strategies, and useful information about the SaaS industry, you can read more on our blog here.