This is a question that rattles a nearly 150 billion dollar industry is simple to answer but isn't an easy process to solve.
The simple answer to the question is: Get more people to know about your product.
They can't just know about the product. They need to know what it does and why they need your product.
Let's face it. There are thousands of SAAS companies out there. There could be dozens in the same vertical, and they are all competing for the same thing. Money and to provide a better service.
Let's use a real-world example of what happened to me. I needed software that could do project management for my company. An easy way to manage clients' projects happening and anything else that needed to be managed. Both internal and external. When you google Project management software, there are not 2, not three, but four ads on Google page. You cant even see a search result because there is so much competition. Why? Those software companies know that if you buy from them, chances are good you're staying for life. So why is this important? When you go down further on the google results, you find out that the top results aren't software. It's main blogs that talk about the software comparing them to each other and letting you know what the pros and cons of each software are. So how did I decide what to do? I went to blog after blog and read each and every software that they were talking about. I looked at my needs and found the software that closely met what I was looking for. After that, I started to create free trials of each software and tested each and every single one of them. It took me two months to go through all the software that I needed to get the answers that I was looking for. Why? Most of these software's didn't do a good enough job at telling me what was right and what was wrong with the software. What was good and what was bad. Sounds crazy, right? If a company knows its not good for a certain vertical, it needs to say it. It's very irritating to anyone when you think it can do something and it cant.
So why is this important?
Simple enough, they didn't educate their customers well enough — me being one of them. I should have never had to go through each and every single software to figure out the best one. I tell people I can help them sell in the business to business space online and predominantly on LinkedIn. Why do I say this? Because it works time and time again. I tell people I cant help in the business to consumer space. Why? What I teach doesn't work for that. Now I know how to do it, and there will be a course one day on it for different industries, but the same rules don't apply. I know what I am good at teaching, and I know what I need to stay away from. I can help push someone in the right direction, but I can't give them the "secret sauce" when I don't have it yet. This principle goes for the SAAS industry.
Sadly enough, that's not how it works. It's impossible to create software that does everything for everyone. There are tons of similarities between companies that may need the same thing, but my favorite term "the riches are in the niches" comes to play. Take a company like Oracle software. Why are they so big? They have specific products for specific verticals. They clearly define who they are really good for and who they aren't.
But Harrison, they are turning away business.
Trust me, a company worth billions did its homework. They know what they are doing, and they know what they are good at. Let us take a look at one of my favorite companies. Currently, the fastest company to a billion dollars. Salesforce. What does Salesforce do? They make software for salespeople. Sounds broad, right? It's not, but they picked something that every company needs. I have never met a company that doesn't want more sales. So they built software that caters to those people in every company. But Harrison, not each company, sells the same thing. Yes, but the process is generally the same for every company. Get the customer to buy if it takes a phone call, email, or anything else. They made it customizable enough to fit every company, but it's only for sales. Adobe software developers aren't going to use Salesforce. It's not for them, but the Adobe sales reps might. Salesforce built software for one person. A salesperson. If you're in sales chances are you have probably heard of Salesforce, or you use it.
How does it apply? You need to think about the company your creating and the service your providing. Who is it for? And who is it not for? Then you can develop a way to tell your customer. Personally, I love blogs and videos and the occasional FAQ page. FAQ pages are the fastest way to tell someone what they need to know without sifting through information. I help companies sell in the B2B space on LinkedIn. Its what I do. I can't help a company the best in the B2C space because it's not what I teach and not what I know. I am more than willing to help teach what I do know, but I don't claim to be an expert, and if you're looking for the best information on that, I am not the one to help you. What did I just do there? I just declared what I am good at and whom I can help and how. I also just declared who I am not good for, and that's fine. I would rather help companies that I know I can be a positive influence on than others where I may be taking their money without providing the maximum value.
Too often, companies don't declare who their ideal customer is and who wouldn't be a good fit. They do this because they are afraid to lose money because some people won't buy from them. When they do this, they are actually hurting themselves. Now I was told my Salesforce they do everything I need. It turns out they don't. Because of this, I have never recommended it to anyone for project management. They said they are masters at sales and really good at project management. I spent an hour on the phone with my rep, and he swore up and down it worked for what I needed it to do. Sadly I was disappointed with everything, and because of that, I don't recommend it to people. Why? Because I had a bad experience so the $300 dollars they made from me one time is only 300 where I will happily pay HubSpot $600 a year, and never question it because it does what I need it to do.
So Harrison, how do I get to my ideal customer and prevent what happened to you?
You need to educate your customers. The reason why HubSpot is so successful is that they educate their buyers and nonbuyers constantly. They feed and feed them information that benefits them, and they show the entire software. They also tell you what they can and can't help you with. They want to so the people that do buy stay for much longer and have less turnover — thus resulting in not only higher profits but much longer customer retention rates as well. They are given the ability to forge deep, long-lasting relationships with their customers, and because of this, their customers don't even consider leaving. How do I know this? Because since I purchased and learned the software, it does every single thing I want it to do, and I know what it cant do. It's not even a question in my mind to see if it can do what I need it to do because I was taught exactly what its capable of.
The key to this whole blog is to educate your customers. Tell them time and time again what you are capable of, and on your website, make sure you tell them who your not a good fit for. This is going to result in more profit for your company because your retention is going to be higher, and when you educate your customers, they feel confident with your product. There are always going to be blogs that are going to rank the highest in your software industry. There are companies built around telling others what to buy and what they like and don't like. Even if you don't rank number one on any list, but you work really well for your ideal customer, people are going to flock to your company. Let me paint another picture. A surgeon is really good at typically one type of surgery or one area of practice. They know everything there is to know and can help fix the issue in their specialty. They aren't so good at other areas, for example, an optometrist isn't going to be an expert in neurology and the other way around. Serve those specific needs, and you can charge far more for the help you're going to provide. Once you have mastered an area with your software, you can begin to work in other similar areas.
Now that we covered how to be a specialist in an industry and how to educate your customer your probably curious to learn how to make more sales as the name of this blog implies. There are several ways, and I'm going to break them down into small sections without diving too deep on how they all work.
If you're a SAAS company, you should be driving with SEO. If you don't know how to do it, the first thing you need to do is hire a marketing company that is pros is SEO. It's not cheap, but good SEO is worth its weight in gold, and building a high domain authority over time is a must. Why? You want companies who are asking questions online to find you first. Specialize in a small niche, and your buyers will come. They aren't looking for your company they are looking for answers. How do you do that?
Inside your blog, you should have your customer's questions answered. This is m favorite because if your not sure what to blog about writing down every question, a friend, family member, and people that can buy from you are going to ask. Compile a list and start writing blogs to answer each and every single question. Why? The chances are good that if they are asking someone else will too. I love blogging for this reason. If your not sure how to makes sales on LinkedIn, I'm your guy. Why? Because I'm an expert. How do you know? I have all the answers neatly formatted on a blog for you to read 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Blogging also has HUGE SEO benefits as well. The general rule of thumb is it takes 50-70 thousand words and a year to two years to get google to start ranking you highly. Start early, and never stop. Try to aim for at least once a week. The same idea applies both when you start and five years later. Answer questions and they will find you. Write them down, write a blog, and keep answering the questions. This builds trust, shows your an expert, and gives buyers confidence you can solve their problems.
Typically people hesitate to buy when it comes to something online if they don't know the product well enough. They want to sample it first. Everyone likes a free sample, and the beauty of a sample is it lets buyers try before they buy. If you have a membership at Costco, you know what I mean. You can try before you buy, and sometimes and this works well with SAAS companies, it can even give you the ability to upsell them without them realizing. Give them a premium trial of the software and a nice tutorial for them to set it up, and once it expires, they may want the "premium features" allowing you to make more money. Good tutorials are undervalued. You can charge slightly less for your software, but you same hundreds of thousands in employee hours to have them teach your ideal customer. Before we move on, I want to give you one quick example. Salesforce barely talks to you after you buy it. It's actually almost impossible to get them on the phone after you purchase. Why? Their tutorial is spot on, and when you go through it, it answers every question you could ever ask. This saves them thousands of hours in labor, and once it's made once it doesn't need to be made again, it just needs to be modified.
For a business to business company, LinkedIn is going to be your best friends. I preach it all the time, and I have a blog after blog about this. Check out my blog on how to get leads on social media here. Social media, specifically LinkedIn, is a powerhouse for business to business companies, and it's still very underutilized by most companies today. You may also want to check out my video on how to make content on LinkedIn here. Take advantage of creating content, building your reach, and encourage your employees to share your content online to build as much exposure as possible. Videos should be posted once or twice a week, and text and photos should be posted 3-4 times per week if possible.
Take my advice from before and define your niche as granular as possible. Go after longer tail keywords with low competition to keep ad cost low and also targeting high. The more narrow the keyword, the better because someone will be looking for it, and the less competition, the cheaper the ad is going to be. Take your time to do research and watch trends in your industry, such as buzz words that could help give you the upper hand when it comes to ads.
Do your best to provide crazy huge value before the customer buys. This will help keep their mind at ease, prevent buyers' remorse, and build confidence that their money is well spent. No one likes spending money and not getting enough value. This includes your customers. Give more than they can ever ask, brand it all, and send them emails, so they don't forget about you. If they buy, you can know that the customer is going to stick around for a long time. If they don't, they probably weren't going to be a good fit and why. You can give in the form of blogs, white papers, pdfs, eBooks, education material, and more. Make sure when they see your stuff, they know it's good, worth their time, and they will buy.
This blog should help cover any questions that you may have regarding who is going to buy, when they are going to buy and how to build a customer experience that truly matters to people. Treat both your customers and potential customers like family, and you're going to win time and time again if you want to feel free to get my #1 most popular checklist here to clean up your LinkedIn profile and feel free to connect with me on social media.