It’s not easy for sales reps to make the “perfect” sales pitch. Planning what to say when you’re out there in the field in front of your customers is both an art and a science. What’s going to work best depends on a lot of factors, including the product itself, the company, the style of the particular sales rep, and even more importantly, the customer. Selling software-as-a-service (SaaS) is no exception, though it has some differences, since, in most cases, the sales presentation is going to involve a demo of the software. If your sales reps aren’t as successful as you’d like to see them, they may be making one or more of these mistakes in their sales demos.
They’re putting too much emphasis on particular features.
It’s a mistake to make the features of your software the focal point of your SaaS demo for more than one reason. First, features of SaaS products evolve rapidly. What is a hot new feature today may become completely obsolete during the life of your customer’s subscription. Additionally, you’re really selling more than just the sum of your features, aren’t you? When you sell a SaaS subscription, you’re really selling a relationship, based on your support, reliability, and a general comfort level that you understand your clients’ needs and offer a viable ongoing solution for them. Don’t let your sales reps overemphasize the features, especially because those are likely to also be available from your competitors.
They’re not listening to the client’s needs.
Too many sales reps focus all their energies on the script for the SaaS demo. They’ll prepare a presentation into which they’ve squeezed as many demonstrations of the key features as they can cram into the allotted time. When they do this, they sound no different from any of your competitors. A much better approach is to ask questions of the clients to find out more about the challenges that they’re facing. At that point, a rep can explain and demo the features and services that actually address those needs. It’s a mistake to assume that the client will make those connections on their own. Sales reps need to always ask questions, and confirm as they’re going that they’re connecting with the client’s needs and challenges.
They’re not using audience participation.
This is a critical mistake, especially when you’re doing a web demo. For better or for worse, web demos are here to stay, and your target audience expects them, since what you’re offering is a service that can be accessed in the cloud from anywhere. These offer some additional challenges to sales reps who have been trained in more traditional methods, although they’re certainly cost-effective and time-effective. But for reps who are used to looking for feedback like body language and eye contact, it’s difficult to gauge the customer’s level of engagement. To make matters worse, there are scores of other things that the customer can be doing while you’re giving the on-screen presentation. They can be checking their email, web surfing, doing paperwork, etc. Giving the customer something to do, or keeping them doing most of the talking initially (which is always a sales best practice) ensure that they stay focused on the demo.