Farmer vs Hunter? Which Social Media Marketing Strategy Works Best?

Not sure if your social media marketing strategy follows the “hunters to farmers” sales approach? Want to learn a sophisticated approach to sales using social media?

This article will demystify the hunting and farming approach to social media for you and will give you some tangible steps you can take, starting today, to get the best of your social media channels. Plus, there is a quiz at the end to test your social sales strategy! 

Social Marketing vs Advertising On Social Media 

If you don’t know the difference between social media marketing and social media advertising, it’s okay to admit it. The distinction can be a bit confusing, especially because there are plenty of voices out there.

Check out two examples of posts:

Post A: Nick Leyden, a fitness coach, is asking a Facebook Group “what is one thing you are doing to stay healthy and active during this time?”

Post B: Capital Factory is sharing an invite to a webinar.  

Post A will ignite conversations. Nick doesn’t need to solicit anyone. In fact, he will be able to give some tips and advice, and from there, those users who feel value from him will choose if they want to follow him. 

Nick’s post is a brilliant strategy for a Facebook Group where people are open to having a community experience.

Post B is not asking users for any conversation. In fact, it is asking users to stop everything they are doing, read the long-form content, click a link, go to an external page, then read another invite, and fill out a form, and attend a webinar.

Post B is social advertising. Notice that it has the same format that you see on Facebook Ads. While Post B is appropriate for the group, there it won’t have the same engagement as Nick’s post.

If you’re not sure if your content is a social marketing content or social advertising content, here’s a rule:

If it sounds like a radio commercial, you’re advertising. 

However, that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to share content that has a strong call to action. The key is to have a content marketing strategy, so that users welcome your invitation or call to action.

Farmers vs Hunters, In Which Group Are You?

Salesperson reputations stink! In poll after poll, survey respondents typically rank salespeople above only members of Congress on trust, honesty, and competency.

For a long time, in the sales world, people identify themselves as hunters or farmers. What exactly does that mean and in which context?

The Hunters

Hunters are also known as the doers. They get their sales energy through “hunting” new opportunities. Hunters can be described as independent (with a lot of initiative) and solution-driven. They tend to focus on big deals and love going from one to the next as soon as they close their current prospect.

The Farmers

In contrast to the hunters, farmers are more focused on developing long-term relationships. They are the nurturers—building relationships with leads and clients for a lasting impact. They are team players that bring everyone else up and develop strong customer loyalty.

Some entrepreneurs and small business owners have a hard time combining both of the approaches. While it is great to add value and nurture relationships, they still need to close the sale. 

How to balance nurturing activities with closing activities? It’s social selling. 

The Rise Of Social Selling 

Social selling is the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.

Since social selling has become part of the modern sales processes, both salespeople and entrepreneurs can benefit from the modern social selling method. A big incentive for social selling is that there’s no need for cold calls anymore.

Perhaps equally important to explaining what social selling means is to explain what social selling is not

It’s certainly not about bombarding strangers with unsolicited posts, tags, and private messages in your social media platforms. There’s a name for that: spam. And you shouldn’t do it.

Social Selling Strategy 

If you haven’t implemented a social selling strategy for your social media management, here are some stats that will get you inspired to work on this ASAP!

  1. 78% of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who aren’t. (Forbes)
  2. 77% of B2B buyers said they do not talk to a salesperson until they’ve performed independent research themselves (Source: CEB)
  3. 76% of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers. (LinkedIn)
  4. 92% of B2B buyers are willing to engage with a sales professional who is a known industry thought leader.
  5. 53% of customer loyalty is driven by a salesperson’s ability to deliver unique insight, easily done through social media.
  6. A full 71% of all sales professionals and 90% of top salespeople are already using social selling tools.
  7. That percentage gets even higher with the younger generation. 78% of Millennials say they use social selling tools.
  8. 93% of sales executives have not received any formal training on social selling (source)

Social Selling vs. Social Media Marketing

Is social selling the same thing as social media marketing or advertising?

No. As we explained before, social marketing and social advertising are different things. 

Social selling takes the social marketing approach but combines the methodology with ist sales process. They use social media marketing to nurture relationships, turn them into leads and potential sales opportunities.

Social Selling Is All About Value

When interacting with prospects and customers through social networks, it’s important to consider what’s in there for them. 

Imagine this scenario: a coworker invited you for a family party. You know a few of other coworkers, but everyone else is a stranger. How do you approach people at the party? Do you stop them, get on their face, and tell them to buy from you? Of course not.  You would get to know them first, ask questions, engage in conversations to find things in common. 

Adding value is not subject to your opinion. Your users will find value depending on their very own stage. This is what makes marketing a very complex process. 

Building A Sales Funnel

During the past few decades, the marketing funnel served as the primary model for how people learn about a product, decide to buy, and (hopefully) become loyal customers, helping spread the word to others.

In today’s age when every product has hoards of competitors, the loyalty loop is a more accurate picture of how the customer reevaluates their decision to buy again and again.

The best way to connect with your audience on Facebook is by mapping their experience, all while considering each stage of their decision-making process. To keep this simple, we’ll narrow the decision-making process into three stages:

  • Awareness: People have either become aware of your product or service, or aware that they have a need that must be fulfilled.
  • Evaluation: People are aware that your product or service could fulfill their needs, and they’re trying to determine whether you’re the best fit. Users turn into leads.
  • Purchase: Leads are ready to make a purchase.

What experience do you want to create for users who are in the awareness stage?

  1. I want them to feel like they can trust my service or product.
  2. I want them to identify our unique value proposition quickly.
  3. I want them to know that they can ask any questions via chat or email.

Strategize Your Social Media Content

Gone are the days when professionals keep their professional and personal accounts separated. People buy you! Entrepreneurs who are able to build a personal brand thrive in social media. Remember, 76% of buyers are ready to have a social media conversation with potential providers. 

Your social media channels are the amplifier. But you need a brand and a voice that speaks to your target audience. That’s where your content marketing strategy comes handy.  

Social Media Marketing Quiz! See How Ready Are You For Social Selling!

  1. My profile picture is professional (5 points)
  2. My cover image inspires strangers to trust in me (5 points)
  3. I am comfortable with letting strangers finding me (5 points)
  4. I initiate conversations with people who I believe can be good connections (5 points)
  5. I have prepared articles to share with my social media connections (5 points)
  6. I have shared links where my connections can find more information about my services (5 points)
  7. I have gotten referrals from my social media connections (5 points)
  8. I have a content calendar and a content plan for my social media (5 points)
  9. My social media accounts grow each month (5 points)
  10. I take time each day to follow up with my connections follow up offline (calls, meetings) – (5 points)

Your score

  1. 5-20  It seems like you are on social media, but not engaging as much as you should.
  2. 25-35 You see the value of social media. Maybe with some guidance, you can start seeing leads and clients.
  3. 40-50 You are in the process to master the social selling game. Keep going!

In Closing

If you’re feeling overwhelmed from social media and want to have access to an expert who can remove the guess and make a plan to grow your business, let’s chat!

5 Proven Strategies To Scale Your Business

There are several reasons why entrepreneurs want to grow and scale their business fast. Besides the obvious, making money as fast as possible, there are more reasons why a business should grow and scale fast. Success loves speed! Speed activates momentum and virality.  

If you’re an entrepreneur with audacious goals and want to find strategies to grow revenue while scale your business to maximize profits, keep reading! 

What Does Scaling A Business Really Mean?

It is important to note that growing a business and scaling a business are not the same thing. As a business grows, meaning the business is increasing revenue, it is also utilizing and adding resources equally as fast in order to sustain the and build that growth.   

While it is encouraging to see an increase in revenues, business owners need to be able to adjust their revenue-generating model to find ways to get more customers with minimal added costs.  This is where having the knowledge of scaling becomes key.

Scaling a business, on the other hand, means you are adding revenue faster than costs to generate new clients. 

For example, a business that is scaling may gain $50,000 in new revenue for which they spent only $5,000 on marketing automation tools to allow more efficient marketing to a wider audience. The business’ gains outpaced its losses, allowing it not only to grow but also to scale, by not adding additional costs. 

For small business owners, growth and scaling are a must, in order to survive and make it to the next level; otherwise, you will be forced to cap your income potential.  Business owners who have not been able to successfully scale either have to turn business away or return to the job market.  

5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Scale Their Business

⁣Let’s explore the key activities that entrepreneurs or small business owners can do to scale their business.

Number 1. Delegate Strategy To Experts ⁣

I’ve seen so many business owners that have started their company “by accident.” They identified a problem, created the solution, and talked to a couple of friends, and the next thing they know … they have a business!

If your business started “by accident” there’s a good chance you are analyzing success just by seeing the revenue that comes in and the expenses that go out.  Typically, that is a good plan for the first 1-2 years, until you realize that you have no life and need to add more resources in order to have a sense of normalcy..

Can you relate? 

Can you see your business getting to a point where you can’t sell more products or serve more clients because there’s only so much you can do alone? For professional services, this happens very quickly. 

To avoid the hectic days when your business is no longer fun, it’s important to have a scaling strategy. Don’t try to do this yourself. Find a business strategist who can help you see what you can’t. 

I’m a fan of recommending the Business Model Canvas exercise to my clients, and then discussing with them a way to create even bigger opportunities. Typically, their vision is smaller than the opportunities we create for them. 

One of the most effective strategies that help entrepreneurs scale is automating their customer acquisition process. This means acquiring more clients without hiring a sales team. By automating the customer acquisition process, the cost structure is more predictable, allowing business profits to skyrocket. 

Number 2. Invest In Yourself⁣

In order to scale, as a business owner, you need to find ways to increase your value. If you’re a service-based business, adding a new skill can help you add more services, especially if those services can be presented as “add-ons” to your existing clients.

Are there other services that you can add, without adding costs?

If you have a team, for example, learning customer service strategies can help you become a better leader. Can you think of ways you can invest in yourself so that you can offer more value in your business?

Number 3. Outsource Strategically ⁣

In the ideal world, marketing should pay for itself. This means, your marketing costs should bring you a return on investment, plus more. For startups, this is a challenge. There are many marketing costs associated with developing a brand that will take more than a year to recover. 

When it comes to identifying a company that has done a beyond-amazing job at branding its product, Starbucks is at the top.  As a small business owner, you might not have access to the kind of capital that Starbucks has, but you still can use some of their branding strategies, adapted to your budget.

When you look at Starbucks, you will notice that their message is clean and consistent. If you go to the website, you will see a campaign called “Black History Month”. They use social media to share the message around this campaign.

How can you do the same? While you might not be as creative and great with words as Starbucks, you can simply outsource your content strategy to a marketing wizard who can structure the content for you, even if you take care of your own social media management! 

Social media can be a powerhouse for any marketing team if used correctly, and Starbucks is doing just that by:

  1. Repurposing content
  2. Interacting with their customers
  3. Starbucks creates a lot of content; however, they make it easier by repurposing content across all of their social media channels.

By repurposing, I mean breaking down a larger piece of content into smaller sections to reuse across multiple channels.

Let’s be clear, Starbucks is not copying posts word for word and pasting them across every network. Each social media channel is different and requires its own message.

Outsourcing strategically means you don’t need to increase the costs by outsourcing everything, but you can outsource the critical steps of acquiring a client. 

You can find content creators for as low as 2 cents per word these days. If you’re not having the conversions from your marketing, then outsourcing content should be your next key resource to find. 

Number 4. Find Money

While it’s true that a business can’t grow without money, it’s also true that money, without a strategy and a plan to scale, will just be wasted. Your business will always be in debt, and quickly you will be out of business.

Money is a crucial factor to scale your business, but only if it’s used for resources that can help increase profits.

Investing in automation is a great example of how you can use money to add more revenue streams to your business, without investing in human resources and labor costs. 

Putting money in your SEO plan, for example, will allow you to replace your sales force. It will cost you less money to have a sales team, than to get your website ranking in Google, and converting web visitors into clients.

5. Find Marketing Partners Who Can Get You Visible ⁣

Let’s just make a pact! You want to build a business, but you also want to have a life. For this to happen, it’s crucial for you to find opportunities to collaborate with others.

Your goal is to find other companies so you can expand your visibility by tapping into their audience. They don’t have to be equity partners in order to establish a synergy where both businesses can benefit.

Vertical partnerships are your best bet, as long as they share your same values, because teaming up with a horizontal competitor is asking for conflict. 

Aligning with key influencers in vertical industries have given my company enormous access to a qualified audience of potential new customers. As a result, we saw the explosive growth that quickly increased sales and made us more attractive to future partners.

This process doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start with identifying opportunities to collaborate, on Instagram, for example. Play team! 

Looking for business strategy, marketing strategy? Here in Austin, Texas? I can be of help!

Start This Easy Social Selling Strategy Today For Immediate Results

Everyone wants to sell more, but not everyone seems to have the secret to more sales. Marketing is supposed to drive more sales, but, with so much information flooding our eyes, entrepreneurs struggle to distinguish the genuinely helpful marketing and sales strategies from the borderline useless.

Nobody has unlimited time and money to test every tool to determine which ones work best.  

Instead of following the process of elimination, which practically seems like throwing spaghetti against the walls, and see what sticks, entrepreneurs should focus on designing and optimizing a sales process. 

Simply put, stop trying the new marketing tactic on the block, and, instead, design a sales process that allows you to correlate your revenue-generating activities with your growth.

If the word sales process is making you cringe and your skin gets itchy, do not worry. I am going to debunk a sales process that will make you fall in love with sales. Pinky promise! 

What Is Social Selling? 

Buying and selling have always been social activities.  If I ask you to think about your first sale ever, perhaps you were 7 years old or so. 

Mine was in first grade and I had to knock on doors asking for donations for the Red Cross. I still remember the sound of the soda can where we had all the coins. My pitch was “Mrs. ____, would you like to cooperate with the Red Cross?”. 

Actually it was a regular campaign that our school had, so, by age 11 I won the top producer award! I created a bake sale, in addition to knocking on doors and asking for a favor! I guess we can say, I was born for marketing and sales.   

I’m pretty sure you have some memories too!

But what is social selling? Is it about being social and selling to people? The answer is NO. Social selling is a buzzword and there is a lot of misconception about the term.

Some people associate social selling with generating sales directly from social media channels, which is NOT accurate.

A social selling method is predicated on the fact that consumers “socialize” with others as part of their decision-making process.  This means, instead of selling directly to a consumer, convincing them about their needs and featuring the benefits of your products or services, you ignite those social conversations so consumers can make their decisions.

Social selling wasn’t born because of social media.

Before our lives were lit by a thousand screens full of stories and boomerang videos, and every other glowing corner of the internet, people asked others they knew for buying advice.  Social media happens to empower social selling which is why generating revenue through social media should be one of your goals.

The State of Social Selling

  • 93% of sales executives have not received any formal training on social selling (source)
  • 80% believe their salesforce would be more productive with greater social media presence but, 2/3 of companies have no social media strategy for their sales organization (source)
  • 50.1% of social salespeople spend 5-10% of their time on social media (source)
  • 53% of salespeople want help in understanding social selling better (source)
  • Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media (source)
  • 61% of US marketers use social media for lead generation (source)

Ingredients Of A Successful Social Selling Strategy

When I teach social selling on my workshops, in particular, LinkedIn Workshops, I explain my Hamburger Method. It’s a multi-ingredients formula that needs to be applied as a whole. Just like when you eat a burger (or vegan burger!). You can’t just eat cheese and say it’s a burger. Y

A social selling strategy is effective once all the ingredients are together.

6 C’s To Design Your Social Selling Strategy

1)   Consultative selling approach

2)   Content

3)   Culture

4)   Connections

5)   Conversations

6)   Conversions

Let’s cover each in detail.

1) Consultative Selling Approach

Consultative selling is an approach that focuses on creating value and trust with the prospect and exploring their needs before offering a solution. The salesperson’s first objective is building a relationship; their second is providing the right product.

Don’t make the mistake that plenty of sellers make: approach people, request them as a connection, and pitch them. That’s not what relationship marketing is about.

Being consultative helps sellers accomplish two important things:

1.By maintaining their focus on building relationships and connection with the client, respecting where they are, and genuine caring about them, they create a positive buying experience for the client that fosters an ongoing relationship and trust.

Relationships = trust.

2. Because they build trust, they gain needed information to deeply understand client needs, identify the right solution, and tailor what they say about products to ensure relevance and impact.

Research shows that 62% of customers say they share bad customer experiences with others. If you want to increase your customer experience, make no mistake, social selling will help you reach your goal.

2) Content That Can Lead Decision Makers Considering Your Solution

Notice that I wrote content and not content marketing. Content marketing is also a buzzword. This puts entrepreneurs at risk of receiving wrong advice and, therefore, getting wrong results.

Your content is a derivative of your communication. Your communication gets shared via your message. A clear message is needed, before putting a content marketing plan in place. This is an ingredient that, in my opinion, many entrepreneurs miss.

Perhaps you heard that you need a blog and share information so you can get people to find you on Google. While that can be true, blogging will be considered a key factor of your social selling strategy if the content is relevant to your target audience. In particular, decision-makers.

According to the statistics collected from Kapost, website conversion rate is 6 times higher for those who’ve adopted content marketing strategy than those who haven’t & there is a whopping 75% increase in marketing qualified leads through content only.

Content is not just about writing a blog post. To activate social selling, consider sharing content that ignites social interactions. Some examples:

  • Give people a story to tell.
  • A fact that they didn’t know.
  • Ignite hope that they can solve their biggest problem today.
  • Show them how much you care about them.

Recent stats reveal that 84% of conversations about your brand happen offline. This is why I insist that you can’t measure the impact of your social media channels by your likes and shares anymore.  That’s in the past.

Next time you go to an event, pay attention to how many conversations are happening and people are using their mobile devices to show something.

So, yes, social media can ignite your social selling, but it’s not the only way.

3) Culture

Culture is an unmissable ingredient of our recipe for success, especially if you are building a sales team. But what exactly is culture?

Culture is essentially a combination of the values and behaviors instilled in a company’s workplace. Some people call it corporate culture or organizational culture.

While it’s being referred to as an element needed to attract good talent, it also helps to attract great customers.

At the end of the day, I believe that when we align ourselves with people that share the same values, magic happens.

No matter the size of your sales team, in order to attain success using a social selling / consultative selling approach, everyone needs to be on board with the following behaviors that are a reflection of your values:

  • Lead with education
  • Represent a culture of respect
  • Being a positive influence in their community

But why all of this is relevant to sales? Because sales happen when people have positive conversations about your services or your products.  And when we say people, we refer to conversations that happen both offline, and online, mainly in social media.

Using social media marketing to showcase your company culture can not only boost staff morale, but can show potential clients and customers yet another reason why your organization is great to do business with. Here are 6 strategies you can use to embrace your company culture through social media.

4) Connections

So, your new sales approach has so far 1) Consultative selling approach, 2) Content, and 3) Culture.  With these 3, it’s time to put the theory in practice. Connecting with your audience.

Connecting with individuals can seem like a “common sense”. However, you will be surprised by how many sales efforts fail at this level.

When we say you need to have connections as part of your new social selling approach, we don’t give you the go-ahead and spam 50 people a day.  Believe it or not, this is what plenty of professionals do on LinkedIn as their “LinkedIn marketing”.

If your only usage of LinkedIn account has to do with sending 50 connection requests per day, chances that those “new connections” will turn into a sales opportunity are smaller than you climbing Mount Everest.

LinkedIn is a great platform to expand your network and get rich connections. But they won’t happen at the “connecting button level”. Your goal is to showcase your expertise and ignite engagement. This will happen, for instance, via LinkedIn groups and hashtag walls. 

You might want to check my guide on LinkedIn hashtags here.

5) Conversations

Imagine you and I just met at a doctor’s office and you ask me “would you like to lose 10 pounds”. Would that be appropriate? Absolutely not. 

The same rule goes for online conversations. This is common sense, right? It doesn’t seem to be a common practice for some social media users. 

Now that you are turning your social sales game on, you need to get used to some “data waste management”.

You commit to only engage in sound conversations and, at the same time, you become more selective with the data that comes to you. Don’t be afraid to delete people, remove them from your connections, or even block them.

Did you know that LinkedIn takes in consideration the quality of your connections? Yes. It’s not fair but it’s the truth. The more quality connections you have, the more visibility your profile will get.

You might be wondering, but how much time do I need to do all of this?  To prepare content, connect with people with authenticity, and ignite real conversations. 

I’m not gonna lie here. A social sales strategy is commonly rejected by sales teams because of the amount of time it takes. The best practice is to outsource parts of the implementation of this strategy, such as:

  • Content research
  • Content writing
  • Content distribution
  • Preliminary connections

Outsourcing these tasks will give you more time to practice social selling offline. 

  • Networking events
  • Speaking and workshops
  • Attend to conventions 

Now that you have a social selling mindset, your activities will be more strategically.   Don’t just go out to socialize. Apply social selling instead.

6) Conversions

The last C of our 6 C’s of social selling is conversions.  See the graphic below! Social selling is effective.

So many people want a high conversion rate without researching, defining what is a conversion, and testing their conversion sources. Don’t be one of those people.

Like any marketing activity, if you can’t measure it, you can’t predict it.

Some of the metrics you should watch to make sure your strategy is in good health:

  • Monitor web traffic with Google Analytics. 
  • Monitor the organic search appearances with Google Search Console. 
  • Add a clear call to actions on your website, including your blogs

Typically, until you reach about 5,000-6,000 web visitors per month, consistently, your main focus should be increasing web traffic. After you hit the benchmark (5,000) then you can focus on increasing conversion rates.   

For now, implement your social selling strategy and define clearly your conversion points and strategies.

What Results Should You Expect Immediately?

As soon as you establish your sales strategy and have real social conversations, you should experience an increase in engagement on social media, an increase in the number of people reached, and new connection requests from new people. This should happen within your first 48 hours. Yes, it’s that effective.

I can’t wait to read your feedback!

SAAS Sales Leader’s Ultimate Guide: 10 Critical Strategies To Close More Deals

If you are planning to accomplish your goals in any endeavor, a detailed map with exact markers and turns that takes you from the entrance of the trail to the top of the mountain will make your life easier.

 If you either lead or are apart of a Software sales company, you know that such a map is a fallacy and that your life will never be that easy. So if you are looking for steady cash flow with a cook book full of recipes to pre-heat at 425 for 40 minutes, Software sales is not for you. However, if you are open to learning how to navigate a 100 foot ship through rough, dark waters while there may be holes in both the bow and stern and a fire on board, you may have the mental fortitude to make it selling Saas.

What is Saas anyway?

Software as a service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. 

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet as referred by Microsoft.  SaaS has been incorporated into the strategy of nearly all leading enterprise software companies. 

Gartner predicts SaaS revenues to reach $85 billion in 2019. Globally speaking, Gartner predicts that by 2021, cloud revenues will total $278 billion.

By revenue, Microsoft is the largest worldwide provider of SaaS services, with 18% market share. Salesforce is in second place (11.5%) and Adobe is third (6.7%) (Synergy Research Group).

A Saas (Software as a Service) business can be very rewarding and lucrative. 

While there is no set formula for success, from my experience in selling Saas for over a decade  there are ten potential strategies that can be put into play that can help Saas leaders and their sales teams to steer the ship safely to arrive on land. 

Here are 10 ways to  for Saas sales leaders close more deals and to make your Saas Sales model more profitable. 

The first five are more operational and the second five are tactical to sales transactions. 

Number One: Competitive revenue model- Follow a Saas revenue model that appeals to your target market

Annual Contract Value, Total Contract Value, Multi-years upfront? 

Your Saas Model of how you will charge your customers is going to be very important. 

Why? It does not matter how great of a sales person you are or how great your sales team is, if the way that you charge for your product is not parallel to what works for your average customer, you can expect customer churn to be very high. 

For example, if you are selling to public sector customers, obtaining long term commitments upfront can be challenging and often misleading on future projections. Why? These types of customers often cannot make a commitment to be your customer for more than one year at a time as they do not know what future approved budget will be. This is just one of many examples as to why you want to choose the right revenue model for the market that you sell to. 

Number Two: Timing is everything- Forecast your sales based on your predicted saas sales cycle

You can be the best closer, but if you are selling higher education technology solutions, where the funds become available to buy your solution at one given time per year, you need to plan accordingly. Deals will only officially close when funds are available, not when you obtain the buy-in of your relationships. Equally, commercial customers tend to close more often at the end of the calendar year in order to spend budget remaining. It all comes down to what time of year can procurement provide to you the purchase order.

Typical Fiscal Year Starts

Commercial/Corporate………January 1st

Higher Education……………..July 1st

Public Sector…………………July 1st or October 1st

Federal………………………..October 1st

Number Three: Duplication- Follow a clear Saas sales playbook or sales methodology

Many organizations love to hire people with experience who “just know” how to do it. You will always hear things like “You can’t learn to ride a bike at a seminar.” While this may be very true, you can not grow and scale your sales team unless everyone is speaking the same language. The easiest thing to do is to subscribe to one of the more popular sales methodologies like Sandler, Challenger, Solutions selling or Miller Heinman. Which one of the sales systems that you choose as your playbook is not as important as the fact that you choose a playbook that has brought organizations success in the past. 

Sandler Sales-

The Challenger Sale-

Solutions Selling-

Miller Heiman-

For sales discovery, my personal preference is the Sandler Sales Method. For sales presentations, I like the Challenger Method. A great qualification model that many companies prefer is MEDDIC. This is particularly used in enterprise level transactions.

Number Four: Marketing- Invest as much in Saas marketing as you do in your Saas sales team. 

Cold Calling and mass email capaigns alone will not suffice with today’s very sophisticated buyer. Saas marketing tools like marketing automation software, analytics, and search engine marketing/ search engine optimization are critical to you driven leads for your sales team to work on. 

Figure 1.1

Number Five: BDRs- Consider hiring business development representatives

With today’s long, everlasting and more complex sales cycles, your sales teams will be busier than ever before. This means that there will be less time to prospect and generate new business. Hiring a business development representative (s) may be critical to gradually driving leads into opportunities over time. 

A good Business Development representative (BDR) will be able to both 1) respond to engaged leads from your current marketing campaigns and 2) Source new leads through their own outbound efforts. The goal of you to hire a BDR or BDR team is to generate new leads/prospects for your sales team to speak with. 

Here is an example of a Business Development Representative job description:


Identify sales opportunities and produce strong leads; initiating calls for new accounts; responding to inbound inquiries from potential clients.

Meticulously record, plan and prioritize your activities to achieve agreed business aims.

Collaborate with internal resources to qualify sales leads and prospective clients.

Ensure a smooth transition to the sales team once the prospect has become regular clients.

Work towards excelling industry standards.


Software or Software as a Service (SaaS) sales experience is a plus.

Construction or Lending/Financial experience is a plus.

Strong researching skills.

Strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Strong relationship management skills; ability to build relationships and work well with others.

Highly motivated and persistent personality with a strong commitment to achieving company sales goals.

Ability to multitask while learning new information about the client base and the industries Land Gorilla serves.

Working knowledge of MS Office, Google Drive, and comfortable learning sales software.

Dedicated to being an expert in your field and providing a high level of customer care.

A desire to succeed in a sales role and develop your skill set.

I would make it a point to not overcomplicate the hiring of a BDR. You will know very quickly if the person generates qualified leads or not.

So there you have the first five strategies to increase deal closings. The first five are more tailored to helping you the sales leader and your team identify the right business model to make your efforts more profitable. 

The next five strategies will be more tactical in nature and will prescribe specific selling tactics. 

Number Six: Relationships-  Don’t sell until you have permission to sell

In some industries, the mantra is ABC Always be Closing. Not in Saas sales. Your job is to treat your prospect as a potential patient and you are the doctor. If you cannot gain enough information to diagnose your patient, then you do not write for them a prescription. If your prospect does not have the pain that your Saas product solves, you cannot sell to them.

Compared to other sectors, relationships play a big factor during technology sales cycles. Dr. Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, explains, “in the high-tech world of companies turnover is normal and expected. In higher ed, we tend to stay at our institutions for a long time, and we build relationships over decades.”

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Figure 1.2

 Take a look at the diagram above in Figure 1.2. You will see the difference in the typical processes between Enterprise Sales and SMB (Small-Medium business sales). With Enterprise sales you cannot begin to sell until you meet and form the relationship. 

Number Seven: Account tiering. Know that you don’t have a deal until you have all of the decision maker’s at the table.

The Challenger sale says that “the average number of customer stakeholders involved in a B2B purchasing decision is 6.8 — up from 5.4 in late 2014.”   (need link)

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Figure 1.3

See in Figure 1.3 the breakdown of the different type of decision makers within an organization according to the Challenger sale and their likely impact on driving organizational change. To learn more about the different types of buyer profiles in an organization, please read this overview.

Number Eight: Budget-  Talk budget relatively early

While you should never discuss price upfront without being asked, you need to verify if budget is available for your purchase. If it is not, consider where the funds can come from and how important purchasing your Saas solution is. 

The last thing you want to do is take up your time for the wrong reasons if the pockets are empty. 

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Figure 1.4

In Figure 1.4, you will see the most basic sales model that exists in B2B sales known as BANT. This is very popular due to its ability to be understood with ease. You will notice that qualifying budget is the first step in the sales process. 

 Number Nine: Your product- Don’t sell the technology, Sell the concepts

All Saas applications and solutions may be technical but the technology is not what sells. What sells are the solutions that the technology provides to the end user. Also, the people who write the checks and are the final say in making a purchasing decision, are often not technical. 

What business value proposition does your product/solution provide to the end user? Can your solution help them increase more revenues or save costs? Can it shorten the time of a particular time consuming process? What is the benefit?

Simplicable covers examples of how you can take what a product solution does technically and change the messaging to illustrate how the solution helps the end user.

Number Ten: Low hanging fruit. Upsell your existing install base. 

If you have a high customer retention rate, you can likely sell more products and solutions to your existing install base. Typically around 25% of all sales year over year will be to your existing customers. 

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Figure 1.5

The above figure shows that most of the revenue that your company earns will come from a combination of renewals, upsells and cross-sells. 


Saas is an industry that will continue to see tremendous growth. Amazing growth, however, must be captured the right way. The Saas sales model is based on a product that is technical, but the solution is conceptual and based on value. The audience that you are selling to will be complex in both make-up and in needs solved. Budget and Operating cycles are equally as complex when selling Saas. Saas sales teams and sales reps need help with marketing and possibly with business development representatives to generate qualified prospects.

The Saas industry is very rewarding to work in. Stay tuned for my next article where I will dig deep into the different types of Saas revenue models.