Selling SaaS to the informed customer

If you look for advice about selling SaaS, one of the most prevalent snippets of guidance you’ll see is to ‘stop selling the product’. Instead, it’s suggested, you should sell the benefits of your product.

But is this view too simplistic? At face value, it sounds like it could make sense. The thing is, for the informed customer, selling the benefits of the solution alone isn’t enough. People that already know what they need want to know how you’ll deliver the value they seek.

So, here’s our two cents when it comes to selling SaaS to the informed customer.

The informed customer

SaaS options saturate the market — and prospects can compare you and your competitors with ease. This means that potential customers already know what these kinds of products offer. They know why they’re looking for a SaaS product like yours.

In short, they’re informed. They know the problems and pain points they’re looking to solve, and they already know where value lies for them.

So, by the time the informed customer reaches your solution, they’re aware of the benefits. They’re used to the marketing and sales puffery. And, in an era of fake news and vapourware, they aren’t going to blindly accept your claims.

So, when you’re selling SaaS, how do you catch the interest of the informed customer?

Selling SaaS feature-forward

Your features are where your offering most differs from your competition. So, should you emphasise a feature-forward approach to sales, instead of a value-driven pitch?

Informed customers have already decided to buy. What they’ve not decided is who they’re buying from. So, they’ll have criteria that will help them choose. And those criteria lie in the features and specifics of your offering, not the general promise of value.

No right answer?

The compelling nature of selling the benefits is offset by the fact that every SaaS product like yours draws from the same value and benefit pool. The result is all the benefit-first sales pitches looking the same.  And none are helpful to the informed customer.

Meanwhile, a feature-forward approach to selling SaaS can come across as dry and boring. You’re forcing a customer to wade through the inner workings of your solution. And while you’re parading what the product can do, you’re all but ignoring what that means for the customer.

Values and benefits appeal to the emotions of the customer but offer little to back it up. A feature forward approach aims to appeal to customer logic but ignores the power of customer emotion.

So, neither value only nor features only is a suitable approach when selling SaaS.

Meeting in the middle

Informed customers know the general values of buying your product. But newer customers might not. Plus, knowing the general values of your tool doesn’t mean customers know what makes your product special. Nor does it mean that they believe your product meets the promises of value.

No, informed customers have different questions for you to answer.

  • What, of the values these solutions provide, does your solution prioritise?
  • How does your solution provide the benefits they’re looking for?
  • How do your features give more value to their business than a competitor’s solution?

The way to answer these questions is to find the balance between presenting value and backing up your claims with the features that provide it.

“Our tool provides benefit X because it has features 1, 2, and 3.”

Selling SaaS

Customers come in all shapes and sizes, at different points in the customer journey. Some need the value pitch, others the nitty-gritty.

The correct balance between value and features when selling SaaS varies from business to business. Have you found the right balance between emotion and logic for your brand yet?

Useful links

The tech market and why the winner takes it all

The death of the unique feature set, and what it means for your brand

A buyer’s guide to evaluating SaaS products