8 SaaS Sales Tips For Beginners
I love my job, working in sales at a SaaS company.
It’s a fast-moving industry, with lots of opportunities. However, if you’re a beginner, a sales role in SaaS can be intimidating. It’s unlike any other industry, requiring a unique approach to be consistently successful.
That’s why we’ve decided to share our top SaaS sales tips with you. Whether you’re already in your first SaaS sales position or you’re looking for a sales job with a SaaS company, these tips will help you excel.
Get started in the right role
While you may have your eyes set on being a successful Sales Rep or Account Executive at a top SaaS company, the chances are you’ll have to start in another role.
Even if you have an impressive resume and years of experience in other sales positions, don’t be surprised if you have to start in a beginner role. In fact, I’d recommend starting out as an SDR/BDR/inside sales rep. These roles are great for helping you get a solid understanding of SaaS sales.
As an SDR, your job is to make that initial contact with potential customers—typically through cold emails or cold calling—then pass qualified leads onto your team’s Account Executive. It’s not easy work, but it gives you a great foundation for your sales career. By being on the frontline and talking to your potential customers, understanding their needs/objections, and learning how to engage with them, you’ll have a much better understanding of your customer base.
You’ll also have no choice but to quickly learn every detail about your particular product: all of its features, benefits, use-cases, and limitations. Understanding what you’re offering is fundamental to any sales role, while understanding customers will help you excel in any role, sales or otherwise.
By taking the time to build a foundational skill set, you’ll make yourself an indispensable team member and will soon find yourself in your desired role.
Bonus: Have a clear idea of your career goals from the beginning. By having a concrete plan of where you want to end up, you can plan out your route to get there in the best way, picking up the skills you need along the way.
When you’re applying for a SaaS sales position, having that goal in mind will help you make a good impression and stand out from other applicants who will take any job going. You’ll also be surprised how many people will be willing to help you on your journey.
Listen to your manager
So once you’ve got the job, how can you shine in your role? While some may be tempted to rely on any experience you already have, I’ve found that it’s essential to listen to what your sales leader/manager has to say.
Make sure you listen to their guidance and advice, especially if this is your first job in SaaS sales.
While you may have your own ideas from different industries you’ve worked in, you’d be wise to listen to your manager/team leader. The SaaS field is so different from other industries, and listening to the advice and guidelines of someone who has more experience at the company can help you progress faster.
If you have a sales rockstar for a manager, take advantage of their knowledge! Remember, as a sales manager they presumably have been where you are now, and they know all the pitfalls and objections that lie ahead. They want you to succeed!
Listen to their advice and humbly accept any feedback they have to offer.
Follow SaaS leaders
Hopefully, you’re joining a well-established team that can give you the support and advice needed to grow. Sometimes though, you may find yourself as the first hire at a young SaaS startup.
Either way, it’s important to find other SaaS sales leaders and learn from them. You need to have a mentor.
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you need to go up to a top SaaS sales leader and ask them to officially be your mentor. Many of the brightest minds in SaaS sales are sharing their insights, tips, and tricks every single day on social media, completely free of charge.
Follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, or wherever else they’re posting advice, then keep up to date with what they’re sharing.
That means more than just liking their posts. You should carefully read what they’ve said and then think about what you can learn from it and how you can implement it in your sales process.
Sure, some of their advice may not apply to your specific situation, but chances are you’ll still be able to learn from their attitude and approach to sales. Save your favorite posts and keep notes, just as if they were teaching you directly.
Treat it like personal tuition and you’ll be sure to learn.
There are several big names in SaaS sales, such as Aaron Ross and Steli Efti, and by all means, go ahead and follow them, but don’t limit yourself to just the well-known leaders. While they may not show up on the first page of Google, the following SaaS sales leaders are super-successful and share excellent advice; I can whole-heartedly recommend you follow them.
- Becc Holland Head of Sales Development at Chorus.ai
- Kevin Dorsey VP of Inside Sales at PatientPop Inc.
- Morgan J Ingram Director of Sales Execution and Evolution (as well as the host of The SDR Chronicles)
- Ashley Kelly Senior Director, Sales Development at Brex
- James Bawden Client SDR Manager at The Sales Developers
- Alli McKee CEO and Founder at Stick
Follow other SaaS companies
One of the benefits of working at a SaaS company is how they are always at the cutting-edge of sales strategy and technology.
In other industries, terms like sales engagement, conversational marketing, and conversational intelligence are a foreign language.
As well as always being on the lookout for the latest techniques and strategies, SaaS companies also have a great reputation for sharing what they learn. So, along with individual SaaS leaders, be sure to follow the blogs and social media accounts of the SaaS companies who are driving innovation and then freely sharing their results with others.
Here are my personal favorites:
Along with regularly producing top blog posts to help you, many of these companies regularly produce additional content, such as webinars or downloadable PDFs full of SaaS Sales tips. Take full advantage of these.
I have my own personal folder of over top-quality 100 PDFs downloaded from sites like these that I regularly reread for inspiration. An education like this would cost thousands anywhere, but you can get it for free by following these companies.
Be humble and ask for feedback
We’ve already mentioned listening to your manager/leader and taking on their feedback, but there’s another opportunity to get feedback: the prospective customers you’re reaching out to.
Asking for feedback can be nerve-wracking. It can be hard enough just reaching out to prospective customers, let alone then asking them how you did. However, it’s a golden opportunity for improvement.
For instance, at the end of a discovery call, you could simply say something like: "In case you couldn’t tell, I'm actually new to this sales job. Do you mind me asking, what did you think of the call? Did you like it? What should I change?"
By being honest and open to feedback, you’ll be surprised how many people will happily respond with helpful feedback.
Fight any feelings to be defensive; If they say you came across as though you were reading a script, don’t argue with them and say you weren’t. If they’re kind enough to share how they felt, listen.
In that example, even if you weren’t reading word for word from a script, that’s how it came across to them. Thank them for their feedback, then think about how you can improve.
As a side note, be aware that feedback can be subjective. Just because one person thinks you spoke too fast, it doesn’t mean you did—they may think everyone speaks too fast. However, if multiple people give you the same feedback, you know you’ve got something you can work on.
Take control of your education
A lot of our SaaS Sales tips have already focused on learning; learning from your manager, from SaaS leaders, from SaaS companies, and even from your prospective customers.
The reason is simple: SaaS sales move at such a fast pace that you need to be constantly learning, developing, and growing to succeed. If you stand still for a second, you’ll be left behind.
Now, while you will undoubtedly learn a great deal from the sources we’ve already mentioned, it’s essential to keep developing your skills from other sources.
For example, while you can (and should) learn from other SaaS sales leaders, you’ll always be at least one step behind them if that’s your only source of education. To eventually become a SaaS sales leader in your own right, you need to step up your education.
That means making time for learning, whether that’s from videos, books, and/or courses. Even if it’s just an hour every week, doing something to build your skills every week will bring huge benefits. Look at your favorite SaaS leaders and, rather than being satisfied to just learn from them, ask who they’re learning from.
Be willing to go deep, and make your sales education a priority.
This might also mean learning about different sales tools and technology, so you can use it to its full advantage. For example, be familiar with the sales stack you use, the tech the rest of your team uses (particularly those in a role you’re aspiring to), and the sales stacks other SaaS teams are using. By going beyond the surface level of what you need to know, you can get a distinct advantage over those who stick to the bare minimum.
Grow your social presence
While cold calling and cold emailing are the preferred sales channels of choice, no one can deny the impact that social selling has had on SaaS.
By taking the initiative and strategically growing your social presence, you’ll be able to use it as an additional resource. This doesn’t mean you should be posting funny cat videos on Facebook or your holiday selfies on IG though.
You need to be on the social platform(s) your prospective customers are using. For most SaaS companies, that’s going to be LinkedIn. It may not be as glamorous as other platforms, but the reach for B2B customers is massive.
Once you’re in the right place, it’s time to build up your profile. Make sure it’s complete, showing your job title and the company you work for. Then start networking! View the profiles of prospective customers. Connect with them. ‘Like’ their posts. Start a conversation with them. Be helpful and offer value.
Even if you’re not using social media to sell directly, that doesn’t mean your customers aren’t using it to check up on you. Most people will research you online when you reach out, so by appearing professional and approachable, you may turn some of those cold leads warm without even realizing it.
Build a daily routine
One of the most important things you can do for your career is building a consistent routine.
This is true for any area of life, from athletics to finances, and it’s true for SaaS sales; forming productive habits and consistent routines make it easier to be more productive and achieve greater results.
While it may change as your knowledge increases, starting on day one with a basic routine will give you a huge advantage over the people who make it up as they go along.
For example, say you need to make cold calls as part of your job as an SDR. You might decide that the best routine for you is to start your day straight away with three hours of focused cold calls. To build that as a habit, you could save a three-hour block in your Google Calendar, then have that automatically repeat every morning.
You could then take it a step further, and make a habit of turning off all other notifications (such as your email, Slack, etc.) for that three-hour block so that you’re able to be completely focused on the task. Even better, you could set all your notifications to turn off automatically for that three-hour stint.
The key is to identify your regularly occurring most important tasks (Note: these are usually different from your most urgent tasks), then building a daily routine around them.
Get to the point where you always know what you should be doing at any set time. Then, build and modify that routine over time to optimize it for peak performance.
It’s tough when you’re a beginner in any field, but in the cutting-edge world of SaaS, it can be particularly hard to know where to start. However, by starting in the right role, learning from those around you, and building a solid routine, you can thrive.
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