Old School SaaS Sales: Focus on the Product
My how quickly things have changed. It seems like only yesterday, SaaS vendors were worried that getting the Customer Success (CS) teams involved in the sales process would only slow things down and prevent a sale from closing.
Today, it is increasingly the case that SaaS vendor need to showcase its customer success services to win a deal!
The New SaaS Sale: Focus on Customer Value
Organizations invest in software because they are trying to solve real-world business problems. Savvy software buyers have come to realize that what matters more than what the software does (features and functions) is what their people do with the software to create business value.
Buyers care less about all the bells and whistles within the application; they are more concerned with getting answers to two questions:
1. Can we get our people to use it in a way that will solve our business problems and create business value?
2. What customer success resources and services will the vendor provide to help me get the results I need?
Customers Need Help to Realize Value
There is a growing recognition in most buyer's organizations that while they can often get a system live, they struggle to get their people to use it in a way that creates value.
This recognition is driving software buyers to rely on their vendor's customer success services for help.
Buyers realize that not all customer success services are created equal.
Buyers now select the vendor that has the best overall combination of products and services. They are going with the vendor that has the greatest likelihood of delivering the business outcomes they need, not the vendor with the most features, best user interface, or lowest price.
The challenge for most SaaS vendors is that historically they have been very product-focused. They prefer to make their revenue from licenses, not services.
SaaS Vendors Need to Deliver High-Impact Customer Success Programs
Many SaaS vendors have been slow to invest in customer success, or they have underinvested in it. Vendors primarily thought of their customer success services as a churn prevention program, and not a competitive sales differentiator.
But things are changing and changing fast.
Buyers are voting with their wallets and going with the vendor that represents the best overall value and the lowest total investment risk. It is no longer sufficient to have a great product if you don't also have the customer success services buyers need to feel confident in their ability to achieve the business outcomes they need from purchasing your product.
Which brings us back to the question, when will you lose your first sale because your customer success services are not marketing competitive?
It will probably happen sooner than you think.
Most software projects fail to deliver the expected business outcomes because of the approach the buyer takes to getting the system live and driving adoption. Most buyer's organizations don't have the expertise, tools, and capacity to deliver their success.
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