13 Questions to ask while doing SaaS sales

Bittu Kumar
Feb 17, 2017 · 5 min read
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B2B SaaS Sales can be tough, and because there are hundreds of competitors also trying, you should do your best to stand out from the crowd when prospecting clients. These 13 questions will be helpful if you are a SaaS or Tech Company trying to prospect clients. You can ask these questions on a call or in emails to get impressive results, because your competitor may not be asking these!

1. Where did you hear about us?

What sparked your interest in us? Why didn’t you hang up the call? Why did you open my email?

Sound crazy? For inbound leads, you should know the source from which your prospect originated. Maybe someone referred them? Maybe they read an excellent article about you on TechCrunch? Maybe they came through Google Paid advertisement?

If you ask this question on a prospecting call, not only do you get their attention, but you also get an overview of what picture of you is in the mind of your customers. This also helps in creating interest, and it is important to know why they are spending time with you on the phone or in exchanging emails.

2. What are your needs?

One of the biggest problems in SaaS sales is that there is always a push to close the lead, and we often propose a solution without understanding the real pain first! Before discussing how good your software is, ask for these things from your prospects:

· What are the challenges they want to solve?

· What are the pain points in addressing these challenges? Have they tried someone before?

· What motivates or supports them to do this?

· What is it that they need? Nice to have? And absolutely must?

Listening to others’ problems builds good rapport, and as your competitors will be busy pitching their solutions, you will get an advantage by listening first. Start listening! 😊

3. What is the decision-making process?

Now that you have listened to the problems you should propose solutions and pitch your SaaS product. But wait! Before investing another thirty minutes explaining your product and getting your team ready for the demo, understand what their decision-making process is! You should not pitch to someone who had no authority in the organization.

4. Who are the stakeholders of this deal?

Ask for the stakeholders for the deal. Once they are available, you can give your pitch.

· People should be known.

· Plan should be known. How do they intend to use your software? Are they planning an expansion?

· Who is affecting the deal? What background do they have?

· Do they have an IT Team?

This helps in understanding the right people who will take the decision and the individuals who influence them. Knowing plans keeps you ready for any opportunity in future. You know that a doctor cannot recommend medicine without knowing the patient. Similarly, a salesperson should also know the prospect when trying to sell a product or service.

5. Who worked for you earlier?

Knowing competitors is a good practice in sales. If someone used to work for them earlier, try to find out about them. You can also ask questions like:

· Why are you not working with them?

· Were there any pain points?

There may also be a case where you are being compared to other providers. In that case, try to find out:

· Difference in quotes

· Location of your competitor

You can use this to customize your quote for your prospect and give advice about how you can outperform them.

6. What is the timeline?

In B2B sales pipelines don’t matter until you know when they will mature into sales. While in the negotiation phase, ask for a timeline. You should be aware of how much time they will take to close the deal and whether it is feasible for you to offer a benefit or discount.

Knowing the timeline helps in keeping track of your pipeline and in forecasting sales targets. It also helps you in identifying prospects that need more attention.

7. What is the budget?

In SaaS solutions, while rates are not negotiable, you may give custom rates to enterprise clients, or someone purchasing your software in bulk. Understanding their budget will help you tailor your solution for them, and also judge if they are a good fit for you!

· Ask their budget

· What is the cheapest proposal they have received?

· Are they willing to pay maintenance cost?

By understanding their budget, you have a better chance of recommending your plans to them.

8. When did they take a similar decision for such project?

A good question to ask, as it will help you understand the reason for success or failure with the previous vendor/provider.

9. How honest are you in buying from us?

It may sound crazy to ask this from your prospect, but once your prospect shows some interest, go ahead and ask if they want to buy from you and are not simply wasting your time.

Sometimes, people just want to know the budget and they don’t want to purchase. As a salesperson, you should only dedicate your time to serious customers. Steli Efti, CEO of Close.io, said in a conference that he asks this question every time he gives a demo to prospects. And if they are not sure that they need his solution, he just doesn’t proceed with the demo.

Asking about seriousness in closing the deal also gives an emotional push to your deal, and the prospect may close faster because they may want to prove that they are serious. 😉

10. Projection and vision after five years?

It is important to understand the thoughts of your prospect with regards to their product. Once you know the plans and vision, you can keep checking for new opportunities, be ready to scale the solution you have provided and build a long-term relationship. Because in the end, it is long-term relationships that pay $$$.

11. Ask if they need integrations

I have seen many SaaS deals getting cancelled at the last moment as the SaaS Company didn’t support some particular integrations with other solution providers, like Dropbox, that were critical for the prospect. Make sure before signing the deal that your API supports the provider they are already using or has the future possibility of integration.

Give a clear timeline if you will develop support for third-party integration in future. And, one more thing, as you will deal with many prospects, make sure you only give time to the integrations that are in high demand. Don’t reinvent the wheel for just one customer!

12. Ask for SRS/Wireframes

In the case you are developing something for the prospect, ask for a wireframe or SRS. Check if it is feasible to do and sign an agreement before you start.

13. Ask for the close early. Don’t play emails!

Try to close the deal with your prospect when you meet in person, or when you get a chance on the call. If they want you to send an email even after answering twenty questions, ask if they are serious about buying. Tell them you can answer their question right now, because I have seen emails not working lately as prospects stop responding.

Don’t give your prospects any chance to switch to some other provider once they have already decided to take your solution.

Good luck with your sales! 😊

Originally Published on Bittu Kumar’s Blog

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