Last time, I talked about sales from a broad perspective, but this time, we’re going to focus on how to sell software as a service. I’m not going to repeat most of what I’ve said in the past, or in my last post. This time, I’m going to focus almost entirely on the human animal, and how to appeal to its somewhat illogical way of thinking, its emotional dominance in decision making, and of course, its financial mindsets and how skewed they can be.
How to sell software as a service can differ, depending on whom you ask, because it’s somewhat polarizing how to best reach people, nurture leads and secure purchases. Some believe it should be all about just presenting the unadulterated facts and trusting the customer to be more or less a Turing machine. Others believe it’s all about flash and bang, like game, beverage or clothing marketing. I, however, think it’s somewhere in the middle, and it seems that the more sensible marketers out there are on the same page, or are starting to be, at least.
Like I always say, and I’ll not say more on this here beyond this, but know your demographic. Know the kind of people they are, what their lives are like, what their general interests and philosophies are likely to be. You need this information to not only reach them, but also to design your software to work properly. So, you should know this before it comes as far as selling it, but just in case … do you know who your buyers are meant to be? You do? Great!
First of all, consider that while SaaS is getting a big following in the business and social software industries, it’s still something most people look at with a wary eye, because it’s kind of new to them. People, when they think of browser-based computing, picture the last generation of slightly glitchy, laggy things that are static and need refreshing and a ton of PHP callbacks. Glorified webpages. Those worked, but were somewhat unpleasant to use, and were a strain on servers to boot.
So, you have to make them love the idea of SaaS. First, make them aware the technology is no longer the same. Demonstrate it, talk about the technologies you use in layman’s but not condescending terms. Now, make them want the software by pointing out the faults with classical software models.
SaaS is more affordable, because you pay for access, not for ownership of physical copies. Multiple licenses don’t require additional purchases, and updates and new versions are basically website updates, far as they’re concerned. Show them the cold hard financial facts, but with focus and tone.
Now, show them the convenience of cross-platform. Paint them a picture of an office with mobile, Windows, Mac and Linux all running and needing to access the same software suites. Show them the nightmare this once was, despite their being familiar with it, and now show them that SaaS, being server and web-powered, doesn’t care what kind of machine you’re using.
By appealing to their emotions, their positive and negative past experiences, and using this angle of appeal to present the solid facts, you have mastered, if you ask me, how to sell software as a service. The middle ground makes perfect sense when you think about it.