I was talking with a founder this week about scaling SaaS software sales.
The product has great reviews and real early adoption, but world of mouth alone isn’t going to move the needle fast. The founder shared with me an email campaign they’d tried, and it had strong open rates–but poor click through. Companies who are young in their marketing stack maturity often hope that a slick campaign is going to “one and done” the sales opportunity. Over time, I’ve come to see sales as much more an endurance sport and much less a sprint.
Early Stage SaaS Sales Tactic 1 of 1000
There are many good options for them from here.
I shared one of my favorite early stage sales scaling techniques. It’s called 15/50. Just to tell you right now, it doesn’t scale super well over time, but it sure can smoke out some early traction and get volume up so other tools can take over.
15/50 Early Stage SaaS Scale — the set up
- You need two people who believe in the product. It can be a developer and an intern. Or you and a part time sales associate. It really doesn’t matter as long as they are happy to talk intelligently about it. This process won’t work well with one person.
- You need an email list of your prospects, ideally with phone numbers. (If you don’t have phone numbers, you can look them up on the way, but this slows you down. Better to buy a fully loaded list.)
- You need company email, Google sheets, and two phones. You need each of these two folks to install YAMM (Yet Another Mail Merge) in Sheets–it’s a plug in.
- You need to write 3 very short (one paragraph) emails. You both put these 3 emails in your Drafts folder. The emails are basically these, modified for your world with facts you can all agree on:
- Hey <<First Name>>, “This customer” loves Our Product and it has saved their company “THIS MUCH” in “THIS AMOUNT OF TIME.” Thought you’d be a perfect fit and want to share it with you. Here’s the link to get yours. Call me if I can help explain more or set you up.
- Hey, sorry I missed you by phone. Could I help you get up and running? Please give me a buzz back and thanks so much for your time. The download is right here. Looking forward to connecting and feel free to call me back this afternoon if you run into a hitch or have a question.
While your sales duo is cooking on that, at some point you pull out the heavy guns: the Founder. An email from a Founder has an extra message–that you care. Jeff Bezos did and it still does it–so should you.
- <<First Name,>> I’m thrilled you’re taking a look at <<OUR PRODUCT.>> Thought you’d appreciate this case study from <<Our Customer>>. Since you have some things in common with them, I expect you will see results in that zone–savings of $XXXX and time savings of YY%.
Please give me a shout at XXX-XXX-XXXX (my cell) if I can help in any way. I appreciate you taking a look at what we can do for you, and am here to help. Sincerely…. The Founder
Early Stage SaaS Scale — the schedule
Day One. Split the list. Each person sends 25 email 1s in the morning first thing. This means you have 50 outbound emails because you’re working with two people.
Day Two. In the morning, Each person uses YAMM to send 25 more emails.
You repeat this every business morning, first thing in the morning.
Then, grab a coffee, and come back to your desk to call the ones who clicked through and call the ones who opened but didn’t click. Your goal is 15 calls before lunch for each person. You don’t stop until you’ve called 15. For those who didn’t pick up the phone, you send email 2.
Take a lunch break. Workout. Do something else.
After lunch, your schedule is open to return calls, do demo’s and trouble shoot installs.
Day Three and onward. Repeat. Morning outreach, afternoon execution.
At the end of the week–Day 5--you send everyone who has not installed and started using the case study email.
After two weeks of processing the list in this manner, have a scheduled meeting to take stock on the plan. Does an email need tweaking? Do you want to switch rotations to morning calls and afternoon emails? Want to test that by having one of your people on the contra schedule? Rinse and repeat with regular check-ins (like once or twice a week) to improve the win rate.
15/50 Early Stage SaaS Scale — the improvement process
This simple process lays the ground work for a more automated sales process and also helps you find that early traction. There are lots of systems to make it easier–like call tracking, pipeline management software, etc.–but building the deep understanding in your core company DNA early about what your customers want, need and respond to has a lot of value. It’s worth the effort and it’s cheap enough for anyone.
After 5 days, you have sent 250 first emails, made 120 calls, and have an inkling of real trackable metrics on your conversion rates. Some companies with a really good list convert 50% of the calls in that first week—would 60 new customers in week one work for you? Try it. Let me know how it goes and ways you’ve improved the process.