Making the SaaS Sale: Key Factors that Determine A Buyer’s Decision
In the Buyer’s Insights projects I’ve conducted recently, a common theme has emerged from the question “What are the factors that led you to purchase the SaaS solution that you did?”
The answer to that has always been a two part solution. The first half of the response formal criteria such as:
- The Product Itself: Does it fulfill all of the requirements laid out in the RFP?
- The Cost: How competitive is it with other solutions?
- Ease of Integration: How difficult will it be to implement?
- Ease of Use: How difficult it will be to get the user base to adopt it?
- Business Case: How is it going to help the organization? What are the use cases (instances where the product brought value to another customer)
Attributes such as those above are used to formally evaluate RFPs using a framework that assigns a score. Each client has different dimensions, but they can broadly fit into the categories mentioned above.
These formal evaluations are used to narrow down the slate of options that are appropriate for the customer. But there are more factors at play in making a final decision.
The Intangibles that Play a Crucial Role in Making the Sale
Beyond the crucial business factors, the relationship the customer had with the winning company during the RFP process always played a significant role in the final decision. While the more objective factors were used to create a set of finalists, it was the intangibles that were considered in making the final decision.
These Intangibles are factors such as:
- Willingness of the provider to be flexible to their needs.
- A provider they feel will work will/align with their values.
- Rapport the provider built during the the RFP process.
- A vendor that is committed to a long term partnership.
The first three intangibles are the vital components of the “partnership” that each customer is looking for. This is a long wish list, so the question is: How do you learn what matters to the customer?
Here are some tips:
- Read their annual report and website to see what their leadership has identified as their corporate values and mission statement.
- Try to get a feel of what your prospective customer is trying to accomplish in the near term. What are the key “wins” they need to have, and how can you help them?
- Discuss their vision for your product and how it fits into their broad vision of their department/function going forward.
- Take what you have learned from these three steps and include them in your presentation to the client. Pitch not only the product, but your desire to become a “strategic partner.” Give them a vision for how you intend to work with them to accomplish this goal.
In a competitive landscape, differentiation is the key. Great product and marketing will get you in the door, but the pitch you make will often be the deciding factor.
Focusing on becoming a “strategic partner” can show the key stakeholders that you understand their needs, are looking for a partnership, and are committed to their success.
What other key factors have you found play a major role in buyers choosing a SaaS solution?