SaaS Marketing: What are the best customer engagement strategies when it comes to product’s adoption? #Q&A

SaaS Marketing: What are the best customer engagement strategies when it comes to product’s adoption? #Q&A

By Zeeva Viola | March 1, 2017

Question:

SaaS Marketing: What are the best customer engagement strategies when it comes to product’s adoption? There’s a gap between free -trials and real customer’s adoption of the product. We need advice.

Answer:

(Answer assumes a B2B/Enterprise sale)

If your free trials are not converting, you may be focusing too much on the “User Buyer” and not enough on the Economic Buyer and Technical Buyer.

Here’s a similar framework to what Guy has described from Major Account Sales Strategy” by Neil Rackham:

  1. Needs Analysis
  2. Evaluation of Options
  3. Resolution of Concerns
  4. Implementation

The “Implementation Stage” is as crucial to the sale as finding a prospect and answering objections.

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A few tips:

Do not allow ambiguity in your free trials such as “We want to see if it’s better than what we have…” or “We’re seeing if it’s easier to use.” You must put metrics to the free trial. What constitutes “better?” How will the user know if it is “easier to use?” Is that measured by integration with their CRM, by time to develop a campaign, or something else?

Assign a “Success Coach” to each user (actual title used may vary depending on your market). This is a different person from the sales professional. The Success Coach is responsible for achieving specific milestones with the free trial user – i.e. uploading user data into the system instead of mock data and establishing a fixed appointment after 3, 7, 14 days of the free trial’s start. If the free trial user is not willing to commit to these milestones or interactions, they probably aren’t a serious prospect right now.

Create a verbal contract with your free trial users including specific use cases, upload user content or data, and a fixed timeline for ending the trial.

Develop a specific hypothesis that the free trial is testing. For example, if you are selling an email marketing solution, the free trial must test critical metrics for email marketing campaigns versus existing systems such as click-through rates or conversations to page views. The more specific, the better. By focusing on a single problem or issue, you are focusing the client on how your product solves a real problem they face.

State a trial close. “If the product meets these criteria, will you purchase the product?” If the answer is “no,” then ask what other criteria will be used to evaluate the product, or what other solutions are under evaluation.

Ask how the approval process works before your start the free trial. Ask – “When you find that the product meets these criteria during the trial, how does the purchasing process work in your company?” If the user doesn’t know, then you have a major problem. If the user says, “Well, then I’ll present to my manager to ask for funding…” then you know you have another layer to the sale. If the user says “If it works, you send Mary the invoice and she pulls the funding from my operations budget…” then you know you have a decision-maker.

Consider the true implementation costs such as related software or hardware upgrades, internal process changes, budget approval, and the tendency of large organizations to focus on sunk costs for current systems and products. You may be ignoring significant implementation hurdles.

**This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.