Selling technology solutions in the B2B space isn’t easy. And without a sales team? Good luck! The technology industry is competitive, and you need to stand out. While getting an inside sales team to do your selling is the traditional route, more software companies are choosing to forego hiring sales in favor of “self-service sales.”
So, what does selling technology without a sales team look like? It requires that you and your team are on the same page, and you put a thorough strategy in place. This blog post will take a look at the key elements you need in place to succeed in the technology industry.
Some SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies like Salesforce are going as far as to say that self-service sales is the future of selling. And it makes sense, considering how the customer has evolved over time.
While sales is all about getting in front of the right person and making a pitch, self-service sales means the prospect finds you. They make the call whether or not to accept your digital pitch. In order for them to find you, you need to be findable. They need to know your name. And you need to direct them to the right place. Let’s take a closer look at all the pieces that need to be in place for you to succeed in the self-service sales world.
Your product marketing needs to be on point
First and foremost, prospects need to know what it is you sell. Without a great product marketing strategy in place, prospects can only guess.
A killer website
Use clear language and complementary screenshots on your homepage and supporting product pages. This is your prospects’ first impression of your product, and you need to make a good impression. Leverage video, customer testimonials, and educational resources on your homepage to create a full experience. Do all of this with SEO best practices in mind!
Beware of being vague or using buzzwords! The technology space is full of websites toting the same benefits. Look at your competitors to see how you can stand out and describe your product better than them. A vague homepage will mean a high bounce rate, low interest, and low trust. Spend time and money making your homepage tell your product’s story.
Besides the homepage, it’s important that your site is fast and mobile-friendly. These next generation customers could find you from any type of device, and you need to be prepared to deliver a consistent user experience.
Finally, as mentioned before, those product pages are incredibly important. Besides listing all of your wonderful features, make sure you have supporting resources like data sheets and pricing. And a call to action to a free trial or demonstration needs to be easily accessible.
Utilize paid advertising like Google AdWords, AdSense, and Bing to put you in front of the prospects who are searching right then and there for products like yours. Add relevant sitelinks to your awesome product pages. Include your customer support number so it’s easy for them to call and ask the questions they need answered.
The goal of paid advertising is three-fold: Build awareness, get new leads into your CRM, and stay top-of-mind for those leads that are already considering you.
Email is your friend
Those leads you get from PPC or find you organically and sign up for a demo shouldn’t be forgotten if they don’t convert to a sale right away. You need to nurture them.
Build an email campaign around your product. How can it help them? Call out certain features, and offer up materials relevant to your product and business. Don’t do the hard sell in these emails. This is about becoming a resource for them, and positioning yourself as the expert in your technology space.
In addition to any email nurtures you will build, create a newsletter or blog RSS feed. Schedule email blasts to certain verticals when it’s relevant. Stay in contact with these leads as often as possible, using personalization and language that focuses on helping rather than selling.
Using social media to your advantage is a key strategy when you don’t have a sales team to make calls and research qualified leads. Not only should you be paying for advertising on channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but you should be interacting with your social community.
When you have leads fill out a form, have them include their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles. Email your prospects invitations to like your social pages. Follow your most qualified leads, and respond to what they’re posting! This is one more way to stay engaged, and share relevant product updates, promotions, and help resources.
Showing that you care about them makes them care a little bit more about you.
Premium customer service and support
While you don’t necessarily need a sales team, you certainly need a customer support team. And they need to be amazing. Customer service expert Shep Hyken takes customer service a step further, and believes that every employee should be trained in customer service.
In the world of self-service sales, it is your website’s job to point prospects to the right pages to answer their questions. However, prospects might have unique questions not addressed on your site, or they might not navigate your site the way you intended. Give these prospects and customers a way to get in touch with you. These prospects need options.
A phone number is great, as many customers are still interested in picking up the phone. But you need more than that! Have a contact form, a support email, and a web chat portal. Prospects with a quick question will be thankful for your chat portal.
So how do you staff all of these channels for prospects to get in touch with you? While hiring a small, full-time support team is the preferred answer, you do have other options. Going back to Shep Hyken’s push for everyone to be involved in customer service, do just that.
Create a structured plan for how to respond to support requests. Dedicate certain team members as features, technical, and pricing experts. Different members will be in charge of different channels. And have a backup for each expert to ensure questions are always answered.
Target titles in the decision maker role
Without a sales team, prioritizing leads is more important than ever. You need to target the decision makers over the users.
Make sure you have lead scoring in place so that you can prioritize the titles that are most likely to purchase. You might choose to retarget these titles in your paid advertising initiatives. Or, you can create email nurtures for these high-value titles so they get the special treatment. You might even create personalized pages on your website for these leads when you understand their goals and objections.
Outsource appointment setting
If you don’t have the resources, budget, or (let’s be honest) desire to train an inside sales team, outsource it. Work with an agency who can set appointments for your technical team who then can meet with leads and show them demos of your product.
This means you’re getting newly qualified leads on a regular basis, but your technical experts can focus on your product.
Does it sound like your technology company has a need for digital marketing and outsourced appointment setting? Get in touch with DemandZEN today. We’re happy to consult with you on your organizational needs.
When it comes right down to it, selling technology without a sales team is all about premium marketing and customer support. If you get those pieces right, you can be on your way to inbound sales success.