In planning our webinars, we realized that our SaaS resellers weren’t getting enough love. We spend a lot of time on strategies, marketing campaign suggestions, or best ways to use tools, but we also want to spend time on tactics for implementing SaaS tools.
It starts here! We recently partnered with our friends at PandaDoc and hosted a webinar to help SaaS resellers improve their sales process and get new ways to showcase and up-sell their services.
With Travis Tyler from PandaDoc as the discussion facilitator, we had a really productive and focused conversation. William (Will) Hadeler of PandaDoc and Nicholas (Nick) Mangold of SharpSpring came together to offer some great ideas!
They touched on six key issues that we think will be helpful for resellers. Let’s dive into them!
1. Should I focus on commissions or incorporate services into my pricing model?
Of course, at the end of the day, this is a business, and pricing is important. Offering SaaS only makes sense if it helps your customers and helps your business at the same time. But what type of pricing is right for you depends on two things: what you can offer and what your customers need.
As Nick says, don’t forget that “you can start from one place and evolve. What you offer can change.” Don’t feel locked into one pricing model or structure forever. Be guided by the needs and business opportunities of your customers at the moment. Also, don’t forget that technology changes, and quickly. Being flexible to change as your customers’ needs change is key.
One way to do this is with a tiered pricing model. Pricing structures like this allow your customers to grow with your growth!
2. How do I become a “trust agent” for my clients?
First of all, Nick recommends picking up Chris Brogan’s book, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust, because it talks about 6 ways to build trust, reputation, and customer relationships. As we all know, this is a very important part of successful deal-making and also an important part of successful SaaS implementations.
Immersing yourself in the community or industry is a great way to build trust. Connecting with others is the only way to expand your network! Then use those contacts to add value to your customers. For example, we at SharpSpring partnered with their friends at PandaDoc for this webinar because we know that both services offer different value to our customers.
Another way is to help your clients help themselves by offering training, assistance, and helpful content to guide them and let them learn more. In doing so, you don’t have to think in terms of selling decks. Offering useful content on topics in your industry is the best indicator of credibility – take this webinar, for example!
Tyler gave a great example of an agency he chose for himself that openly stated their limitations, but instead offered to steer the company in the right direction and thereby open up unused features in their current tools. Trust is easy to build when companies are honest and forthright.
3. How do I choose the best tools for my clients?
The votes are in! The best way to know which tools are best is to ask, learn, and try.
The truth is that many clients will need you to tell them what tools are best for their needs, but to understand their needs, you have to ask! Talk to customers and make sure you fully understand their pain points and concerns before recommending tools. Don’t forget to ask questions of your software vendor, too. They can help you discover tools you didn’t know about.
This also applies to education. Talk to vendors and really familiarize yourself with their services and how tools can help with different use cases. Understanding not only the benefits, but also the limitations of the tools will help you choose the right services.
Better yet, get your hands a little dirty! Try the tools yourself and work with them. Being able to talk substantively can also reduce the amount of back and forth conversations by giving your clients the direct answers they need to make a decision.
4. How do I avoid selling a tool just for the sake of selling a tool?
This is a great question that sounds like a major pain point for many resellers. Fortunately, it’s easy to answer!
First, make sure you understand the essence of the software and how it can solve your customers’ problems. If you always focus on the value of the tool, whether it saves money or time, it won’t just be software, it will be a solution. Focus less on the technical aspects of the tool and instead think about how it will solve some of their marketing and sales problems.
Will jokingly mentioned that TOFU (Top of Funnel) is dead, but really, moving to thinking not just about cold leads, but about developing leads further down the funnel will show value to customers. Think about offering a full funnel focus!
Of course, choosing the right tool to sell with confidence is also important. SharpSpring offers a free demo to make sure you know exactly what you’re diving into.
PandaDoc, for example, has focused on creating and automating no-contact offering systems in the last year to help clients, at a time when more and more companies are moving into digital business.
5. What are the most profitable resellers doing with your products?
Will told us where PandaDoc partners have had some success. Their service is very good for sales processes such as quotes and offers, so they are seeing success with CRM resellers who are adding PandaDoc as part of the deal. Offering integrations that extend the use of the tool or can be easily connected to existing marketing stacks is a tremendous value to customers.
He also mentioned the importance of onboarding services. Providing customers with a support base to get started with a new tool will increase the likelihood that they will adopt the SaaS tool. Ongoing support and services when they encounter difficulties can be the advantage they need to get them to sign on.
Nick offered his perspective: at SharpSpring, he’s seen successful resellers market themselves first. They offer their services, their offerings, and their strengths, so to speak, “based on SharpSpring.”
That’s the first step, but these salespeople also spend time learning the ins and outs of SharpSpring and what the service has to offer. Knowing that these SaaS tools are reliable and not every customer will need every tool, but some definitely will, helps make the case for customers who aren’t sure.
Finally, developing with your customers. Successful resellers develop their clients’ use of tools as their companies and needs grow. Understanding that, starting with landing pages, they are likely to need more robust automation tools as well, can prepare sales teams to be ready to make decisions.
6. In what ways do you encourage resellers to work with your SaaS product?
Of course, we want our partners to stay engaged, so we do this in several different ways. The first and easiest is through commissions.
In addition, pre-training and certification allow partners to position themselves as experts in SaaS tools, significant partner discounts allow them to use the services themselves, and collaborative marketing events such as webinars create additional value for their customers.
After all these great insights, we did take time for a few questions from the audience:
What do you do to get customers really excited about the implementation and training process?
Training certainly plays a key role in the adoption of SaaS tools. Making sure customers understand the tool and see the value in it is all about understanding the software. Often, if people aren’t engaged from the start, it’s a pretty strong indication that they won’t be engaged, so making sure you educate the customer about how the tool will save time and effort will help teams get excited from the start.
Don’t forget to leverage your software partner’s capabilities as well. We have the tools and resources to help you do just that. Don’t feel alienated, as if you have to take on this work yourself. That’s exactly why we’re here!
Does it make sense to set up different levels of partnership with different benefits?
It certainly can be! However, this goes back to what we talked about at the beginning: choose what you are able to offer. If your company can offer tiers of service, that’s a great option for customers, especially those who are just starting out and have the opportunity to grow. Tiers can help reach a wider range of customers.
Will also noted that tiers are a great way to set expectations because your services are compared at different prices, and customers can better estimate what they will get based on what they can afford.
Any ideas on how to use the game to attract resellers?
An easy way to start is with small incentives. Nick gave the example of offering lunch or an extra hour for lunch to the first person who completes all the small steps of an induction or other element of the process.
We touched on many important points in this webinar, but the overall theme came down to learning and understanding the tool. Relying on the SaaS support team and taking the time to learn the tool you’re selling will make it easier for you to offer solutions to customer pain points, increase sales going forward, and get new customers interested and ready to implement.