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The 10 Essential SaaS Growth Strategies

Enable Assisted Sales

Introduction

For every successful SaaS company that has grown over 50% year over year — including such well-known companies as Zendesk, Box, Hubspot, and New Relic — there are thousands of startups that have failed.

In fact, according to a recent McKinsey study Grow Fast or Die Slow,

If a software company grows less than 20% annually, there is a 92% chance of failure.

McKinsey, Grow Fast or Die Slow

When you’re a startup, it’s fairly easy to double revenues in a month (for example, going from $10K to $20K). As you start to grow, you can expect to double revenue in a quarter, then in a year. But as you get larger, it’s very, very difficult to double your revenues in these same time frames — after all, how many companies grow from $50M to $100M in one month?

So how can SaaS companies grow, grow fast, grow efficiently, and keep growing?

In working with hundreds of SaaS companies, we’ve learned that the solution to sustaining a high growth rate is to diversify your approach to growth and embrace multiple growth strategies.

We’ve boiled it down to the top 10 essential growth strategies: this article highlights the seventh – Enable Assisted Sales.  

Enable Assisted Sales

Assisted sales teams are built on the foundation that a business needs to provide some sales guidance (for new and existing customers). Generally, an assisted sales model indicates that your product is feature-full enough to bring in higher ACV customers that will need guidance in the sales process.

Pacific Crest saw this exact trend in a recent SaaS report — the greater the ACV, the more dependent a business was on an assisted sales model.

As a SaaS business grows, they need to figure out a way not only to offer assisted sales, but to overcome operational challenges to scale their sales team over time.

Companies looking to double down on their sales team need to:
  • Enable sales with the tools and real-time consumer information to upsell, crosssell, and renew customers
  • Scale with built-in discounting and approval workflows
  • Provide the capabilities to take payments and automate prorations

 

STAR EXAMPLE: BetterCloud

When BetterCloud, the leading provider of automated management and intelligent data security for cloud office systems, decided to move to a paid model, they knew they needed help.

With thousands of free users, and projections for a 10% conversion rate, BetterCloud needed a robust solution to manage their subscription management, billing, and payment systems as they looked to scale. They started with a self-service model that enabled them to go “from zero to a thousand paying customers in the first month of going live,” according to BetterCloud CFO Bart Hacking. 

But soon they realized they needed to go beyond the self-service model with a direct sales team — and needed to figure out how they would scale the sales team. This required them to integrate their CRM from a quote, order fulfillment, and order processing standpoint.

BetterCloud was able to standardize across new sales, renewals, expansions, and upsells with a subscription management platform that enabled automation. And this automation ensured that when they needed to grow their sales team, there was no systemic limitation to doing so. 

BetterCloud is now used by 50,000 organizations worldwide, supporting tens of millions of employees. As CFO Bart Hacking says, 

Our business has grown over a hundred percent year over year, and that's going to continue.

Bart Hacking, BetterCloud CFO

Key Takeaways

To successfully grow a sales team, SaaS businesses need:

1. Guided selling interfaces to help sales determine which products and add-ons to sell

2. Real-time information on customer subscriptions, billing, payments, and refunds

3. Built-in discounting and approval workflows

4. Automatically calculated proration when customers upgrade to a different edition, suspend a subscription, add more seats, or make other changes

5. Integration between sales and finance systems so that the downstream impacts of sales are easily managed (e.g. invoicing impact, revenue recognition, etc.)

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