A few years ago, you still had to explain what Software-as-a-Service was. Back then we were still buying CD-ROMs with the software we’d install on our servers and maintain ourselves. It took a few years, but the majority of companies now understand the huge advantages of SaaS. The most important factor being increased availability and reliability, while facing lower maintenance costs.
SaaS is everywhere. Start-ups appear faster than can be counted. And where start-ups appear, sales jobs appear.
Sales professionals who want to be at the forefront of innovation would do well to consider taking a SaaS Sales job. SaaS is the future, after all (it’s not just us saying that, by the way)
What exactly are SaaS Sales jobs?
Just like any other sales job, a SaaS Sales job is about generating sales. However, as SaaS is an intangible product, you will need to put extra effort into drawing a picture your prospect can understand. You must understand the needs of your client and be perfectly aware of what your SaaS product can do…and what it cannot do (yet). You will also be an important source of information for developers, relaying client opinions and needs to the team.
Different SaaS Sales Jobs
When a SaaS is still in the early stage, most of the sales activities will be performed by one or more of the founders. But as the company grows, and as funding becomes available, the founders will likely want to hire people to take on (part of) the sales process. In many cases, the sales process will be chopped up into specialist sub-processes. This results in several different sales jobs, allowing each SaaS sales professional to do what they do best.
Sales Development Representative (SDR)
The SDR is the first SaaS Sales professional that potential clients will meet. The SDR is the one who will do most of the prospecting and who is responsible for lead generation (which was named the “most important marketing goal for SaaS companies” in a survey among SaaS-community members).
Lead generation is not just the most important challenge, it is also considered by many to be the most difficult one. In one survey, 40% of Sales Development Representatives stated that prospecting is the hardest part of their job.
However, the SDR is not one to shy away from a challenge. A good SDR dives into it headfirst and identifies those prospects. Next, the SDR will develop and execute campaigns involving cold calling, email marketing, and social media marketing. He will also be quite active on LinkedIn (using Navigator), as this is an amazing platform to find leads.
The SDR is responsible for generating leads. Once he manages to get prospects to express an interest in your SaaS, they enter the sales funnel as a lead. This is where the account executive takes over. His job is to turn the “interest” into a preference.
The account manager will schedule an appointment with the prospect to provide a demo of your SaaS. During the demo, the account executive will answer any questions the client may have. This part of the sales process can be quite time-consuming. Hardly anyone will make a purchase decision based on a single demo, so the account executive will need to carefully foster the budding relationship. All with one goal in mind: getting that signature.
Customer Success manager
The SaaS Sales process isn’t done when the contracts are signed. Actually, you could say the real work has only just begun. The client may have made up his mind to go with you, but there’s a good chance he’s not entirely sure yet. The buyer might be unsure; perhaps he should have gone with that other SaaS-supplier? And what about everybody else working for the client company? Everybody will need to learn how to work with the new SaaS.
The first months is where your relationship with the client is forged – or broken.
That is why many SaaS companies hire a Customer Success Manager. The mission of the Customer Success Manager is simple: make sure the client is happy. Usually, the Customer Success Manager will develop an onboarding to ensure that the new client receives sufficient support to ensure the SaaS is broadly adopted in the company. If this SaaS Sales professional fails, there’s a good chance that your SaaS isn’t used by the client. In that case, cancellation of the subscription becomes very likely.
However, if the Customer Success manager plays his cards right, your SaaS will be welcomed with open arms. Train the client’s workforce to use your SaaS and their productivity will go through the roof. Soon, your client cannot imagine life without you. And they will happily pay your bills, knowing that your SaaS generates more revenue than it costs. Your Customer Success Manager might even manage to do some upselling, offering clients a more elaborate subscription.
The role of this SaaS Sales job is to ensure the others can excel in their work. The sales manager is the one who coordinates the activities of the sales team. Usually, this position is held by someone who started as an account executive or SDR and built an impressive track record. However, they no longer actively chase clients. The Sales Manager has a viewpoint that is more tactical/strategic than operational.
While the others head out “into the field”, the sales manager usually holds the fort at the office. This employee generates insightful reports, keeps an eye on sales targets, and keeps the management team informed about sales-related key performance indicators (KPI), such as targets, growth opportunities, things like conversion, trial-to-paid, MQL, SQL, and many more.
Often, a SaaS company will hire several sales managers, assigning each of them a geographical region, market segment, or product group.
The buck stops here. The Sales Director reports directly to the CEO and is considered the “end boss” of sales. This SaaS sales professional is ultimately responsible for everything related to sales at the SaaS company.
The main task of the sales director is to translate the mission and vision of the company into a sales strategy that provides the sales managers with clear objectives, guidelines and that ensures that everybody in the sales department works together towards the common goal.
Plenty of opportunities for SaaS sales professionals
We said it, SaaS is the future for every company. Do you want to be part of this bright future? Consider applying for one of the many exciting SaaS sales jobs. Whether you’ve just graduated, or are a seasoned sales veteran, the world of SaaS offers many titillating opportunities for those savvy at sales.
Are you just as thrilled about the future of SaaS as we are? And would you love to be part of that future? Join the ranks of the next hyper-growth SaaS company. As a sales professional, you will play a vital role in the success of the company.
Are you up for the challenge? Have a look at the SaaS-community job board for many SaaS jobs (sales and others). Check-in regularly, as the number of jobs is steadily growing.
What SaaS sales job will you take on next?