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When your Saas product is ready to go to market you enter a new phase for your startup, switching from pure product-focus to a strong sales orientation. In order to successfully get users to upgrade from the free trial to a paid subscription, it is important to follow a clear sales process, so that you contact and follow up the right amount.

As a starting point, you can split the sales process into 4 stages: users who signed up for the free trial, users you have contacted, users you have shown a demo, and users who have upgraded, i.e. successfully closed deals. For your specific product there may be alternative sales stages – for example a negotiation stage or in-person meetings rather than demos. With Breezz CRM, you can customize and rename each sales stage – the platform adapts to suit your needs, rather than vice versa.

Free Trial

A free trial typically lasts no longer than 14 days. It may be tempting to make the trial longer as customers may request this, however a shorter trial urges users to make the most of limited time.

In order to help users understand how to use the software, it is a good idea to implement some kind of walkthrough for the first time someone logs in. This can include a demonstration video, and steps that highlight the different features of the platform. A walkthrough is an important on-boarding technique that helps users feel comfortable and confident to start using the software.

Above, all, top customer service and support is crucial during the free trial period. If any problems arise whilst using the software, you need to provide an explanation/solution as quickly as possible. Customer service representatives should be available on a variety of channels, including over the phone, via email, and through social media networks. When users know that there is someone willing to answer their questions and guide them through the platform, their experience is significantly improved and they will be far more likely to become paying customers. It is also essential to build a support center, including a knowledge base of questions and answers, so users do not feel as if they are dependent upon waiting for answers from customer support agents.

startup worker sales process

Contacted

Make sure to make contact with every free trial user. Before you start making calls, plan out exactly what you are going to ask and say, and how you are going to handle objections. An important rule of thumb is to make sure to emphasize the value of your product according to the specific needs of the customer. Try to avoid discussions of competitors that may have other features and lower prices – listen to the customer and direct your answers towards the benefits of your software.

You should also plan an email marketing strategy for free trial users. They should be notified of different features they may not have tried yet, and should receive an email when their trial is approaching expiration. Don’t be afraid to follow up on your leads with emails and phone calls – just make sure that in every interaction, you show that your priority is for the customer to succeed.

Demo

One of the best ways to demonstrate the value of your product is to show a demonstration – especially for unsure customers, try to organize a demonstration, either via share-screening or in person. The key to a successful product demo is to keep it short and clear – it is difficult to keep someone’s attention after 10-15 minutes. The demo should cover the key features, and spend longer on more complicated actions.

Upgraded

When a user has upgraded the deal has effectively closed – however it is important to retain these users. It is advisable to check their analytics and how often they are entering the platform, and if you notice a decrease in activity, it is worth a call or email. 

Overall, for Saas, your sales team has to pay close attention to the needs and activity of every single customer. These four sales stages serve as a useful basis for the sales process. Not only do the sales stages organize your data – they also show you what action you need to take next to progress towards closing the deal.

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Written by

Gina Walker

I am a Londoner, UCL graduate, and speaker of 4 languages. My passion for marketing, sales, and overall customer success comes from a love of communication and building relationships.

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