What is SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS), otherwise known as ‘cloud computing’, is an application that can be accessed via a web browser, as opposed to downloading to a device. Users pay a subscription fee to a cloud service provider for use of their software solution. This fee is based on data needs, user quantities, and technical support. The underlying infrastructure of the software lies in the service provider’s hands, so they are responsible for maintaining the servers and databases that distribute the software across the internet and managing any updates. Common examples of SaaS include Dropbox and Microsoft Office 365.
By using SaaS as opposed to traditional software installation methods, vendors can reduce upfront costs, increase accessibility/compatibility (as anyone with internet can access the app), and reduce time to deployment. Also, because the app is cloud-based, it receives regular incremental updates, so the customer always has access to the latest software. Without the additional responsibilities of downloads and software upkeep, organizations can focus on reducing their expenditure, minimize their risks, and have a clearer estimate of operating costs.
However, despite their autonomy, SaaS companies are just as reliant on consumer engagement as every other business, and without an effective branding strategy, will struggle to generate revenue.
The question is, what tools can SaaS companies use to drive sales and bolster user engagement?
Driving Sales Through Webinars
On a previous edition of Predictable Revenue’s Own Your Growth Virtual Summit, entrepreneur and SaaS mogul Nathan Latka explains how he used webinars to grow his dorm room business to drive $5million worth of sales. “A lot of these sales came through webinars, but it’s because we perfected our strategy,” explains Nathan.
There’s an opportunity to sell in every facet of your business, with webinars being a hugely under-utilized method to generate traffic to your business. But successfully running profitable webinars isn’t as simple as opening up a live chat and watching the product orders come in.
“How many of us have been on a webinar but at the first chance you get, you minimize the screen? You forget about it,” he continues. ”The trick with any good webinar is getting people not just to register, not just to show up, but also engage right through to the end, and ideally buy.”
Nathan goes on to share 3 critical factors that will better retain your audience’s attention and be the driving force behind the all-important sale.
Encourage Active Listening
Unfortunately, despite their ability to facilitate a conversation between you and your potential consumers, webinars often allow users to be passive observers.
”You want to make sure people listen to you” says Nathan. ”The problem is that most webinars offer just one voice, and the host’s voice can quickly sink into the background, with users passively listening.”
He explains that hosts need to break the pattern of their own voice at least once every 10 minutes. This can be achieved in one of 3 ways:
- Unmute somebody else
- Play a video with someone else’s audio
- If you have a cohost or a guest speaker, have them pitch in
These simple tactics will break up your voice and keep your audience engaged.
Catch Your Audience’s Eye
At this point, you should have your sales prospects listening, which is a step in the right direction, but it’s not going to close any deals. The next thing you need to focus on is getting your listeners to give you their visual attention. You don’t want to be in a minimized window, hidden from view.
For starters, make sure you have visually impactful slides. Your audience is giving you their time because they want to be educated and to see tangible benefits. However something as simple as an e-mail notification can draw your audience away from even the best of slides.
One way to draw your audience back in is through simple prompts. By saying “Do you see that?” or “Read this text”, you encourage visual attention to your slides.
“This gets people to re-open the webinar that they have minimized, and actually look at your slides,” Nathan explains.
You could also incorporate a whiteboard activity for example or do a screen-share for software demos. Whichever method you use, make sure you incorporate it every 10 minutes.
Solidifying Audience Interaction
”The best way to drive engagement on a webinar is to encourage people to take notes, to answer a poll, to ask questions,” says Nathan. By giving your audience small tasks to keep up with, you are subtly demanding their undivided attention, which keeps your webinar engaging and will maximize viewer satisfaction. This should, again, be incorporated at least once every 10 minutes.
Another tactic is to try to build a story within your webinar, keeping your listeners in flux by discussing negative aspects of their current operations, followed by the positives you can offer.
Using Past Sales as a Sales Tool
So you’ve followed this formula and given your final pitch. The next step should be to offer a purchasing link, which provides your audience with a direct call to action.
There is no need for hosts to rely on the strength of their own sales pitch. No matter how convincing you may be, the true sales opportunities are created by buyer testimonials.
”You should unmute people at the end of your webinar who have purchased,” Nathan urges. “Then let them brag about your product and why they purchased. That will drive more sales.”
Maximizing Your Podcast
Much like webinars, podcasts can be an excellent source of revenue, with a well-structured podcast having the potential to generate tremendous business traffic.
The key to building a successful podcast is to focus on delivery, rather than just the content. Just because you are knowledgeable or a specialist in your field, does not mean that people will enjoy listening to you.
”Podcasts are about entertainment first and educating second” says Nathan. ”If you don’t know how to hold an audience and entertain, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, what you’re selling, or what you’re teaching.”
Nathan goes on to explain that podcasters can employ similar tactics to those used by TV shows.
”So, let’s say you’re going to do a 30-minute podcast. In the first ten minutes, what dopamine hit are you going to give your audience, so they keep listening? What about the second hit or the third hit?”
One way to do this is give them a snippet of what’s to come without giving all the juicy details right away. This lets your audience know what they are in for, and makes them want to stick around. Another great tactic is to give them something to root for or against. ”You want people to love you or hate you, root for you or against you, whether it’s you or your podcast guest,” says Nathan.
Alternative Revenue Streams
Your process for generating revenue doesn’t have to fall under the umbrella of traditional earning streams. Most successful individuals/businesses are utilizing an array of unorthodox methods to make money.
For instance, guest Nathan Latka published his own book ‘How to be a Capitalist Without any Capital’ to great success and managed to turn a profit before even putting pen to paper. By getting in contact with CEOs and avid investors, Nathan pre-sold 500 copies of his book, offering a 1-page feature in return for their early sponsorship.
”Just like you’d sponsor a podcast or anything else, why would you not sponsor a book?” Nathan asserts.
Although an argument could be made that a book packed with advertisements would be underwhelming for readers, Nathan argues that ”you can sell a sponsorship as branded content and still make the content valuable.”
Reaping the Benefits of Audience Engagement
When looking to make strides in the SaaS market, audience engagement is of paramount importance. By meeting potential consumers on a level playing field, you can start to see a rapid growth in profitability.
Hosting insightful webinars can be a great way to build a loyal community. When done regularly and effectively, it will establish you as a trustworthy fountain of knowledge and the resulting relationship can improve your reach, thus significantly driving your post-event sales.
Employing the strategies outlined by Nathan is just the first step, however. What’s most crucial is consistency. The reason Nathan could generate $5 million in his first few years of operation, is due to his level of dedication to these formulas, to which he is still reaping the benefits.
To hear more from Nathan about building a personal and business brand through consumer interaction – take a look at Nathan’s full talk at Predictable Revenue’s Own Your Growth Virtual Summit.
Do you have 10 min to spare? You can watch the highlights from Nathan’s talk below.
Experience and a lot of testing have shown us that it is possible to create email templates that people actually resonate with.
You don’t have to figure it out alone, whether you’re starting off as a sales representative, looking to improve your game or providing your team with expert advice, we have your back!