When selling software, you want to engage your prospects, communicate your product’s value proposition, and convert leads to sales. A typical approach, particularly for SaaS companies, is to use free trials.
But a free trial isn’t really free for your prospects. It requires investment of their time, spent trying to muddle their way through your product, in order to figure out what’s beneficial to them. Not only is this a real cost to the prospect, but confusion over your product could be keeping them from converting to sales. Furthermore, if your product isn’t SaaS, then there could be additional investment in time and internal resources to even start the free trial.
Now, imagine if your prospect does sign up for the trial but then is confused by your product. By defaulting to a Google search, your prospect may see an ad for your competitor. And you may have just helped your competition increase their revenue.
Solving Scalability Issues--since 1999
In January of 1999, I transitioned from print to web design, taking my first digital gig with a small tech firm focused on network support for Data over Cable. We monitored the cable company’s network down to the modem, and we also provided end user support…good fun, right?
Not so much.
We had to educate customers on how to use this “new technology.” I’m not only talking about PC network configuration but general things like configuring email clients. It was a pain in the ass, especially because there was no visibility into the user’s computer.
So when Grandpa called our support center, blaming us for breaking the internet, we had to spend a hour walking him through how to fix his particular issue. Buy me a beer, and I’ll tell you some funny stories.
The main issue was that the call center was slammed on a daily basis with inbound requests--all while we were simultaneously training our client’s support team. That’s when I came up with the idea of building a training website that could be customized for each new customer.
That was the first website I ever built from scratch, and it was a huge success in off-loading costly support requests.
Better than Brochureware
These days, I’m still focused on providing creative solutions to complex problems. For example, last year we were approached by Salesforce Pardot to help solve an issue they had with converting qualified leads to a request for sales follow-up.
Pardot’s powerful marketing automation solution has so many options that the idea of a free trial would be overwhelming to prospects. Pardot needed a simple way to educate users on the product’s strongest benefits, hook them on wanting to learn more, and make the experience enjoyable enough that the prospect would complete a sales contact form.
After putting our heads together with the Pardot team, we came up with the idea for an interactive/guided tour which walks users through campaign creation, building emails and landers, drip automation and reporting. Users are asked to select from options or to insert content for their campaign, and they’re presented the results when it’s done.
The Pardot interactive tour increased qualified lead conversion by 30% in the first month following launch and 75%, 3 months after launch.
No Longer a Pain in the SaaS
Even though the interactive/guided tour for Pardot was created to solve a problem with qualified lead conversion, we’ve also used interactive tutorials to help clients with post-conversion education (such as when you want to introduce new features or new products).
Since the launch of the Pardot tour, we’ve been contacted by several SaaS clients to help them solve similar problems, including our friends at Dropbox Business.
By creating engaging, educational experiences, you’ll do a better job of warming up your prospects until they’re ready to speak with a salesperson, or you can reduce the burden on post-sales support by providing engaging, scalable training resources. Don't leave $$$ on the table.
Make sure you're doing everything you can to educate your prospects and to retain your customers.
Not sure where to start? Give us a shout, and let’s brainstorm about some unique approaches to your software customer sales and retention challenges.