4 Hacks for SaaS Businesses: How to Boost Your Sales

Do you dream about turning your tiny SaaS business into a mega-brand? I hate to burst your bubble, but you need funds to do that – funds that come from sales. But, increasing sales is not an easy task, especially for SaaS brands.

Why so? 

SaaS sales reps face two main hurdles, according to a Richardson survey:

  • They don’t have a tangible product to sell – a fact that breeds uncertainty in buyers. Nearly 25% of the respondents said they find it hard to create value for abstract products.
  • Most customers are set in their ways and resistant to try out unfamiliar SaaS products. That’s why 22% of reps find it challenging to build a “case for change” and close sales effectively.

As customers become more discerning and competition stiffens, generating sales for SaaS products is getting harder. In the last five years, the attainment of sales quotas has fallen from 63% to 53%

While these stats are alarming and disheartening, I can spot a silver lining. They indicate that there is room for improvement in sales strategies

To this end, I’ve identified four sales-boosting hacks that successful SaaS brands like SumoMe and Intercom follow. And they’re not just any hacks; they are psychology-based hacks that work on customers’ subconscious minds and influence their buying decisions.

Let’s understand how that helps multiply sales and generate leads.

Why Is Psychology the Secret Sauce to Boosting Sales?

If you want to grow your customer base, you need to get into your consumers’ minds. Start thinking like them, and understand what triggers them to hit the “Buy Now” button.

To understand your customers’ psyches, learn how their purchase decisions take form. A typical purchase decision entails five stages:

  1. Recognizing a need or pain point
  2. Searching for helpful information
  3. Assessing alternatives
  4. Making a purchase
  5. Post-sale assessment

1.  Reciprocity – Give More than You Recieve

Reciprocity is a strong trigger based on the rationale of giving back. If you want something from your customers (referrals, purchases, reviews, etc.), you need to give them something they desire (discount, freebies, etc.) first. By doing so, you prime customers and condition them to think positively about your brand.

Why’s that?

Humans base their purchase decisions on emotional factors rather than cognitive factors. According to a neuroscience study by Psychology Today, people give more weightage to personal brand experiences rather than things like brand attributes and features when it comes to assessing brands. 

Persuasion expert, Robert Cialdini, explained this with a relatable example. In his research, he found that waiters improved their tips by 3.3% by giving a mint to customers with their checks. When customers received an unexpected favor, they felt morally obliged to tip a little extra. It’s like an inverted loyalty program, except that the gift comes first.

You can sway your customers’ decisions if you pass all of these stages.

Need evidence?

Harvard professor, Gerald Zaltman, stated in his research that our subconscious mind makes 95% of purchase decisions. To reach and manipulate your customers on a subconscious level, you need to, basically, play mind games with them. That’s where my psychology-backed hacks come into the picture. 

How SaaS Marketers Can Implement This Strategy:

Establish which incentives matter to your target customers. Give an unexpected extra benefit to new customers. Surprise them by extending their trial period or offering them an exclusive discount. You can also allow them to use your premium features free of charge for a limited duration. Or, you can send them free valuable resources relevant to your SaaS product.

The benefit?

You can earn repeat sales, improved cart value, and customer loyalty. You can also upsell to existing customers by giving them a taste of your premium features.

Example: True&Co.

The lingerie brand offers a free home try-on service in which customers can try up to five bras in the comfort of their home. They only pay for what they buy and return the rest, with no service charges.

true and co lingerie


2. Authority – Establish Your Reputation

Noticed how toothpaste ads have doctors clad in white coats advocating for the products they’re promoting? That’s authority, and it inspires confidence. The point is that people respect and respond to legit authoritarian figures favorably.

You need to establish your authority, especially if you’re a new entrant competing with bigger, better players. Authority, as a sales trigger, is hard to project and requires sustained efforts. But if you’re able to cross that bridge, you can be a magnet for new customers.

How SaaS Marketers Can Implement This Strategy:

Build a content marketing strategy designed to establish yourself as a thought leader. Start a blog (if you haven’t already) where you publish insightful articles about your niche. Conduct proprietary research and surveys to draw insights about industry trends and other matters relevant to your target audience.

Collaborate with influencers who are experts in your niche. You can use influencer discovery platforms like TapInfluence and Markerly to find influencers whose opinions are respected in your industry. If they vouch for you, you get a competitive advantage over your peers.

Another way to convert bottom-of-the-funnel customers is by getting reviewed by peer-review sites like Capterra, Yelp, and G2 Crowd. Customers on the verge of buying often scan third-party reviews by experts. If reputable sites write glowing reviews about you, you earn both authority and sales.

Example: Intercom

The conversational-relationship platform has a flourishing blog where they publish high-quality content. Most articles are written by their in-house staff, which speaks volumes about their skills and expertise.



3. Scarcity + Urgency – Create FOMO

Scarcity plus urgency can be a powerful trigger to increase your SaaS sales. That’s why you’ll see things like “Limited Supply Offer” or “Grab the Last 2 Seats” screaming for attention when you enter SaaS websites.

The point is that people often associate scarcity with higher demand and better value. 

Don’t believe me?

Scientist, Stephen Worschel, demonstrated that scarcity works by a simple experiment, which he cataloged in Neuro Web Design.

This is what he did:

worchel lee and adewolfe

As you can see, people respond to scarcity and urgency. But there are five precursors to nail this tactic. Your offer should be:

  1. Clear
  2. Relevant
  3. Distraction-free
  4. Economically feasible
  5. Attention-grabbing

How SaaS Marketers Can Implement This Strategy:

A tried-and-tested strategy is to offer limited-period discounts and deals. Ensure that your offers are optimized for the above five criteria.

Since email marketing is a mainstay of SaaS marketing, you should capitalize on that as well. You can send enticing offers to your contacts and retarget one-time customers. To make your emails pop in overcrowded inboxes, you can include catchy subject lines. But avoid words like “free” and other email marketing goof-ups.

Example: Booking.com

The hotel-booking app has mastered scarcity marketing. Check out how they feign demand and provide alternatives in the same breath.


4. Social Proof – Take Advantage of the Herd Tendency

Humans like to do things in a pack. Safety in numbers is how they perceive it. That’s why many consumers prefer to read user-generated reviews before making a purchase. 

With most shopping experiences starting and culminating virtually, customer reviews have become vital tools for customer acquisition and retention. In fact, they are so potent that 70% of people won’t buy anything (especially online) unless they check them out.

How SaaS Marketers Can Implement This Strategy:

Social proof comes in many forms – testimonials, reviews, endorsements, and ratings, to name a few. The important thing is that the proof should not come from you or a paid celebrity, but from REAL customers – people who have used your products/services and liked or hated them. 

Sound hard?

It isn’t.

To get customers to share positive reviews about your brand, you need to provide them with stellar customer service, among other things. 

Another way is to have a formal customer-loyalty program where satisfied customers get goodies for writing testimonials. Being featured on the web can be a kick for most people. So, you won’t have to try too hard to convert customers into advocates in this way.

If you cannot get testimonials directly, you can share customer reviews from third-party websites like Glassdoor, provided they are reliable and verified. 

These days, customers like to share their brand experiences with their friends and followers on social platforms. You can tap into those and reshare them, tagging the original posters. 

You can set alerts for brand mentions using social-listening tools like Mention. They will notify you the moment a customer talks about your brand or products.

You can also prepare case studies around real customer stories. Ensure that you deep-link case studies to real stats/figures/reports so that readers can verify your claims. This way, you build trust with potential customers and reduce legal liabilities.

Example: RingCentral

Cloud-service provider, RingCentral, publishes case studies to demonstrate how they help customers overcome their challenges. Here is one of them:


Ready to Skyrocket Your Sales?

It can be tough to drive sales in the ultra-competitive ecosystem that SaaS businesses live in. But with the clever strategies I’ve explained above, you will see an upsurge in conversions. For best results, use all of these strategies concurrently.

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