SaaS buying triggers have become significantly more unpredictable and complex. With a plethora of options, customers have more power and choice than ever before.
And it’s great for the product ecosystem. Products compete with each other to provide the best experience for their prospects, and customers get to choose the best pick of the lot.
It’s a win-win-win.
That’s why companies need to be aware of the state of software buying today. What drives demand for a solution? How consumers perceive value in the software? Let’s contextualize software buying triggers here.
How does the software evaluation journey look like today?
There are 2 broad ways to look at software evaluation. Emotional and value-driven. This is not to say that value-driven triggers hold more importance than the emotional ones.
Usually, in a SaaS buying journey, there’s a combination of both these triggers that lead to a purchase.
The emotional buying triggers of software
1. Are my marketing efforts striking a chord with prospects?
This is something we hear a lot in our customer calls. When your prospect gives you a shoutout for your marketing campaigns or social media game, you know that your efforts are creating an impact.
Because your customers consider your marketing and brand story to build an overall perception about how good and uniquely different you are as a company.
Your marketing should tell a story that your software can’t tell by itself. Value props and case studies can wait—everyone’s doing it—they’re always going to remain in the mix. But the distinct voice that you give your brand stays in people’s minds.
With RevenueHero, we try to reinforce the fact that SaaS companies can also be fun — even when it comes to calling out a competitor.
A good marketing strategy can create a tribe for you that has a sense of belonging with your brand. And they can get really vocal like the comments below.
2.How frictionless is the buying journey?
You can’t judge when a prospect turns from casually browsing to a high-intent “take my money” lead. But you can ensure one thing. When they decide to evaluate your software seriously, you can be ready with the right systems to make their buying journey simple.
How easy is it to connect with your sales?
Like I mentioned earlier, no amount of marketing attribution can predict when a prospect would want to make a buying decision.
All you can do is ensure they get through with their evaluation as quickly as they can when they find a trigger.
Be ready to pounce in all the places where prospects contact your sales
- Website demo request forms and live chat
- People who request a demo but don’t book a meeting.
- Marketing nurture emails
- Outbound sequences from SDRs
- Paid ads and ABM campaigns
- In-app messaging, live chat, and scheduling
a) Engaging with website visitors on live chat
Website visitors who click on your live chat tab are basically declaring their intent to learn more. This is a great opportunity to delight them with simple access to information and support or sales reps.
- Deploy a chat widget that also lets you create an FAQ section that addresses potential questions about your software and its inner workings. Optimize this for different web pages – pricing, features, comparison, integrations, etc.
- If your prospects are reluctant to get on synchronous conversation that demands them to stay online over a conversation, empower your support reps to add the meeting link of one of your AEs who can give them a product tour. Ensure that your support-to-AE or sales-to-AE transitions have a system and can be done instantly.
- Add a CTA within the chat widget to book a meeting. Again, customize the messaging based on the page they are in and speak to what they’re trying to solve based on their visitor activity.
At RevenueHero, we used Intercom to build a meeting scheduling workflow within the live chat widget.
b) Website demo requests
Your website is where everything happens. You could make a TV commercial, get some ad space on Times Square, erect a banner or fly a blimp about your company. But the sale takes place on your website.
Optimizing it for a frictionless buying experience takes the cake over anything else. In fact, you’re offering your prospects the continuity of a great experience, which they found on your ads, blogs, and socials.
And when they decide to give your product a go with a demo request, you need to remove anything that might hinder their buying journey
> Reduce the number of form fields
Asking for a demo shouldn’t feel like filling up your tax form. If you do feel that it is needed for lead qualification, there are always tools like Clearbit, Apollo, and ZoomInfo to enrich your contact details.
At RevenueHero, we use our native form enrichment for mapping personal email, disposable email, timezone, and country to the lead contact. For a deeper level, we leverage Clearbit to understand more about the role, company, decision makers, and revenue, to name a few.
The enrichment happens so instantly that the prospect is routed and shown the right AE’s calendar as soon as they hit submit on the demo request form.
TLDR: Don’t make your prospects wait when they’re at the peak of their buying intent; only to let them shop around to a more responsive competitor. Customize your enrichment workflows and create the right distribution rules.
c) Outbound sequences and the “abandoned cart” of SaaS buying
Prospects who submit a demo request form and don’t schedule a demo need your attention. They may not have set up time because they need more context, nudge, and the right trigger to arrive at a purchase decision.
And you have your outbound sequences, where getting through the prospect is going to be even more difficult. It’s only rational that when one of these emails does strike a chord with your contact, they need to be able to book a meeting instantly.
- Add them to a use-case or problem-driven nurture sequence that is personalized to their industry and goals. Don’t spam, keep the cadence minimal with high-value content that drives utility even if they are not in a position to buy your software.
- When you’re doing outbound or reaching out to meeting no-shows, you have the contact info of the prospects available. How wise do you think it is to ask to fill up a form to schedule a demo with you? Skip that for good. Deploy a tool that will let you embed calendar slots within an email or generate unique URLs that will help book meetings in 1-click.
d) In-app support for free trial and freemium customers
If your software company is PLG-driven, consider an in-app widget that allows the users to book meetings with an AE instantly. Again, the contact info is already there along with their usage data. It will be a frictionless transfer to an AE, which in turn will help prospects move to a higher pricing tier based on the experience they receive as a non-paying user.
Offer interactive demos and walkthroughs: What’s a good segway into your product without getting prospects to commit by asking for their data? Interactive demos can capture the imagination of what your customers can solve with your product and make evaluations and sales cycles significantly smaller.
Tip: You can use a recorded demo over a personal meeting link to give your prospects some much-needed context of what they’re getting into.
e) Optimizing for paid ads and ABM campaigns
When you’re reaching out to prospects by paying an ads ecosystem, you need to be doubly sure that the ones engaging are having a seamless transition from the ads to buying your software or booking a demo.
> Map contacts to the right account owners
ABM campaigns are usually directed to a large set of contacts from single or multiple companies. Ensure that the SDR or AE with prior interactions with the account gets to handle the leads from these campaigns. Leverage lead-to-account matching to automate this process and have ads run like clockwork.
> Identify high-engaging contacts in the CRM
You can create a sample list based on the website activity of your high-intent contacts. This could be a feature page, comparison, pricing, or anything that you deem as high-intent. Based on the list, you can curate ads that speak to their unspoken objections that are stopping them.
Alternatively, this also provides an outbound opportunity to the list segmented based on their actions. With each email or LinkedIn InMail containing the scheduling link to the right AE who’s the best fit to handle that account — without asking them to fill a form.
The value-driven SaaS buying triggers
1. Is the software flexible to scale as my company grows?
Software evaluation isn't just about solving current problems; it's also about planning for the future. Scalability and growth potential are critical factors to consider.
The software you choose should not only meet your immediate needs but also adapt as your requirements expand.
Here are some organizational factors that influence software buying triggers:
- The frequency with which decision makers keep changing
- Dependence on vendors, consultants, marketplaces, and partners for software buying
- New stakeholders that need to be trained and added to the software
- Evolving growth and revenue goals and the corresponding changes to the scope of the product
- Expanding the buy-in from decision makers to practitioners who use the product
2. How deep are the integrations?
B2B software simply doesn’t operate in isolation. Software that seamlessly fits into your existing infrastructure can save time, money, and headaches.
For instance, when people evaluate a CRM software, they ensure it integrates smoothly with other tools like email marketing platforms and lead routing systems for a unified experience across the tech stack.
At RevenueHero, when we announced our 1-click integration with HubSpot, we ensured that our messaging focussed on the depth of the integration; on how RevenueHero and HubSpot could work seamlessly in tandem to ease the lives of GTM functions.
3. How complex or simple is it to wrap my head around the software?
A software solution may boast an array of impressive features, but if it's cumbersome and confusing to use, it can hinder productivity and lead to frustration.
When the product itself solves for complex use cases, the only way you can optimize for quick adoption is through great UX and onboarding.
That’s what we’ve tried to put in practice at RevenueHero. A UX that’s markedly distinct yet intuitive from the competition.
We also have stories of customers who went live within 24hrs of requesting a demo and started getting ROI out of RevenueHero. There are no shortcuts to this other than ingraining a customer-first culture right from UX design to onboarding and implementation.
As an aside, you can also build an implementation and onboarding page to help set the right context and realistic expectations for your customers.
Here’s a grab from our implementation and onboarding guide:
4. What security and privacy certifications does the software provide?
Security and privacy are non-negotiable factors during software evaluation. Assess the software's security measures and its track record in protecting user data.
For instance a healthcare software must showcase the steps they take to ensure patient information remains confidential and protected from potential breaches.
Look into the security certifications that are treated as cardinal for your customer base and yourself, and take it from there.
At RevenueHero, our product has secured an SOC 2 Type 1 certification, which is fast-becoming a cardinal requirement in SaaS buying.
Based on the platform's architecture, data flow, processes, controls, and an audit opinion, the certification is rolled out by a third party. Think of it as the IPX certifications based on “water resistance” and “dust resistance” ratings you get when you buy a mobile phone.
5. How customizable is the software?
Rigidity in software customizations is a buzzkill that can affect a prospect’s buying trigger. With increasingly saturated SaaS websites, landing pages, and messaging, product customization can be a game changer to set your brand apart from the rest.
A few excerpts from RevenueHero, where customizations take the forefront to delight customers:
Branding and themes
No software buyer wants to work with a tool that doesn’t let them showcase their unique brand tone. We embody that in RevenueHero by letting our customers build a scheduler that reflects their branding and color palette.
RevenueHero’s marquee functionalities such as meeting scheduling and personal meeting links would have less value without the kind of personalized they come with.
Again, the level of personalization a software offers adds more value than rigid, legacy tools that provide just the bare necessities.
Spendflo, a RevenueHero customer, built a customized meeting page with personalized video messaging and brand colors that everyone would recognize them for.
RevenueHero lets customers manage their DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Email) to modify the email domains through which emails are sent from the software.
It provides organizations the control and responsibility to sign an email with their stamp of authentication – protecting senders and recipients from potential security breaches like spam and phishing.
6. What do existing customers think about this software?
Yes, we’re getting into the world of user reviews on G2, glowing recommendations on LinkedIn, and case studies.
Reviews play an indispensable role in software buying. At the same time, there’s little differentiation between reviews on aggregator sites.
Where you have complete control over differentiation is your case studies. At RevenueHero, we try to get a detailed overview of the before and after scenarios over our customer calls. That helps us create a distinct representation of how we were able to create an impact.
Here’s a flowchart of Northbeam’s GTM playbook before and after RevenueHero:
Steering the customer conversations to be value and process-driven gives customer case studies and testimonials the elusive authenticity that influences software buying triggers.
We also built a “wall of love” page on our website to showcase all our kickass customer testimonials.
7. Influence of pricing tiers and subscription models on SaaS buying triggers
From a buyer's perspective, monthly subscriptions offer risk mitigation. Instead of a one-time, sizable investment, users can opt-out or switch to a different solution without being tethered to obsolete software. This flexibility aligns with the modern ethos of adaptability and choice.
On the other hand you have companies offering contract buyouts to unchain you from the whims of rigid, legacy software.
Pricing tiers can be confusing as well. Software companies have a task cut out to contextualize what users are paying for with tiered platform fee, hidden costs, unbundled features, and so on.
At RevenueHero, we created a pricing calculator that gives a sneak-peak into the pricing that users are getting into. How do we stand out? By contextualizing our pricing with our competitor and being upfront about how we’re billing our customers.
People buy software from orgs that strike a fine balance between emotional and value-driven SaaS buying triggers
Emotional SaaS buying triggers, such as the impact of marketing campaigns, and brand storytelling, play a crucial role in building a connection with prospects. It creates top-of-mind recall and ensures that the prospects remember your product when a use case or scope opens up through another one of your efforts.
An experience as simple as scheduling a demo and getting access to a rep instantly, can have far reaching effects such as feeling valued as a prospect.
On the other hand, value-driven buying triggers delve into the practical aspects of software evaluation. Scalability, integrations, user-friendly interfaces, security measures, customization options, customer reviews, and transparent pricing models all contribute to the holistic assessment of a software solution's worth.
B2B software buying requires a nuanced understanding of both emotional and value-driven triggers. Today's software evaluation journey is shaped by a combination of factors that range from the emotional resonance of marketing efforts and buying experience to the more pragmatic, rational considerations at a feature or pricing level.