Software Sales School Lesson #2

Three Aspects of Building (And Closing) A Bigger, Better Deal

Software Sales Training Lesson TwoIn the software industry, products age quickly. Many companies’ software sales teams promote the newest, biggest product releases at the expense of existing products. Adopting this approach singularly is a big mistake.

As part of our series on “Software Sales School,” we’ll give you the sales training lessons that help you stay ahead of the competition and generate more revenue for your firm.

While promoting new software products is essential, make sure your sales message resonates with your current customer base, because recurring, “sticky” customers are far more valuable in terms of upsell/cross-sell opportunities, long-term retention and new client referrals.

Here are three aspects of building (and closing) a bigger, better deal that you shouldn’t forget when it comes to selling to repeat customers:

Cross-Selling And Upselling

Once a customer has been identified and closed, software salespeople need to continue providing value and increasing profit margins with new product recommendations targeted to that particular customer. The right cross-selling or upselling approach grows your sales without the added cost of finding a new prospect – whether that’s adding a related service, a newly released product or a complementing software solution.

The secret to better cross-sells and upsells is to ask questions about how a customer currently uses a particular product or service. Keep probing with questions until you find a deeper root cause or pain in their current process. Then, listen for opportunities where your other products might fill those unrealized needs. The stronger your team’s product knowledge, the more likely each team member is able to complete a successful cross-sell.

For example, if you’re asking a software customer about her current needs and she mentions that her company requires a faster network connection, a successful cross-sell conversation might go something like this:

Salesperson: “Why do you need that much speed?” (Probing question)
Customer: “Well, we have regular large file transfers.” (Latent pain)
Salesperson: “Oh, do you have a solution in place to back up those files? What about a file backup service?” (Further probe and service suggestion)

By digging deeper into the customer’s pains and challenges, this salesperson was able to find another cross-selling opportunity with a higher profit margin and a happier long-term customer.

Long-Term Customer Retention

Many software companies are good at marketing their newest widget or product upgrades, but they often struggle with customer retention, relegating those efforts to a small portion of their budget and schedule.

Customer retention keeps revenue up without the time and budget sink of driving completely new sales. Repeat customers not only represent more steady revenue at a lower acquisition cost, but long-term customers are also more likely to purchase additional features and upgrades as well as promote your software.

One essential practice to increase customer retention in the software sales process is implementation follow-up. After your latest software sale is installed, follow up with the new customer and inquire if everything went well.

Even though your sales team isn’t officially in charge of customer service, this follow-up call ensures the customer is happy with the software product and helps you immediately catch any issues that need improvement. By asking additional probing and discovery questions during this call, you might also identify more cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Business Referrals

No software sales process is complete without a step where you request business referrals. By asking for business referrals, you grow your contact database organically by using your long-term customers. During your installation follow-up call, you should ask another key question: “I see this product worked really well for you, do you know of any colleagues who could use this same product?”

Referred prospects close at a much higher rate than prospects generated from cold calling, and the referring customer feels better about their purchase decision when one of their colleagues has also decided to do business with you.

Congratulations! You’ve completed your second sales training lesson in Software Sales School. Now your upselling techniques and customer retention strategies are more targeted on long-term sales and profits – and not just short-term product pushes.

Every software sales cycle benefits from the insight of an outsider – especially a professional trained in the Science of Sales™. Contact a Sales Scientist™ from Invenio Solutions and receive a free comprehensive analysis of your entire sales process.

Is Your Lead Generation Process Positioned For Better Sales Cycle ROI?


(If you missed lesson one, “Targeting Your Buyer Personas And Their Pains,” read it here to get caught up on the Software Sales School series.)