How to Use Case Studies to Convert More Leads

There are about 30,000 SaaS companies in 2023, and that number is quickly growing. By 2024, some experts believe that number will more than double to 72,000. This means competition is fierce, and customers have more choices than ever. While there are numerous ways to boost conversions and bring more leads to your company, one of the best pound-for-pound is using case studies to convert more leads.

In this post, I’ll show you just how big of an impact demonstrating customer success through case studies can have on SaaS sales and offer a real-life example for inspiration.

What Exactly is a Case Study?

First, let’s start with a clear definition. In the context of SaaS, it’s an in-depth study of a customer who used your product and the measurable outcome it had.

The specifics of a case study can vary, but there are five key elements you tend to see across the board.

First, there’s the introduction that explains who the customer is, the industry they’re in, and so on. Next, is the problem they were facing before using your SaaS product. Then comes the solution, which discusses why your product was a good fit. From there, a case study explains the result, ideally using concrete data to explain the quantifiable impact. And finally, it details where the customer was before and after using your SaaS solution.

Why Case Studies Are So Effective in SaaS

It’s simple. Using case studies to convert more leads works well because it’s the ultimate form of social proof.

While there are several other effective forms of social proof, with testimonials, reviews, and ratings being just a few examples, case studies break down the results an actual customer had after using your SaaS product. Rather than just saying, “Our SaaS product works great and can make your life easier, grow your business, etc.,” a case study takes a deep dive and shows firsthand what the impact has been using a real-life example.

And this is incredibly important in an age where 1) there’s so much competition and 2) many leads are skeptical of brands.

I like what HubSpot campaign manager Siobhan McGinty has to say about it.

“Do not underestimate the value of providing social proof at just the right time in order to add value and earn their business. Case studies are extremely effective in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey when they are actively comparing solutions and providers to solve a problem they’re experiencing.”

So when a lead is at the consideration stage, a case study can be the perfect form of content for connecting the dots and showing them why your SaaS solution is the best option.

Instead of merely taking your word for it, a lead can see how a similar customer benefited from your product and how they can as well.

Eye-Catching Statistics

At this point, you’re probably wondering just how big of an impact case studies can truly have. To answer that, here are a few compelling statistics that illustrate the value they can bring to a SaaS marketing campaign.

First, 2022 research by The Content Marketing Institute found that 73% of the most successful content marketers used case studies in their campaigns.

Next, of the top content assets that marketers used in the last 12 months, case studies ranked number four, just behind videos and virtual events, which shows the growing ubiquity of this content medium.

And third, research from Uplift Content found that case studies were ranked as the number one most effective marketing tactic for increasing SaaS sales, with 39% of marketers saying they were effective. For perspective, case studies ranked higher than SEO, general website content, email marketing, eBooks, social media, and blogging.

By these numbers, it’s clear that using case studies to convert more leads can be an excellent addition to a SaaS marketing campaign. So if it’s something you haven’t tried yet, now is the perfect time to do so.

A Real-Life Example

Now that we know what case studies are and why they work so well, let’s look at inbound lead conversion and scheduling app Chili Piper to see how they use case studies so effectively.

Chili Piper is a SaaS company that uses content as an integral part of their marketing campaign, with blogs, guides, and podcasts being a few key examples. But in my opinion, where they really succeed is with their case studies or “customer stories” as they call them.

Chili Piper even has an entire section of their website devoted solely to case studies.

One that I think is especially good is where they featured BambooHR and discussed how the company was able to increase qualified meetings by 40% after using Chili Piper.

In this case study, Chili Piper provides:

  • An introduction and overview of BambooHR
  • The inefficiencies of their previous system before using Chili Piper
  • The solution that was implemented with the app
  • The results (increasing qualified meetings by 40%)

They even provide a video featuring BambooHR company rep Mary Nelson who discusses exactly how Chili Piper helped make their meeting scheduling process far more efficient for a “straight from the horse’s mouth” perspective.

It’s a simple, straightforward format that perfectly showcases the power of this SaaS product and helps leads envision how it could help their company as well. You can see the case study for yourself here.

And if you’d like to see Chili Piper’s full library of case studies for more ideas, you can find them here.

Using Case Studies to Convert More Leads

If you’re looking for the ultimate “show, don’t tell” marketing strategy, it doesn’t get much better than case studies. And while they can work well for many industries, they pair perfectly with SaaS because they enable you to show leads firsthand how a similar company benefited from using your product.

That’s why I can’t recommend this strategy enough, and it’s one that can be a great addition to your SaaS marketing arsenal.

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How to Use Value-Based Selling in SaaS to Drive More Conversions

When many people think of traditional sales, they often envision aggressively pushing a product and landing the deal. While making conversions is obviously important, the old-school “going for the jugular” style often does more harm than good these days, and leads are less receptive to high-pressure sales tactics than they used to be. One form of selling that’s gaining in popularity and can be especially potent is value-based selling.

To quantify, “87% of high-growth sales organizations now take a value-based approach to sales.” And many experts have gone so far as to call value-based selling “the sales methodology of the future.”

Here’s how to use value-based selling in SaaS to boost conversions and take your sales team to the next level.

Transactional Selling vs. Consultative Selling

First, let me start off by saying that value-based selling takes a consultative approach to sales where you listen and educate a lead while building a relationship with them and highlighting the value your SaaS product offers. This differs from transactional selling that’s mainly focused on the features and specs of a product, “pushing” it on a lead and making a transaction.

For perspective, here’s a comparison of transactional selling vs. consultative selling (the camp value-based selling falls under).

Now that we have a basic understanding of these two different styles, here are the most integral techniques for using value-based selling to win over more prospects.

Research Each Lead’s Unique Needs

A critical part of succeeding with this approach is avoiding a “one-size-fits-all” mentality and treating every lead uniquely.

“When researching a prospect, aim to understand their company and industry, background, and current pain points,” explains HubSpot. “By understanding these pieces of information, you’ll have a solid grasp of how to serve them best.”

While this, admittedly, does take time, it’s an essential component of the process. To ensure you’re spending your time on the right prospects, I suggest using a lead scoring tool, ideally focusing on sales qualified leads (SQLs) rather than marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

By default, this will filter through your list of prospects and ensure you’re only spending time on those that are ultra-high-quality with a strong likelihood of converting. And for the MQLs that aren’t yet ready, you can send them to your marketing team for nurturing.

Build Authentic Rapport

The initial stage of the process of researching a lead’s unique needs will come into play here, as it will set the tone as you build rapport. As I mentioned earlier, an essential part of value-based selling is acting more as a consultant rather than a conventional salesperson. So the goal is to stay personable and “human,” getting to know each lead as an individual.

One area where many salespeople go wrong is jumping into the sales discussion too early. While converting is always the goal, value-based selling takes more of a “long game” approach where you first get to know a person and build an authentic relationship so you can deliver genuine value and address their specific needs.

Clearly Demonstrate the Value of Your SaaS Product

The first two steps in the process will set you up for the most important part of the journey — where you directly articulate exactly how your SaaS product will improve a lead’s situation.

For example, marketing, automation, and email platform Mailchimp offers very specific value for its customers.

This includes:

  • Helping them convert more customers at scale by “driving more traffic and sales by setting up automations that trigger emails based on customer behavior”
  • Using automation to create “pre-built journeys that help customers cross-sell their products, recover abandoned carts, re-engage existing customers, and win new ones”
  • “Delivering personalized emails based on customers’ buying behavior, survey responses, chat interactions, and support tickets to promote loyalty and growth

Mailchimp is an arbitrary example, but you get the idea. The key here is to convey precisely how your SaaS product can help while speaking to a lead’s individual needs and pain points. If you can do that effectively, you’re almost guaranteed to succeed at value-based selling.

Use Customer Success Stories

At this point, you’ve researched a prospect, built rapport, and articulated the specific value your SaaS product offers. Now it’s time to connect the dots and bring it all home. And one of the best ways to do that is by offering customer success stories where you tell a lead about real-life examples of customers that have actually used your SaaS product and experienced genuine results.

Going back to Mailchimp as an example, they have several case studies on their website that highlight customer success stories.

You can take a similar approach, using examples of your current or previous customers that have seen serious results and tailor them to address the unique needs and pain points of the lead at hand. By seeing the impact your SaaS product has had in a real-life situation, this can be just what you need to get a lead over the hump and commit to purchasing.

Winning at Value-Based Selling

Let’s recap. Rather than taking a transactional approach, which is often the basis of conventional selling, value-based selling goes the opposite direction. It’s more about thinking long-term rather than making the immediate sale and concentrates on consulting, educating, and relationship-building.

And while it’s probably not feasible to use value-based selling for every single lead (MQLs don’t likely make sense, for example), it can have a tremendous impact when you focus on high-quality SQLs. With most of today’s high-growth organizations already using it, value-based selling is something you should seriously consider implementing into your SaaS strategy.

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Use These SaaS Selling Strategies to Close More Deals

As of 2023, the majority of business apps that today’s companies use are SaaS-based at 70%. And experts predict that number will grow to 85% by 2025. This means there’s abundant opportunity for SaaS companies. But to fully capitalize on it, you need to thoroughly understand which SaaS selling strategies are most effective.

That’s what I’ll be zeroing in on in this post. Without wasting any time, let’s dive into the best of the best SaaS selling strategies to close more deals.

Use Lead Scoring to Prequalify Prospects

A classic rookie mistake is approaching all prospects the same and assuming everyone is ready to buy right off the bat. This simply isn’t the case, and most experts say that only around 3% of prospects are ready to “buy now.” And with choosing the right SaaS product being such an integral part of running a business, seldom are prospects ready to instantly pull the trigger.

A critical precursor to closing more deals is first using lead scoring to separate prospects so you know who’s ready for a sales discussion and who still needs nurturing from your marketing team.

Here’s an example of how leads can be broken down based on quantifiable scores.

Those that receive a score of 10 or less are considered prospects. Those that receive a score of 50 are leads. Those that receive a score of 75 are marketing qualified leads (MQLs). And those that receive a score of 100 are sales qualified leads (SQLs).

Note that the scoring system can vary depending on the product, but using lead scoring where points are assigned based on behaviors like the ones below is one of the best ways to objectively assess where each person is at in the sales funnel and, in turn, who deserves immediate attention.

That alone can help your SaaS sales team dramatically optimize their time and put them on their way to closing more deals. As for specific lead scoring tools, you can find some of the top products on this list from G2.

Be Lightning Fast with Lead Outreach

Once you’ve developed a system for identifying SQLs, the next step is to accelerate your lead outreach so you can strike while the iron is hot. With the SaaS industry being so competitive, time is of the essence with lead outreach, and I can’t stress enough the importance of contacting SQLs before your competitors do.

For perspective, research has found that the first vendor to respond wins 35 – 50% of sales.

And to understand the correlation between outreach time and conversion rate, check out this graph.

On average, contacting a lead within 24 hours results in a 16% conversion rate improvement. However, that number increases to 36% when a lead is contacted within one hour and 62% if contacted within 30 minutes.

But hold the phone. If they’re contacted within just one minute, that number skyrockets all the way to 391%!

Admittedly, this fast of an outreach is often easier said than done, especially during non-business hours. While it’s not always feasible to have a salesperson communicate with a lead right away, you can always use an automated message on email, social media, or another platform to touch base and get your SaaS brand on their radar before competitors do.

This brings us to the next of our SaaS selling strategies.

Quickly Convey Value and Build Trust

Once a salesperson has made contact, their main objective is to show a lead why your SaaS product is valuable and that you’re a credible, trustworthy business. This could be an entire blog post itself, but some effective ways to accomplish this are to:

  • Use social proof like user reviews and testimonials
  • Offer case studies from companies in a relevant industry
  • Highlight notable companies that have benefited from your product
  • Provide customer success stories

Many leads may be skeptical of a SaaS brand initially, but this is one of the best ways to “disarm” them and lay the foundation for the essential rapport needed to ultimately convert.

Perfect the Demo

Let’s say that you’ve identified qualified leads, quickly initiated contact, demonstrated value, and built a baseline level of trust. This is the point in the SaaS sales funnel where many leads will want to check out a product demo. And it’s a point that can make or break your chances of converting.

If your salespeople consistently nail the demo, your conversion rates are nearly guaranteed to increase. That’s why it’s so important to perfect the SaaS sales demo — something that’s largely done by implementing the right formula and covering all the bases.

While the exact winning formula will vary, here’s a good basic structure to follow across the board:

  • Make a formal introduction and provide some general context, such as your UVP and the pain points your product solves
  • Explain core features and benefits
  • Cover the product interface
  • Mention software integrations
  • Explain analytics and reporting
  • Go over different plans and pricing
  • Discuss the basics of onboarding and customer support
  • Answer questions

I also suggest reading this guide from, which is packed full of helpful information for mastering the art of the sales demo. It features concrete data on how long a demo should be, the ideal ratio of talking to listening, and much more.

Proven SaaS Selling Strategies for Increasing Conversions

There’s a lot that goes into effective SaaS selling and it requires a ton of experience and a natural aptitude to perfect. That said, when you break it all down, there are four main components — using lead scoring to efficiently qualify leads, accelerating your speed to lead outreach, conveying value and building trust, and perfecting the demo.

By deliberately working these into your SaaS sales strategies, you should be able to 1) know which leads to focus on and 2) how to best engage with those leads to scientifically increase your odds of converting.

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Why 90% of Companies That Use a Guided Sales Process Are Top Performers

There’s a lot that goes into successful sales. And even the best, brightest, most talented reps can benefit from some type of standardized system. One that simplifies and streamlines sales to convert the maximum number of leads into customers. And that’s where a guided sales process comes in.

For this post, I’m going to provide some recent data that illustrates just how big of an impact a guided sales process can have and unpack the essentials that go into creating one.

A Jaw-Dropping Stat

Let’s cut to the chase. The Sales Management Association, a “global, cross-industry professional association for managers in sales force effectiveness,” conducted extensive research on the importance of a guided sales process. According to their findings, “90% of all companies that use a formal, guided sales process were ranked as the highest performing.”

That’s about as cut and dry as it gets. Sales teams that establish a formal system create a replicable framework that enables reps to take someone from being a prospective buyer in the early awareness stage to a converted customer efficiently with the least amount of friction. And like most areas of business, a guided sales process will evolve over time. As more and more data is accumulated, you gain more customer insights and a better understanding of their psychology, motives, pain points, and overall profile.

New ABM Approach - How to define an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) |  Smarketers

You also can spot flaws in your process and make the necessary adjustments to fine-tune them. So over time and with continual iterations, your guided sales process becomes hyper-efficient and allows your salespeople to operate at their absolute best. Besides that, having a winning formula helps accelerate ramp time so you can get new hires up to speed more quickly and hasten their development. That’s important considering it takes an average of 11 months for most reps to reach their full potential.

Other Insightful Stats

But it doesn’t stop there. For a deeper perspective, here are some other interesting stats curated by Super Human Prospecting that further illustrate the potency of having a guided sales process.

  • “Businesses with a standardized sales process see up to a 28% increase in revenue as compared to those that do not.”
  • “50% of high-performing sales organizations admit having ‘closely monitored, strictly enforced, or automated’ sales processes.”
  • Conversely, “48% of under-performing organizations have non-existent or informal sales processes.”

Now let’s unpack these stats a bit more. For starters, a 28% revenue increase instantly caught my attention. To think that a guided sales process can have this much of a direct correlation to significantly higher earnings is extremely compelling. The data, which comes from a Harvard Business Review study, found that this type of effective pipeline management can be massively beneficial for boosting revenue. And it makes sense. By providing salespeople with a standardized system to follow and reducing friction points for leads, increased sales should naturally follow.

The second stat about half of high-performing organizations closely monitoring, enforcing, or automating sales processes shows that another key part of winning in this area is ensuring salespeople follow the prescribed methodology. This doesn’t mean micromanaging or making the process overly forced, as elite reps will usually need some level of flexibility to “do their thing.” But it does suggest there needs to be a baseline for salespeople to stick to and that sales leaders should keep an eye on things, especially during initial implementation.

Lastly, the fact that 48% of underperforming organizations have either informal sales processes or none whatsoever shows that the opposite is true. Companies without a proper guided sales process lack structure, which, in turn, puts them at a disadvantage when compared to competitors with a formal system in place.

The Essentials of a Guided Sales Process

At this point, I think we can all agree that, when done right, a guided sales process can be a game-changer. But what exactly should it include?

While the sequence will vary somewhat from company to company, I like the outline Super Office provides, which consists of six key steps. This includes:

  • Prospecting
  • Preparation
  • Approach
  • Presentation
  • Handling objections
  • Closing and follow-up

Here’s a nice illustration of how that looks.

sales process cycle

Notice how it’s cyclical, and after the final stage of closing and follow-up, the process starts all over again through either repeat sales or referrals. Obviously, not all customers will result in repeat business or a referral. But this bears mentioning, as research from Small Business Trends found that “65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers.”

So besides simply streamlining the process of acquiring new customers, this system also makes it easier for salespeople to capitalize on opportunities with existing customers as well. For more info on the nuts and bolts of the actual guided sales process itself and how to construct one for your company, I recommend reading this post from Super Office.

Closing Thoughts

Most sales leaders won’t be surprised that having a guided sales process is advantageous. But I doubt many knew just how big of an impact it can have. And we’re not talking about hypotheticals here. Results will vary, but with concrete data finding that 90% of top-performing companies use guided selling, it’s clearly a strategy worth implementing.

And as I mentioned earlier, the benefits can be far-reaching. Besides just helping reps do their jobs better, it can improve onboarding for new hires and create more opportunities for repeat business and referrals. So if this is something you haven’t gotten around to yet, now is the perfect time to get started.

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See Why 98% of SaaS Businesses See Positive Results with Dynamic Pricing

Businesses across all industries have evolved significantly over the course of the 21st century. But the evolution of SaaS has moved at an even greater speed.

Case in point — SaaS pricing. In recent years, there’s been a growing trend where more and more companies are using dynamic pricing, which, simply put “means that your customers see prices that are relevant to market and channel conditions at any given point in time.”

Rather than offering fixed pricing that never changes, dynamic pricing fluctuates and is tailored to each unique situation, allowing you to maximize revenue, while at the same time delivering value to your customers. 

For this post, I’m going to explain why this SaaS pricing strategy can be so effective and unpack the full logic behind it. I’ll also point you to helpful resources so you can make it work for your company.

What the Research Says

As always, one of the best ways to gain perspective is to look at concrete data. At the end of the day, what’s the true impact of using dynamic pricing?

A recent piece of research made some very promising findings. 

“Studies have shown that 98% of SaaS businesses earned positive results from making core changes to their pricing policy,” explains Phil Alves, CEO of DevSquad. “With tough competition, industry saturation, and the rapid evolution of SaaS platforms, many are starting to reinvent their pricing models according to the needs of their clients or customers.”

It’s hard to argue with 98%, and this stat clearly proves that, when done correctly, implementing a flexible SaaS pricing model like this helps the vast majority of brands capitalize on leads and land more deals. 

Alves also notes that an integral part of making effective pricing changes is basing decisions on business intelligence and analytics. “Responsive pricing methods based on analytical reports are the most successful models in SaaS companies,” he adds. 

In other words, this isn’t something that should be done on a hunch. Rather, you should continuously be capturing robust data to see:

  • What’s happening in the competitive landscape
  • How things are unfolding
  • What your customers are most responsive to
  • What works and what doesn’t

In turn, you can make smarter decisions that allow you to choose the optimal price point for each customer, helping maximize your revenue, while at the same time providing a positive customer experience. 

Dynamic Pricing is Already Used By Many Top SaaS Brands 

At first glance, it may seem like this pricing strategy is only used by a handful of uber innovative, adventurous SaaS companies. But it’s more common than you may think. 

Subscription management expert Anne Egdal makes a great point in this quote.  

“Think about it. How often do you look for a SaaS program, and when you reach the ‘Enterprise’ or ‘Corporate’ tier, you see a “Contact Us’ call to action rather than price? These businesses are likely to be using dynamic pricing, tailoring what they charge depending on the size of the client and the services they need.”

HubSpot is a great example. If you browse through the pricing page for their sales software, you’ll see their Enterprise plan “starts at” $1,200 per month, and their CTA says “Talk to Sales.”

And it’s the same story with marketing automation software Marketo. In fact, the first three options on their pricing page prompt leads to contact sales, and the “Enterprise” plan prompts them to “Request Information.”

So, they’re not featuring any static pricing, and instead funnel leads to a sales rep that can discuss pricing on an individual level. And if big name, ultra successful SaaS companies like these are using this type of pricing strategy, there’s probably something to it. 

This Model Also Helps Account for SaaS Price Increases

There’s one other massively important benefit of dynamic pricing to mention. By design, it provides a seamless framework for raising your SaaS prices without creating a lot of unnecessary friction. 

According to financing lender Lighter Capital, most large-scale SaaS companies increase their prices 5-7% each year. And if you’re not increasing your prices somewhere in this ballpark, you’re essentially leaving money on the table. 

While you obviously don’t want to use deceptive techniques to deliberately shroud how much your products cost, using dynamic pricing in a similar way as HubSpot and Marketo, where you direct leads to a sales rep to discuss deals, is a highly effective way to continually bump up costs up without rubbing leads the wrong way. 

On top of that, you don’t run the risk of alienating your existing customer base. 

Further Reading

Earlier I mentioned a quote from subscription management expert Anne Egdal. If you’re interested in learning more about the nuts and bolts of dynamic pricing, I highly recommend reading this post by her

In it, she discusses:

  • Different dynamic pricing models
  • How to implement dynamic pricing into your SaaS business
  • How to increase sales with it
  • How to avoid any complications when making the transition

Final Thoughts

Dynamic pricing is an emerging trend in the SaaS world that a growing number of brands have chosen to adopt. Although it won’t necessarily make sense 100% of the time, it’s definitely a pricing strategy to consider, especially if you’re selling to enterprise level customers. 

Doing so allows you to routinely make pricing changes based on market conditions, competition, trends, and general inflation. And with a staggering 98% of SaaS brands seeing positive results from dynamic pricing, there’s a good chance it can have an impact on your company as well. 

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Churn Rate and Contract Length: Finding the Sweet Spot for Your SaaS Product

Churn. It’s a word that keeps many SaaS business owners up at night. 

Although inevitable and unavoidable, churn is something you want to constantly monitor and keep in check. Otherwise, things can get out of control in a hurry, and before you know it you’ve got a full-blown mass exodus on your hands. 

There are countless factors that impact churn rate, including SaaS product quality, features, UX, pricing, and the competitive landscape. But hands down, one of the biggest is contract length. 

In this post, I’ll share with you some compelling data I’ve found that shows the correlation between contract length and churn rate. Then, I’ll offer some practical advice on how to find the sweet spot for your product’s contract length so you can retain more customers and improve their overall experience. 

Average Churn Rate

Let’s start from the top. What exactly is the average churn rate for today’s SaaS companies?

According to 2019 research from ProfitWell, it’s 13.2%. There’s a ton of other data out there, with some stats finding the average churn rate to be much higher and others pinpointing it as being much lower. But 13% is about the average. 

Considering, however, that most experts say a “good” or “acceptable” churn rate is significantly lower than that at 7% or less, it shows that many SaaS companies could use some improvement in this area.

And a good place to start is with contract length. 

The Correlation Between Contract Length and Churn

One of the best studies I’ve found about how contract length impacts churn rate is this one from Finances Online

According to their findings, longer SaaS contracts equal lower churn, while shorter SaaS contracts equal higher churn. 

Those, for example, that are less than a year have an average churn rate of 16.7%.

Those that are between 1 year to 1.5 years have an average churn rate of 15%.

And those that are at 2.5 to 3 years have an average churn rate of only 8.5%. 

So, a quick look at this data and it’s easy to see that extending SaaS contract length helps reduce churn. The only caveat from this study is that month-to-month contracts actually have a slightly lower churn rate of 14% than 1 to 1.5 year contracts of 15%. 

But the difference is only marginal, and we can safely surmise that customers will hang around longer when they have longer contracts. After all, they can’t help but do so.

So, Should You Make Customer Contracts Super Long?

After absorbing this data, the logical conclusion would be to increase the lengths of customer contracts. But is that always the best approach?

Not always.

SaaS strategist Natalie Roy makes a great point about the potential pitfalls of doing so. 

“Let’s say you’ve locked a customer into a three-year contract. This is great, right? The likelihood of churn is statistically low, and you have ample time to recuperate customer acquisition costs and turn a healthy profit.

There’s a downside though. If you’re using a traditional pricing structure it means you won’t be able to increase the price of your product for three years.”

Considering that SaaS prices increase 5-7% annually, this can take a toll on your profitability in the long run. 

Besides that, you may lose out to competitors. If, for example, a customer doesn’t want to be tethered to a long-term contract and instead only wants a year max, they may go elsewhere if you only have a 3 year option. 

This is extremely important to keep in mind. While having a contract length of 2.5 years or longer has nearly half the churn rate of one that’s less than a year, there are some inherent drawbacks that could potentially hurt your overall revenue. 

Finding the Sweet Spot

Like many areas of business (and life in general), the optimal path is often in the middle of two extremes. When it comes to determining the ideal contract length, I suggest looking for the sweet spot — one that allows you to get your churn to the absolute minimum, but without diminishing your revenue or compromising the customer experience. 

But where exactly is the sweet spot?

That’ll vary from company to company, and there is no one-size-fits-all game plan. Usually finding it requires some trial and error where you experiment with different contract lengths to see what works best. 

Many SaaS brands start at year simply because that’s what a lot of other brands do. If this is where you’re currently at but you’re unhappy with your churn rate, I suggest lengthening it to see if it has any noticeable impact. 

Because the average churn rate for contract lengths of 1 year and 1.5 years are exactly the same at 15%, you’ll probably want to go ahead and make the shift to 2 years. If you’re happy with the results, you can just stick with that. 

Otherwise, if you think you could do better, you could extend the contract length further to 2.5 years or even 3. As you gather more data, you’ll be able to figure out what’s best for your brand. 

Keeping Your Churn Rate in Check

The churn rate for most SaaS companies is somewhere around 13%. 7%, however, is a more acceptable number, and the lower the better. 

There are numerous factors that contribute to churn, but contract length is one of the most obvious. Research indicates that extending a SaaS contract length from less than a year to 2.5 years or more can nearly slash your churn rate in half. 

Doing so, however, requires a careful, calculated approach where you test the waters rather than jumping in head first. But with the right experimentation, you can find your contract length sweet spot for minimal churn and maximum revenue. 

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Should You Require Free SaaS Users to Provide Their Credit Card Info? Here’s What the Data Says.

Offering a free trial has basically become the norm for SaaS companies these days. In fact, roughly three-quarters use this tactic to generate leads, with the hopes of ultimately turning many into paying customers. 

And for the most part, it’s really effective. More than 50% of new business comes from free trials for 16% of SaaS companies. But there’s one key question you have to ask yourself when using this strategy. 

Should you require free SaaS users to provide their credit card info?

Let’s Look at the Data

As you probably know by now, I don’t like speculating on whether something works or not, or simply going on a hunch. I prefer to crunch the numbers and analyze cold, hard, objective data.

According to one of the top studies conducted on this topic from Invesp, it’s pretty clear. You’re way better off not requiring credit card info from free SaaS users.

More specifically, they found, “SaaS companies that allow sign-ups without a credit card generate twice as many paying customers from their free trial.”

This stat shows us point blank that not asking for credit card info is the best choice and results in double the paying customers long-term. For the rest of this post, I’m going to fully unpack this data and figure out the precise logic behind it. 

Why Eliminating the Card Info Barrier is the Best Choice

It’s pretty simple. Having this barrier creates friction during the free trial sign up process. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your average lead for a second. 

They’ve found your SaaS product, have gone over the features and benefits, and think it may be the perfect fit for their business. They then see that you offer a free trial and are excited to test it out. 

They fill out their contact info and are chomping at the bit to take your product out for a spin. But then…wham…they’re hit with the dreaded credit card barrier. 

Just like that, their enthusiasm takes a nosedive, and their day just had an injection of friction added to it.

Some leads will still go through with it, begrudgingly pulling out their credit card. Many others, however, will simply back out and look to other competitors. While it’s by no means a dealbreaker for everyone, you can’t deny that requiring credit card info for a free trial is disruptive. 

I know I personally get turned off when I have to fork over my info. When given the choice between a no strings attached sign up and one requiring a credit card, I always prefer the former. And that seems to be the sentiment across the board with nearly all SaaS customers. 

At the end of the day, it’s just another hassle that adds an unnecessary complication to their day. 

The Trust Issue

There’s one other vital detail to point out, which involves trust (or the lack thereof). We’re living in an age where cyber crime has reached epic proportions. Just look at this graph of the monetary damage caused by cyber crime during the 21st century. 

It’s off the charts. 

Understandably, many people aren’t super comfortable with the idea of whipping out their credit card and forking over sensitive payment information. Even big name, well known SaaS companies like HubSpot and Salesforce run into issues stemming from trust.

So just imagine how problematic it can be for smaller SaaS businesses that don’t have a ton of brand equity. And remember, at this stage of the buying journey, your brand is still unproven in the eyes of many leads.

Once they actually use your product for a while and you have a chance to build rapport, they’ll warm up to you. But when they’re signing up for a free trial, you just don’t have that level of trust, which is another huge reason why credit card barriers are so problematic. 

What an Expert Has to Say About It

To wrap up, I’d like to share with you the opinion of one of the top voices on this subject matter. 

Lincoln Murphy is a customer-centric growth expert and founder of SaaS consulting firm Sixteen Ventures. He wrote a fascinating article about the great credit card info debate, and I think this quote summarizes everything perfectly. 

“Asking for a credit card up front (an “opt-out SaaS free trial”) does little to help conversions and this is backed up by the fact that I routinely see SaaS vendors with < 20% conversion rates that ask for a credit card up front,” explains Murphy. “The only thing I can guarantee with an opt-out SaaS free trial is that you’ll get less prospective customers into your free trial than if you didn’t require a credit card to start. 

Murphy admits that requiring credit card info might increase your overall conversion rate in the sense that a higher percentage of leads who provide it may eventually become customers. But you’ll get far less actual customers from the traffic you generate. 

The Bottom Line

To say that no SaaS companies should ever require credit card info from free users would be a misstatement. There are some cases when this is the better option — mainly for well established businesses with huge brand equity that are looking to increase their lead quality. 

But generally speaking, the data clearly shows that this is ill-advised for most SaaS companies. Not asking for credit card info helps you capitalize on a larger percentage of your traffic and generate twice as many paying customers. 

So it’s a no-brainer. 

Need to find high level salespeople to convert more of your SaaS leads? Check out HireDNA. 92% of reps suggested through it reach the top of their sales force within a year, and brands that use it see 33% less turnover. 

High-Performing SaaS Sales Teams Are 2.3x More Likely to Use This Technique

A term you’ll hear me use a lot on this blog is trusted advisor. In our modern era, leads no longer respond to high-pressure sales tactics where reps aggressively push products on them. 

It’s just not something most people will put up with. Rather, they respond positively when a rep assumes the role of trusted advisor, with 88% of leads saying they’re “only willing to buy” under this condition. 

And this brings me to the focus of this post. High-performing SaaS sales teams use one particular technique above all others to be seen as a trust advisor — guided selling.

Two Eye-Popping Stats

In her post 26 Sales Statistics That Prove Selling is Changing, Tiffany Bova of Salesforce drops two stats that I found incredibly interesting. 

First, “high-performing sales teams are 2.3x more likely than underperforming teams to use guided selling.” And second, “over the next three years, sales teams at all performance levels anticipate that guided selling and coaching capabilities will grow by 98%.”

Mic drop. 

The numbers speak for themselves here, and this data clearly shows the correlation between guided selling and sales teams performing at an elite level. Those that use this potent strategy outperform their non-guided selling counterparts by a wide margin. And all sales teams, regardless of performance level, expect guided selling to grow by a staggering 98% over the next three years. 

Keep in mind Bova wrote this post in January 2019, so the end of the three year span she mentioned will be in early 2022.

The bottom line is:

  • Using guide selling has been proven to get massive results
  • Most top sales teams currently use it, while most under-performers do not
  • The implementation of guided selling is growing like crazy

What Exactly is Guided Selling?

While you probably have a general idea of what guided selling is, it’s a technique that can be a little murky to some. Just so we’re totally clear, allow me to explain exactly what it is within a SaaS context.  

Simply put, guided selling is a process that helps SaaS leads find the optimal software product based on their specific needs. 

“In today’s completely saturated markets full of similar and competing products, combined with the mass amount of information freely available, buyers are easily and quickly overwhelmed with data,” explains revenue acceleration platform ringDNA. “This huge amount of information, which can be both honest and dishonest, may lead a buyer down a path towards a product that is not the best for them.”

And that’s where guided selling comes in. 

It “connects the buyer with a genuine consultant that delivers to them the products and services that are the best possible fit for their needs.”

Rather than sales reps offering SaaS products based on what they merely speculate the lead needs and using obnoxiously aggressive tactics, they take a consultative approach and work alongside the buyer to guide them to the right product that’s the best fit for their company. In other words, it’s about closely examining the buyer’s situation to help match them with the right SaaS product instead of just going for the “fast sale.”

The Essentials of Guided Selling

The practice of guided selling has evolved a lot over the years. This graphic from digital transformation brand Brillio provides a brief overview of how it’s gone from the pre-sales tool era where reps based their selling on the personal understanding of customers, to using basic sales tools, to using sales intelligence, to where it is today in the age of customer experience. 

Now there are incredibly sophisticated AI and ML-based tools that allow SaaS sales reps to provide a next-level personalized experience and match leads with the absolute best products for their business. 

But here’s the thing. Tools like these are nice and can have a big impact on your sales team’s performance, but I don’t personally believe they’re necessary for guided selling.

At the end of the day, being successful largely boils down to following three key tactics. 

  1.  Ensure Your Reps Know Their Stuff

Perhaps the most important part of guided selling is making sure your salespeople know your products inside and out. If there’s any confusion as to which SaaS product is best for which demographic in which circumstance, your reps are going to struggle. 

That’s why they need to be subject matter experts and understand how everything comes together in your sales ecosystem. Nailing that is half the battle.  

  1. Be Radically Transparent with Leads

As I said earlier, the whole purpose of guided selling is to create a process that enables a buyer to find the product that best suits their needs. And a big part of that is being transparent. 

Sales meeting scheduling app Chili Piper, for example, gives their leads a side-by-side comparison of their different products, along with specific features and integrations. 

That way leads can see firsthand if a lower priced product will be sufficient for their needs. Other brands even go so far as to offer a competitor’s product to provide a more thorough understanding — something that when executed correctly can be a major trust builder. 

  1. Give Leads What They Truly Need, Not What Necessarily Generates the Most Revenue

This may go against the fundamentals of best business practices, but hear me out. Guided selling is all about the long game where you build trust, which not only increases the odds of making an initial sale, but often leads to repeat sales, less churn, and deeper loyalty. 

So when you think of it like this, you see the value of pointing leads to the best product for them rather than what’s going to lead to the largest immediate sale. 

Aligning Your Sales Strategy With What Top Performing Teams Are Doing

Sales has evolved dramatically in the 21st century, with guided selling being one of the most undeniable trends. With high-performing SaaS sales teams being 2.3x more likely to use it than underperformers, it’s obviously worth your attention. Understanding the essentials of guided selling and adhering to a few core concepts should help you make the transition to this model more easily and position your sales team for success. 

Looking to build a stronger sales team from the ground up? See how HireDNA can help you attract and recruit A+ candidates and eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes. 

Average SaaS Salespeople Ask Leads 6 or Less Questions. Top Performers Ask 11-14: Why Discovery Call Questions Are Essential

In a previous post, I mentioned that 88% of today’s leads are only willing to buy when they see the salesperson as a trusted advisor. I also pointed out that hyper-aggressive sales tactics often turn leads off and can be potential deal-breakers. 

One of the best ways to assume the role of trusted advisor is for SaaS salespeople to ask plenty of questions during the discovery call. And this number is higher than you may think. 

Here’s what you need to know to equip your reps for success. 

Top Performers Ask 11-14 Discovery Call Questions

Revenue intelligence software,, has built an amazing reputation for their original research. They’ve conducted a ton of in-depth studies to pinpoint the exact reasons why salespeople succeed or fail. 

One particular study I found fascinating was this one on discovery calls

“We analyzed 519,000 recorded discovery calls with AI to understand what drives successful outcomes,” explains Chris Orlob, director of sales at “These discovery calls were recorded on web conferencing platforms with, transcribed, and analyzed with unsupervised machine learning to identify the discovery call questions and techniques that drive revenue.”

In this study, they examined the number of target questions SaaS salespeople aimed for per discovery call and found:

  • Reps that only asked 1-6 discovery call questions had a 46% success rate (the lowest by far)
  • Reps that asked 7-10 questions had a 66% success rate
  • Reps that asked 15-18 questions had a 67% success rate

But here’s the kicker. Reps that asked 11-14 discovery call questions had a 74% success rate — considerably higher than the other reps that asked fewer or more questions. This graph illustrates this trend perfectly. 

Finding the Sweet Spot

According to this study, the trick is to ask enough questions so SaaS salespeople can figure out a lead’s precise pain points, needs, goals, and so on. This is what allows reps to not only optimize their offerings so they’re perfectly tailored to each lead, but also helps them build trust and rapport along the way. But at the same time, SaaS salespeople don’t want to ask too many questions because that can create friction as well. 

Looking at this data, it’s clear that 11-14 questions is the sweet spot. 

“Less than that and your discovery call may not be robust enough,” writes Orlob. “More than that, and it will likely start to feel like an interrogation, rather than a natural conversation.”

Asking the Right Discovery Call Questions

But there’s something very important I need to point out. Having successful discovery calls isn’t just about asking 11-14 questions. It’s about SaaS salespeople asking the right questions. 

Or as Orlob puts it, “Asking a generic line of questioning is likely to get you kicked in the teeth. Your best bet for discovery call success is asking questions about key business problems or goals the customer is trying to solve.”

Specificity is critical here. And as I mentioned earlier, the questions a rep asks need to focus on a lead’s unique needs, pain points, challenges, and goals. 

Here are some examples of questions one of our reps might ask at HireDNA when attempting to identify the needs of a lead who needs help with their technology sales recruiting:

  • What are some areas you’re currently struggling at with your recruiting?
  • What are some of the core competencies you look at when hiring reps?
  • What percentage of reps currently hit their sales quota? What number would you like to be at?
  • What’s your current salesperson retention rate? How much higher would you like that to be?

Notice how all of these questions are designed to instantly get the ball rolling so we can identify key business problems/goals and gain a solid understanding of the lead. This brings me to my final point. 

Getting Leads Talking

There’s one final piece of the puzzle I need to mention. You want your reps to get leads talking and encourage them to give long responses — not merely yes or no answers. Why?

Getting leads to talk interrupted for a long period correlates to a thorough response. That way SaaS salespeople can really wrap their head around the situation, which ultimately means they can optimize their offerings and increase their chances of closing the deal. 

Orlob mentions some specific ways to phrase questions to encourage a long response:

  • “Can you help me understand…”
  • “Can you walk me through…”
  • “Talk to me about…”

Let’s Recap

These days leads aren’t receptive to pushy, aggressive sales tactics. Rather, they prefer dealing with reps that take the role of a trusted advisor and base their offerings on the lead’s unique needs, pain points, and goals. 

In other words, SaaS salespeople need to be adept at creating meaningful dialogue, which is illustrated by this graph that highlights the question frequency used by top performers versus average ones. 

One of the best ways to do this is by asking the right number of questions during discovery calls — 11-14 to be exact, as this is considered the sweet spot and what yields the highest success rate. 

Besides hitting the right number of questions, reps also need to ask the right questions involving key business problems or goals the lead is trying to solve and using phrases to get leads talking. By following this formula, it helps reps fire on cylinders, allowing them to quickly establish trust, figure out what solutions to offer, and ultimately convert. 

Looking to assemble a team of ultra talented SaaS salespeople? Find out how HireDNA can help you do this by using cutting-edge technology to source top talent using intelligent matching and science-based assessments. HireDNA can cut your hiring time in half and eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes. 

88% of Leads Buy When a Salesperson Assumes the Role of Trusted Advisor: How to Capitalize on This Stat

There are certain professions that people are inherently wary of. Car salesmen, real estate agents, and lawyers are just a few that come to mind. 

But it turns out that there’s also a growing distrust of salespeople these days. One study found that just 32% of buyers view sales as a “trustworthy profession,” while another study says only a paltry 3% consider salespeople to be trustworthy. 

Whatever data you go by, there’s clearly a negative perception of salespeople and something they need to overcome. So, how exactly can they go about that?

It’s simple. Assume the role of a “trusted advisor.” 

An Age of Unprecedented Customer Empowerment

We live in a new era where people are more empowered than ever when it comes to making purchases — something that’s largely due to the internet. Having access to an unending supply of information where buyers can search for literally anything in seconds means they’re highly informed.

Or as Gigi Peccolo, Content Manager of conversational AI platform OneReach, puts it, “The information gap between companies and customers is slowly being closed as the empowered learn what they’re capable of. It’s no longer a monopoly, it’s a duopoly, and it’s shifting in customers’ favor.”

This means most people have very little patience for fast talking, back slapping salespeople trying to separate them from their money. And if they sense the least bit of dishonesty or sleaziness, they’re quick to walk away and look elsewhere. That’s especially true for B2B buyers who often have a strong familiarity with inside sales tactics that your average consumer does not. 

Closing the Trust Gap

And this collective distrust of salespeople is a big problem. Without a basic sense of trust, you can’t even expect B2B buyers to listen to a sales pitch, let alone make a major purchase that could potentially make or break their company. No matter how rock solid your sales funnel is, it’s going to be an uphill battle if you can’t close the trust gap. 

The key to doing this is to modify your approach where instead of your team taking the role of traditional salespeople, they instead strive to be trusted advisors. Considering that 88% of people are only willing to buy when they view a salesperson as a trusted advisor, this can be your ticket to not just getting immediate sales, but paving the way for repeat business as well as referrals.

In fact, “79% of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor — not just a sales rep — who adds value to their business.”

How to Make the Shift to Trusted Advisor

For starters, it requires that your sales team collectively adopts a different mindset than what they’re probably used to in terms of interacting with buyers. And the key to doing that is having your salespeople treat it like they’re merely helping leads find the right solution and supplying them with information to make an informed choice rather than straight up “selling.”

Sean Callahan, Senior Manager of Content Marketing at LinkedIn, says it well with this quote. “People need to feel like they’re making an informed decision about a purchase without background sales pressure. Don’t think of it as selling: think of it as providing the information, benefits, and value so the customer can sell themselves.”

In other words, it’s about shifting from sales to solutions. That should be the initial catalyst for making the transition. 

Develop the Core Qualities of a Trusted Advisor

Next, your salespeople need to focus on developing the core qualities that B2B are seeking.

These include:

  • Fully researching each buyer to understand their industry, needs, pain points, goals, etc.
  • Demonstrating competency by knowing the ins and outs of different product solutions and how they relate to the buyer’s specific needs 
  • Improving question asking skills to show genuine interest in a buyer’s business and provide the optimal level of service
  • Being transparent and honest every step of the way during interactions
  • Acting with integrity and not offering products a buyer doesn’t truly need
  • Keeping a collaborative tone with buyers, letting them know the salesperson is working to come up with the best possible solutions 
  • Developing real chemistry with the buyer and striving to achieve a certain sense of “likability”

Follow a Customer Focused Problem Solving Process

Finally, there’s a particular problem solving process that Nick Frank, Managing Partner at Si2 Partners outlines that is helpful for achieving the role of trusted advisor. 

It involves six steps, which break down as follows:

It’s all about identifying what each individual buyer’s unique pain point is, figuring out what’s causing the problem, and determining what specific product your company offers that can solve it. From there, it’s a matter of implementing the solution and maintaining close contact afterward to ensure everything goes smoothly and addressing any issues that may arise.

It’s not about shoving some random product down a buyer’s throat and leaving them on their own after that. Rather, a salesperson should act as a buyer’s own personal advisor who sticks with them every step of the way. 

Appealing to 88% of Leads

We’re living in a new age where old school, and quite frankly raunchy sales tactics that are ultra aggressive no longer cut it. The vast majority of B2B buyers are not only unreceptive to this type of approach, they’re completely turned off of it. And most can sniff out any sleaziness from a mile away. 

But what they are receptive to is dealing with salespeople who they view as trusted advisors. Helping your sales team transition to this role is critical moving forward and can be instrumental in converting more leads and generating bigger profits. 

Looking to hire top sales talent who “get it?” HireDNA can help you do that while using powerful recruiting technology and science-based sales assessments to eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes. Get your demo today