Due to surprising technological advances, we see more and more companies that want or are trying to provide services with a fully self-service sale.
Just to clarify, a self-service sale happens when a user accesses a website, for example, and is already able to contract a monthly or annual plan for the service they want.
We are constantly seeing growth of sophisticated chatbots, animated videos, mega descriptions, tryouts and websites in the most diverse formats.
The sale of self-service services can have a series of benefits and great monthly income generation without requiring much effort and investment.
However, in my view, self-service should not be the main selling method. Especially for the B2B market, sellers will always be needed.
The greater the number of self-service sales in your company, you can be sure, the greater the distance from your customer.
I will describe here some negative points of a self-service sale. Let’s go?
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- Impossibility to generate value
- Long-term “blindness”
- The trial version of SaaS software
- Unpredictability and lack of control in the process
- So how to sell services?
Impossibility to generate value
This distance between the company and the customer is extremely dangerous.
The more complicated the purchasing process and the higher the implementation cost, the more value must be generated during the process for the closing to take place.
If there is no salesperson to generate the value that the customer should see in a consultative sale, for example, the sale will often be impossible.
This can vary a lot, but when selling at a low average ticket, the focus is usually on attacking small businesses. For a higher average ticket, generally, the focus is on medium and large companies.
For small companies, even purchasing a low-medium ticket service, this amount to be invested represents a high investment value for their reality.
How can a small business purchase service through self-service without having the guidance of a salesperson demonstrating that they can really help?
I believe it is very difficult for small businesses to commit a monthly fee for a service they don’t trust.
Of course, there are some exceptions, especially when the service is already extremely well known in the market or if there is only one option as a solution to a certain problem.
For medium and large companies, self-service generates another type of problem.
The purchase process of these companies usually involves more people and sectors, which makes a self-service sale practically impossible.
To generate value and demonstrate the service, in a way that meets the requirements of all sectors and people involved in the purchase process, a consultative sale is necessary.
In the long run, services that sell themselves may not keep up with market trends or changes in the real needs of your potential customers.
In the absence of a closer contact in pre-sales, with active prospecting and consultative sales, in sales or after-sales, how can companies keep up with changes in the market or in their customers’ scenario?
It goes without saying what happens when you close your eyes to trends.
Without constant contact with your customers, how can you effectively identify what prompted a customer to buy or not buy?
Here comes a little bit of the concept of Sales Engagement. You must keep your customer and salesperson engaged throughout the entire sales process.
Only in this way is it possible to identify the positive or negative points in your process and in your product or service, in order to optimize them even more.
The trial version of SaaS software
Many say that the trial version is essential in SaaS software sales, but I believe this is a “shot in the foot”.
In most occasions, the potential customer performs this trial test for a certain period alone, without proper monitoring by the supplier company.
In addition to extending your sales cycle, this testing time can even cause the lead not to close with you.
Due to lack of guidance, the potential customer did not get a good experience with your product during the trial period, did not understand how the service could help or did not take the time necessary to understand the maximum potential of your product.
Again, if he didn’t see value while using your product, a salesperson is unlikely to succeed in trying to convince him that it works.
Unpredictability and lack of control in the process
Whether in a self-service sale or not, a big mistake in service sales is the lack of a long-term contract.
A sale that only requires a plan with monthly renewals is tempting because it has less friction and flows more easily.
Who doesn’t want to sell more easily, right?
Wrong! Choosing the easiest path to closure by being too flexible can take your business one step forward and many others back.
When you don’t sell with long-term contracts, in addition to leaving “more money on the table”, you easily lose, once again, the proximity to your customer.
This makes it much more difficult to understand what your customer cares about and what are the real challenges he faces, generating an uncontrolled churn.
Trust me, churn is an invisible parasite that can wipe out a business.
With long contracts, you have long and lasting relationships and more and more customers.
Thus, you discover the real needs and manage to solve them, reducing your churn and increasing customer confidence in your company and in your solution.
So how to sell services?
In my view, whether by inbound or outbound marketing, most of the sales of service cannot be through self-service.
To sell a service you must have a good web and market presence.
As I said, some SaaS can sell themselves, but they are already well known. Your leads know exactly what problem they solve.
Now, if that’s not your scenario, how do you sell services?
Active prospecting and a well-targeted sales force is essential to generate the needed value.
Service is a type of “product” based on a long-term partnership that benefits both sides, generating value and results.
If your lead does not see this, if no one is there to teach and accompany you, it will be difficult for him to understand the benefits and the need for this partnership.
Engage your salespeople in the process so that they generate value and meet the needs of leads and potential customers, generate the necessary visibility and follow the direction and desires of the market; that’s the secret.