The most potent weapon in sales is understanding a buyer's perception of time. As Mark Roberge wrote, “At HubSpot, this lacking sense of urgency is the number one objection we face in the sales funnel.” To succeed, SaaS startups’ sales teams must consistently create urgency in the sales process.
Time is scarce. Either the seller's time is scarce or the buyer's time is scarce. Understanding that scarcity and focusing the buyer on it is the key to repeatable sales.
Seller time scarcity works well when a sales team responds to inbound demand. The inbound customer is often in the considering or intend to buy parts of the sales funnel, and very close to purchase. Seller scarcity provides the final push. There are many forms of seller scarcity: offers good until a day, a limited number of units available at a particular price, 7 day trials and so on.
Buyer urgency presents a greater challenge. To trigger a feeling of urgency during an outbound sales call, a salesperson must obtain some information about a pressing business goal. When is the latest you need to X? is a probing question designed to find an urgent need within the business that justifies investing time with the salesperson.
In Mark's example from Hubspot, the buyer urgently needs to increase top of the funnel leads. In Looker's case, data teams urgently need to provide data to product managers and marketers and finance teams. Other times, sales teams sell an urgency to protect a business against a liability or insure the business against risk. Security companies like Duo Security seize this urgency to sell their products.
Faster sales cycles are a competitive advantage. Faster sales cycles enable companies to iterate their sales techniques more rapidly, evaluate sales people quicker, and test marketing effectiveness swiftly.
Most importantly, faster sales cycles mean speedy growth, which eases fundraising, hiring and brand building. For SaaS startups, finding product market fit is important, but developing urgency consistently within sales processes is equally critical.
The strategies that uncover time scarcity and focus the buyer on this urgency form the basis of great sales playbooks.