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How to Sell Your SaaS Product to Pragmatists

By Ryan Law on Wed, Oct 14, 2015

We've looked at tactics for selling your SaaS product to the early market. Now, it's time to ramp-up your sales and marketing efforts, and take-on the real money making segments - starting with pragmatists.

Who Are Pragmatists?

Pragmatists represent the first segment of the mainstream market, and together with conservativesmake-up over two thirds of the entire market for your product.

Though technology enthusiasts and visionaries play an essential role in getting your product up-and-running, its the pragmatists that possess the real spending power - and their attitude to your product will play a crucial role in determining its success.

Unlike the market segments before them, pragmatists have a low tolerance for risk. They aren't looking to gamble their investment for a shot at a huge return: they're looking for a safe, predictable and achievable ROI.

Pragmatists are realists, and whilst (like visionaries) they're looking to gain an edge over their competitors, they'll look for your product to set achievable expectations. Those expectations need to be backed-up by a proven track record of performance - complete with case studies, testimonials and cold, hard data.

Thankfully, the difficulties of selling to pragmatists are offset by the benefits. At 34%, pragmatists make up a much larger portion of your market than either visionaries (13.5%) or technology enthusiasts (2.5%). With a proven track-record behind your product, it becomes easier to justify an increase in pricing, and pave the way for more profitable sales.

Pragmatists won't look to shape your product in the same way tech enthusiasts and visionaries will. Instead, they'll look for stable functionality and proven processes. Once they've committed to your product, their desire to get the most out of their investment will make it relatively easy to cross-sell and up-sell training and professional services.

What Do Pragmatists Care About?

Risk Minimisation

Whilst visionaries are willing to take big risks to earn big rewards, pragmatists are defined by risk aversion. Though they're looking to earn a decent return on investment, they want to do so in a safe and predictable way. They'll look for well-established businesses, scrutinise your predictions, and seek out testimonials and reviews. To earn their trust, and their business, it's essential to do everything possible to reduce the percieved risk of partnering with you.

Vendor Competition

In the eyes of a pragmatist, competition between vendors breeds stable, efficient businesses. Partnering with the sole business in an emerging marketplace creates unwanted risk for the pragmatist. Instead, they'll prefer to choose between multiple vendors in a competitive marketplace.

The Business Case

Whilst visionaries will be satisfied by a simple (and often optimistic) business case, pragmatists will want to drill-down into numbers, and assess the validity of your predictions. Cost/benefit analysis and complex ROI calculations play a significant part of the buying process - and without data to back-up your claims, the pragmatist simply won't take the risk. 

A Proven Track Record

Successfully partnering with other businesses demonstrates that you have the processes, resources and expertise to deliver on your promises. Pragmatists will need more than just a handful of case studies - they'll need to know that the businesses you've worked with are just like them, in terms of industry, ethos and size.

Ease of Use

Safety, security and stability are bywords of the pragmatist. Before committing to a SaaS product, they'll need to know that they can use it in an effective way - learning about your processes for rolling-out the software, scaling its use, and training their employees to use it.

How to Sell to Pragmatists

1) Highlight the Business Case

When it comes to attracting pragmatists, a solid business case is the best tool your SaaS product has in its arsenal. Accurate performance data, realistic predictions and achievable targets will help convince pragmatists of your ability to generate the low-risk return they're looking for; and the more information you have to back-up your claims, the better.

2) Develop Case Studies

Whilst both visionaries and pragmatists care about case studies, they'll look for them for different reasons. Visionaries care about stellar results and exponential growth, and case studies from a handful of early adopters will help them view your product as a chance to get ahead of the curve. In contrast, pragmatists will look for case studies that repeatedly show achievable, consistent growth, across a range of companies exactly like them.

3) Promote Social Proof

As well as case studies, other forms of social proof, like testimonials and reviews, play a powerful role in the pragmatist's buying process. In addition to integrating relevant testimonials into key parts of your website (like landing pages and pricing pages), review sites like G2 Crowd can be used to aggregate independent reviews. If you're lacking in social proof, get in touch with your customers, and offer them small incentives for leaving fair, unbiased reviews of your product.

4) Leverage Third-Party Reports

Pragmatists are the first market segment to place real stock in independent reports. By paying for inclusion in market research reports (like Gartner's 'Magic Quadrant'), you can increase the visibility of your product. Though these reports can be expensive to enter, doing so can offer powerful social proof of your business' size, stability and financial security.

5) Use Competitor Comparisons

Pragmatists are likely to shop around, and compare your product to its competitors. It's important to acknowledge this comparison, and even take ownership of it, by creating your own comparison tables and studies. Like HubSpot do with rivals Marketo, explicit comparisons allow you to frame your product in the best way possible - highlighting the strengths of your product, and the weaknesses of your rivals'.

Want to attract the right people to your SaaS product? Download our new eBook: Inbound Marketing for SaaS Directors.

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