Many SaaS marketers find themselves facing a rather confusing problem. Leads keep booking onto sales calls - and yet they’re a poor fit for the software.
Why does this happen?
When you’re getting low-quality leads - and struggling to fill your pipeline - the root cause could be in your website’s messaging. After all, your website is the most important touch-point in a B2B customer’s journey. The messaging can therefore make or break your sale.
Now, you might already have your website’s bases covered. You’re talking about your benefits, mentioning your value prop, using customer reviews, etc.
But you could be losing prospects who hold internal anxieties and concerns about your SaaS. When your website doesn’t address such worries, the prospect’s doubts may win the internal tug-of-war.
So to reduce these anxieties, your website messaging should help them overcome ‘conversion obstacles’ that hinder them from signing up.
This can help increase your chances of converting more prospects.
Ultimately, your messaging should make it easy for B2B prospects to defend your SaaS in team arguments.
In this article, I’ll cover conversion obstacles that prevent your prospects from converting, looking deeper at solutions to:
- Your SaaS not being a priority causing low motivation in prospects,
- Overwhelming prospects when onboarding,
- Uncertainty about how safe and secure your SaaS is,
- Prospects feeling overwhelmed to get SaaS buy-in,
- Uncertainty on whether your SaaS is meeting business needs,
- Confusion over why prospects should choose you, not a competitor,
- Pricing your SaaS too high for your target audience,
- And uninformed messaging strategies.
Which conversion obstacles prevent your prospects from converting?
You can learn the anxieties prospects have by reviewing transcripts from your demos, sales calls, chatbots, and customer support conversations.
You can also ask your sales team to reveal which objections commonly come up, based on their own observations.
But the question is: how exactly do you overcome these objections in your messaging?
CRO expert Joanna Wiebe recommends that you conduct ‘Obstacle Interviews’ to find out exactly how current users overcame their obstacles.
For example, a user might have believed that ‘your SaaS won’t work for our business.’ They may have overcome this worry by reading case studies that convinced them of your value.
Here’s another example: your user might’ve ‘forgotten they needed your software’. They may have overcome this obstacle by seeing your retargeting ad.
Learning this information can help you discover effective marketing methods that help reduce anxieties - so you can prioritize conversion-boosting tactics.
But some methods are less obvious.
Let’s review common SaaS objections that your prospects might have. As well as the solutions that could work for you:
Prospects feel low motivation - your SaaS isn’t a major priority
Competing priorities can commonly happen in B2B when ideas and concerns seem scattered across teams. In such situations, your messaging has a tough job: it needs to turn low motivation into high motivation.
Luckily, neuroscientific findings have consistently shown what tends to motivate humans: our problems.
In a scientific paper, the behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman observed that we tend to perceive losses more significantly than gains:
“A good is worth more when it is considered as something that could be lost or given up than when it is evaluated as a potential gain.”
So we don’t like to lose things more than we like to gain things - which is a persuasive principle known as loss aversion. This is corroborated in an analysis of 3,000,000+ demo calls by Gong.io - who found that the most successful sales calls don’t just rely on benefits, but also use loss-aversion.
The problem is that your B2B decision-makers tend to have completely different concerns from your end-users.
So it's time to strategize. Which pain points do decision-makers tend to feel that can be linked back to your solution?
You might choose claims like ‘save money’ and ‘save time’. But as direct response Copywriter Amy Posner tells me, such statements have become overused and now feel like ‘white noise for the brain’.
So it’s time to dig deeper. Which specific concerns do your executive prospects have?
Case study: how to convert decision-makers using messaging
In 2017, the start-up Gitprime (now Flow by Pluralsight) was still a new tool in their market. Their software helped measure business and productivity for software engineering teams.
But they faced a significant issue: the engineering market had what legendary Copywriter Eugene Shwartz calls a ‘low sophistication’ for Gitprime’s value prop. These prospects didn’t know such software existed.
The founders decided to hire the team at Copyhackers to create high-converting website messaging. Copyhackers soon realized that there was another issue: Gitprime solves engineering problems that execs tend not to notice.
So during the research phase, the Copyhackers team asked themselves: ‘which problems are decision-makers aware of that can be tied back to Gitprime’s engineering prop?’.
To find out the answers - and gather Voice-of-Customer (VoC) data - they analyzed Gitprime’s demo calls, sales recordings and also held interviews with the Gitprime team.
Here is the final copy (informed by VoC) on Gitprime’s product page, aimed at executives:
Notice how the copy brings these internal problems to the execs’ attention - by focusing on what execs actually care about. These concerns include: making organizational decisions, prioritizing innovation, and (shock horror) being ‘outpaced by agile start ups’.
These eye-opening statements can alert execs into taking action, rather than delaying booking a demo. After all, a feeling of urgency is considered one of the seven principles of persuasion. Remember that a common obstacle many of your prospects will face is inertia/inaction.
The Copyhackers team also used a very direct and authoritative tone-of-voice. Rather than using general statements like ‘we solve engineering measurement problems’, the copy is incredibly specific with its points. Specificity is another important key to creating high-converting messaging.
So what were the actual results?
With help from the new messaging, Gitprime saw a 200% increase in demo sign-ups on their website. The new copy helped prospects overcome their conversion obstacles – by using VoC and increasing the reader’s motivation.
You can also increase motivation by reminding your prospects of the troubles with their current solution
At this very moment, many of your prospects will be relying on an alternative solution to solve their problems. Your best prospects will be experiencing certain struggles with this solution - thereby feeling frustrated.
Such difficulties are known as the ‘Pushes of the Now’, according to the Jobs-to-be-done methodology, which propels the prospect to consider switching to your SaaS.
These curious prospects might visit your website to see whether your solution will save them from such frustrations. They may wonder: will you let them down too? Or can you finally be the escape from their struggles?
Here’s how you can handle switching-oriented messaging.
Proposify contrast their value against their prospects’ current proposal solution - in a tongue-in-cheek manner:
This ‘before and after’ style can be effective at increasing your web conversions. Why does it work? Because this tactic taps into a cognitive bias known as the Contrast Effect.
In fact, when Gong.io conducted their sales call analysis they found that before and after stories tend to be more successful than claims of ROI. The latter can arouse more skepticism, whereas our brains seem to innately enjoy before and after stories more (when used effectively).
Observe how ProfitWell uses the Contrast Effect to compare their prospects’ current pain points with the possibility of happiness and success:
This contrast helps to put the prospects’ current pains at the forefront of their minds. The copy creates a narrative: the prospect is losing money today, but can finally put an end to these losses - when they sign-up for ProfitWell.
Such a simple comparison can help spur the prospect into action.
What about when prospects don’t care about less exciting SaaS features?
Let’s admit the truth: some SaaS features are considered to be just plain boring to prospects. Your sales team will observe this nonchalance during calls early in the customer’s journey - mentioning these features results in a lack of enthusiasm from prospects.
This can create a conundrum for you. Your website needs to describe all of your features, even the supposedly ‘unexciting’ ones. But you don’t want to risk losing your prospect’s interest.
Let’s see how Proposify handles this.
Their notifications and reminders features may sound boring - that is until they frame the features in a way that’s relevant to the prospect’s concerns.
Here, Proposify taps into the persuasive principle of loss aversion. Sales teams want to know how their leads are progressing with the sales deal - so Proposify frames the notification feature as a problem-solver.
ActiveCampaign takes a similar approach:
They didn’t frame the contact management feature as ‘creating more leads’ - instead, ActiveCampaign’s messaging speaks about not losing another sales contact. As we know, our irrational brains process the loss of something valuable as more important than gaining something valuable.
This tactic can therefore help increase the uncertain prospect’s motivation - so they’re more likely to sign-up for a free trial or book a demo.
You might consider how you can use more loss-oriented copy in your website, rather than solely speaking about gains.
Your prospects feel overwhelmed by the work to set your SaaS up
Prospects are often skeptical of your messaging. Especially about secret costs you may be hiding - like training time, onboarding, and adoption. These are known as ‘labor costs’.
Let’s look at some B2B VoC data. When a Dutch financial SaaS was considering signing up for Hotjar, they felt worried and suspicious about any hidden costs that Hotjar could be hiding:
“A lot of tools try to sell you on the low price. But they “forget” to tell you that implementing can cost more, in time and money, than most people think.’
“[Luckily] Hotjar was easy to implement, and it offered tremendous value for a great price.”
Even if your software is easy to implement and use - don’t expect such facts to be immediately obvious to your prospects. You might be the expert in your SaaS, but as UX research has found: prospects tend to have ‘fuzzy mental models’ of new solutions.
It’s the job of your website messaging to fill in these information gaps and help reduce any suspicion of hidden costs.
Help your prospect overcome their anxieties about onboarding
You’ll need to address these onboarding-related concerns directly. Here are some different ways you can go about this, like using social proof:
Reviews from your real customers can help reduce your prospect’s skepticism.
Another anxiety-relieving tactic, recommended by Copyhackers, is to use the phrase ‘even if… [insert the prospect's objection]’.
Just like ProfitWell does here:
You can also remind users of how you make their lives easier in other ways. Such as the annoyances your SaaS frees them from:
When prospects become too overwhelmed with anxieties, like setting your SaaS up, they can lose sight of the bigger picture. Reel them back in by focusing on the benefits.
Your CXO prospects are worried about how safe and secure your SaaS is
When C-level execs visit your website, they’re often on a fact-finding mission. They want to tick their boxes to say that yes, when they use your software their data will be safe.
In a study, researchers spent time with a big enterprise as they considered procuring certain cloud-based software. The researchers wanted to learn the prospect’s inner perspective - particularly their deepest worries.
Their findings were simple: the foremost concern for this big enterprise was ‘data locality and security’. The second biggest worry was ‘authentication & authorization’.
This confirms what we already know: safety and security is a major, conversion-blocking concerns. If you don’t address these concerns directly on your website, you could lose prospects.
Here are different ways that SaaS companies handle safety in their messaging:
Notice how Zoho uses its messaging to make the prospect feel in control:
Why is Zoho’s messaging effective? Because it induces feelings of confidence and optimism, which are among the four most persuasive emotions - as found in a B2B report analyzing decision-making in organizations. In fact, the report discovered that these positive emotions could increase your chance of winning business by 50%.
If you don’t want security concerns to detract from the rest of your copy, you can pop them in your FAQs
This tactic can help you expand on safety information in more depth - without having to use long blocks of text in your main website copy:
It’s also worth your while to remind prospects of how many other users have trusted your SaaS:
Your prospects feel overwhelmed by the work to get buy-in for your SaaS
Many SaaS prospects have been burnt before. They’ve used similar software to you but the time and effort didn’t pay off. So feelings of suspicion can be a major conversion obstacle for you to overcome.
If your prospects are worried about convincing their team, you should help them advocate for your solution.
You can do this by reminding them of current pains that are so intense, they’re willing to go through the procurement process just to be free of them. Consider using famous copywriting formulas like Problem, Agitation, Solution (P.A.S.) to create a smoother flow, like so:
You should also make it easy for prospects (who are passionate about your SaaS) to defend you in arguments. In Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook that Drives B2B Sales (2016), Samantha Stone advises tech teams to:
"Stop chasing the elusive CXO who really doesn’t care about your offering, and instead arm your [decision-making] champion with the tools they need to successfully build consensus internally, justify the change in their organization, and ultimately make a purchase."
Note that in her research into tech marketing, Samantha Stone found that 81% of non-C-suite employees influence purchasing decisions. Your messaging should therefore incite end-users and managers to feel confident about you - so they can advocate for your SaaS.
To boost the confidence of your advocates, help them defend you from ‘but what if…’ questions during internal arguments. First, you’ll need to know what kind of objections and misconceptions your prospects commonly face. Again, you can find these answers in your chatbot and sales transcripts.
Here’s how Qualaroo (customer feedback SaaS) stomps on one pertinent objection:
You should also distract your prospects’ attention away from short-term pains (like getting team buy-in and filling in contracts) by reminding them of long-term gains. Increase the believability of your claims by using real customer data, like so:
And rather than throwing numbers at your prospects, you can also unpack these data points by including customer quotes:
By highlighting your customers’ outcomes - as well as the data points - you can help your messaging become more memorable to your prospects.
Your prospects feel uncertain about whether your SaaS will work for their business needs
You might have heard this excuse a bunch of times - ‘I’m not sure if this is right for us at this moment’.
The solution is simple: help your prospect feel certain that your value can be adapted to their own needs.
For example, highlight the customizations your prospect can use within your SaaS. For Staffbase, it’s the ability to brand their newsletters:
Note that ideally, you shouldn’t don’t bury the mention of important points within your body copy, like in the above example.
Instead, emphasize your objection-stompers in your subheads - as most web visitors tend to scan copy rather than read meticulously (as found by UX research).
You might also want to ease any misconceptions about limitations to your software:
If your prospects are hesitant about your value and feel it won’t be right for their brand – convince them that you understand their concerns. For example, Lunchbox knows that its restaurateur prospects can often see marketing in their industry as ‘boring’ and forced. So here, Lunchbox handles this objection:
Good-quality leads can often have misconceptions about your SaaS. These misconceptions can drive them away from your website and cut you out of their shortlists.
But when you address these significant objections, you can increase the likelihood of them staying on your website and considering your SaaS. So you can soon convert them.
Your prospects don’t understand why they should choose you and not your competition
Differentiation statements are necessary. Your prospect needs to understand why they should pick you over the alternative options.
If you don’t make your differentiated value clear, your prospect may either reject you or come up with their own story. This made-up narrative could be wrong and based on misconceptions.
So let’s see how top marketers handle differentiation concerns.
When Conversion Rate Experts (CRE) optimized Crazy Egg’s homepage, they created much longer copy - which ended up increasing the page length by more than 20 times, compared to the original.
And the new homepage copy was effective - Crazy Egg’s conversion rates rose by 30%.
So what did CRE use all that copy to do?
- They showed how Crazy Egg compared against Google Analytics and Clicktale because prospects saw these tools as major competitors.
- They used more social proof like testimonials and a list of companies who used Crazy Egg, so they could gain trust.
- The homepage provided results of a college study, to make Crazy Egg’s value look more believable. At the time, Crazy Egg was a new solution in their category and the market was not very sophisticated when it came to heatmaps. So web visitors had a major objection - they didn't know why they should bother signing up.
Your messaging should also address any switching costs your prospects might face.
In the Jobs-to-be-done methodology, switching costs are known as your prospects’ ‘Anxieties & Habits of the Now’. After all, your prospects may be worried about any data or information that they lose when they switch from one solution to yours (their ‘data costs’).
That’s why ConvertKit - operating in a very oversaturated email market - points out that they have a ‘free concierge migration service’.
This can help relieve the anxieties of ConvertKit’s switching prospects - ‘phew, I won’t lose all my current email data’.
So how can your switching prospects enjoy a smoother and more seamless experience, when they sign-up? Can you ease your prospect’s concerns about ‘data costs’?
Your prospects think you’re too expensive
Your messaging should constantly justify your price, even on your pricing page. This is not the current trend in SaaS - most pricing pages tend to have minimal copy, like so:
But the SaaS Copywriter and Consultant Josh Garofalo points out something important. Many web visitors land on your homepage - then go straight to your pricing page. This happens even before they’ve viewed your feature pages (you can validate this claim by reviewing your user recordings and heatmaps).
“If you believe anyone who reaches your [SaaS] pricing page is 80% sold, you'll be lazy about whether and how you use social proof. [...] Instead, include social proof that talks about ROI (saved money, more money, saved time, etc.) around your pricing table. This "shrinks" [your] price.
“For example, SaaS costing $400/month might sound expensive, but what if you have testimonials [that claim your SaaS is] like having a full-time employee that never calls in sick, asks for a raise, or makes mistakes?”
Here, you can see an ROI-focused testimonial placed above OptinMonster’s pricing table:
This is a very strategic move that can help increase pricing page conversions.
Your messaging strategies should be informed by customer research
To handle objections, you need to dig through your research data to find out what the most common objections are.
Sure, it takes time to review data findings. But this is your chance to frame your prospect’s narrative in your favor - so they can convert.
Remember that each of your web pages has a different context and therefore, different potentials for objection handling. For example, the SaaS Copywriter (and Founder of Case Study Buddy) Joel Klettke tells me that ‘demo sign-up pages should be focused on reaffirming the [software’s] value and countering objections in as little space as possible’.
Elsewhere on your website, you have more room to handle objections. Your case studies could handle the anxieties that your prospects felt about buying into your SaaS (in the ‘Before’ state) as opposed to only focusing on relevant pain points.
When you cease to only talk about your value and instead allow your messaging to counter objections - you can finally help reduce your prospects’ anxieties. The kind of anxieties that stand as obstacles between you and the sale.
Handling objections helps your prospects become more confident about you. When their team isn't convinced about your value, your champion can create much more convincing arguments - because they actually know the answer to all these objections.
Thanks to you using strategic messaging, you helped control the narrative in your favor. This can help you increase conversions - so your sales team can close more deals.
Wanna learn more?
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