So you’ve got a fantastic product, you’ve identified a customer that could get real value from it, you know they have a genuine need for your product; but they don’t want to disrupt the status quo. They would rather continue to use a competitor’s product than switch to a better solution.

This is a common issue for cloud technology companies with new SaaS products. Why would anyone go to a new supplier, initiate a procurement process, upset established relationships, and generally give themselves more work and stress if they can avoid it? Even when you can demonstrate better ROI, significant savings, or increased performance than the current incumbents, many decision makers would prefer to stick with who they’re with.

Moreover, in most cases there will be several parties involved in the buying process. So even when you have sponsorship from a key stakeholder, there will be others involved who don’t want rock the boat.

Let Your Competitors Do The Selling!

Should you just walk away? Not necessarily. One of the advantages of selling to a customer who has a solution already in place is that someone else has already proven its value. They’ve done the groundwork and got the buyer to acknowledge that they have a requirement, persuading them to invest in the solution, and that customer is presumably getting some ROI and sees value in continuing the relationship.

Therefore they are nicely warmed up to your product.

Here’s the opportunity. Those decision makers don’t want to be told they’ve made a bad decision by signing up with your competitor. But they will be interested in how they can take the next step and do more to improve on the ROI they’ve already got. Ideally they will want to do that with their current supplier, but if that supplier isn’t delivering on this there’s an opportunity to get your foot in the door.

So perhaps a better approach is not to say “you should have come to us from the start” and therefore get everyone’s backs up, but instead to say “if you want to get more from your [product] solution, here’s how.”

Another important opportunity you have is to target each individual decision maker addressing his or her specific requirements and friction points both in respect to their existing solution and your product. For example, a major friction point for end users will be implementing the new solution, and learning how to use it. They may have issues with the current solution – ones that you also need to identify – but the disruption caused by replacing it with a new product is a common reason for not buying. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate how the improved benefits of your product will outweigh any implementation or on boarding concerns.

5 Steps To Persuade Customers To Switch

Research is of course the key to understanding what challenges buyers have, what their priorities are, what solutions they’re receptive to and what will make them pay attention to you.

Here’s how I’ve been approaching this challenge, if you’ve got any good ideas to make this more efficient and successful please let me know!

#1: Identify the SaaS products they’re using

You may be able to take a wild guess that the prospect is using a well known product and use that as your benchmark for differentiating your solution, but there are ways to find out exactly what they’re using. Tools like Datanyze Insider can identify which companies are using a competitor’s software, with this information you can design product marketing campaigns specifically targeted at those prospects.

#2: Understand your competitor’s value proposition

You’ll also need to know what key factors sold that product to the prospect. Conduct a detailed analysis of competitor’s products, and their sales and product marketing content to understand where the opportunities are to differentiate your product and add value through your solution.

#3: Create buyer personas for key decision makers

Consider each stakeholder in a prospective sale and why they said ‘yes’ to your competitor’s product. What was their buying criteria, what compromises did they make to allow the deal to close, what aspects of the product may be meeting their expectations, and what aspects are not?

With the above information you can differentiate your product against a competitor’s; and create highly targeted product marketing content that will encourage decision makers to explore your solution.

Knowing what triggers and friction points each decision maker has allows you to respond to these as the sale progresses. We created a Buyer-Centric Sales Cheat Sheet that explores this in more detail, identifying how you can align your sales process very specifically with each individual and provide the right content at each stage of the process. You can get your copy here.

Any thoughts? If you’ve got any ideas about booting out the old incumbents and getting buyers to switch please share in the comments!

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