In an age where SaaS investments demand solid evidence over mere assurances, Hayden E. Stafford, chief revenue officer at Seismic, a prominent sales enablement firm, explores a shifting paradigm in client decision-making.
Stafford unravels the evolving landscape of data-driven decision-making in a business environment marked by economic unpredictability.
In an era marked by economic volatility, businesses are demanding more than promises when investing in software as a service (SaaS). This means they now seek hard evidence of return on investment (ROI) before making critical decisions.
As the chief revenue officer (CRO) of a prominent sales enablement firm, I’ve witnessed a transformation in how clients approach SaaS solutions. This article will explore the pivotal role of technology in addressing this challenge. We’ll delve into data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation as tools that empower businesses to measure and validate the true impact of SaaS.
A shift in decision-making
So far, businesses’ decisions to extend their technology stack and purchase new tools was largely driven by conversations that were held with the respective companies behind the tools. During these conversations, promises were made, some data was shared and decisions were made based largely on trust. Fast forward to a post-pandemic, highly unpredictable environment – trust on its own does not win deals anymore and businesses are demanding more hard evidence to guide their decisions.
This is largely due to the changing client expectations, which have shifted significantly in recent years. There is now much more demand for personalisation and recent research by McKinsey shows that 71 per cent of buyers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions, and 76 per cent get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
This shift in perspective has been accelerated by economic uncertainty, which has heightened the need for informed choices in every aspect of business operations. Clients have evolved from being satisfied with promises to seeking concrete data-driven proof.
The power of data analytics
Data analytics play a pivotal role in this transformation. They enable businesses to harness the power of data for decision-making, so by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and scrutinising user data, companies can measure the actual impact of SaaS solutions on their bottom line. This is also why we are starting to see the numbers of data analysts in our client conversations increase. Real-world case studies demonstrate how successful ROI validation through data analytics is achievable.
During a recent conversation with one of our buyers, we actually experienced this first hand. We had progressed to a stage in the deal cycle where we were gaining confidence that we were able to close it, and at that moment, we were told that the prospect would not agree to purchasing new technology without proving ROI directly with them.
What this meant was that, in a way, we were reversing our typical process. Instead of getting a deal signed, onboarding the customer and then proving the ROI to them – we started by proving the ROI, without having any confirmation that the deal would actually happen.
A huge benefit here was our data analytics overlaying with the prospective buyer’s internal data, which in turn helped the buyer make more informed decisions and more precise predictions, A/B testing and proving value before committing to a multi-year contract.
The role of artificial intelligence
Another important factor and recent game changer in the SaaS space is artificial intelligence (AI). It automates data analysis and thereby enables predictive analytics, helping businesses more accurately forecast future ROI.
AI is revolutionising the workspace and beyond by breaking down traditional siloes, creating an environment where data-driven insights and algorithms empower customers to make better decisions. AI-driven personalisation and insights have the power to enhance user experiences, making SaaS solutions increasingly more valuable.
Automation is revolutionising SaaS by eliminating manual tasks, streamlining processes, and reducing human error. This not only enhances efficiency but also drives down expenses. Measuring the impact of automation in SaaS solutions allows companies to quantify the ROI of this technological advancement.
With Seismic, for example, automation is deeply embedded into our platform, helping with tasks such as taking notes, practicing for a client call or simply finding the right content to share. Our built-in AI engine, Aura, is able to suggest content based on recent interactions with a client, making sure that personalisation occurs at the highest level. Using data analytics, sales reps are then able to get insights that predict which content would resonate with clients and which wouldn’t – even down to the slide level.
Technology as the saviour of businesses
The confluence of data analytics, AI, and automation creates a holistic solution that empowers businesses to validate ROI in SaaS investments. Technology provides the tools needed for informed decisions, making it the savior of organisations amidst economic volatility. Embracing data, AI, and automation in SaaS investments sets the stage for long-term success for both the customer and their trusted tech partners.
In an era where promises are no longer enough, technology has emerged as the key to validating ROI in SaaS investments. By championing data analytics, AI, and automation, businesses can measure the true impact of SaaS solutions. This technological revolution empowers companies to make informed decisions, ultimately securing a brighter future for SaaS investments.
As we move forward, the importance of technology in the SaaS era cannot be overstated; it is the bridge between promises and proof, the beacon of clarity in turbulent economic waters.