The Power of Playing Devil’s Advocate

No matter what industry you sell to, the decision-makers involved no doubt have reasons why they don’t want to buy your software or sign up for your SaaS offering. In all your business communications, you have a choice: do you minimize those objections, or face them head-on?

Strong copy on your website and in your brochures, postcards, case studies, and other marketing materials can shorten your sales cycle, prime people who contact you, and make them more likely to buy from you. If your copy isn’t pulling sales as frequently as you’d like it to, one reason may be that you’re not really speaking to your prospect’s objections. Address them fearlessly, and you’re very likely to improve your results. Here are a few common techniques for objections you might face.

It’s too expensive. Is that really true? It’s possible that your competitors are charging less up front, but their maintenance and licensing costs are higher in the long term. If this is a major objection your customers are bringing up, research not only the up-front costs of your competitors, but implementation costs or licensing fees, or other costs that add up over a long period of time. It’s possible your software costs more because it offers more functionality, with fewer long-term costs—and you’ll need to demonstrate that clearly in your copy.

You’re an unknown quantity. No matter how good your offering is, it’s tough to break in when you’re new. Especially in certain B2B software sectors, it’s not unusual for a few established market leaders to dominate the market. Add to that a lot of risk-averse prospects, and you get a tough challenge when it comes to software sales. If that’s the case, look for ways you can build credibility in all your marketing materials—through case studies, customer testimonials, publications in trade magazines, writing of e-books and hardcopy books, guest posts on well-regarded industry blogs—there are dozens of ways to do this.

If applicable, you can also emphasize the number of years you and your employees or colleagues have been in business—your company might be two years old, but if you’ve been in the industry for 20 years, that adds credibility.

They aren’t the only decision-maker. B2B software marketers and salespeople have to convince several different players in the decision-making process. When this is the case, it can be helpful to develop different content for different decision-makers—each one addressing that person’s concerns. The CFO may be more concerned with financial return on investment, for example, while a production manager will care about whether your solution builds capacity, and the marketing manager cares about how your solution can be sold to prospects. Know who you need to convince in your target companies—and what it will take to convince them.

It’s too hard to switch. Maybe there’s a belief that transitioning to your product or service will be too time-consuming and costly, or will require a lot of staff training to get everyone up to speed. If that’s the case, demonstrate how the opposite is true. Showcase the experts you have on hand to facilitate the process and the additional training you provide, and reassure your prospect that the transition will involve no interruptions in their business or work. Back that up with plenty of emphasis on how your software generates value in a variety of ways—so they can see clearly that the transition is worth it.

There are plenty of objections you might run into in selling software. This list is a starting point; interview prospects and clients to find out what the major objections are in your industry, and make sure

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