This is the third article in my 5 part series (introduced here). The series focuses on how your B2B SaaS business can increase revenue retention and expansion by integrating your Customer Success strategy with your Sales strategy.

I’m a big advocate of the ‘Give to Get’ concept in Sales: Asking prospects in a sales cycle to ‘give’ something in order to ‘get’ something from you, the vendor. Check out John Barrow‘s post on the concept here.

As a B2B SaaS business, I believe the most powerful ‘Give to Get’ scenario to master in your sales cycles is this:

Ask your prospects to GIVE their commitment to meet dependencies you will have on them to GET them the Value-based Outcomes they desire as customers.

Without securing a prospect’s agreement to meet such dependencies, you risk acquiring a customer that is at high risk of churn from day 1 of their subscription and is unlikely to expand.

Don’t Just Ask For The Sale

Simply giving prospects what they ask for in the hope that they will get the sale is how many Sales teams waste time and resources in sales cycles.

“You’d like to get a 3rd product demo and then you’ll give us access to someone who can actually make a decision? Why of course, let me check the availability of my presales resource.”

Reversing this dynamic will not only speed up your sales cycles and increase opportunity conversion.

It will also enable your teams to more effectively qualify prospects against your Ideal Customer Profile (see my last article) and ensure that they align with the Value-based Outcomes you will prescribe to them (see the first article in this series).

You’d like to get a free 30 day trial? Yes, we can enable that. First, we’ll need a call with your decision makers to establish and sign off a success criteria for the trial that, if met, will result in an investment decision.”

The design of the success criteria for the trial not only serves as sales closer but can also be used to kick-start the customer onboarding process, if not complete it entirely.

This, in turn, accelerates this new customer’s time to first value…that WOW moment which sets the customer up nicely on the path to value-based adoption and so retention and expansion.

No Need To Be Scared

Most Sales teams that I’ve worked with have had a conscious bias against asking prospects to give. There is a fear of asking for time, commitments or simply information for anything that either the prospect hadn’t already requested or that, in the sales person’s mind, didn’t at least directly link to closing the sale.

  • Asking a prospect to commit 60 minutes for a demo the prospect had already asked for – no problem!
  • Asking a prospect how many people would be using the product and in what roles in order to provide pricing the prospect had already asked for – no problem!
  • Asking a prospect for ‘the business’ after the prospect has run out of things to ask for – no problem…after some coaching/encouragement/pressure from the sales leader.

Asking a prospect…

  • …to provide detailed insight into their current state…
  • …to work with you to create and sign off a quantified baseline for their current state against which the value/ROI of your product will be measured for the next year…
  • (and ultimately)…to commit to meeting each dependency assigned to their team in your Adoption Plan for them..

…no way!

This maybe an overly simplistic and harsh portrayal of how your sales team manages their sales cycles. However, the bias in your sales team against securing a prospect’s time and commitment to meet dependencies held by your Customer Success strategy is very real.

This bias is driven by a fear of ‘upsetting’ the prospect and losing the sale. Or, at least, over-complicating or lengthening the sales cycle. This fear is simply irrational in the age of the self-educated B2B buyer.

Whether selling your SaaS solution to SMB or Enterprise, your prospects either expect and/or will value a Sales team that doesn’t simply attempt to sell but also seeks to work with them to plan a journey through which they can realize measurable recurring value as a customer.

This journey planning should include giving the prospect clarity on the dependencies they own and getting their commitment to meet these dependencies.

This motion will help de-risk the investment decision for the prospect and therefore actually INCREASE the likelihood of a win, INCREASE the likelihood of the prospect making a larger upfront investment and DECREASE the sale cycle duration…

…oh, and increase the odds of retaining and expanding that new customer across their lifetime.


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