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8 Key Steps Of A Successful Sales Funnel For SaaS

saas sales funnel
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Want to establish a software as a service (SaaS) company? Understanding and implementing an effective sales funnel for SaaS for sustained growth is best. 

This marketing tool also guides potential customers through the sales process. This leads to higher conversion rates and increased monthly recurring revenue. 

Refer to this article if you plan to create a funnel for your SaaS business. It will explore the key components and how to optimize them for maximum impact.

What Is A SaaS Sales Funnel?

what is the saas sales funnel

A sales funnel for SaaS is also known as a SaaS conversion or marketing funnel. It is a step-by-step sales process that begins with creating brand awareness in your customers’ minds and continues to the purchase stage. 

If you work in the e-commerce business, you may know it concentrates on acquiring new clients through short promotional campaigns. 

However, the client acquisition process for SaaS needs a more complex strategy. Letting your customers know your product offers the best solution to their problems would be best. 

Your main objective is to gain the trust of your prospects when leading them through the sales cycle. You can achieve your goal via expertise demonstration, value communication, and engagement. 

Your users may hit many touchpoints on the purchase journey. Hence, how you treat them significantly influences the conversion. 

Understanding your SaaS marketing funnel enables you to identify gaps and determine the points at which prospects leave and don’t convert. 

To help you understand more about this concept, consider the example of a cloud-based project management tool. 

The top of the sales funnel may involve generating awareness via SEO, social media, and content marketing. 

Interested people who download a free funnel trial enter the middle of the marketing funnel. Your marketing team can encourage them via targeted emails, webinars, or customer testimonials. 

The bottom of the SaaS sales funnel is where new leads turn into customers through a tailored discount offer or final sales call. 

Each step in this sales funnel helps to convert potential customers into loyal ones and move them closer to purchase.

💡 Learn more: What Is A Sales Funnel? The Complete Guide

Why Is The Sales Funnel For SaaS Important? 

why sales funnel saas important
why the sales funnel for saas important

Here are the benefits of having an effective SaaS funnel: 

Connect with customers

The proper marketing funnel can help you relate and connect with your prospective clients. 

For instance, you can use your funnel to effectively identify the language to connect with new leads. After that, you can change your existing language based on your sales funnel metrics. 

Generate more sales

An optimized marketing funnel for SaaS can help you generate more sales. When you understand your ideal clients through your funnel, you can talk with them to reduce churn and enhance conversions. 

Make your SaaS company more outstanding 

Having a SaaS sales funnel makes your company stand out in the SaaS world. One of the problems that new SaaS companies experience is not knowing where to start. 

However, everything becomes more straightforward with a marketing funnel. With this tool, you can customize your business model. This way, meeting your customer’s expectations and needs is more effortless.

SaaS Sales Funnel  Stages

saas sales funnel stages

Most SaaS conversion funnels include four primary stages:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Exploration
  • Conversion

SaaS marketing funnels are typically based on conventional funnels for generating conversions. However, a successful sales and marketing funnel for SaaS has specific distinct characteristics. Retaining customers through the sales process is the most significant difference.

Keep reading to understand each stage before building a SaaS conversion funnel for your SaaS company!

Stage 1: Awareness

It’s the first stage of a SaaS sales funnel. Your prospects may ask many questions and look for information. At the awareness stage, they do not realize the issue entirely. So, they may not search for a particular solution yet. 

Your potential clients may visit your site from different channels at this stage. So, you must know how to grab their attention and increase brand awareness. 

You can achieve your goals using conventional marketing tactics, such as promoting content via paid ads or improving your SEO strategy. 

In addition, your company can strategically enhance brand awareness via UX/UI design. For example:

  • Combine consistent branding components (visual styles, color schemes, or typography) that suit your business’s brand identity. That way, your customers can realize and associate design styles with your brand. 
  • Show compelling and valuable content (tutorials, case studies, blog articles) in an accessible and eye-catching way. So you can attract and capture new leads.
  • Use memorable and unique design elements (interactive components, animations, illustrations) for a unique experience to increase brand recall.

Stage 2: Engagement

When visitors return to your site and get more content, they gradually move to the next stage of your funnel. 

At the entrance of this phase, you offer your leads free material or demo for them to download, and they need to provide their email addresses in return. 

When new customers sign up for a demo or get free material from your website, they want to know more about your product. It’s time to give them more information about your service or product to capture their interest and attract potential customers. 

This stage is the longest of the client acquisition process because your prospects must determine whether your company is trustworthy enough. In addition, they want to ensure that your product’s solution can address their problem. 

Here are some tips to optimize the engagement stage: 

  • Present information clearly and concisely so your potential customers quickly understand your SaaS’s essential features, value propositions, and benefits. 
  • Incorporate positive customer testimonials and social proof into your site’s interface to reinforce your product’s credibility. 
  • Use interactive elements (demos, product tours, clickable prototypes) to enable clients to interact with your product.

Stage 3: Exploration

According to professionals, you should focus on your product’s benefits and encourage your potential customer to purchase at this stage. 

You can showcase your SaaS’s unique selling proposition and answer client concerns to achieve that goal. Persuade prospective clients that your company offers the best solution to their issues. 

Furthermore, provide users with a free trial of your product. Their experience during the test phase impacts their decision making process to upgrade to a paying membership. So, you must pay more attention to user experience at this stage. 

You may most effectively and quickly demonstrate the value of your SaaS with a simple user onboarding process. Ensure you plan the onboarding carefully and effectively to offer options for customization. This lets your users personalize your product based on their needs and interests. 

Remember to remove obstacles and friction. Try to make your prospects recognize your SaaS can meet their needs.

Stage 4: Conversion

Selling a product is essential. However, it’s more crucial to retain your customers. Most SaaS companies rely on subscriptions, so securing recurring monthly income is necessary. 

Therefore, never focus on client acquisition. Instead, you should also pay attention to customer retention in your B2B SaaS sales strategy. 

Here are tips to improve customer retention:

  • Minimize form fields and reduce steps and unnecessary friction to create a smooth conversion process and increase the chances of customer retention.
  • Your SaaS should offer the best experience on diverse screen sizes to convert more clients who often use mobile devices. 
  • Incorporate communication channels and feedback mechanisms into your product to motivate prospects to seek assistance, report issues, and provide input. 
  • Optimize your SaaS’s checkout page to create a secure and smooth transaction. It ensures your clients finish subscriptions successfully.

How To Build A Sales Funnel For SaaS?

how to make sales funnel saas
How to make sales funnel for SaaS

There are some ways to create a SaaS sales funnel, but here is the most effective method you can apply for your company:

Step 1: Set Goals

identify goal

The first step is setting your goal. Most sales funnels focus on turning leads into long-term customers. 

However, you may find smaller goals while reaching the phase of conversion. The most important thing is that you never overlook these minor things. 

In your funnel, you can evaluate each stage through the quantity of sales, free trials, and app demos. In addition, you must determine the most suitable SaaS marketing funnel model for your product. 

You must set a clear path to effectively and timely achieve your primary goals. Many SaaS providers have decided to start collecting potential customers’ personal information. Then, choose a funnel model that suits their needs.

Step 2: Know Your Target Audience

know ideal customers

After setting specific goals and choosing a suitable funnel model, it’s time to determine your ideal audience in the target market to understand them more clearly. 

Why do you need to experience this step? Knowing your intended clients allows you to plan a funnel according to their preferences and needs. As a result, it’s easier to convert them into loyal customers. 

How do you identify your target customers? Consider analyzing your existing customers. Figure out who is the most profitable. Then, define their common characteristics, such as key pain points, demographics, and occupations. 

Besides, you can build customer personas, allowing you to know your ideal clients better. From that, it’s much easier to design personalized marketing messages to their requirements. 

Here are simple strategies to identify your ideal customers’ challenges and suggest solutions to solve their problems:

  • Surveys
  • Customer feedback
  • Social media trend and conversation analysis

Step 3: Map Out The Customer Journey

prospects journey

Identify the critical touchpoints where clients speak directly with your business throughout their purchase journey. The touchpoints may include sign-ups, website visits, purchases, trial activations, or landing page views. 

After identifying these things, visualize the stages your prospective customers take to design a customer journey map. This map helps you have an overview of the user experience. From that, you can figure out potential bottlenecks. 

After determining your target audience and mapping out the customer journeys, it’s time to think of the best marketing tactics to create brand awareness for your company. 

Ensure your ideal customers know your product’s features and benefits. From that, they realize how it solves their problems. 

You can achieve this goal through some methods, such as:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Off-page optimization (Facebook Ads, Google Ads)
  • Content marketing

Step 4: Create Your Website 

Start with creating a well-versed website or a straightforward landing page. It should present your main differentiators, value propositions, price plans, and product offerings. 

Remember to optimize your landing page’s loading speed and funnel performance to capture leads. Users may become irritated and leave your page if it loads slowly. 

Furthermore, compress images, execute compelling CTAs (call-to-actions), and minimize code. This way, your prospects can quickly move to the bottom of your SaaS sales funnel. 

In general, your landing page should have the following:

  • Must have a clear headline
  • Appealing offer
  • Solid CTAs

In addition, offer a valuable and accessible lead magnet, such as free downloadable guides or podcasts to entice website visitors. And a sales rep will contact them through email.

When your marketing qualified lead shows that they are interested in your product, offer them targeted content to nurture them. Consider communicating with them using digital marketing. 

Apply these methods for nurturing your leads:

  • Email sequence: Create automated emails to offer valuable and relevant content (white papers, case studies, blog posts).
  • Offering content to solve client’s pain points: Provide a video, blog post, or webinar to build trust with your prospects. 
  • Retargeting ads: Leave an impression on your leads and raise awareness. 

Once you’ve nurtured leads properly, it’s time to turn them into paying customers. This process may involve offering a free trial, a clear value proposition, or an easy-to-understand pricing plan.

Step 5: Make The Sign-up And Onboarding Processes Simple

If your sign-up process requires users to provide too much information, they may get irritated and leave your website. Similarly, if SaaS onboarding includes too many phases, a potential customer may skip it. 

So, how to encourage people to end the sign-up process successfully? Create frictionless and short forms. Besides, avoid extra irrelevant details and remove unnecessary questions. In other words, you should personalize the initial contact and ask relevant questions. 

How to optimize the onboarding process to help your leads experience your product’s value? You should design the SaaS onboarding in a to-do list. 

Additionally, provide your users with helpful tips, guides, and tutorials so that they can understand and maximize the features of your SaaS product.

Step 6: Take Care Of The Upgrade Process

Professionals recommend taking care of the upgrade multi staged selling process. For example, if your company provides free trials or uses freemium pricing, your sales team must actively motivate them to upgrade their account. 

How to make the upgrade process optimized? It’s best to minimize steps and reduce friction. Ensure sales reps provide your users with a streamlined and seamless experience. 

Moreover, you should highlight the value and benefits of upgrading using in-app modals. Showcase additional functionality, exclusive perks of higher pricing plans, or premium features of the product.

Step 7: Work On Retention

For all SaaS businesses to succeed, client retention is essential because it impacts monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and annual recurring revenue (ARR). This process entails offering constant assistance, personalized recommendations, and consistent product enhancements.

It’s also a good idea to try cross-selling and upselling. 

  • Cross-selling: Your sales team provides your clients complementary SaaS services or products to enhance customer experience.
  • Upselling: You show your customers more premium features of the product they’ve purchased or offer higher-pricing plans. 

You must know your client’s preferences and interests at the beginning to cross-sell and upsell effectively. Consider using the business-to-business data gathered through your SaaS marketing funnel to design personalized offers for your customers.

Customer retention also involves following up. This step is vital to creating a successful SaaS funnel for your company. That’s because it ensures your product meets your client’s needs. 

Sales reps communicate with the leads and ask whether they are satisfied with your firm’s solutions. Besides, sales teams should be ready to negotiate with them for adjustments.

Professionals also recommend connecting with clients by emailing them after they become subscribers. Show your gratitude and offer further information about your product if they need it. 

You should additionally ask your satisfied customers to share their reviews or feedback. That way, you can identify your most effective area and where leads drop out of your funnel.

Step 8: Track Effectiveness

Check the metrics below to evaluate your funnel’s effectiveness: 

Revenue growth

One crucial business statistic that shows a company’s profitability and sustainability is its SaaS revenue growth rate. Note that your business growth rate may change dramatically over time and fluctuate based on its stage. 

Customer churn

To find out what proportion of customers have abandoned your product during a specific time frame, you must monitor your customer churn rate.

The benchmark for the average turnover rate varies from 5 percent to 7 percent every year. However, it might vary depending on the size of the SaaS business. 

Customer lifetime value

The metric indicates the potential lifetime revenue your clients will gradually generate for you. It would be best first to calculate the ARPA (average revenue per account) to determine your lifetime value. 

Customer acquisition cost

CAC (customer acquisition cost) measures the money you spend turning a new lead into a paying customer. It is essential to figure out how profitable the business is. 

There are more SaaS sales funnel metrics you should use to gauge the success of your marketing funnel besides the ones mentioned above for SaaS providers. 

Nevertheless, they can assist you in determining whether you need to optimize your SaaS marketing and sales funnel.

How To Optimize Your SaaS Sales Funnel 

After creating a marketing funnel for your SaaS business, consider the following ways to optimize it:

Generate awareness

Some new SaaS companies may experience a problem when finding leads. So, you must build and develop brand awareness before publishing your product. 

Top-of-the-funnel content allows you to aid in product promotion and its value. So your prospects can connect with you. It can be tutorials, guides, ebooks, or blog posts. 

Promote product actively 

Do you want to convert a free trial into a paid conversion rate? Or are you looking for ways to upsell to existing customers? Promoting your product via pop-ups, email sequences, or blogs is crucial. 

Qualify your leads

Not everyone will become a sales-qualified lead, so you must determine who is worth pursuing. Consider your ideal customers’ intent, behaviors, and authority.

Optimize content

In addition to creating attractive content, you must refresh old content. Here are some tips to do this:

  • Use keywords
  • Segment content delivery
  • Use various content platforms

Encourage habituation

You should motivate your customers to utilize your product daily, which helps you retain them. Some strategies to achieve this goal include:

  • Push notifications 
  • Allow customers to view the results
  • Create easy-to-use tool

SAAS Sales Funnel – FAQs

How To Determine Your SaaS Marketing Funnel Stage?

If you find it hard to determine your SaaS funnel stage, check the guide below:

  • Awareness: Customers know your product via outbound or inbound contact. Their concern comes from an issue they want to solve. Their first questions let you know their pain points. 
  • Engagement: You must answer several questions from your customers to build trust until they realize you’re reliable. 
  • Exploration: Customers are more comfortable talking about their problems. Show them convincing testimonies and case studies to increase conversions. 
  • Conversion: Customers sign up and pay after several marketing and sales efforts. Design a follow-up email plan to reduce refund requests. 

What Is The Difference Between The SaaS Sales Funnel And The Sales Funnel?

The main difference between the traditional and the SaaS sales funnels is their end goals. While the traditional funnel is transaction-based and ends with a sale, the SaaS funnel aims for customer retention and recurring revenue. 

When Do I Demo My SaaS Product To Customers?

After identifying your marketing-qualified leads, you should demo your product to your ideal customers.

The Bottom Line

Building a sales funnel for SaaS is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of your target audience and a solid marketing plan. 

Focus your marketing efforts on all the SaaS sales funnel stages. That way, you can effectively guide ideal customers through the selling process and convert them into paying customers. 

Ongoing testing and optimization is the key to a successful marketing and sales funnel. So follow the tips in the post for the best result!

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Author

Key Nguyen

Key is the brainchild behind Funnelsecrets.us. You'll often find him analyzing conversion rates, tweaking landing pages, and exploring new marketing automation software. He loves to write about sales funnel building and is always tinkering with the latest conversion optimization techniques!

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