Playful Linkedin Icon
PLayful Pinterest Icon
Playful Mail Icon
An Ultimate Guide To SaaS Marketing Funnels
Go back

Growth is a primary goal of most companies regardless of their size, industry, or the number of years they've been in business. And it goes without saying that revenue growth is one of the most important aspects to overall growth.

For more revenue, you need to work on increasing the amount of value a customer brings in over their lifetime with your business, also known as the customer lifetime value (CLV).

And for that, you really need to know your audience.

You should understand the kind of content they like to consume, what kind of CTAs work best for them, and understand which microconversions are most likely to lead to a sale.

In business, this journey is called the marketing funnel and has multiple stages to it.

The marketing funnel starts from before your customer even knows your brand and goes well beyond a purchase is made.

In this article, we will look closely at the SaaS marketing funnel, its stages, specific strategies for those stages, and how to know if you need to make any changes to help prospects go down the funnel faster.

saas marketing funnel

What is a SaaS Marketing Funnel

A SaaS marketing funnel follows the path of your customers' journey from the moment they first hear your brand's name until the post-purchase process —including retention and/or advocacy.

Every visitor is put through a sales process that is wired to lead them toward making a purchase. They are shown retargeting ads, presented content that aligns with their wants and needs, or getting emails if they signed for your newsletter. By tracking how your prospects and paying customers interact with your company at each stage, you can optimize both the sales and marketing process, helping your audience purchase your product faster. 

For example, at the top of the funnel, you might have Google display or social-media ads to let people know of your brand name. Then you may ask people to sign up for your newsletter. Further down the funnel you might send emails enticing people to try out a free trial.

As you go further down the funnel, the number of people will decrease, but those who stick around under the later stages of your funnel will be your most qualified leads that are very likely to make a purchase from your business.

SaaS Marketing Stages

A SaaS marketing funnel is broken down into five stages in order to easily categorize each lead and customer and pinpoint where they are in the funnel.

The five stages are called

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision
  • Retention
  • Advocacy

Let's have a closer look at each one of those.

saas marketing funnel stages


Awareness is the first stage and is at the very top of the funnel. The people here are just starting to hear your brand's name and still are learning who you are and what you do.

It is a place for good first impressions and attracting new leads that are not familiar with your brand yet.


The Consideration stage comes after people have learned your name and have a brief understanding of what you're offering.

If you manage to leave a good first impression on your audience, or if they would like to know more about your business, they will visit your website again.

Here, it's important to note that this won't happen for everyone at the awareness stage —at least not immediately. Some people will simply not be interested in your products/services or won't be in need of them. That said, leaving the funnel at the Awareness stage doesn't mean that they cannot come back a few months or years later and join at the Consideration stage (and this applies to each stage, it's just more common at this point).


This is the stage where people are making their final researches before officially converting into paying customers.

The biggest decision they will make will be choosing between you and your competitors. There many factors that come into play here like price offers, range of features, special deals, etc.

You need to show the leads at this stage "why you, and not them?" You should really focus on what sets you apart from all the other brands.


The Retention stage comes after a customer has made a purchase. The results at this stage depend on how satisfied customers are with their decision of purchasing from your brand.

This is where your high-quality services really come into play because if people really like your product or service, they will come back for more.


Your primary goal in the Advocacy stage should be to lead your customers to make referrals. After all, what is better than customers bringing in more customers?

Some people will naturally talk to their friends and family about your business, but some people may need some encouragement and convincing even if they are happy with your services.

Strategies for each stage of the funnel

We just looked over at each stage and as you saw, they are all very different from another. Different leads at different stages have very specific needs of their own and marketers adjust campaigns differently for each stage.

Here are examples of marketing strategies that work well with each stage of the marketing funnel.

Awareness Stage

At this stage your goal is to let people know your name and what you have to offer. a few strategies that will work well for this goal are:

  • Paid MediaPerhaps one of the fastest and easiest way to reach your target audience is by being present in their consumed media.This could be
    • display ads,
    • social media posts,
    • retargeting ads, etc.
    As you have probably guessed, "paid media" requires money to run, but if you manage your spend correctly, it will be an extremely beneficial strategy.
  • SEOSearch Engine Optimization helps you become more visible among organic search results and find the people who have been looking for specific terms related to your products/services.
  • Social MediaEspecially with younger consumers, social media is a huge outlet for content. If you are active on social media, you will have thousands of people engaging with your content and growing awareness on your brand name.
  • Content MarketingContent marketing is good for almost every stage of the marketing funnel because it is a great way to show what you have to offer. You just have to adjust it according to where your audience is in the funnel.At this stage your content should be focused on introducing both your brand and services to people in order to lead them down the funnel.

Consideration Stage

As people are continuing their research on your brand, you should show them that you are what they were looking for.

  • RetargetingRetargeting is when your ads keep showing up on people's pages after they have visited your website. This is an excellent way to keep your business in leads' minds even after they have left your site.
  • Content MarketingAt this stage of the funnel you should try to find content that your audience would like to consume and present to to them in the format they would enjoy.
  • Email MarketingEmail marketing is a great way to keep education your contacts and leading them toward conversion. An email newsletter is a good way to keep your name in mind and it is more effective with older adults.

Decision Stage

This stage is mainly about how you are different from competitors. What makes you better? Why should people choose your brand, and not theirs?

This is what you are trying to show, so, marketing should be focused on your individual brand.

  • Free TrialGiving customers a free chance to experience your product will help them understand what you have to offer them. They will be able to see if your product is actually the answer to their issues.
  • Email MarketingEmail marketing at this stage might feel more personal and intimate. You can use it to send any sort of enticing information to your leads like discount codes, customer reviews, or webinar invites.Make sure to prove them your capability and show them that you can be their solution.
  • Right pricingPrices are a significant impact when choosing between two brands.People are usually inclined to lower prices if both products are the same quality. But be careful, if prices are too low, it creates the perception of low-quality. And very high prices may be big repeller too.So, you need to find a good balance. Don't be afraid to experience until you find a suitable pricing offer for your brand.

Retention Stage

As much as we enjoy acquiring new customers, we all love it way more when they stick with our brand for a long time.

You should focus on keeping customers happy and helping them get the most out of your offers.

  • Special DealsHappy customers will stick around. And what would make a customer happier than knowing that they are advantageous by choosing your brand for the long run?You need to offer customers special deals where they will benefit from retention. For example:
    • Discount for long subscription,
    • Discount for early renewal,
    • Early access to new features, etc.
  • Excellent Customer ServiceOnce again, happy customers will stick around. Since customer service is one of the few human interactions your customers will have with your business, it plays a big role in customer happiness.You don't want people to get upset over an issue with your customer service and stop using your services for something that isn't even related to your products. So you should really work to perfect your customer service team and make sure to offer a pleasant experience.
  • Continued EducationOffer webinars, video tutorials, or blog posts that is going to help your customers understand and use the features you have to offer to their full capacity.Customers will know the worth of your services so much more once they get to experience the most out of them.

Advocacy Stage

The leads you will gain from referrals are perhaps the highest quality leads. They come to your brand, already inclined to make a purchase. This is why, encouraging advocacy is a key step.

And the best way to do it is to set up a referral program with great deals for both referrals and referees.

How to Know Whether Your Marketing Funnel Is Working

Your SaaS marketing funnel is what generates leads and helps their conversion into paying customers. You should know if the strategies you use along the funnel are actually working toward your goals.

To track that, you need to determine key metrics to measure. They will be measuring many different aspects of the funnel and letting you know if your efforts are making the impact you hope to achieve or if they are creating issues.

Important SaaS Marketing Metrics to Track

You cannot solve a problem if you don't know what's causing it. So tracking your marketing funnel and strategies is extremely important.

They will show you how everything is working for your business, what you need to do more of, what you need to improve, and what you definitely need to cut out.

Here are six important metrics we have gathered for you to track in order to see how your marketing funnel is doing.

saas marketing metrics to track

Website Visits

An increase or decrease in your website traffic can say a lot about your marketing. Keep an eye out for the number of visitors you get over a certain period of time.

This could show how a certain campaign you have going on or a special promotion is working. More traffic might mean that people have liked your ads or campaigns and wanted to know about your brand.

It could also be a metric to track for your content marketing. If what you have on your website applies to your audience they will be coming to your website more often. So, website traffic is also an indicator of content quality.


Your leads are your everything. They are what generates you your revenue and where majority of your marketing is targeted.

It is very important to look out for the number of leads you have and where they are accumulated on the marketing funnel is a sign of how much revenue your business is likely to make in the future.

You can specify the leads you have into two categories based on their unique behavior and place in the marketing funnel.

One is marketing qualified leads (MQLs). They show signs of potential of making a purchase and converting.

The other one is sales accepted leads (SALs). These types of leads show heavier signs of conversion in the future and more likely to making a purchase.

Free Trials

Free trials usually come up around the decision stage of the funnel which is pretty down the road. The people who have come that far, are usually very interested in making a purchase and they are type of prospects you don't want to lose.

Tracking the number of free trial sign-ups will give you a good idea of how many people are actually considering to buy your products or services.

Of course, not everyone who signs up for a free trial will become a customer, but it is likely that a significant portion of them will.

So if you have high numbers of free trial sign-ups it might be an indicator that your marketing efforts and strategies have worked well and you have managed to generate qualified leads.

Referred customers

Referrals happen only if customers are really happy with your services. Tracking the number of referrals made will show you how people are enjoying your products. More referrals is an indicator of successful features.

Customers who come to you from a referral are inclined to make a purchase and enter the funnel somewhere pretty close to the end. So the more referred customers you have means the more highly qualified customers you have.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of people that leave your website after seeing a single page. This page is usually your homepage or a landing page that an ad leads you to.

It is always a good idea to check your bounce rate regularly to get feedback and see if many people at the top of the funnel are leaving.

If the bounce rate is high, there might be something on your homepage or landing pages that is repelling people. You might want to try new designs or adding more call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

A high bounce rate may also be an indicator that you are addressing the wrong crowd since many people are leaving just at the beginning of their customer journey.😎

Did you know you can use HockeyStack to track key SaaS metrics?

You can use HockeyStack to create funnels, goals, segments, surveys, and more so you can track what matters for your SaaS with no code.

bounce rate and other key metrics


CTR or click-through rate is the the percentage of clicks on an ad per impression.

It mostly depends on your copyright and CTAs on ads. If they are interesting you are likely to have a high CTR.

And a high CTR will prove that your marketing campaigns at the first stages of the funnel are working well.

This is also a good indicator of whether you are addressing the right audience. Because regardless of how good your ads, and wording, and CTAs are; if the people don't need your services they won't click on your ads.


What is marketing funnel approach?

The marketing funnel approach is when you segment the audience into stages based on how qualified they are to become customers and do your marketing according to the leads' interest level. It helps you better target audiences and allows you to design campaigns that are more relevant.

What are the stages of the marketing funnel?

A traditional SaaS marketing funnel has five stages:
Awareness — where people are first starting to recognize their problem and that they need a solution.
Consideration — where people start to do research and look for possible solution methods.
Decision — where people are continuing research and trying to decide between a few different products/services.
Retention — where people have made a purchase from your business and you want them to come back for another.
Advocacy — where you want your customers to spread out a good word about your company.

An Introduction to HockeyStack

What exactly is HockeyStack? How do we help marketers drive revenue more efficiently?

Go to course
Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM)

Jump in to uncover the ins and outs of Marketing Mix Modeling – from its mechanics to its ideal applications – with Drew.

Go to course
New to HockeyStack?
Learn better by doing.
Play with the interactive demo
Playful Linkedin Icon
PLayful Pinterest Icon
Playful Mail Icon