Build A SaaS Sales Funnel: Tips From Close CRM’s CEO
You grabbed a cheap list of leads from somewhere online. And your remote sales team soon started to blast a series of cold emails to everyone on that list.
But all you could hear were crickets. The few leads that responded proved too hard to convert into paying customers. And since the cookie-cut list wasn’t exclusive, prospects (who had grown tired of receiving similar messages from your competitors) directed your email into their spam boxes.
Therefore, you couldn’t meet your set targets.
Are you looking to build a SaaS sales funnel that will stand the test of time? Start from the scratch up.
Creating a sales funnel shouldn’t be complicated. In sales, you want to start simple, especially if your SaaS company is a startup. Simple is good. Simple makes you agile, helps you learn fast, and close more deals.
Your conversions may eventually shoot through the roof. You’ll truly own a rock-solid databank of leads that you can convert into paying customers.
The internet is awash with many ways of building a sales funnel. Rather than telling you about all the different ways, we’ll share one way that we’ve seen work for many SaaS startups out there (including us Close) that have an inbound sales process.
What is a SaaS Sales Funnel?
A SaaS Sales Funnel is a sequence of events or stages that a prospective customer goes through. It includes all the stages from awareness to action to advocacy.
They’re designed to help business owners and sales teams track, record, and optimize the sales process to boost sales results. A scalable, repeatable, and trackable sales funnel is the secret behind your SaaS product’s success.
SaaS Sales Funnel Stages
While no two businesses can ever be the same, here are the most common stages of a robust sales funnel.
Here, you have a chance to capture a prospect’s attention. Sure, your prospective buyers may purchase right away when the chemistry is just right. But more often, this stage is more of courtship, where you try to woo them with tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc.
The prospect is researching, comparing diverse offers (plus brands), and weighing options. Swoop in with unique content without trying to hard-sell to them.
Your prospective buyer is now ready to take out their wallet and buy. At this stage, they’re considering two or three options. Be sure yours is among the brands that have won their hearts by offering something attractive (think a discount, bonus product, or free support).
You’ve managed to pull the lead up to the action phase. Congratulations! They’ll purchase your product and become part of your company’s ecosystem.
The game isn’t over yet. Consider customer marketing and do your best to multiply the number of purchases. Upsells, cross-sells, and other techniques will do the trick. Answer all questions and help the client to benefit from the service.
A satisfied customer will tend to spread the good news. This can be through word of mouth, social sharing, and blogging. That way, your brand’s growth will ride on free advertising.
Designing a Robust SaaS Sales Funnel
Let’s now dive deeper into tricks we use at Close to close more deals and retain our customers:
1. Drive High-Quality Traffic
The following tactics will help you attract a laser-targeted audience. Here, the crucial metric to monitor is the number of website visitors.
“Content is king and queen.” You must have heard this phrase flying around on the internet. SaaS content marketing can drive significantly more site visitors and leads than traditional marketing.
That’s why behemoths like Buffer, Close, VoilaNorbert, CXL, PandaDoc, Stripe, and others invest in rock-solid content marketing.
There are many ways to go about content marketing:
- Guest blogging on industry sites
- Optimizing your website to rank high on Google’s search result page
- Educating your audience through social media posts
- Hosting webinars
But first be sure you understand your ideal customer persona, their pain points, ambitions, and desires. That way, you’ll be able to share content that speaks directly to them.
Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter which specific content marketing channel you choose: What matters is that you create quality content, that will reach your target audience, and engage them in a way that they want more of. Marketing teams like to focus on a finding the right mix of TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content, or which channels to optimize for, and while these are somewhat helpful frameworks, there’s too much content that looks great in a presentation, but won’t generate results, simply because they fail at the fundamental level: creating relevant, truly valuable content for their audience.
Partnerships can be a great way to generate leads and fast-track your lead generation customer acquisition goals. Strategic alliances and partnerships require a lot of work to get right, and they’re hardly ever as simple as they seem at the outside—but they can bring great results. This tactic gives you a chance to leverage your partner’s resources, tap into a new market, and get leads.
You can partner through:
- Co-branded program, such as using your brand name plus that of your partner on a product
- Product integrations
- New product add-ons
- Revenue partnerships
- Content collabs
If your budget allows, paid ads can generate leads quickly. Whether you use PPC, CPL, Display or other ad formats—there’s a ton of potential in this area. That being said, there’s definitely ways to succeed without paid acquisition. We at Close don’t even use it at all—all our growth came from organic content and word of mouth. The few times where we experimented with paid acquisition, we soon concluded that it wasn’t working for us.
2. Capture Contact Information
The traffic you worked so hard to attract is now landing on your website. Some of these visitors may be interested in learning more about your products and services. So be sure to collect their contact information.
Here, the metric that matters most is the number of quality email addresses you capture. Use an irresistible and compelling lead magnet to boost this metric. Here are some of our best tips:
- Free Content
Offer free yet enticing content resources from your wealthy knowledge bank. They include free Powerpoint templates, courses, e-books, templates, newsletters, and checklists. An example is our own Free Sales resources that help people crush their sales goals.
Show your prospective customers what you’ve got using a demo that demonstrates your product’s value. In essence, a demo or product trial often means the difference between capturing (plus closing) a deal and losing the prospect forever. To ensure your offer shows how it can truly solve your prospects’ pain points and help them achieve success.
3. Score Leads
How can you determine the prospective customers that will be most receptive to your solution? That’s where lead scoring comes in. The metric to watch is the number of qualified leads.
While lead scoring methods are vast, your best bet is to start simple. You can assign scores based on:
- Work email (vs. free email services)
- Number of employees in the prospects’ company
- Visited pricing page
- A clicked link in a product-focused email etc
Remember to nurture your leads by giving them value while educating them about your solution’s benefits. At Close, we give subscribers valuable advice that helps them close more deals. We also tell them how Close can help them do that even better.
4. Engage Your Qualified Leads
It’s time to hop on a phone call with your leads. Many times founders don’t like doing this, but once you overcome sales call reluctance and build iron confidence, things get smoother down the road.
The key metrics to focus on at this stage include the number of sales opportunities generated plus the estimated value of total opportunities generated.
- Schedule a call
Has a prospect left their contact details? Leave everything you’re doing and schedule a phone call with them. You can send them an email to know the right time that fits in their schedule. Be sure to make the call as soon as possible before something else steals their attention.
Get a top-level summary of who they are and what they do. The aim here is to determine whether the lead matches your target niche.
- Determine the size of sales opportunity
The size or value of an opportunity is the amount you expect to win from a prospect or lead. To estimate this figure, multiply your close rate by the average selling price (ASP).
For instance, 35% (close rate) x $10,000 (ASP) = $3.500 value of an opportunity.
Encountered objections to your offer or pricing? Listen to the prospects patiently and avoid reacting defensively. Defend your decisions and promise to consider their feedback.
5. Close deals
You’ve done all the footwork, the demo looks perfect, and the pricing is clear. Now, ask the prospect to buy.
Unfortunately, too many founders and salespeople tiptoe around this final yet crucial step too much. You see, from the word go, your prospect knew that at some point, they’d have to decide whether to buy or not.
This is not the time for the old-school PEP strategy (PEP- pitching, enthusiasm, and persuasion). Just ask: “Are you ready to buy?”
6. Follow Through
By now, some leads have finally become paying customers. Kudos! But ensure they’re successful with your SaaS product by proactively offering customer support. The goal is to ensure customers are using your product in the best way possible.
It’s crucial to store all the context of this customer in a robust CRM. That way, when the Customer Success team takes over from the sales reps, they have complete insight into what was already discussed. No client wants to contend with the same questions they answered earlier.
The metric that will dictate your success here includes the churn rate. Simply put, it’s the rate at which clients stop doing business with your company. Typically, it’s the percentage of service subscribers who unsubscribe from your offer within a particular period.
The whole buyer’s journey should be seamless. Otherwise, they can quickly abandon the entire process and look elsewhere.
7. Get Referrals
Set a rewarding referral program to help you get more high-quality leads without breaking your bank. We see you nodding your head in agreement, but can you do this effectively? We have outlined some of the best ways to get more sales referrals from your existing customers.
Simplicity Wins in Early-Stage SaaS Sales
The best place to start when building your SaaS sales funnel is to keep things simple. Don’t worry; you’ll refine your funnel and process over time. Eventually, it’ll become more sophisticated.
As time passes, you’ll find out that the biggest challenge is to fight over-complexity. That’s why it’s crucial to have a simple end-to-end analytics solution that captures all your data holistically and allows you to connect the dots later on. Traditional analytics solutions are too complicated for early-stage startups.