How To Build A Winning B2B SaaS Sales Funnel That Nurtures And Converts Leads
Your sales process is probably one of the most important parts of your SaaS business, especially in the B2B SaaS market. It’s the machine that brings customers in and grows your business.
But sales is not easy. It takes a lot of effort and strategy to turn a prospect into a customer. You need to have a solid sales team in place. You need the right tools to get the job done.
One of the most important sales tools you need to have in your arsenal is the SaaS sales funnel. In this article, we are going to talk about it and how to build one that really wins a lot of customers.
Let’s dive right in.
What Is A SaaS Sales Funnel?
The SaaS sales funnel is the process that you use to turn a prospect into a customer. It’s a series of steps or stages that you go through in order to close a sale.
A sales funnel usually starts with generating leads and ends with signing up a customer.
Recently, there has been a trend called the product-led growth model. It is gaining some traction in the B2B SaaS market right now because of how fast it can grow a SaaS business.
Popular SaaS startups today like Slack and Calendly are just some that have successfully implemented this model.
The product-led growth model is based on the idea of getting a customer to sign up for your product without having to go through a sales process.
While this can be an effective strategy, it’s not always possible for everyone.
Most SaaS companies still need to go through a sales process in order to get customers. That’s especially true if you’re going for a B2B market where your target buyer persona is an executive or a decision-maker in the company.
So if you decide that your B2B SaaS product needs sales efforts in order to sell, you will definitely need a sales funnel to help you get there.
Benefits Of Having A SaaS Sales Funnel
Generally, a SaaS sales funnel gives you a visual representation of what your sales process looks like. It helps you break down your sales operations into bite-sized pieces that you can understand deeply.
But that’s not all.
Here are some other benefits of having a SaaS sales funnel:
It Keeps Your Sales Process Organized
One of the problems with not having a sales funnel is that you can easily get lost in the details.
You’ll be trying to pursue every lead and close every sale. And before you know it, your team will be overwhelmed and your sales process will be a mess.
But with a SaaS sales funnel, you can break down your process into stages.
You can define each stage and the activities that need to be done in order to move a prospect from one stage to another. This will help you stay focused and make sure that all your efforts are directed towards those who are most likely to convert into customers.
It Helps You Qualify Leads
In its early parts, a SaaS sales funnel will help you determine which leads are worth pursuing and which ones to let go of.
Not all leads are created equal. Some might not be interested in your product after all. While others may not have the authority to buy from you.
The funnel will help you weed out the low-quality leads and focus on the ones that are most likely to convert into customers.
It Helps You Track Your Progress
You can use it to see how well your team is doing in terms of converting leads into customers. You can also use it to see which stages are giving you the most trouble and which activities are not working as well as they should.
This information can be used to improve your sales process and make sure that you’re getting the most out of your efforts.
It Helps You Nurture Your Leads
In its middle and later stages, a SaaS sales funnel can be used to nurture your leads.
Having a sales funnel with distinct stages can help you personalize your sales strategy for the specific leads in each of those stages.
This is where you can start using marketing and sales automation tools to send out targeted content.
You can further entertain those who have shown an interest in your product. You press your advantage and win them while you still have their undivided attention.
At the same time, you could try to win over those who need a little more information before seeing the value of your SaaS product.
Having personalized strategies for each stage will help you relate more to your leads. And that leads to a more solid relationship with them.
If you and your sales team do that consistently, you can eventually turn those leads into paying customers.
Crucial Stages Of A SaaS Sales Funnel
If you want to build a winner SaaS sales funnel that really converts leads into customers, you need to know the crucial stages that you need to include.
The terminologies for these stages may vary depending on who you ask. But in general, here are the three main stages that a SaaS sales funnel usually has:
And in the world of SaaS, the sales process doesn’t stop when the lead turns into a customer. Building your relationship with them goes on until they stop subscribing to your SaaS solution.
In fact, building your relationship with them after the purchase is crucial if you want to keep them as customers for as long as possible.
So let’s add in three additional post-purchase stages:
Now let’s talk about these stages one by one.
Awareness: Top Of The Funnel
At this funnel stage, your potential customer may not be completely aware of the pain point they are supposed to solve.
What’s more, they may not even know that there are SaaS solutions that could help them with their particular problems. The goal at this stage is to educate them about the pain point that they are experiencing. And at this stage, content marketing is your best friend. The best way to reach them is to provide them with educational content that will eventually lead them to see the need for a SaaS solution.
These are called top-of-funnel (TOFU) content.
Sounds yummy, right? I know. But let’s keep the conversation about SaaS sales funnels.
Here are some TOFU content types that you can use at this stage:
TOFU Content #1: Educational Blog Posts – When it comes to content marketing, you can’t remove blogs from the equation.
And in SaaS, topics for blog posts can get really technical.
That’s not really surprising given the technology that comes with SaaS products and the problems they are trying to solve.
But that’s a good thing. Because it gives you a huge opportunity to take the frontline in educating your potential customers about these concepts.
And that has to be your focus. Educating your readers. Remember that this is still the top of the funnel. The prospect doesn’t know your brand yet. So this is your chance to make a good first impression.
Don’t ruin it by being aggressive at selling or even mentioning your product. Sure, you can make subtle references here and there. But if you do it too aggressively, you might end up annoying them or scaring them away.
Instead, use your blog to establish your topical authority in your niche. If you provide relevant, reliable, and engaging content, they will see your brand as the best source of this niche content.
They will start trusting your brand.
TOFU Content #2: Infographics – A lot of people are visual learners. And infographics are a great way to present complex information in an easy-to-digest way.
Plus, they’re more likely to be shared on social media than long blog posts. That means you can reach even more people with your educational content.
Even better, use your infographics to make your blog posts more engaging and readable. After all, infographics sometimes explain things more clearly than plain text content can.
TOFU Content #3: E-books – E-books are another great way to educate your leads and prospects. They can be longer than blog posts, but they still provide a lot of value in a short amount of time.
Plus, they’re perfect for lead magnets. You can offer them as free downloads in exchange for the prospect’s contact information.
That way, you can start building a relationship with them and educate them further about the pain points they are experiencing.
TOFU Content #4: Videos – This content type is another great and dynamic way to educate your leads and prospects.
But it’s especially great for top-of-funnel content because it’s more engaging than text or even infographics.
In fact, people are more likely to remember information if they see it in a video than if they read it in a text. That’s why you should consider using videos as part of your TOFU content strategy.
But where do you put those videos?
For starters, you can upload it on YouTube. Who knows? Maybe you can build a following for your channel and build your brand there.
What’s more, you can always embed your videos into your blog posts. That will add some extra “oomph” to your articles.
TOFU Content #5: Podcasts – This is another great way to educate your leads and prospects.
And sometimes, they’re even better than blog posts because they’re more engaging.
What’s more, people can listen to them while they’re doing other things. They can listen to it while in the shower, stuck in traffic, or just when they don’t feel like reading.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not telling you to ditch your blog posts. There are really just people who prefer listening over reading.
Plus, you can always repurpose your podcast episodes into blog posts and vice versa. That way, you can reach even more people with your educational content.
Consideration: Middle Of The Funnel
At this stage, the prospect is starting to understand their pain point and is already looking for a solution. But they are still looking for options on what kind of solution they need.
For example, their pain point is not being able to keep track of their expenses. Do they need full-blown accounting solutions? Or would a simple spending tracking app do?
That’s where you can come in. You can guide them through those questions.
But here’s the thing. You can’t just bombard them with offers and hope that they’ll buy from you. It’s still too early in the sales funnel. You still need to be more subtle than that.
You need to provide insightful content that will help them see what kind of SaaS solution would best solve their problem.
You need middle-of-funnel (MOFU) content.
That doesn’t sound as nice as the first abbreviation, does it? Anyway…
Here are some MOFU content types that can help your prospects decide what kind of SaaS solution they need:
MOFU Content #1: Case Studies – Case studies are a great way to show your prospects how your SaaS solution has helped other customers.
But here’s the thing. You can’t just list the features of your product and call it a day.
You need to show the results. After all, that’s what prospects really want to know.
How did your SaaS solution help your existing customers save time and money? How did it improve their businesses or their lives?
If you can show them real-life examples, they’ll see what your SaaS product looks like in action. That will help them decide whether or not it’s the SaaS solution for their particular problem.
MOFU Content #2: Promotional Blog Posts – Blog posts still make it to the middle of the funnel. After all, they are the most common and most versatile content type out there. Your blog posts at this stage could be the ones focusing on SaaS solutions. Or how SaaS products can address this and that pain point.
But tread carefully in doing that. You can easily come across as too sales-y.
That’s why you still need to be more subtle with your blog posts at this stage. You need to focus on providing relevant content that will help them understand their problem and see how different types of SaaS solutions can solve it.
But you can still mention the different features of your product. Just make sure that you do it in a way that’s helpful, not pushy.
MOFU Content #3: FAQs – A huge chunk of lead generation and nurturing is about answering your potential customers’ questions.
And with an FAQ page, you are literally answering the most relevant questions about your SaaS product and its use cases. Your FAQ page can answer those questions and help clear up any doubts they may have.
And don’t forget to allow them to ask their own specific inquiries if they are not satisfied with the FAQ answers. This may even expand the list of questions that you have on your FAQ.
It can also help you gauge what kinds of new questions your prospects are asking the most. That way, you can respond by creating content pieces that specifically answer those questions.
And who knows? You might even be able to convert some of those FAQ visitors into paying customers.
MOFU Content #4: Webinars – Webinars are a great way to provide more information about your SaaS product. And they’re especially helpful for prospects who are still in the consideration stage.
That’s because webinars allow them to see and hear how your SaaS product works in action.
Plus, you can also use webinars to demo your product and answer any questions that your prospects may have.
What’s more, webinars are a great way to build trust with your prospects. And trust is essential if you want them to buy from you.
MOFU Content #5: Emails – Of course, we can’t leave emails out of the MOFU content types. It’s one of the classic tools that SaaS businesses have for lead nurturing.
Emails are a great way to continue providing helpful content to your prospects.
After all, not everyone will always go to your website by themselves. You still need to proactively send them something that would really direct their attention back to you.
That’s why you need to send them emails that will provide the same level of information as your other MOFU content types.
But don’t just send them sales pitches disguised as emails.
That won’t help you build trust with your prospects. It may even do the opposite.
Instead, you could just fill your MOFU emails with your latest blog posts or case studies. You can continue educating them on the possible SaaS solutions that can address their pain points.
Decision: Bottom Of The Funnel
At this stage of the SaaS sales funnel, the lead already knows what type of SaaS solution they need for their pain point. But they still haven’t decided on which provider to choose.
You have successfully helped your prospects understand their problem and how different SaaS solutions can solve it. So it’s time to start telling them how your product is the best fit.
That’s where you can start selling your product to them.
And how do you do that? By providing more helpful content that will help them make the decision to buy from you.
Here are some bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) content types that you can use:
BOFU Content #1: More Emails – Emails are still a great way to provide helpful content to your prospects at the BOFU stage of the SaaS sales funnel.
But this time, you need to send them emails that are more sales-oriented.
You can highlight the different features of your product and how they can solve their specific pain points.
You can also offer discounts and/or free trials for your SaaS product.
Just make sure that your emails are still helpful and not too intrusive. Pushing too hard will only scare them away and ruin all the progress you’ve made so far.
One thing you can do with your emails is to strategically place call-to-actions (CTAs). If you do it right, it will help you guide your leads to your website where they can finally buy your SaaS product.
BOFU Content #2: Comparison Blog Posts – Comparison blog posts are a great way to show how your SaaS product is different from the competition.
That’s because you can compare and contrast the different features of your product with those of your competitors. You can also highlight the different ways that your SaaS product is better than theirs.
These blog posts can have either a listicle or a pros and cons comparison format.
With listicle articles, you can show your SaaS product’s strengths among a long list of competitors.
On the other hand, with a pros and cons comparison blog, you can go into detail showing how your SaaS solution stacks against a specific competitor.
Of course, you will have to feature your own product as the best among all of these competitors. But you also need to give compelling reasons why they should choose yours.
Like in your emails, you can also place well-placed CTAs on your blog posts. Put them in the parts of your blog where you really have a great reason why your product is the best fit.
BOFU Content #3: Product Videos – Featuring your SaaS product using a video is a great way to promote it. They’re especially helpful for prospects who are yet to buy.
That’s because product videos allow them to see and hear how your SaaS product works in action.
Like in the earlier stages of the SaaS sales funnel, you can pair up your product videos with the suitable blog posts or emails written for this stage.
Selling a SaaS product doesn’t end after the first purchase.
You need to keep marketing and selling your SaaS product to your customer so that they would subscribe for as long as possible.
This becomes a collaboration with your marketing, sales, and customer success departments. And that makes these post-purchase stages very important when it comes to the SaaS buyer’s journey.
The first of these stages is the adoption or onboarding stage.
Now that your lead has decided to buy your SaaS product, it’s time to help them get started with a bang.
This is where you can provide more helpful content that will guide them through the onboarding process.
Your knowledge base and tutorials would be crucial to get them started on the right track. You can also create blog posts and FAQs that will show them how to use your SaaS product in the most effective way.
And if they ever have any questions, you should always be available to answer them.
That’s because providing support is essential for ensuring the successful adoption of your SaaS product.
The next stage in the post-purchase process is retention.
This is where you need to keep your customer’s subscriptions active and ensure that they are getting value from your SaaS product.
You can do this primarily by providing great customer service. Make sure that you always answer their questions and solve their problems as quickly as possible.
That way, they will be more likely to stay subscribed to your SaaS product.
You can also continue sending them helpful content that will show them how to use your SaaS product in new and innovative ways.
If you have a blog, make sure to write posts that are relevant to your SaaS solution. That way, you can keep your customer’s attention focused on it rather than other options.
Another way to retain customers is by building a SaaS community. Not only can it improve customer retention. It can also build brand loyalty within your customer base.
This is a place where your customers can come together to learn from each other and help solve each other’s problems.
You can develop this community by using social media, forums, or even a Facebook group.
Moreover, make sure that you moderate the community so that it remains helpful and valuable to your customers. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to keep your customer’s subscription active and get the most value out of your SaaS product.
You shouldn’t just stop at retaining your customers. If you really want your SaaS business to grow, you should also aim for your customers to become advocates for your product.
This stage is where you want your customers to be so passionate about your SaaS product that they would recommend it to their friends and colleagues.
There are a few things you can do to encourage this kind of advocacy.
First, you can further build your SaaS community. Remember that it’s a place to foster brand loyalty among customers. And loyalty leads to advocacy.
Second, you can create a referral program. This is a great way to encourage customers to spread the word about your SaaS product. You can give them rewards for referring friends or family members who then end up purchasing your SaaS solution.
Third, you can hold webinars and events where you can educate potential leads about the benefits of your SaaS product.
Make sure to invite your biggest advocates to these events so they can share their experiences with others. You can also invite industry experts and influencers to get more people to come.
If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to encourage customer advocacy and get more referrals for your SaaS product.
Important SaaS Sales Metrics
Now that you know the different stages of a SaaS sales funnel, you need to be aware of some of the key metrics associated with each stage.
This will help you track your progress and measure your success.
This is the number of visitors to your website. It would indicate if you’re generating enough interest in your SaaS product.
You can use Google Analytics to track this metric. The good thing about it is that it will show you how many unique and recurring website visitors you currently have.
If you see a lot of recurring visitors, that could mean that you’re on the right track with your TOFU and MOFU content.
Number of Leads
This is the number of people who may one day become your customers. You can track this metric to measure the effectiveness of your marketing and lead generation efforts.
You can even further track the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs) that you have.
MQLs are those who have shown interest in your brand through different actions. Maybe they have visited your website or blog pages more than once. Or perhaps they downloaded your e-book.
SQLs are those who have already given their contact information and are willing to communicate with your sales team.
This is the percentage of people who visit your website and then take action, such as signing up for a trial or purchasing a subscription. You can track this metric to see if you’re getting enough leads through your website.
You can also track conversion rates for each stage of your sales funnel.
You can compute a conversion rate for prospects who have progressed from the awareness stage to the consideration stage. Then those from the consideration stage to the decision stage. And so on.
This will help you assess which parts of your sales funnel are strong and which ones need improvement.
Customer Retention Rate
Customer retention rate is the percentage of customers who remain active subscribers over a certain period of time. You can track this metric to see how effective your post-purchase marketing, sales, and customer success efforts are.
You can also track customer churn rates. This is the percentage of customers who cancel their subscriptions within a certain period of time.
By tracking your churn rate and the factors that affect it, you can start troubleshooting whatever those factors are and keep your customers from canceling their subscriptions.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
This is the total value of a customer’s relationship with your SaaS product. You can track this metric to predict the total revenue that you will generate with each customer.
To compute your CLV, you need two more metrics: average customer lifetime and the average revenue per account (ARPA).
From the name itself, the average customer lifetime is the length of time that the average customer subscribes to your SaaS product. While the ARPA is the average annual revenue you generate from each customer.
To calculate the CLV, simply multiply the values for these two metrics.
This metric will give you an idea of how much each customer is really worth to your SaaS company.
Final Thoughts About B2B SaaS Sales Funnels
SaaS companies rely heavily on their sales funnels to generate leads and convert them into paying customers. But many business owners don’t know how to build a winning SaaS sales funnel.
Building a truly effective SaaS sales funnel is not easy. But if you do it right, you’ll see great results.
So be sure to track the key metrics associated with each stage of your sales funnel. This will help you measure your progress and make the necessary adjustments.
And most importantly, focus on delighting your customers. Keep them happy. Not only will they keep coming back for more. They will also bring others along with them.
For more strategies and guides to growing your SaaS business, visit our SaaS marketing blog here.