Build a Winning SaaS Sales Funnel in Eight Steps

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Your SaaS sales funnel forms the heart of your revenue pipeline. An effective funnel can ensure a steady stream of sales and repeat business, while a defective one can keep you from acquiring new customers while costing you your current ones. Here are eight steps you can take to build a winning SaaS marketing strategy:

  1. Map your customer journey
  2. Develop your marketing strategy
  3. Optimize your sales process
  4. Streamline your onboarding process
  5. Promote product implementation
  6. Create a strong support system
  7. Standardize your renewal process
  8. Track your performance

Read on to learn how to implement these strategies to optimize your SaaS sales funnel.

1. Map Your Customer Journey

Customer journey mapping forms the foundation of an effective SaaS sales funnel. A customer journey map lays out the steps your leads experience during the process of becoming customers and repeat customers. You can use this map to optimize each step and maximize lead acquisition, sales conversions, and customer retention.

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While the details of your customer’s experience will vary by industry, company and product, as a general rule of thumb, a journey map includes these six stages:

  1. Lead acquisition
  2. Sales conversion
  3. Onboarding
  4. Implementation
  5. Support
  6. Retention

Develop standard operating procedures for each of these stages to improve your sales funnel. Your customer journey can vary for different segments of your target market, so you may wish to develop multiple variations of your journey map based on different customer profiles. Keep the number of variations limited to your top target markets so that you don’t make your map overly complex and impractical.

2. Develop Your Marketing Strategy

The success of the lead acquisition phase of your customer journey depends on the effectiveness of your SaaS marketing strategy. Marketing aims to build brand awareness and attract qualified leads to your sales funnel.

A good marketing strategy depends on several key components:

  • Market research: who is your target market, what do they want and what keywords do they search on?
  • Positioning: what does your brand offer that your target market wants, and how is it distinct from what your competition offers?
  • Product: what products are you showcasing to attract leads and convert them to customers?
  • Pricing: what pricing strategy are you using to make your brand’s products competitive?
  • Promotion: what promotional campaigns are you using to reach your target audience, and what media are you using to promote these campaigns?

The more effectively you hone these components, the more qualified leads you will attract into your sales funnel, and the more sales conversions you can expect to generate.

3. Optimize Your Sales Process

Once your marketing attracts leads into your sales funnel, it becomes the responsibility of your sales team to convert leads into sales. You can take several steps to optimize your sales process:

  • Score leads based on qualifications and readiness to buy so that your sales representatives can focus on converting your hottest leads while cultivating leads who are not yet ready to buy
  • Use customer relationship management software(CRM) to track interactions with individual leads
  • Create standard operating procedures for each stage of the sales process, from the discovery stage to the closing and billing stages
  • Develop a compelling closing offer that showcases your product’s benefits while reducing customer risks
  • Train your sales team to use effective scripts for closing and objection handling
  • Follow up on leads that do not convert immediately with ongoing marketing efforts

Implementing these guidelines will help you increase your closing rate and maximize your sales.

4. Streamline Your Onboarding Process

A successful sale is only the beginning of your relationship with your customer. To promote long-term customer retention, your sales funnel strategy needs to ensure a smooth post-purchase experience for customers. This begins with your onboarding process. An effective onboarding process should encourage customers to begin using their new product and make it easy for them to do so.

Create standard onboarding procedures to streamline your customer’s onboarding experience, such as:

  • Sending new customers a welcome message
  • Assigning a customer success manager as the main point of contact
  • Providing new customers with instructions on how to start using their product

Guide customers through a smooth onboarding experience to increase their satisfaction with your brand and assist them with enjoying value from their purchase.

5. Promote Product Implementation

After customers begin using your product, how frequently they continue engaging with your product will help determine whether or not they become repeat buyers. You can take several steps to promote higher engagement with your product:

  • Send out periodic notifications reminding customers of advanced features they may not be using
  • Provide tutorials showing customers how to use advanced features
  • Show customers how to integrate your product with other software they may be using in their workflow

Inviting customers to implement your product into their workflow will help them see the value your software provides, encouraging them to become repeat subscribers.

6. Create a Strong Support System

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When customers experience bumps in the road on their customer journey, their satisfaction with your brand will depend on how quickly you can help them resolve their difficulties. You can ensure that customers receive strong support by:

  • Developing standard procedures for responding to your most common customer support issues
  • Providing self-service tools such as tutorials and knowledge bases to help customers save time by resolving their own issues
  • Using automated service tools such as chatbots to reduce customer wait time on routine issues
  • Making sure that customers can bypass automated tools to reach live agents when human assistance is required

Taking steps to provide strong support will boost customer satisfaction and promote higher retention rates.

7. Standardize Your Renewal Process

Following the previous steps will help predispose customers to renewing their subscription or license with you when the time comes. However, there remains the task of guiding them through the actual renewal process. To avoid snags, implement standardized procedures such as:

  • Automatically sending out advance renewal notifications in advance of renewal dates
  • Automating the renewal billing process
  • Promoting upgrade, upsell and cross-sell opportunities before and during the renewal process

A smooth renewal process will increase customer retention and reduce churn rates.

8. Track Your Performance

Once your sales funnel is in place, you can continue improving its effectiveness by tracking your performance and making adjustments. Track your performance by creating key performance indicators for each of the stages in your customer journey. For example, you can track:

  • Marketing metrics such as SEO organic traffic volume
  • Sales metrics such as conversion rates
  • Onboarding metrics such as activation rates
  • Product implementation metrics such as activation of advanced product features, upgrades and upsells
  • Customer service metrics such as average response time
  • Renewal metrics such as retention and churn rates

Focus on the key performance indicators(KPIs) most relevant to your current sales goals. For best results, use a tracking app with a dashboard that makes it easy for sales managers and representatives to view important metrics at a glance. Distribute summary reports to team members periodically in order to track progress on an ongoing basis.

Optimize Your SaaS Sales Funnel to Grow Your Revenue

Using a customer journey map to identify and optimize each stage of your SaaS sales funnel can maximize your customer acquisition and retention and multiply your revenue. To assist you with building your sales funnel, SimpleTiger specializes in helping SaaS companies develop effective SEO campaigns to attract B2B customers. Schedule a discovery call with us today to discuss how we can develop strategies for steering organic traffic into your SaaS sales funnel.

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