A successful marketing plan relies heavily on the pulling-power of advertising copy. Writing result-oriented ad copy is difficult, as it must appeal to, entice, and convince consumers to take action.
Although we know that SaaS prospects, leads, and happy customers act differently, many brands send out marketing catered to just one type of user. The result is irrelevant marketing that falls on deaf ears, cutting into your valuable resources.
The best solution is a funnel. A funnel filters a person down from the moment they first hear about your brand to when they finally purchase.
But a funnel is only half of the equation. After all, using a funnel by itself with no accountability will only lead to disorganization. That’s why every great SaaS funnel is paired with a CRM, or customer relationship management platform.
Solutions like Funnelfly combine the best of funnels and a CRM into one integrated, bird’s eye view of both your marketing and sales funnels.
CRMs are a valuable tool in marketing and sales. In addition to managing everything in one high-level view, it saves SaaS brands a lot of money and time.
In fact, CRMs can even break down the silos between sales and marketing departments, delivering more value to your business.
The Marketing Funnel
Although the sales and marketing funnel can occur simultaneously, let’s take a look at the marketing funnel first. This is typically a customer’s first stop when they’re learning about your brand.
The marketing funnel consists of five stages.
During the Awareness stage, customers are becoming familiar with your brand. They don’t understand the ins and outs of your SaaS product yet; it’s still very high-level.
At this point, you can track organic views from content marketing efforts and paid efforts (like display and PPC) in your CRM. This will give you an idea of how many people saw your brand message; often you can even document how many touches you log per customer.
The Consideration stage is the point at which a customer is interested in learning more about your SaaS solution. They might start looking at your website, pricing tables, social media, and competitors to decide if you’re right for them.
If you offer free downloads, a CRM can start logging your lead’s information in the system. In many cases this lets you measure every touchpoint you have with the customer.
Once you have their email, you can send automated emails from the CRM to bring them through the funnel, like a free webinar, discount code, or special offer.
This is the best part of the funnel for many marketers. Conversion is the point when a customer decides to sign up for their SaaS subscription. At this point, marketing will often pass the ball to sales to complete the transaction, depending on your process.
The CRM logs conversions automatically. It seamlessly transitions the marketing lead over to sales to finish the transaction.
By reducing the friction of transferring customers between teams, CRMs let SaaS brands close more subscriptions more quickly.
But it’s not enough to get one conversion. As a SaaS brand, your livelihood depends on recurring business through subscriptions.
Marketing steps in to help the business keep current customers happy, creating loyalty programs, discounts, subscriber-only content, and more.
CRMs log all of your current and previous customers, including data like their last purchase and all previous contact. This makes it easier to quantify customer loyalty through KPIs like retention rates.
The final stage of the marketing funnel is Advocacy. This is when a customer is so loyal to your brand that they evangelize on your behalf. This word of mouth marketing is not only incredibly effective, but requires little effort or resources on your side.
Brand advocates are the people who buy from you over and over and can’t stop speaking about your brand online.
Use social listening to monitor your SaaS brand’s social media and the news to locate brand advocates. You can even set up an affiliate program just for these advocates as a way to reward their loyalty.
The Sales Funnel
While marketing focuses on more inbound efforts, sales uses outbound techniques.
The sales funnel has a few more steps than the marketing funnel. Typically the sales process starts after marketing brings in leads to sales, but depending on your business, that might be different.
Here’s a high-level view of a traditional sales funnel to give you a place to start.
This is the top of the funnel for sales. This is when your team does preliminary research on your ideal buyer by creating buyer personas. This might be a tag-team effort between marketing and sales.
During the Lead phase, sales pinpoints the people who would be a good fit from the prospect list. They segment different prospects into relevant buyer personas to prepare for a pitch.
At this point, sales enters leads into the CRM and builds their segments out within the system. An automated CRM will do this automatically using your indicated data points.
Sales reaches out to the lead at this point. They become a prospect once they agree to a meeting.
The CRM would automatically log emails between sales and the lead, as well as with their calendars to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Qualification happens when sales connects with the lead and they’re interested in your SaaS solution. If they aren’t interested after all, the CRM logs this person as a cold lead, which you can follow up with at a later date.
During Qualification, sales gathers information about the prospect’s pain points and needs. The CRM will help sales score the leads on a scale to predict the likelihood of the lead turning into a sale. This helps the team prioritize their time and focus.
Once they’ve learned more about the prospect, sales sends over a Proposal for your SaaS solution. This details price, features, and how your brand solves the prospect’s problem.
The CRM not only logs the details of your proposal, but it can even integrate with e-sign software for easy signature collection.
This doesn’t always happen in the SaaS sales pipeline, but it’s more common if you have an enterprise customer. Sometimes you’ll need to Negotiate conditions of the proposal. The CRM logs every email, phone call, and iteration to the proposal so your team always sends out the right version.
In sales, you either close the deal or lose the deal. The stakes are higher if you have a particularly lengthy Negotiation stage.
A CRM tracks how long it took your team to close a sale as well as how often you lost a sale. This will help you review and fine-tune your sales process.
Marrying Both Funnels in a CRM
The best way to measure your funnel stages for sales and marketing is through an automated CRM solution.
Your funnel will be different because of the nature of your SaaS business. Maybe you don’t log Awareness or prospect in your CRM at all. Maybe you consolidate or skip a few steps because of your sales process.
Whatever your funnel actually looks like, it needs to be mapped to a CRM. Otherwise, you aren’t putting those funnels to their best and highest use.
Automated solutions like Funnelfly help you wrangle the chaos of finding new customers, scheduling meetings, passing customers from marketing to sales, and encouraging loyalty. Give us a shout to talk about growing your business.