Sales

How to Build a Sales Funnel For B2B SaaS

Craft a successful B2B SaaS sales funnel: understand the journey, optimise each step, monitor metrics, and turn leads into loyal customers

Rory Sadler
August 30, 2023
February 24, 2024
Craft a successful B2B SaaS sales funnel: understand the journey, optimise each step, monitor metrics, and turn leads into loyal customers
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Heard of the B2B buyer journey? It describes the process a buyer goes through as they make a buying decision. The sales funnel is the same concept from the seller's perspective.

Wouldn't life be easy if customers purchased our product or service after merely browsing our website? If only! Let me know if this sounds more likely:

  • You get tons of leads but aren't converting enough into sales.
  • You readily sign-up prospects for your demo but fail to get enough leads.
  • You're just not getting enough organic traffic to gain any traction.

We work extensively with companies wanting to optimise their sales funnel. As B2B prospects spend longer than ever researching problems and evaluating solutions, your B2B sales funnel should be as smooth and straightforward as possible to speed up the sales cycle.

This article will review the definitions of a B2B sales funnel and B2B SaaS. We'll also cover:

  • The four stages of the sales funnel.
  • How to create a B2B sales funnel.
  • The top metrics to monitor for each funnel stage.

What is a B2B Sales Funnel?

The business-to-business (B2B) sales funnel refers to the process all buyers go through as they purchase a product on behalf of their employer. Beginning with the initial awareness of a problem or opportunity, it charts how sellers inform prospects about the problem, offer solutions, and eventually convert them into customers.

Think about it as the journey from browser to buyer.

Unlike the buyer journey, the sales funnel is linear – hence the name. In the buyer journey, new information can cause buyers to go back to one or two stages as they reevaluate their options. For sellers, however, the funnel delivers key information designed to move buyers through the stages – even if some drop out.

Four B2B Sales Funnel Stages

Your sales funnel begins long before you connect directly with a customer. The funnel runs from the first interaction to the final sale:

  1. Awareness: This is when a potential buyer realises, they have a problem and begins searching for a solution. Your aim? Ensure they come across your SaaS solution. This could be through blog posts, webinars, SEO, online advertising, or other content that addresses common pain points. The challenge is to make your brand known and trusted in the vast sea of SaaS providers. If they've heard of you, you're one step closer to that coveted conversion.
  2. Consideration: At this stage, the potential buyer knows their problem and actively seeks solutions. They're considering your SaaS, among other options. Here, detailed product information, case studies, comparison charts, and free trials or demos come into play. Your content should clearly demonstrate how your solution is superior or why it's the perfect fit for their unique needs.
  3. Decision: Here, the prospect is close to making a buying decision. They're assessing pricing models, checking out reviews, seeking testimonials, and possibly engaging with your sales team for queries. Offering personalised demos, special discounts, or extra perks can sway their decision in your favour. Also, clear and easy-to-find pricing, alongside fantastic customer service, is essential.
  4. Action: Congratulations! Your lead is now a customer. They've signed up for your SaaS product and made a payment. But your work isn't done. Now it's all about ensuring they're onboarded smoothly, are happy with their purchase, and eventually become long-term, loyal customers who can also act as ambassadors for your brand.

What is B2B SaaS?

B2B Software as a Service, or B2B SaaS, is a business selling software (usually via a cloud-based platform) to other businesses.

Where previously companies purchased a licence to use a product long-term, now, B2B SaaS allows companies to use a service on a subscription basis. That avoids hefty upfront costs, ongoing maintenance or updates, and out-of-date software.

Common examples of B2B SaaS include CRM tools like Salesforce, communication platforms like Slack, and, of course, our auto-personalisation "pods" here at Trumpet.

In terms of the sales funnel, B2B SaaS companies deal with substantial competition and a considerable risk of customer churn. Developing a comprehensive sales funnel doesn't just increase immediate conversion, but it also aids long-term customer relationships (a key antidote to churn).

Why Does the Sales Funnel Matter

Ignore the sales funnel at your peril! Elevating the buying experience and optimising your selling process are critical in such a competitive industry. Consider these factors:

Navigating the Decision Maze:

In the B2B realm, it's not just one person clicking 'buy.' You've got IT pros, finance wizards, and everyday users all pitching in their two cents. The sales funnel? It's your map to speak to each of their needs.

Beyond the First Date:

Think of SaaS as a relationship, not a fling. It's not about that one-time purchase but ongoing dates (or subscriptions). A killer sales funnel ensures you're not just grabbing their attention but holding onto it, maximising your time together.

Become Their Guru:

B2B SaaS is like a treasure trove for niche problems. Sometimes, your potential clients don't even realise they're sitting on a goldmine of challenges! At the funnel's outset, it's your role to enlighten them – think insightful content, captivating webinars, and tempting free trials.

Stand Tall:

With a SaaS market that's more crowded than ever, how do you stand out? With a crystal-clear sales funnel that doesn't just get you noticed but keeps you memorable, turning curious leads into loyal partners.

How to Create a B2B Sales Funnel

We've covered what, and you know why. Now, it's time for how. Let's breakdown step-by-step how you should build a sales funnel devoted to B2B SaaS:

Step 1. Define Your Target Audience

Who? It's a fundamental marketing question. Defining your buyers is the first step to knowing how to market to them. Ask yourself:

  • What size companies do they work for?
  • What industries are they in?
  • What roles do they hold?
  • What are their pain points?

Go one step further and create fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customers, i.e., buyer personas. Helping to humanise your buyers, it's a straightforward way to tailor your sales funnel to your target audience.

Step 2. Generate Interest

Coinciding with the 'Awareness' stage, generating interest is as broad as it gets. Cover high-level topics using these techniques:

  • Content marketing. Product high-quality blog posts, infographics, videos, and more than answer your target audience's initial questions.
  • SEO. Ensure to include relevant, top-performing keywords so customers can find your content.
  • Social media. Deliver key insights or share content and news on the platforms where your customers spend their time (usually LinkedIn).

Step 3. Nurture Leads

As it comes to the 'Consideration' and 'Decision' stages, you need to offer a combination of lead magnets (think eBooks, webinars, or white papers) in exchange for contact information and then use email marketing and retargeting ads to target customers who've interacted with your brand but didn't convert.

Other top techniques include product demos, testimonials, case studies (to demonstrate social proof), and special offers (to incentivise that first purchase).

Step 4. Convert and Finalise

Product demos and testimonials get you to the finish line, customer support, a smooth onboarding process, and contract management seal the deal.

You should ensure new clients have access to tons of tutorials, webinars, and even one-on-one training so they know how to get started. And, if they're still struggling or running into problems, a rapid response customer support line should be available to answer any queries. Consider implementing a GPT-4 powered AI chatbot to alleviate traffic with your human support.

Step 5. Retain and Optimise

Technically the B2B sales funnel is over – you've made the sale! However, the 'Action' stage is a long-term process if you want to reduce overall churn. Consider regularly checking in, encouraging feedback and active criticism, and upselling premium features and additional products.

Email marketing is by far the best medium for long-term customer communication – it's why it has the highest ROI.

Also, use analytic tools to monitor your funnel's performance. You'll need to keep track of a few key metrics.

5 Metrics to Monitor Your B2B SaaS Sales Funnel Success

Don't set up your sales funnel and forget about it. Success is all about evolving your processes depending on customer behaviour. To paraphrase an old saying: "If it's broken, fix it!"

Monitoring your B2B sales funnel metrics will inform you about what's working and what isn't. Keep an eye on these five factors:

Lead Generation Rate:

It's all about the numbers! How many potential customers are entering your funnel? This metric tells you how effective your initial outreach and marketing strategies are in attracting interest.

Conversion Rates:

This isn't just one metric but several, depending on each stage of your funnel. From lead-to-MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), MQL-to-SQL (Sales Qualified Lead), and SQL-to-customer, monitoring conversion rates at every stage helps pinpoint where potential customers may be dropping off.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC):

How much are you spending to snag each customer? By comparing the cost of marketing and sales efforts to the number of new customers acquired, CAC provides insight into the efficiency of your sales process.

Lifetime Value (LTV):

This metric forecasts the total revenue a single customer will bring over the duration of their relationship with your business. In SaaS, where recurring revenue is the name of the game, LTV helps ensure you're getting a solid return on your investment.

Churn Rate:

No one likes to see customers go. The churn rate indicates the percentage of subscribers who stop using your SaaS product within a given timeframe. It's crucial for understanding customer satisfaction and retention, a clear sign of whether your post-sales strategies are working.

Summary

Want to create a personalised B2B sales funnel for your SaaS company? Enter trumpet – a specialised auto-personalisation service used to create collaborative microsites you can track. Perfect for everything from cold outreach to onboarding, we're a top choice for marketing teams. Book a demo today to learn more.