Do you know what an open house and sales funnels have in common?
You see, when you sell your property, you need a real estate agent to schedule an open house so a buyer can actually show up and buy your house.
But your agent doesn’t just open the door of your house and wait for a potential buyer to show up.
You need to put out those annoying “for sale” signs in the streets that’ll lead people to your house. You need to show visitors the entrance, kitchen, bedrooms, backyard and nurture them through the buying process. And you also need to politely show your visitors their way out of the house through the door, not through the window.
The exact same thing happens with your sales funnel.
If you’re a startup looking to sell your SaaS products, you need to properly advertise them so you can attract the right leads. You need to take them through each stage of your funnel in the right order. You need to finally turn prospects into paying customers. And you must do this in a logical way. Because you don’t welcome someone in by saying goodbye, right?
So if you’re a SaaS startup looking for some motivation, or the owner of a SaaS business with ambitions to keep scaling, you’ll extract a number of “gold nuggets” from this article.
Today, I’ll teach you the key elements that make a SaaS funnel successful. And I’ll also give you 3 highly valuable sales funnel templates you can use today to build your own SaaS funnel, optimize it, and launch it!
Let’s get right into it!
Why Do You Need a Funnel?
If you’ve been reading our articles lately you know the importance of having a sales funnel in place to grow your business.
Most marketers and entrepreneurs ignore this vital step when looking to expand their business. And it’s the exact same reason why most businesses don’t succeed or simply get stuck.
If you’re a busy business owner or a startup starting from scratch, I know one of your end goals is to bring in more sales. We’re on the same page, right?
But if you’re a SaaS business that sells a digital product for a monthly subscription, marketing your products can be especially tough. Not only do you need to compete with huge, well-known brands that have been out there for years, but your target audience is overwhelmed with marketing messages everywhere.
And if you don’t do the right thing, you may end up scaring your audience away and losing potential leads.
In fact, many SaaS startups never even make it past bringing in a few thousand dollars per month. One study by CB Insights says that 42% of startups fail because they offer products or services that the market doesn’t need.
But how do you think big SaaS companies like Grasshopper, SamCart, and Trainual achieve success? How do you think they make hundreds of dollars every year?
Simple. By having the right sales funnel automating leads and sales.
Matt, the founder of AutoGrow, interviewed Chris Ronzio, creator of Trainual in the past few months. Chris is the creator of a SaaS tool that helps businesses (especially business owners, founders, and CEOs) streamline internal systems and document workflows so they can escape the chaos and turn their business into an efficient machine.
His business was making just shy of $3,000,000 in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in 2019. And Chris told Matt that scaling marketing efforts, developing marketing systems, and building a funnel were key to go from making $2,000 monthly in 2017 to $250,000.
You see, funnel conversion is fundamental for your SaaS business growth. Your funnel is your insight into your prospects’ journey through your website.
And with the right funnel in place, you can smoothly and almost automatically direct your prospects from “slight interest” all the way to “loyal customer.”
Think of Your Business Like Selling Your House…
Imagine for a second you’re selling your house. And your real estate agent schedules an open house. Now, what should your agent do? Just open the door of your house and wait for a potential buyer to come in? Heck no.
You need to advertise the open house. That’s why you always see these “for sale” signs everywhere when you’re driving around town.
You need to set up signs in the streets that’ll lead people to your house. You need a real estate agent to not only open the door to your house but to show prospects the right way to get to your home.
And once people arrive at your house, you need someone to show them exactly what they need. Listen carefully, not what they want but what they need. I already told you above how most startups fail because they offer products or services that the market wants but doesn’t need.
Also, you don’t start by saying goodbye to people when they arrive at your house, do you? You don’t show them the second floor first.
You start by welcoming visitors, you show them the entrance, you take them through the aisles of the first floor and walk them to the kitchen, dining room, living room, and then you take them upstairs. You show them the bedrooms and bathrooms and tell them exactly what they’re looking for. You nurture them through the buying process.
Added to that, you need to bring in the right prospects. Because if you accurately advertise the house, you’ll attract the right people and give them what they need. And you’ll keep out the people that the home just isn’t a fit for, saving you loads of time and effort.
That’s clear, right? If you advertise the house as an expensive mansion in Calabasas, then you’ll attract rich people to come to see the house. If you advertise the house as a one-single occupancy, then a big family won’t come to see it.
Well, the same thing happens with your website. You can’t expect someone to buy your SaaS products without even setting up the path for them to enter your checkout page. You need to accurately show them the right path they need to take to buy whatever you’re selling. And of course, show them the benefits they’ll get by buying your SaaS products.
And you can do that only with the right sales funnel. You need to have all the elements in your funnel in place so prospects can start their journey in the right place and end it in the right place too.
Remember the analogy with the open house, right? The person visiting your house won’t leave through the window. You’ll properly show them their way back to the door. And if your real estate agent and sales funnel do their job, your prospects will be ready to buy.
How Do You Know Which Is the Right SaaS Funnel for Your Business?
Sales funnels don’t come in a one-size-fits-all. Each sales funnel needs to be tailored and customized to each business because all businesses are different. It’s art. It’s design. It’s a strategy.
And finding the time for all that can be tough, especially for busy business owners like you.
But what you can do is model your sales funnel after ones that are already set up and working for other businesses. That way you can adapt them to your business and the specific needs it has in less time.
The right sales funnel for your SaaS business must highlight the key stages or elements that your prospects will move through and uncover any friction points in the journey. This will give you the foundation to optimize your strategy to rapidly, but most important, efficiently scale your SaaS business in 2020.
With the right strategy for your funnel, prospects who start their journey through your site will end as paying customers. And even better, they’ll become happy and loyal customers if the experience through the journey is satisfactory.
In fact, 96% of your website’s visitors aren’t ready to buy anything (yet) when they first arrive on your site. And at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell according to a study by Marc Wayshak.
Whether you’re creating your sales funnel from scratch or improving and optimizing upon what you already have, it’s important to understand your funnel structure, identify what types of lead follow-ups are actually effective, and use best practices for the structure of your funnel.
Your sales funnel will be the right one as long as its structure and elements in place attract and convert leads automatically. But be patient. Creating and optimizing a sales funnel is an art, sure. But it’s not magic.
So if you don’t see results immediately, that’s ok. Just evaluate your funnel and detect where you’re leaking leads and sales. And if you need help along the way, just ask AutoGrow to create and optimize your funnel and choose the package that best fits your budget.
Now let’s see which elements your SaaS funnel should have and the correct placement they should have in your SaaS funnel.
The SaaS Funnel You Need to Start With
Here’s one funnel we’re currently working on for a SaaS business client of our Done-For-You service.
After a short conversation with Matt, he explained to me that this is the default funnel template you should aim to start with because it’s relatively simple and basic. It doesn’t have a lot of steps involved although it may look a bit complex.
But let me start breaking down each step so you can understand it better and determine if this is the funnel template you want to model for your SaaS business.
When we create sales funnels for our clients, we set up 3 different phases for it. For instance, you can see in the diagram above how each stage or element of the funnel is identified with letters (A, B, C).
When you start crafting your sales funnel, the most important elements you need to start with are the ones in the first stage. In this case, I’m referring to the ones identified with the letter A.
Each letter represents the order that we build each element and the order it should be implemented.
Key Elements in Phase 1:
Lead Magnet Landing Page: For the first step of phase 1, we created the Lead Magnet Landing Page. Then, for the second step in phase 1, we created the Congrats Page which is basically a sales page. Then the ads to launch to this client’s existing email list.
These are the key elements you need to set up for the first phase of your funnel before launching.
With those elements in place, you’re ready to start launching your funnel.
So, at this stage of the funnel, you want to attract people for the first time. They may not know you yet so you’ll offer them a lead magnet.
You already know what a lead magnet is. You also know how to create lead magnets and that checklists make great lead magnets. And if you want to offer something more visual, you know how to create a demo video.
Be sure to track the conversion rate for your lead magnet and aim for 20-40%.
For this funnel diagram, the lead magnet offer we created for our client is a checklist on steps to generate referrals on Facebook through word of mouth. You want your lead magnet offer to be in tight alignment with your product.
And by alignment I mean whatever you’re looking to sell (your SaaS products) must be related to your lead magnet offer.
You also need to be sure to set up your prospects’ expectations and fulfill them on the next step of your funnel, or for instance, the next page. For instance, if your prospects download your free lead magnet, their expectations won’t be to get redirected to your paid product Checkout Page, right? They’ll be saying, “Wait, I didn’t sign up for this… I just wanted a free checklist!”
And as a result, you’ll likely lose the lead, possibly permanently.
It’s a matter of being logical and following the steps that make sense for your prospects’ journey through your site.
When there’s tight alignment, people will be more likely to sign up for your free trial.
Congrats and Demo Video Page: One thing we’ve actually learned from putting together this SaaS funnel is that it was more effective to combine the 2-step opt-in form to watch the demo video and the Watch Demo Page.
Because why not have people just opt in to get the demo video?
When you’re starting out and want to launch your funnel and get results fast, it’s better to eliminate steps and simplify your funnel. Because your funnel doesn’t have to be complex to work really well.
So the more visibility and the less friction, the easier it is for prospects to actually get to your core offer and sign up for a free trial.
That’s why you want to put the demo video right in front of their face. Instead of doing a 2 or 3-minute transition video where you talk about the free trial and ask them if they want more information, invite them to watch your 10-minute demo video instead.
Here you’ll transition the prospect from downloading the lead magnet to invite them to watch your demo video. Your page can have short copy like “Congratulations on downloading your checklist. Now enjoy your bonus demo video.”
In your video, you’ll thank your prospect for downloading your lead magnet, explain to them why it’s so useful, and then talk about how your SaaS tool will change their lives when using it.
This Congrats Page will be like your Sales Page. Here, you’ll include:
- Pain points
- Social proof
- Packages and Pricing
- CTA to sign up for your free trial
And something to keep in mind: it’s ok to sell on this page. Sometimes entrepreneurs are very sensitive and hold back on making people an offer. But you have to realize that your target market has a problem that you can solve.
So don’t be shy. And give the people what they want… your awesome solution to their problem.
Key Elements in Phase 2:
Free Trial: If you’re a SaaS business owner, offer a free trial, free account, or freemium to prospects. This works great if you’re looking to target people on an ad platform like Facebook. Or consider offering prospects a paid trial if you’re wary of offering a free trial, or you just want to make sure you’re getting quality leads for the full paid version.
A paid trial is something that we at AutoGrow have seen work very well for our SaaS clients. And we’ve used a similar version of this funnel diagram for our SaaS clients.
Checkout Page: This is a key point of leverage. If your prospects take the trial offer, you can now redirect them to a Thank You Page.
Thank You Page: Thank your customers for buying the trial. This will reassure them on their actions and people appreciate the confirmation.
Key Elements in Phase 3:
Retargeting Ads: These are your conversion maximizers. They help to tighten up your conversion rate and they leverage the law of repetition because you see the message over and over again in different ways. And this repetition helps them go back to your funnel in case they dropped out.
Email Follow-up: Use a simple email follow-up sequence to start. These emails will remind them to come back and get onboard with the trial if they haven’t already. Just get this basic process to work and you’ll see results.
Long Trial Downsell/Upsell Funnel
This is the funnel Matt diagrammed out and that actually sold him on SamCart’s product.
SamCart is a full-featured eCommerce software built exclusively for sellers to showcase their products.
They have a very solid checkout SaaS tool. They charge a monthly fee and you can design and customize your checkout pages. This helps users avoid coding their own checkout pages and they’re integrated with PayPal and Stripe. And their support is really great as well.
Now let’s take a quick look at their funnel.
They have people coming into their website from ads, inbound traffic, and affiliate’s ads. Then, they send people to their homepage to learn more about their tool. And later people are taken to the pricing page. Then, there’s a 14-day trial to test their tool.
Before Matt ended up using SamCart, he wasn’t willing to invest $99 a month. But after seeing their retargeting ads and their email automation they put him through, he ended up signing up for a free 60-day trial limited-time offer and was upsold on some info products offers too.
They also have daily emails with tips or tutorials to make sure that the prospect is using the tool. And that was another engaging element from the funnel to Matt.
So SamCart’s funnel converted Matt immediately. And all because they had their funnel elements in place—homepage, pricing page, 14-day trial checkout page, email automation, upsells, and retargeting ads.
Grasshopper’s SaaS Funnel
Grasshopper is a virtual phone system that helps small business owners to have a phone number for their company. This can be used on existing landlines or cell phones.
They’ve scaled to over $100,000,000 in sales and the core of their funnel is based on 3 or 4 steps.
Since they sell a virtual phone system, they try different ways to get you interested in their product.
So their funnel starts on their homepage where their service and benefits are offered. The copy is clear and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Their services are explained in an inviting, 2-minute YouTube video and also clearly listed in bullet points.
Then, prospects are taken to the pricing page. Packages are compared with each other in terms of pricing and features. And the free trial CTA is also displayed below each package.
The prospect needs to choose a phone number to register with Grasshopper. They can get a local number or a toll-free number.
So, if prospects aren’t ready to pick a pricing plan at this point, they’re redirected again to the checkout page. But if they do choose a plan, then they’re brought to the billing page.
Grasshopper has made some design changes, color combinations, and they tested other elements that actually improved its website. They even cut down on their sales funnel so it converted better. Same thing Matt did with the funnel template I showed you above. Because simplicity works great in funnels.
When Matt shared his insights about this funnel, he said that the first thing he likes about it is that they have retargeting ads and weekly newsletters with tips for entrepreneurs about marketing. And the other thing Matt thinks is unique about this funnel is the exit pop-up with a limited-time offer for price-sensitive people.
So there you have it. SaaS funnels in a nutshell.
When you’re creating your funnel from scratch, you can always iterate on it. You can always get more sophisticated and you can give prospects different paths to get them to buy.
Creating and optimizing a sales funnel to sell your SaaS products can be really easy if you model any of our proven-to-convert funnel templates. But you must execute the right stages in the right order.
Always make sure that your prospects’ journeys through your site makes sense. Think of the analogy with the open house. If you want to attract the right people to buy your products, properly advertise your products. Once they come into your site, entice them with a lead magnet offer and take them through all the stages of your funnel until you turn them into buyers.
By downloading our funnel templates you’ll be able to understand your customer’s journey better, offer them what they need, and present your offers in a logical order.
Having the right funnel in place is key to success and one of the main things most marketers and entrepreneurs ignore and therefore fail because of.
But if you don’t have time to redesign your sales funnel or still don’t know how to optimize it yourself, reach out to AutoGrow and our Full-Stack Marketing Team will set up the right funnel for you and start automating leads so you can skyrocket sales in 2020.
Keep funnelin’, stay focused,