The sales funnel is something every consumer goes through before they become a customer. Regardless of the industry or product, it consists of different stages a prospect goes through before making a purchase.
The sales funnel is slightly different for SaaS companies, simply because these transactions are not a one-off purchase.
Instead, customers – or “users,” as they’re better known in the industry – commit to a monthly subscription fee. This can initially make it an easier sell because the initial monthly payment may seem fairly minimal, but the difficulty comes in trying to keep those customers from leaving (and, therefore, not paying) in the following months.
However, in most cases, the sales process leading up to the moment of initial purchase (a.k.a. that sign up for the first month) seems to follow a familiar format.
The 3 Common Sales Funnel Stages
There are three common sales funnel stages that apply to many B2B customer journeys, and to the SaaS buyer as well. First, there is the awareness stage, where consumers realize they have a problem that needs solving. From there, they move into the consideration stage, where they start researching and comparing solution options. Finally, they enter the purchase stage, where they invest in your product.
When navigating these stages, it’s important to understand your audience, consider the problems they’re looking to solve and the path they usually take to find a solution.
There are several ways you can do this, including:
- Tapping into your data, if you have access to it and determining who is buying what and when they’re buying it
- Surveying your prospective users (or current customers) to figure out what their most pressing needs are and why they decided to invest in your product
- Researching relevant forums and social media feeds to see what conversations your target users are having and the common questions they’re asking
When you’ve carried out this research, you can start creating a content strategy that spans the various stages of the sales funnel.
Serving up unique content to different stages of the funnel is important for helping a prospect feel like their specific concerns are being addressed.
For example, someone who doesn’t even know they need your product requires completely different information than someone who is ready to invest in a solution and is currently comparing you with your competitor. Consider these tips when creating content for each sales funnel stage.
Targeting Content for Each Stage of the SaaS Sales Funnel
We clarified there are three distinct stages of the sales funnel: awareness, consideration, and purchase. But how does that help you figure out what content you need to create to push users from one stage to the next? We’ll answer that question for each individual stage, starting with “awareness.”
Awareness, the Top-of-Funnel Stage
Awareness is also known as the top of the funnel. Your potential users are just beginning to understand their problem. In that process, they might become aware of your product.
At this point, you should be serving content that describes the problem they’re facing with the ultimate aim of getting them to agree that they have that problem.
For example, this might be a blog post about “Why You’re Wasting Time Doing X.”
When a prospective user sees this content, they might agree that they’re wasting time “doing X,” but they’re not sure of how to correct the problem. This is when you present your SaaS product as the answer.
Sales engagement software company, Mailshake, has plenty of “why” articles on its blog to capture top-of-the-funnel prospects.
Consideration, or Mid-Funnel
The next step (also known as the middle of the funnel) involves prospects evaluating their options. They might check out the features of your product and compare them with the features of your competitor. Essentially, at this stage, they’re trying to justify their purchase.
This means they’ll want to know more about your business, your process, and specific use cases for your product.
Content at this stage might include detailed information about your solution, such as tutorials and guides, along with customer testimonials and stories that share how other companies similar to theirs have succeeded with your solution.
Your goal is to make your solution sound like a no-brainer.
Software maker, Proposify, shares a lot of customer success stories on its site to serve the needs of mid-funnel prospects.
Purchase, or the Bottom-of-Funnel Stage
In the third stage of the funnel (also known as the bottom of the funnel), prospects are ready to become users. They basically have their wallet open and their hand hovering over the “sign up now” button.
Your content goals here should revolve around showing them how they can succeed with your product and making it easier for them to buy now.
Content ideas here might include free trials and demos, detailed user guides that run through the different use cases of your features, and anything that makes using your product seem like a breeze.
Beyond the 3 Stages: Post-Purchase
SaaS sales funnels are different to most because they rely on users renewing their payment each month. This means the hard work doesn’t end when they sign up for the first month. In fact, that’s really when it begins.
At this point, your goal is to create a loyal customer base that wouldn’t stray even if a tempting offer came along. So, create post-purchase content that shares new feature updates, customer success stories, and further guides to using your product in the most effective and beneficial ways.
A post-purchase content strategy might include:
- Communicating with your customer support team to determine the most common questions and queries that crop up
- Staying in touch with users and actively asking them what kind of content they need to help them succeed
- Asking your current user base to create content, whether that’s writing reviews, sharing their stories, or uploading images of them using your product
Keep Content a Priority
Content is a key driver for any sales funnel. Without serving the right content at the right time, you might not be giving potential users the information they need to move through the sales process.
Purchases finally happen after several necessary steps in the sales funnel. Consider the wants and needs of consumers at every step of the process to nurture them – not to buy, but to simply take that next step. Then, when a purchase is finally made, make sure they know you’re still listening to their needs. Then, you’ll get the sale today, tomorrow and many more times in the future.