There are lots of companies all over the world that have really amazing services, software and offers. They researched their buyer personas, they know the pain points of their prospects and they have just the right product to help them.
So you think they have a clear path to be a fortune 100 company, eh? Well, you are absolutely wrong. They need a marketing and/or sales funnel at their disposal. I’m about to share with you the lead gen funnel that generates a lot of leads and later on a lot of clients. But before that…
What the heck is a marketing&sales funnel?
Well, here is a short definition: they journey you create for your prospects. It’s not that scary, isn’t it?
Although it can be challenging to design your funnel because you are acting in a highly uncertain environment and you need to grow rapidly. So down here you can see a concept that is designed for startups:
This is the famous AARRR model that everybody is talking about in the startup world. You acquire leads, then you activate them to be your client, you don’t let them go away, you make revenue and your clients will spread the word about you.
It’s really amazing, isn’t it? Easy-peasy. Eventually, you need all of these steps working for you. But always start from the top!
And here you can find another solution that shows you the right process you should follow. I think it’s pretty similar to the previous one.
Yes, you attract people, you convert them into leads, you nurture them until they become your customer and then you make them promote your SAAS product by delighting them.
I also want you to know that every stage needs to be handled differently and has to be divided into 3 different small funnels (at least):
- Lead generation funnel
- Lead activation funnel
- Customer retention and referral funnel
In this article, I won’t speak about activation or referral techniques, maybe later. I focus on your lead generation funnel.
Set up your lead generation funnel following the steps below
Yes: I’m about to share with your the secret sauce of lead generation funnel. Although I really want to warn you! Every industry and even every company can be different according to their solutions. So you can copy and paste the instructions below BUT always think from your perspective and use what can be good for your own SAAS business!
So now that you know this, here you are:
1. Create hooks
Hooks are free contents. Yes. Free contents that are somehow connected to the service you offer. I hope you have buyer personas, if not, create at least one immediately. Or if you have, think about them for a minute. What are their pain points? What are the problems you can solve with your software? What kind of topics are related to your solution and to your prospects’ pains?
Still waiting. Don’t be lazy.
Okay. Now you have topics. Pick one and write about it. Give them an easy solution to their specific problem. This will grab the attention of your prospects as the first step in your lead generation funnel.
- “I have security issues in my system” – give them a description of 1-2 issues and a solution. Or a case study.
- “I don’t know how we could communicate in our company” – give them a video training that gives them hints or just a sheet with top 10 tips.
- “I don’t know how to design my marketing funnel to increase the number of leads” – give them a template if you are a marketing SAAS. (Yes, you’re right, there is a cheat sheet at the end of this article…)
You know your prospects. You just HELP them with free but VALUABLE content. In addition, your hooks shouldn’t ease all of their pains on the topic.
2. Put your hooks on landing pages
Landing pages are great for controlling your visitors’ behavior in your lead generation funnel. It doesn’t have any distraction on it and has one goal: make the visitor download your free hook and in return, your visitors give you their contact info – you already converted them to leads! So advertise these landing pages on social media, AdWords or try to share the page with lots of people.
Maybe you think that it would be better to bring them straight away to your SAAS trial offer and make them register. Forget it. You want to create the funnel that fits your prospect’s decision making processes and buying behavior. And you also want to build trust and convert them into buying customers more efficiently.
So as a startup, you don’t have money to pay tons of money for ads that create brand awareness among your possible prospects and by taking advantage of this you can sell them. At this stage, you couldn’t prove your expertise. This is why hooks are great. And this is why you should advertise landing pages with these hooks.
If someone checks your hook, it will make him satisfied. But eager to solve all of his problems that are connected to this specific problem. And this is what you want.
3. Use thank you pages as upsell pages!
Now this is the best thing about the process and here is the first part of the secret sauce I promised you:
After somebody gives you his contact info and downloads your hook, he will go to another page where you acknowledge this person’s action. Giving out your contact information is very frightening so you should be pleased. This is called a “thank you page”.
But thank you pages are not just great for “hey, thank you for downloading” messages. Those are great for offering upsells in your lead generation funnel!
YES. Upsells that are impulsive buys.
Step back for a sec. You have a SAAS product. You are in B2B. So you sell things to companies. Everyone knows that the buying process can be very complicated in companies. What the hell I’m talking about then? This whole thing again stems in the idea of buyer personas. You have a target market. Companies. But you have target audience as well. Companies don’t buy. PEOPLE buy.
So let’s say you offer an employee evaluation software to companies with existing HR department and with a separate budget. So… your target people who are mainly HR leaders or have some influence on the decision itself. What do you do?
You create a buyer persona for an HR person. And an HR person has problems in a company. For example, she or he is just a recruiter but wants to be a strategic partner in the company. You know that she/he has personal pains. Therefore you brake the one feature of your employee evaluation software and you offer it for a very low cost (compared to the competition). Your hook is about how to be a strategic partner instead of a mere recruiter? And on the thank, you page you offer your SAAS software’s little feature that can help your lead to reach her or his desired goals faster than if she or he could do it only by using your tips.
Easy, isn’t it? You still don’t agree? Maybe I will explain it in another blog post later…
4. Make them use your whole product
You gave away your hook and you successfully sold your little piece from your product. What’s next? Sell them the whole product. Make them upgrade again. Explain the benefits of the whole system. You got your buyer persona and built up your first lead generation funnel.
MAKE MONEY. GROW FASTER.
+1 What happens with the not converted people?
A lot of people will give you their contact info but won’t buy your first, little product right away. A lot of people will buy your little product but won’t upgrade. What happens with them?
Easy. You create email workflows to convince them, nurture them and convert them into customers! And this is the second secret sauce. Use automatic lead nurturing in order to convert more and more and more leads and make more and real money. Will write about this part sometime, I promise!
He graduated from the Technical University of Budapest, with master’s degree in Software Engineering, Economics and Management.
As a serial entrepreneur he has 10+ failed projects and one big winner one: growing Protopmail email marketing service from zero to a market leader position in Hungary.
He has been working more than 20 years in software development, more than 10 years in IT project management and also having the serious of 10+ years experience in email marketing and marketing automation.
Aside from running a successful business, Gabor is also an email marketing and marketing automation consultant and works for clients like GE Money, DHL, Bridgestone and for several banks and insurance companies.
He also appears at multiple online marketing colleges as a guest speaker, and a well-known speaker at online marketing related conferences.
Gabor speaks 4 languages, has three kids and he is a serious golf addict.