3 Best Practices to Surge Your B2B SaaS Sales Funnel

Summary

  • Evidence-based best practices show how to grow your B2B SaaS sales funnel most effectively. They shift unsupported ideas that lack predictable outcomes to prescriptive guidance that achieves forecasted results. Industry research and best practices take the guesswork out of growing a SaaS sales funnel.
  • Three best practices for Software-as-a-Service companies to increase customer acquisitions include an enterprise sales methodology, salesforce automation and revenue engineering.
  • A sales methodology is a prescriptive but dynamic framework of business development strategies, tactics and responses. These methods help buyers complete their purchase decisions, systemically advance the purchase process, maximize the sales force win rate and accelerate the SaaS sales funnel.
  • Salesforce automation software brings data management, process automation, information reporting and scale to business development execution. Research shows the most effective systems focus on user benefits such as staff productivity and personal performance goals.
  • Revenue Engineering visualizes the company‚Äôs revenue progression in a Lead-to-Revenue funnel. That visualization displays the sales stages, conversions, and velocity for leads and sale opportunities. It delivers real-time revenue visibility and date-based predictability. It supports What-If analysis, pro forma modeling, and the manipulation of leads and opportunities to improve and accelerate customer acquisitions.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

How to Grow a B2B SaaS Sales Funnel

Revenue growth recommendations without supporting data are just somebody's opinion.

A better approach is to apply evidence-based best practices that are validated by research, supported with prescriptive frameworks, apply technology automation, and have purpose-built measurement systems (i.e., metrics and dashboards).

Evidence-based best practices for software publishers are prescriptive actions that save time, increase focus, lower risk, and show the most direct route to monthly and annual revenue growth.

Grow your B2B SaaS Sales Funnel with These Best Practices

There is no single method to grow a B2B SaaS sales funnel. But there are business development best practices that maximize lead to revenue conversions, ARR and top line revenue growth. Here are three of those lessons.

B2B SaaS Sales Funnel Best Practices
1

Begin with a Selling Methodology

A selling methodology changes the focus from what you sell to how you sell. It advises the methods to systemically advance prospects across each step of the selling process. For example, it suggests the qualification questions for new leads, the positioning to align buyer pain with solution benefits, an effective opportunity win plan, the negotiation tactics to preserve revenue, the incentives to get the deal over the finish line and many other techniques to win competitive deals.

To increase the sales force win rate, the methodology must deliver several selling aids, including the following:

  • Show how to solve buyer pain and problems with buyer insights, unique perspectives and points of view.
  • Show how to navigate the buyers' buy cycle and lead to a predictable outcome.
  • Deliver the right message, content, recommendation or response to the right buyer role at the right time.
  • Identify roles and responsibilities for team selling coordination and collaboration.
  • Seamlessly integrate with a multiple step selling process.
  • Convert buyer and sales cycle data to insights to support guided selling and deliver next-best-action recommendations.
  • Apply KPIs to measure progress and quickly identify variances or red flags that need swift remediation.
  • Use a knowledgebase to store post-sale results and make analysis easily available so lessons learned can be delivered to similar future opportunities.
  • Use analytics to deliver real-time alerts and sales coaching opportunities.

Research findings published in the Sales Excellence Report reveal that sellers with optimized sales methodologies achieved 11% higher sales win rates than those with informal methods.

The research also found that selling success goes even higher when a sales methodology is integrated with a structured sales process and CRM. These three components create the sales trifecta and increase sales force win rates 6% above methodologies alone.

The Sales Trifecta
2

Apply Technology Automation

Software-as-a-Service sellers pursue multiple complex sale opportunities in parallel. Technology can help manage those pursuits.

The previously referenced research also found that Sales Force Automation (SFA) software, often called Sales Clouds and generally a component in the CRM software suite, was scored as the most effective sales software application by sellers.

Top 5 Sales Technologies

When the data was filtered by performance archetype it surfaced some unexpected results. Most Sales Force Automation (SFA) and sales cloud applications were rated as both effective and ineffective by sellers.

We correlated the data with other factors such as goals for the SFA application and post deployment performance measurement. It then became clear that the technology effectiveness was less about the technology and more about how it was designed, implemented and measured.

The research revealed three factors that help explain why some sales forces make extraordinary gains with technology while others struggle.

  1. The data demonstrated that the top cohort applied a technology strategy to plan, procure and benefit from their technologies 4.5 times more often than their lower performing peers. When the data correlated respondents that applied a technology strategy with user adoption strategies and investment data, it revealed that those with technology strategies achieved 30% higher user adoption and 6% lower total cost of ownership (TCO), on average, when compared to those that did not.
  2. The data also revealed that staffing impacted technology effectiveness. 84% of the Best-in-Class archetype invested in dedicated sales enablement resources to plan and manage their selling technologies. That was 2.61 times more often than the combined group of Medians and Laggards.
  3. And finally, the data reinforced that you cannot manage what you cannot measure. While only 21% of all respondents consistently measured the ROI for their software investments, a whopping 70% of that group were the Best-in-Class cohort. That is a 4.5 times difference between the top performers and their lower performing peers.

The data findings are clear.

SFA or CRM technology designed as little more than an opportunity management system will deliver little more than a forecast report. That doesn't help sellers increase productivity or win more deals.

However, when the application is designed pursuant to a strategy that seeks out important goals, such as improving staff productivity and opportunity win rates, it empowers the sales force to be far more successful. The technology drives those goals with specific capabilities such as buyer insights, integrated sales methodologies, facilitated sales processes, opportunity win plans, guided selling, sales coaching or one of many other feature sets.

When software is acquired pursuant to a strategy that aligns technology with sales outcomes, it creates a competitive advantage as it defines how those technologies will be used to acquire, grow, and retain more customers.

3

Make Revenue Generation Deterministic

Many technology companies are not clear which business development actions or programs will drive the biggest revenue impact. So, they hypothesize, make semi-educated guesses and generally focus on one program at a time, hoping it's the most effective program. It's usually not. And that puts the SaaS growth strategy at risk.

The Sales Excellence Report shared that Best-in-Class companies use revenue engineering to plot the most effective route to their revenue goals. In fact, they do it 4.1 times more frequently than the combined average of Medians and Laggards.

Here is how they do it.

Revenue engineering applies a predictive model that measures the Lead-to-Revenue progression. The model is displayed as a revenue conversion funnel. It shows each sales stage, the volume of leads or opportunities in each stage, and the conversion and duration metrics between stages. An illustration is shown below.

Lead Requirements Planning

It shows the types and volume of leads that traverse from the top to the bottom of the funnel. It permits interactive modeling to understand how different actions or programs impact conversions and sales cycle velocity.

The model brings visibility, predictability, and deterministic engineering to revenue generation.

When the funnel is applied in reverse it can start with a slated revenue target and then show exactly how many leads need to go into the top of the funnel to achieve a revenue goal by a specified date.

The model also measures sales stage conversions and durations of leads and opportunities pursuant to many variables such as customer type, product type, opportunity type, salesperson, region, line of business and more. This allows it to identify unqualified leads and stalled opportunities. It can further illustrate the factors that impede or accelerate pipeline progress and show the levers that will improve or optimize throughput and top line revenue growth.

Software sellers often incur moderate to long sales cycles. So, bringing opportunity-specific insights with recommended actions will accelerate sales cycle velocity and increase sales win rates.

See the B2B SaaS sales funnel best practices to increase the opportunity win rate and acquire more customers more effectively.

Click to Tweet / X

Takeaway

A sales methodology, sales force automation technology and revenue engineering are three of several evidence-based best practices that can be applied to drive significant increases in customer acquisitions.

Other best practices include predictable sales processes, account win plans, seller playbooks, strategic pricing, guided selling recommendations, sales and marketing alignment, customer retention strategies, sales coaching, sales enablement, and sales technology stacks to name a few.

The most helpful best practices for any given software publisher will depend upon the company's baseline performance and target goals. Best practices under consideration should be validated and forecasted with a predictive analytics model.

The point is that best practices are repeatable roadmaps to acquire more customers more effectively. They provide prescriptive guidance to forecasted results and share lessons that save time, reduce investment and minimize risk.