My SaaS Growth Thesis 🚀

Abstract

In this thesis, the problematic we’ll be trying to solve, is as follows:

First, we’ll start with an overview of the SaaS growth system, what it is and how it is built. Then, we’ll move to how you can do an in-depth market analysis to understand the basics of your industry, your audience, your competition, your KPIs, and your OKRs. Moreover, in the next sections, we’ll talk about, respectively, the best-performing SaaS traffic acquisition process. the SaaS marketing funnel, and the SaaS inside sales funnel.

The ultimate goal of this thesis is to help SaaS founders understand deeply how to build a customer acquisition funnel that generates up to 10x ARR within the first year.

The SaaS Growth System

The diagram above depicts the action plan of the SaaS growth system. This action plan can be used to validate a new market or it can be used to scale an existing offer.

In this system, you should start by establishing an in-depth market analysis which will lead you to understand your target audience, your goals, your kpis, and more importantly your competition. This step allows you to have the god’s view while drafting or optimizing your growth strategy. Then, you should acquire more website traffic using the different outbound and inbound tactics that we’ll talk about in the third section of this thesis.

By acquiring new website visitors, you now generated Marketing Qualified Leads who want to know more about the problems they can solve by buying your solution, and ready to get into the Marketing Funnel where they become aware of their problems and your solutions.

Depending of your business model, your MQL can become directly a Free Registered User and get into your Automated Funnel where he will certainly be persuaded and convinced that your solution is the right one for him to solve his problem or problems. Or, in the other side, you get a Sales Qualified Lead who needs to exchange with your sales development reps in order to get the arguments he need to buy your solution.

In both ways, you can see here the importance of the first step: Market Analysis.

Market Analysis

As we found out in the previous section, doing an in-depth market analysis is as important as doing your homework.

Personas development

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of an ideal customer, based on real data and some educated speculation about demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals. Personas are created through research, analysis, and taking a close look at who’s already buying from you. They can help you get into the mindset of your potential buyers.

Buyer’s journey research

The buyer’s journey is the active research process someone goes through leading up to a purchase. Knowing the buyer’s journey for your persona will be key to creating the best content possible. Instead of moving someone through the funnel, the buyer’s journey is tailored to your buyer and the stages. The three stages are the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage that portray the experiences your potential customers go through.

KPIs definition

Define your KPIs, and install tracking tools in your website and SaaS platform to keep an eye of what’s happening. For each step of the SaaS Growth System, you should define its key performance metrics.

OKRs framework

The idea behind OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is to build a common focus within a business and stretch the limits of what’s possible. It is a framework to help you set, track, and execute aggressive goals.

Objectives and key results are broken into two sections and answer the following questions:

  1. What are you trying to achieve? (Objective)
  2. How will you achieve it? (Key result)

Competitive analysis

To keep moving forward, it’s very powerful to analyze your competition. So, how to conduct a competitive analysis for your SaaS business?

  1. List your competitors
  2. Gather data
  3. Report and analyze

Once you finish your market analysis, you can start now implementing your strategies, the first strategy that you should focus on is your Traffic Acquisition Strategy.

Traffic Acquisition

The traffic acquisition strategy is broken down into 2 strategies: outbound marketing (short-term strategy), and inbound marketing (long-term strategy). In this section, we’ll talk about the most important tactics that you should have in mind to increase your website traffic and generate way more MQLs than what you do now.

Outbound Prospecting

This diagram above depicts the outbound prospecting workflow that you or your sales development reps can start with as an initial template in order to optimize it while gathering and analyzing more data.

As you can see the outbound prospecting can be made through 2 channels: Linkedin & Cold Emails

  • Linkedin

Start by visiting your potential leads’ linkedin profiles, and sending a connection message with the invitation.

Once connected, you may not take more time than 4-hours to send your presentation message to start the conversation and break the ice.

Wait no less than a day before sending your offer message. If you get lucky and the potential lead is already aware of his problems and feel interested by your solution, he’s gonna book a demo call directly.

But hope is not a strategy!

So, you need to backup your messages with the link to your website and at least generate a MQL.

  • Cold Emails

From your contacts database that you can collect by scraping your target audience’s contact information using available tools on the web (check out the last section to see my SaaS Growth Toolbox), you can start sending cold emails to potential buyers. Same as the linkedin workflow, if you get lucky and the potential lead is already aware of his problems and feel interested by your solution, he’s gonna book a demo call directly. Otherwise, you may backup your email and follow-up emails with the link to your website and at least generate a MQL.

Paid Ads: SMA & SEA

Paid Ads: SMA & SEA

The diagram above explains the social ads funnel that will allow you to scale your your company extremely quickly.

Your campaigns through the different social channels are routing to an opt-in page where you will capture your potential lead contact information.

If the lead books a demo call, congrats! You generated a new SQL.

Otherwise, the lead’s email will be integrated into your CRM and with email marketing camapigns he will become a MQL ready to move to the Sales Funnel to become a paying customer.

Inbound Marketing: Organic Traffic

The diagram above shows the different inbound marketing tactics that will allow you increase your organic traffic. It is divided to two parts: SEO and Content Marketing. By optimizing your on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO, while creating powerful content (pillar pages, lead magnets, podcasts, etc…), be sure you’ll see amazing results that will blow your mind.

Inbound marketing takes time to get results, that’s why it is a long-term strategy that needs to be implemented asap, and of course should be balanced with your outbound strategies explained in the previous sections.

Now, you are aware of the most important traffic acquisition tactics.

You can generate now MQLs.

But, it’s definitely not enough to get them right into your sales funnel.

They need to start, first, by getting into your Marketing Funnel.

Marketing Funnel

Your marketing funnel is the lead qualification step, that will increase your sales team conversion rate. By giving Sales Qualified Leads to your sales team, it will be easier for them to close them. They won’t waste time with unqualified leads, which will certainly grow the company’s revenue growth. The marketing funnel is broken down to a 3-steps process:

  1. Top-funnel
  2. Mid-funnel
  3. Bottom-funnel

Top-funnel

As described in the diagram above, you can see that the role of the top-funnel is to make the MQL knows that his problem needs to be solves asap as you are touching the pain points in your top-funnel content. That can be in your website’s home page, your content pillar page (black-hole content landing page), or your blog posts.

Mid-funnel

Now your MQL will go through your video sales letter landing page, a case study landing page, or a webinar (lead magnet in general) landing page. Here you should persuade the MQL that your have a solution, it’s working for others, and can solve his problems. Focus here on the buyer’s goals that you found during your research in the Market Analysis step.

Bottom-funnel

Either your MQL lands the sign up page to become a Free Registered User and goes through the automated sales funnel, or lands the demo call booking page to book a call with a sales development rep and become a Sales Qualified Lead.

You are now able to generate more Sales Qualified Leads, that’s nice, right?

But all the SQL’s information should be provided to your sales team in order to keep the funnel very smooth for your buyer which is very important!

The right answer is Sales Enablement.

Sales Enablement: Marketing & Sales Alignment

Sales enablement is about the process of providing your sales team with the information, content, and also tools that help will help them sell more effectively. In simple words, it is providing the sales team with the information they need in order to engage the lead throughout the sales funnel.

Sales enablement is very important to implement within your company, as it allows your sales development reps to achieve quota in a scalable, predictable, and repeatable way.

The first thing you might do when starting to implement sales enablement is preparing your CRM by setting up more information parameters that needs to be filled for each lead. This way, your sales team can have a larger view of the situation when talking to each lead.

You might also have to provide your sales team with sales scripts and workflows that makes them focus on following the inside sales funnel steps, which will magically improve their close rate. Believe me, it will increase in a crazy way!

In order to define these workflows, you should build your Sales Funnel first!

Sales Funnel

Your sales funnel is where you convert your leads to customers, which means this is the step where the revenue comes in. You might make sure that your sales funnel is well built, because without it, you won’t be able to create neither your workflows nor your sales scripts. You might lose a ton of opportunities just by not setting up a high-converting sales funnel. I’m sure wanna close all the leads generated. So, i recommend you to keep in mind optimizing your sales funnel whenever you gather more data.

In the SaaS growth funnel, we divided the sales funnel into 2 parts: automated sales funnel, and inside sales funnel

Automated Funnel

The automated sales funnel is dedicated for free registered users, as they already showed interest in using the solution by their own. It is great, isn’t it?

Yes nice, but how to make them pay for your product?

By signing up, you might have their contact information, including their email, right?

The best way to convert the free users into paying customers is to automate email campaigns, following a funnel that makes the free user engage and convinces him to buy.

The diagram above shows the automated sales funnel. Once a Free Registered User signs up, the customer on-boarding workflow should automatically start to guide the free user while testing the product and convince him that it can solve his problems. Once the free trial ends, he will receive a first email with the company’s pricing offers. If he doesn’t buy the product, you should follow up with a case study and an invitation to a demo call to try to engage the lead and convince him to buy throughout the inside sales funnel.

Send up to 5 follow-ups with few special offers and more case studies trying to catch up on closing this deal.

No reply after 5 follow-ups? Mark the lead as a lost opportunity and add him to the nurture list to keep him always receiving your email marketing campaigns.

What if he books a demo call? Well, now you move to the plan B, and get him throughout the Inside Sales Funnel.

Inside Sales Funnel

The inside sales funnel.. It’s the process that you or your sales development reps should follow before, and during the demo call.

Everything should planned.. Hope is not a strategy!

As the diagram shows, before the demo/sales call, there are few steps to not miss out in order to increase your show-up rate. Once the lead show’s up, you should start the introduction and try get control, then ask the qualification questions provided from the sales enablement step, and acknowledge the lead’s current situation and problems. Then, you should start following your company’s Product Demo/Sales Strategy Process.

Conclusion

Now, you might have a better idea about the whole SaaS Growth System, from the market analysis to the paying customer acquisition. This was my answer to the problematic: how to build a high performance SaaS growth system to drive top-line revenue growth and enterprise value.

Need help?

I am Yassir Haouati, SaaS Growth Consultant 🚀

I help SaaS founders on building a high performance growth system to drive top-line Revenue growth and enterprise Value.

Learn more 👉 Who am i?

Let’s talk 👉 15-min Call

Linkedin 👉 Yassir Haouati

Twitter 👉 @HaouatiYassir

My SaaS Growth Toolbox

👉 Check it out here 🤖

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