Building an Effective B2B SaaS Sales Funnel

Untitled design-23
With our expert tips, tools and insights under your wing, you’ll be able to build a tailored, full-funnel sales approach.

All the secrets you need to succeed


If you’re working in a B2B (business-to-business) SaaS (software-as-a-service) company, you’re usually working with a long sales cycle.

Your potential customers are out there, but are often difficult to reach and engage with. Your challenge is to connect with them in a way that is compelling, repeatable and scalable.

Luckily, this guide will help you to achieve exactly that. With our expert tips, tools and insights under your wing, you’ll be able to build a tailored, full-funnel sales approach. You’ll be able to secure monthly recurring revenue and deliver long-term results.

What is a sales funnel?

Before we jump into how to build one of your own, it’s important to answer: what exactly is a sales funnel?

Imagine. There are always millions of people out there who’ve never heard of your business. There’s a much smaller number who are aware of your brand but may not have engaged with you, and a smaller portion again who have actively connected but not progressed further. Then you have a tiny portion who are actual, paying customers.

A sales funnel is a handy metaphor for representing this cohort: from a wide amount at the top to a narrow band at the bottom. Think of it like an inverted pyramid.

The larger group at the top are potential customers, the mid are warmer prospects and the narrow group at the bottom are actual customers.

You’ll hear B2B marketers like us refer to these stages as: top-funnel (TOFU), mid-funnel (MOFU) and bottom-funnel (BOFU).

Why you need a SaaS sales funnel

A well built-out SaaS funnel can greatly improve the effectiveness of your marketing and sales efforts. By ensuring your marketing efforts cater to every stage of the funnel you can meaningfully connect with prospects at each step of the customer acquisition journey and maximise potential sales.

A funnel can also provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing and sales process and provide transparency into the customers’ viewpoints, challenges, opportunities and decision-making.

An example

We developed a full-funnel marketing approach for a global B2B tech company, IR. Part of this strategy involved sending high quality traffic from multiple sources at different funnel stages to conversion-optimised pages. With their customised funnel approach fully built out and in action, they were able to achieve 1075% growth in MQLs between 2020 to 2021. The impact is hard to argue with.

Nail the marketing funnel jargon

There’s a lot of jargon in the SaaS funnel space, so before we move on to building one – let’s run through a list of some key terms for you to keep in your back pocket.


·     someone who visits your website


·     a visitor who gave you their email address, often in exchange for some free web content

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

·     more engaged leads who’ve been categorised as the marketing team as “qualified”

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

·     leads considered worth a direct sales follow-up by the sales team


·     contacts who have progressed to real sales opportunities and are ready to purchase


·     once you’ve closed the sale, your prospect has become a customer and your job is now to retain them and promote brand loyalty


·     essential Customer Relationship Management software for keeping track of your prospects at every stage of their journey through the sales funnel


·     three stages of the sales funnel: Top, Middle and Bottom

Understand your SaaS conversion funnel stages 

If you look around the web, you’ll find several variations of sales funnel diagrams and stages. Some more complex than others.

However, at the core of all of them are four essential stages. These represent the key points that every customer stops off at on their journey from being completely unaware of you to being a fully-fledged, paying customer. Let’s run through them.


At the TOFU (top of the funnel), your potential clients are in the answering-seeking, researching stage. They may not have yet defined their problem and are definitely not searching for a specific solution yet. Your goal at this stage is to make them aware of your brand, answer their questions, build trust and establish yourself as a thought leader.


In the MOFU (middle of the funnel), your potential customer is aware of their problem and is actively looking for ways to solve it. At this stage, your goal should be to help them on this quest, using longer-form, lead magnets to turn high-quality traffic into high-quality leads using lead magnets or other offers.


At the BOFU (bottom of the funnel), your potential customer has progressed to the ready-to-buy stage and is narrowing down their options. Here, your goal is to establish your SaaS product as the best on the market and convert them!


Technically, your prospect has now become a customer and passed through your sales funnel. They’ve adopted your offering and in this post-sales stage you ideally should onboard them, ensure your SaaS product works for their problem and convert them to being a loyal brand follower and ambassador.

Determine your approach for each funnel stage

Now that you’ve familiarised yourself with your various funnel stages, and the mindset of your customers at each stage – it’s time to flesh out your own SaaS funnel. This means deciding on the approach – including specific channels, content, audiences and call-to-actions (CTAs) – you’ll use to cater to each of the funnel stages.

Your approach at each point will depend on a number of factors, including historical performance data (if there is any), your overall objectives, your budget & resources and your specific target audience. Nothing needs to be set in stone on first launch but it’s important that you really consider the alignment between offer, channel and funnel stage before you start executing anything.


As touched on, the focus of your top-funnel activity should be on generating awareness and establishing your brand to a target audience who doesn’t know who you are. As such, you should try to stick to easily digestible, stackable and engaging pieces of content. You’ll also want to make sure there’s an emphasis on educating your prospects, and answering their questions as opposed to selling to them. Examples of suitable content formats for this funnel stage could include:

  • Videos
  • Infographic
  • Blog post
  • Tools
  • Social media posts

When it comes to the channels you should use to distribute this content, we’d suggest testing:

  • Organic Social
  • Paid Social (LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter)
  • Organic Search
  • Native advertising e.g. Outbrain

For CTAs, you want to go as broad, and non-committal as possible:

  • “Learn More”
  • “Read More”
  • “Watch Video”
  • “View More”
  • “Discover How”

An example of a well-aligned TOFU tactic could be promoting of a 30 second brand video on Facebook to a broad demographic audience with the intention to boost brand awareness and encourage prospects to visit your website with the CTA “Learn More.”


For mid-funnel activity, you should be focused on driving high quality leads in your target audience and presenting your business as a viable solution to their pain points, without coming across too salesy. As such, we strongly suggest you provide prospects with high-value, long-form gated lead magnets that address their pain points like:

  • eBooks
  • White papers
  • How-to guides
  • Gated webinars
  • Reports

In terms of channels, a blended approach of the following channels is our recommendation:

  • LinkedIn, Facebook
  • Google Ads
  • SEO / Organic search

For CTAs, consider using:

  • “Download Now”
  • “Register Now”
  • “Get Access”
  • “Get your Free eBook”

An example of a well-aligned MOFU tactic could be promoting a 3000 word gated eBook that focuses on solving a pain point of your target audience, through both LinkedIn and Facebook with the CTA “Download Now.” The eBook also links the problem covered to your SaaS product in a natural, authentic way.


As discussed, for bottom-funnel activity your focus should be on positioning your SaaS product as the market leader, and convincing them your prospects to convert. Consequently, we’d recommend opting for higher commitment offers that can really demonstrate the value of your product vs competitord like:

  • Free trials
  • Live demos
  • Discovery calls
  • Case Studies
  • Comparison Guides

For channels at this stage of the funnel we’d suggest opting for platforms lead by search intent or utilise a retargeting audience. This includes:

  • Google Ads
  • Comparison platforms e.g. Capterra
  • Retargeting on LinkedIn, Youtube, Facebook, Display
  • Organic Search / SEO
  • Email Marketing

For CTAs:

  • “Book a Call”
  • “Sign Up Now”
  • “Register Now”
  • “Get in Touch”
  • “Contact Us”

An example of a well-aligned BOFU tactic could be choosing to promoting a free trial offer on Google Ads by targeting relevant keywords and using a keyword-aligned landing page with the CTA “Sign up for Free” on it.

Select your KPIs

After deciding on your channel mix, content and offers for each funnel stage, you’ll need to decide on your KPIs and set some concrete targets to keep you accountable. Typically for our client’s TOFU activity we’d look at using metrics like traffic, organic sessions, video views, link clicks and reach. For MOFU activity, leads and cost per lead (CPL) are our go-tos. For BOFU, it’s likely conversions, conversion rate (CVR) and cost per conversion that we prioritise.

Again, the specific metrics you choose will vary depending on your chosen objectives, channels, audience and offers. For targets, instead of pulling numbers out of thin air, it’s best to work with existing historical data (if you have any) and industry benchmarks by channel / funnel stage. This will give you solid goals to push and aim for whilst still being realistic and attainable.

Map out your funnel

Now that you have the bones of each funnel stage sorted, it’s time to bring everything together. How? We’d suggest using a mapping tool like Miro. How you choose to map out your full funnel approach is up to you. As long as you have the key details of each of the funnel stages covered, and present it in a way that’s easy to digest and communicate, you’ve set yourself up well.

We’d suggest copy and pasting a blank funnel diagram and putting the channels, offers, KPIs and content used at every stage – TOFU, MOFU, BOFU – on it. Alternatively, using a flow chart to connect each stage to the next including all landing pages, connectors and CRMs. This way you can see how each of the stages flow from one another and the holistic full-funnel approach at a Birdseye view. When it comes to execution, having this funnel map to refer back to will be a lifesaver!

Set up your funnel

Now that you have your full funnel all planned out (and in map form) – it’s time for your team to put it all into action. Build your assets, create your landing pages, work on your ad copy and creative, create your lead forms, set up your audiences, and campaigns across all your channels, do you CRM mapping, set up any workflows and build out your reporting. Once everything is done, it’s time to launch and go to market!

Monitor and optimise for success

Now that your SaaS funnel is fully built out, set up and in action – the hard work isn’t over. A key ingredient in building an effective sales funnel that generates monthly recurring revenue – is continued monitoring and analysis of any data that comes through. You need to be able to draw insights from the prospects going through your funnel and make necessary, meaningful optimisations off the back of it. In other words, your funnel should never static. It will be constantly tweaked and iterated as time goes on and you pick up more learnings.

For example, after a few months, you see that one channel i.e. Google Ads is driving BOFU leads at a much higher volume and lower CPL than the equivalent campaign on LinkedIn, and there’s opportunity to put more budget into this channel. It’s probably worth redistributing some or all of the budget from the LinkedIn campaign to Google and see what this does to your overall results. This would be an optimisation that could potentially lead to an improvement in your SaaS funnel and difference to your bottom line.

How to optimise 

We’ve covered one example of the kind of optimisation you could make to your sales funnel (moving budget / focus between different channels). But let’s have look at some more high-level suggestions for how you can optimise at different stages of the funnel.


Comparing your stats against industry benchmarks is a good way to evaluate your performance. Aim high and work to match and then beat your industry peers.

Lack of leads

If you’re not generating enough leads at the TOFU stage, your content marketing strategy needs work. You may benefit from revisiting your efforts in content creation to strengthen your position as subject matter experts.

Leads leading nowhere

If you have many leads but few conversions to sales qualified leads, you’re doing well at the TOFU Awareness stage but missing out at the MOFU Consideration stage.

You should re-examine your content: is it compelling enough? Can you beef up the case studies, white papers and demonstrations?

MQL to SQL fails

When your marketing qualified leads check out a free trial but don’t convert after trying your product, you could interrogate your onboarding stage to see if you can make improvements.

Opportunity to Customer reversals

Keep an eye on your churn rate, because if your users are not sticking with the subscription, and abandon it quickly, you may have a product problem. Or you’ve not done enough to demonstrate the real value in the product. Or you’re after-sales service is failing to build brand loyalty.

Gain a helping hand at every stage 

If you’re trying to building out a full-funnel marketing approach for your SaaS business and finding it tough, let us help.

Who we are

Digital Rhinos is a full-service marketing agency that helps SaaS companies who need a dedicated marketing partner. We’ve worked with many companies just like you, and have helped them achieve long-term success through a full-funnel marketing approach.

In our experience, the biggest obstacles to your growth tend to be one or more of these factors:

·     Your in-house sales and marketing team is maxed out

·     You don’t have an in-house marketing team

·     You don’t have a strategy in place

·     You have limited flexibility

Why we can help

You need someone who understands the specialised needs of the SaaS industry. We do.

·     We understand the specific challenges SaaS companies face.

·     We can act as an extension of your in-house marketing team that is dedicated to helping you grow.

·     We use proven tactics to hit the KPIs that are important to you.

·     We’ll take all the hard work off your hands.

What we can do for you

By eliminating the blockers to your growth and working alongside your marketing and sales teams, we can:

·     Boost leads

·     Grow MRR & ARR

·     Reduce churn

·     Improve ARPU

·     Increase the quantity and quality of leads

We’re ready to go, are you?

If you need a growth partner who understands the challenges your SaaS company faces, and is confident we can help you overcome them, we’re standing by to help.

If you’re a B2B SaaS business looking to grow — we’re here to lend a helping hand. All you need to do is get in touch with one of our expert team members.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

See what we can do for your SaaS business.

See what we can do for your SaaS business.