How To Build High Performing B2B/SaaS Sales Pipelines
How To Build High Performing B2B/SaaS Sales Pipelines

So first let’s break down high touch SaaS versus low touch or high touch sales funnels versus low touch to no touch.

High touch is when you have to do a lot of qualification and when you are doing demos, sometimes one or more calls close and then you go through procurement and eventually you're able to close the deals.

Low touch or no touch SaaS funnels or sales pipelines is really when you're not doing much sales at all you basically have a marketing pipeline that brings people to your website. Oftentimes you have a lower priced product and you have a very wide funnel so you have a lot of traffic and you're just looking at converting from one step to the next you know from someone becoming a visitor to becoming a trial to converting to paid and then not churning in the long run.

Five critical components of a high performing SaaS sales pipeline when you're doing medium and high touch sales

The first component is leads

These are businesses that are interested in your product and are folks who may want to buy it. So think about leads in two buckets.

There are outbound leads that you generate by doing

  • email outreach, 
  • Linkedin outreach, 
  • used to be cold calling.

But that's not done so much with SaaS these days unless your businesses are brick and mortar and you know if the easiest way to reach them is via phone.

So those are outbound leads inbound leads are those generated by things like

  • Seo 
  • Content 
  • Partnerships integrations 
  • Pay-per-click

So without leads you have no one interested in your product and the first step is either doing that outbound outreach or building a marketing engine that allows people inbound to find you and start evaluating your software.

The second component of a high-performing SaaS sales pipeline is qualification

And this is where you take a lead from someone who is interested in your software and you qualify them. You try to figure out if they are a good fit.

How can you go about qualifying?

There's a couple roles that do this: the SDR, which is a sales development rep and a BDR, which is a business development rep.

So SDRs typically qualify inbound leads and BDRs typically qualify those outbounds depending on your process, you may have one or both at a large organisation.

 If you're the founder or whether you're hired as a salesperson you're also going to be qualifying leads especially in the early stage.

So questions you're asking yourself or you're asking your prospects at this time are things like

  • Do they have the budget?
  • Are they a good fit for a product?
  • Will they be successful in the long run using our product?

Because if the answer to any of those is no then you're probably going to want to pass on them, they're not a qualified prospect. If they aren't going to be successful and don't have the budget to pay.

The third component is usually some type of sales presentation or demo

 You might hear this called the pitch or the demo and this is usually given by the founder in the early days and then later handed off to a salesperson.

Now in SaaS sales people are usually referred to as AEs or account executives. Think of them as a high-paid consultant who isn't getting paid. Or at least you should.

Versus the person buying your software is probably only going to buy this once or a few times in their career. And so they're not all the way up to speed like you are because you live in this space day to day. So think of yourself as that consultant trying to find the optimal solution for your prospect and hopefully that optimal solution is your product.

Ask questions

So in terms of your demo demos should be a lot shorter than you usually think they are there should be a lot of questions coming from you to the prospect, to the lead

  • About what they need?
  •  What are they looking for?
  • The problem they are trying to solve?

Because people are going to use your product differently and finding that out from them up front and then tailoring the demo to them is usually the best way to go.

And if you can't demo your product in 10 to 15 minutes, you're probably going about it wrong, you're probably getting too far into the weeds into what your product can do, rather than what it can do for this prospect.

Component number four is the close

This is also usually in the early days handled by the founder and then later on a sales person is someone who is trying to drive it to close.

Because salespeople are compensated based on deals that they close they earn a commission.

This often requires a lot of follow-up which means you'll want a CRM system to keep track of the stage that any given lead is in.

 Because once you have 10 or 20 prospects and your sales cycle is two to five months, you just forget to follow up.

And so having a system like a Hubspot or Salesforce, this allows you to stay organised and can take many months for larger organisations to purchase.

And if you're selling to schools or governments you can have incredibly long sales cycles.

Your pricing has to be high enough such that this headache is worth it. 

And in this whole process of hiring SDRs and BDRs and AEs it has to make sense you have to have enough profit in your pricing.

The fifth and final component of the sales pipeline is onboarding

This is where the account executive hands off the customer to your customer success person and they take over, because they specialise in doing this, they specialise in onboarding.

Versus an AEU who is incentivized by commission to close deals so they're not going to invest the time it takes to get someone properly onboarded.

If you think about churn being the death of SaaS, this step is crucial, onboarding is crucial because if the person or the business isn't successful with your product, they will cancel and churn which is cancellation is the death of SaaS.

So having a seamless handoff from AEs to customer success managers, as well as having a customer success team, that is really good, really good at onboarding people and getting them up to speed and getting them.

 So that they are successful with your product in that first month or two it means they'll stick around for the long term.