To get to the sale, you need the lead – a qualified lead that's ready to purchase and become an advocate for your software. This means, you need to pay careful attention to the experience you provide throughout the buyer's journey because the end goal isn't just to make the sale, it's to retain the customer and prevent churn – the dreaded foe of most SaaS businesses.
If you invest in developing a customer journey that prioritises lead nurturing, your cost of acquisition will decrease significantly, and the ROI will feed back into the growth and development of your business.
The benefits of lead nurturing for SaaS:
- Helps to build strong relationships
- Shortens your sales process
- Simplifies onboarding
- Boosts revenue by creating opportunities to upsell
- Eliminates wrong-fit customers
- Reduces churn
The importance of lead nurturing
Offering a free trial should not be where your lead nurturing efforts begin and end. A sign-up is no guarantee of a returning customer. You need to treat this as an opportunity to offer real value that engages the user's interest and starts to build trust. Once that customer has signed up, offer them relevant information, whether on the thank you page after the download or through an email nurturing sequence that activates once they sign up for the software.
You want to use this opportunity to introduce your business and help the customer gain confidence in using your software so that they can get some quick wins immediately after download.
These small but significant actions help to affirm to the customer that your product is a worthwhile investment.
Key takeaway: Lead nurturing at sign up is crucial to fostering engagement.
Build stronger relationships
You may have heard industry experts stress the importance of relationship marketing and its significance when it comes to the future of selling. Indeed, building trust and creating authentic interactions between your business and its target audience is the way to secure buy-in and retention in 2020 and beyond. Strong relationships (the kind you’re after) are built over time, and they are built to endure. Otherwise, all you're doing is creating low-value transactions that eventually stop tipping the scales towards profitability.
HubSpot affirms this point by clarifying the definition of relationship marketing with this statement:
"Relationship marketing is not focused on short-term wins or sales transactions -- rather, it is focused on delighting an audience and your customers for the long-haul."
Lead nurturing helps you to build strong relationships in the following ways:
1. Encourages rapport – an effective lead nurturing campaign will encourage customers to respond to the content you put out. Whether you're asking questions in emails or inviting leads to comment on your social media posts. Your customers will want to talk to you. The conversations you have with leads also act useful information that helps you to enhance your customer journey further.
2. Shows reliability – by taking the time to create content that supports and educates the customer, they gain reassurance that you are a credible company that is interested in offering value. SaaS businesses that lack the training and information content necessary to guide new and current users through the free trial experience don't instil a lot of faith. This could dissuade leads from trusting your brand further. This is a crucial consideration for SaaS businesses because you are offering a service, and one of the critical elements to providing excellent service is proving your reliability.
3. Builds brand loyalty – the lead nurturing process is one that reinforces the value of your brand to the customer. Every interaction, every CTA, every video tutorial that the lead watches as they pass through the funnel is an opportunity for them to get acquainted with your brand. Building this brand loyalty helps to shorten the sales cycle. Furthermore, it allows customers to differentiate your offering from that of other companies and firmly commit to a purchase.
Key takeaway: Effective lead nurturing gives your customer insight into the true value that your SaaS product provides. This builds loyalty, rapport between your brand and the customer, and boosts retention.
Close the sale
Long sales cycles are not uncommon in the SaaS industry, particularly if you're targeting larger organisations where the onboarding process may be more complex and costly. Sure, the profit from these kinds of acquisitions may be significant. Still, when you calculate the time and effort your sales team have put into gaining the conversion, you may notice a lot of excess expenditure and lost opportunities along the way.
An effective lead nurturing strategy can help you to nudge the buyer through your sales pipeline faster and also assist you in identifying significant drop-off areas that should be addressed.
Tools to optimise your sales cycle:
Content offers: SaaS products often require a lot of education on the customer's part. Your sales team needs to be prepared with information-rich, shareable documents that can quickly address any grey areas for the lead and highlight the benefits of your product's features. If you have this content ready and within an easy reach for your customer, you could be minutes away from a final purchasing decision.
Email nurtures: As we've discussed, the sign-up is not the end game. The onboarding process is where most of your leads will drop off. Create engaging emails sequences that address the user's FAQs through each stage of the learning process. You can anticipate these needs by collecting relevant information about the customer when they sign up. You'll need to understand what has driven their interest in your product and whether they have any previous experience in using your platform. By doing this, you can tailor the content you send.
Enable chatbots or live chat: Real-time responses to your leads' queries help to guide them through their initial experience with your platform. These automated features are becoming crucial for successful lead generation and conversion as customers are becoming increasingly accustomed to interacting with them and having instant access to information.
All of these lead nurturing tactics assist in positive reinforcement of your core message, which is that the user should commit to paying for your service as a result of having gained a clear understanding of your offering and its benefits.
Key takeaway: Lead nurturing throughout the sales funnel speeds up the education process that the lead must undergo before they can decide whether your product addresses their needs adequately. This makes the purchasing decision easier and helps your sales team to close the deal. The customer, in turn, feels confident in their purchase and is more likely to make a positive association with your brand.
At Klood, our team of SaaS growth experts works hard to continuously devise and improve lead nurturing strategies for our clients. We believe that by undertaking this inbound approach to optimising your conversion path, you will generate more quality leads for your business.
If you'd like to learn more about this methodology, have a look at our SaaS Growth Formula. This is a free document we've created that highlights the steps you need to take to not only acquire leads but also convert and retain them as loyal customers. Click here to download your copy now.