Customer Lifecycle, Sales Funnel, and Content Strategy
This article will walk you through the customer acquisition funnel for SaaS companies. The primary goal is to help you design, analyze, and optimize your customer acquisition process. The secondary goal is to present different perspectives on moving customers through the lifecycle stages and to show how marketing, sales, and customer success teams should collaborate and where each team’s responsibilities lay. Hopefully, everyone will find at least one useful idea to try or to test.
The effectiveness of your customer acquisition funnel can be tracked by metrics that measure leakages when moving prospects from one stage to the other. The process of handing over prospects from the marketing to sales team and from the sales to customer success team presents higher than average risks of losing prospects, missing data, or miscommunication between teams about responsibilities, definitions, and success metrics.
Content strategy is one of the most effective ways for companies to increase the velocity with which prospects move from one stage to the other. As we go through each step in the funnel it will become clear why it is crucial to analyze content strategy from a customer lifecycle perspective. In favor of simplicity, the customer acquisition diagram is missing the reference to target customer profiles, product positioning, and value messaging. These three topics require a separate discussion.
Other pieces that are missing in this diagram are Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). Again, this information was omitted for the purpose of clarity.
The customer acquisition funnel is a process of tracking and monitoring how effective the company is in attracting, engaging, converting, and retaining its customers.
Before we dive into the detailed discussion, let me answer a couple of questions.
1. Will this customer acquisition framework fit my SaaS company?
The Customer Acquisition Framework presented below is just ONE of the ways for a SaaS company to track customer acquisition effectiveness. Obviously, Slack’s customer acquisition strategy will be different from the one Salesforce uses. Companies with similar business models, product prices, and average deal size will have similar customer acquisition funnels. Please adjust and adapt this approach to fit your specific needs.
2. Why create another Customer Acquisition Funnel?
Many experienced investors, founders, and marketers have already written about customer acquisition funnels, SaaS sales cycles, SaaS metrics, and content strategy. Why do we need yet another customer acquisition funnel?
The customer acquisition framework for SaaS companies presented here has some key differentiations that are missing from other writings on this topic (based on my findings). It also highlights how content impacts customer acquisition and why Customer Lifecycle is important to track and consider when making decisions on how to grow your SaaS product faster. Here are some of the best resources for learning more about how SaaS companies design and track Customer Acquisition Funnels:
Customer Acquisition: Maximizing your Funnel
SaaS Metrics 2.0 — A Guide to Measuring and Improving what Matters