You’re a SaaS entrepreneur with enormous tech capabilities, skills, motivation, and you’re always on a lookout for problems you can solve.
You’re disciplined, goal-oriented, and you value consistent learning.
Years ago, you came up with this idea for a SaaS product that solves a unique problem for other businesses.
And instead of bragging and blabbing around with your friends, you actually turned this idea into a real product.
A lot of time, work, and money went into building your product and you had to sacrifice your movie nights, special events, and many aspects of your social life for it for a long period.
You know that if you got your business to $20k MRR, you could price it at $5M.
You understand how valuable your SaaS business can be if you get it off the ground.
So… Why isn’t your product selling like hotcakes?
Where is your up-and-to-the-right revenue graph?
Why can’t you light someone up with your message?
Why can’t you press a button and fill up your pipeline with qualified opportunities?
Why aren’t customers throwing credit cards or signed contracts at you by now?
Why is your net checking account number barely moving or dropping?
Why is it so hard?
Most SaaS founders struggle with this because they don’t have a system or process for getting their first customers and scaling up efficiently.
Don’t worry… You are not alone.
The truth is that if you have a great product or at least a talented engineering team, but the wrong marketing and sales strategy, you will fail.
If your message and niche are not focused, you will fail.
Remember the old Chinese proverb? If you chase two rabbits, you catch none…
Yes, this applies to your SaaS business.
If you try to raise too much money too early, you will become focused on the wrong things at the wrong time, and it will take you much longer to get any real traction.
…You will be tinkering with coffee machines instead of spending your energy elegantly solving a painful problem for someone.
If you are bootstrapped, but sell monthly subscriptions without offing upfront deals, you will run into a cash trough and you will run out of money or give up too much of your business to an investor.
If you invest in paid advertising, without first validating the funnel with free traffic methods like outbound prospecting or list farming, you will run out of money.
If you hire a salesperson before you have nailed down the message, the offer, the price, and the sales process, you and the salesperson will become frustrated and you will have to lay that salesperson off.
If you are running paid ads, without a proper video sales letter, proper retargeting campaigns, and proper email marketing automation, your paid traffic funnel won’t work and you will waste a lot of money and time.
If your ads are not written properly, your whole funnel will break at scale.
If you do somehow get your marketing funnel working and you are generating MQLs within KPI, but your salesperson’s close rate is low, the whole machine will break.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to fail, and you can save yourself a ton of time, money, and effort if you just follow this process that we use.
You can build and grow a highly profitable, scalable SaaS business in a shorter time span than you might think.
You can also get to profitability without raising any money.
Here are the steps I use when I’m implementing a marketing a funnel with a new offer.
If you follow them, you will be extremely successful and save yourself a ton of time and money.
Step 1: Isolate your Niche and Develop a Laser-Focused Message That Lights Your Niche Up Like a Christmas Tree Using Your Case Studies As Ammunition
Again, if you chase too many rabbits, you will catch none.
Peter Thiel illustrated this point in his book Zero To One by using the analogy of concentric circles.
He explained that great businesses start by dominating a micro niche. Once they have domination in that niche, they expand into adjacent niches and dominate those.
There are few benefits to doing this: No competition when starting (yes, please), your message cuts through the noise and your reply rates, click through rates and close rates are much higher since you are so relevant to the target customer.
Is it hard to isolate your niche? Not really if you have a few case studies already.
You just laser-focus on customers who are similar to your case study customers. Who cares if there are only 10 of them out there. Go get them. Once you dominate that micro-niche you can expand.
Most founders mess this part up. They get too excited by the possibility of building a multi-million dollar business and selling to everyone…
They stare at the summit, NOT THEIR BOOTS. They dilute their resources, get overwhelmed and end up solving nothing for no-one.
The key is to solve a painful problem for the ONE-SPECIFIC person. Everyone somehow forgets that in order to get to 1000 customers, you need to first get to 5. Then 10. Then 100.
Get laser focused on your niche and the exact problem you are solving.
Use your case studies as proof that you can solve the problem. This message and case study ammunition underpin the entire marketing funnel and business.
If you don’t have a legit case study, I’m sorry but you are not a business yet – you are playing house. Go get one.
Go work your butt off to solve a problem for someone and bring home some results. If you get someone real results, they will pay you.
It’s how the world works. Pick a person to help, get your engineering hat on and elegantly solve a problem to get a case study.
If you already have at least one case study, move on to step 2.
Step 2: Build Your High-Converting Assets and Funnel
So you have your case study/studies, your niche defined and your problem clearly articulated.
Now you need to communicate this and start going after prospects in your clearly defined niche.
Welcome to 2018.
You need a killer landing page, well-written case study articles, a dangerous video sales letter/webinar, and well-produced video testimonials, etc..
It should only take 2 weeks to get these things in order.
If you don’t know how to do this, you will need to be trained by someone who knows what they are doing.
Keep in mind that this job can only be done properly by the CEO, Founder, or Senior Marketer.
Some CEOs try to outsource this job, but it never works. Here’s why: asset building and foundational copywriting require the writer to truly understand the customer, problem and product at the deepest level.
No junior employee can possibly truly understand the market as well as you do.
No agency can possibly understand the pains, the desires, the failures, the fears, the justifications of the market as well as you. If they did, they wouldn’t be working for you. They would be rich already and wouldn’t need a job.
These assets are KEY.
Once these are created, move onto step 3.
Step 3: Test Your Funnel With Free Traffic Sources Like Outbound Email Prospecting, LinkedIn Cold Prospecting or Facebook Cold Prospecting
Once your assets are created we are going to test them free methods.
Because Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads are not friendly places these days. CPMs are shooting up because everyone and their dog is advertising.
If you don’t have $5k-$10k to drop in the sandbox, you will need to start with outbound prospecting to test your funnel.
You will be mining data and emails, and spinning up cold email and cold LinkedIn messaging campaigns. If your audience is on Facebook, you can do your cold messaging via Messenger.
If you do this right, you will be able to generate 10-20 opportunities per week using cold, free methods.
If your funnel doesn’t convert with free methods, you will need to go back and fix it.
DO NOT START ADVERTISING BEFORE YOU CAN CONVERT COLD OUTBOUND TRAFFIC.
Advertising is an amplifier.
If you amplify something that works, you will grow fast. If you amplify a turd, you will get a massive turd.
Take your time and make sure your funnel and assets convert ice cold prospecting traffic into warm, buttery, leads.
Step 4: Test Your Offer, Position, and Price with INSIDE SALES (selling over the phone)
Once you have 10-20 appointments or trials per week flying in, you will need to validate the price and the offer.
We use inside sales (selling over the phone) to do this because the feedback loop is so tight – meaning if you need to change the offer, the price, the position, or even the product during the sale, you can on the fly…
In this step, you will learn your customer’s thoughts, feelings, objections, reservations, etc..
This information is extremely valuable.
It drives feature development and you will use these insights to create your ads, video sales letters, webinars, etc..
MAKE SURE YOU COLLECT REAL PAYMENTS.
People don’t lie with their credit card.
If you collect a deposit, a first payment or signed contract, that means you actually hit a nerve.
If you can’t get these types of commitments, you will need to adjust your offer or your product.
Notice we didn’t spend any money yet.
We were able to get this information for free with cold outbound prospecting traffic.
If you have trouble selling, you will need to be trained by someone who knows what they are doing.
Hiring an expensive salesperson right now is a no-no. As the CEO, Founder or Exec, you should be able to close deals on your own.
Step 5: Deliver For Customers
Once you have your first few paying customers, you need to bust your butt and make sure your product works and delivers on your promises.
Maybe you were able to get results for your first case study using manual methods as a crutch, but now you are relying on your product to the do the heavy lifting for you.
You can raise seed capital to do this if you need to.
The litmus test for this is: Do your customers pay in full and are you able to collect positive testimonials?
If the answer is “No”, you need to go back and fix your solution until they pay in full and give you the thumbs up.
Step 6: Build Something Scalable
The next question you need to ask yourself is: Does your solution scale?
Will it break if you bring on 100 customers per month?
If the answer is “Yes”, you will need to invest in making your solution scalable.
You might need to develop an onboarding process, or bring in customer support, or build expectation content.
If the answer is “No”, you can move on to the next step.
Step 7: Scaling Lead Generation
This is the fun part.
You launch a paid traffic funnel and your ramp up outbound prospecting.
You buy lists and upload them into Facebook and LinkedIn and start running cold traffic to an opt-in page to generate leads at scale.
You set up a pixel to track website visitors and you start dumping money into retargeting on Facebook and the Google Display Network.
You write hyper-targeted long-form ads that cut through the noise.
Ads so good, people can’t ignore you.
You hire a junior person to run your outbound prospecting campaigns all day for you to you pack your own calendar.
Step 8: Scale Sales
Once you can generate leads at scale, you need to convert these leads into customers at scale.
You can do this by hiring a sales team (if your yearly contract value is greater than $3k), or you can use an automated webinar to sell your product for you (if your yearly contract value is less than $3k).
If you did everything properly in the previous steps, the duplication process will be straightforward.
You already have a script built and you already have recorded demos archive.
All you need to do is give your script, product, and recorded demos to a competent salesperson, and they will make it rain.
If you built your funnel properly, you now have a machine that produces leads and demos at a price that doesn’t break the business so you can pack your salespeople’s calendar.
If you don’t know how to write scripts and install CRMs, then you will need some help.
Step 9: Tune The Machine
In this step, we run a financial analysis and start tuning the machine.
You want your LTV/CAC ratio to be at least 3 – which means for every dollar you spend, you make at least $3 back.
If you can’t achieve this, you will need to adjust your targeting, your funnel, your pricing, your upsells, your downsells and your crosssells.
You want to track ROI on CASH and ROI on revenue. People get into trouble when they don’t watch CASH. They think skies are blue, but if you don’t actually collect the cash, your skies are dark. Keep an eye on that, please.
Step 10: Raise Growth Capital or Fill Up The Warchest With Profits
By this point, you built something that turns $1 into at least $3. You can scale up by either raising money (you now have an awesome investment thesis), or you fill up your war chest by collecting profits (personally, I like profits. I’d rather take home $2M per year with a $5M biz than take home $500k per year with a $50M biz and 30 people lol)
So if you follow these steps, it will be extremely hard for you to fail.
Yes, it’s a lot of work, but heck, you are working hard anyway. You might as well work smarter.
Now, if you are like most founders, you will need help in some of these areas.
This is why DM Flows exists.
We help SaaS founders go through this process and we help them build insanely valuable and profitable SaaS businesses with our 12 Month Acceleration Program.
Here’s how it works:
We help you nail your niche and clarify your message and problem.
We help you build your high-converting assets (landing pages, sales pages, video sales letters, webinars, email copy, etc..).
We help you launch and iterate your outbound prospecting campaigns.
We help you close deals over the phone.
We help install your paid traffic funnel.
We help you write your ads and tune the machine.
We help hire the right people at the right time.
We help you manage resources and prepare an investment thesis.
We like working with serious and motivated folks.
If you and your team are a SaaS company looking to build an incredibly efficient and profitable SaaS business, and you want to work with experts, then book an appointment to get a free consultation.