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How to build a SaaS sales funnel

October 14, 2020

Building a measurable sales funnel should be the first item on every new sales leader’s list.

It makes it possible to break down and optimise your processes, and turns a shot in the dark into a shot at Wembley Stadium - with the floodlights on.

Clarity is particularly important when navigating SaaS sales, which is often full of negotiations and subtleties. Without a set of procedures for guidance, you can easily get lost!

We’ve split the sales funnel into 3 stages with distinct sub-stages. This has helped us to break internal sales records, even through more difficult months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can use our guide as your own, or use it to inspire your personal sales strategy.

Scroll down to see our breakdown of the SaaS sales funnel. 👇

1 - Qualification

Once the SDR has done their prospecting and sales qualification, it’s time to enter new prospects into the sales funnel. This starts with your initial demonstration.

Initial demonstration

The first sales demo is a chance for the salesperson to get to know the prospect, and for the prospect to get to know the software.

Do your research in advance, speak to the SDR, and make sure you open the call with plenty of questions.


This helps you stay focused on the prospect and their needs. It means you can demonstrate only those product features which will be of benefit to them.

In B2B sales, the more knowledge you have, the better you can position your offer.

Tip! Struggling to find potential customers? Check out the best B2B lead generation strategies for technology companies.


Following your initial demonstration, send through a sample - if possible.

If you provide a graphics platform, send through some images featuring the prospects branding. If you provide a B2B lead generation platform, send through a selection of leads that the prospect can use.

In doing this, you’ll demonstrate your value in a useful way. The prospect will be able to see how your platform could help them right now, in the real world.

Expert analysis

Often the expertise of company staff goes unnoticed until the contract starts - but it can be a huge selling point.

If your company has a great Customer Success team, get them to provide some insight into the value they’ll add for the customer.

Cognism provides this by doing a TAM analysis for the prospect. One of our data experts will give the prospect a calculation of all the leads available in their target market.

The prospect now knows that when they sign up, they’ll be in good hands!

Second demonstration

By this point, the prospect should know that your software could help them. Now they need to know-how.

A second demonstration is a good chance for you to show them, in detail, how the software works. Run through a full tool demonstration and show off your great features.

You should now have a good idea of the benefits they could gain from using the platform, so play to them! Show them only the features that’ll make a difference to the prospect’s life.

If you don’t see any real benefit for the customer, you shouldn’t continue. It’s important to be an ethical salesperson; trying to push for a sale that doesn’t fit won’t benefit you or the prospect.

In SaaS sales, signing up someone who isn’t a good fit often creates problems further down the line. Avoid it!


Where possible, it helps to give the prospect a trial period with your platform. They should already have a good understanding of the benefits they could gain from the service, but their experience is still entirely theoretical.

A trial allows the prospect to find their own value in your software, and turn theory into practice.

FYI - make sure you aren’t handing out trial periods early in the sales funnel to whoever asks. Often these will take up company resources. The extra qualification that has happened in the previous steps makes now a good time to offer.

Third demonstration

The third and final demo is really more of a Q&A session. If the prospect has made it this far, they’re probably pretty close to signing up. This call is a chance for you to answer any final questions and provide the last pieces of information the prospect needs.

If you’re able to do this, it’s time for the proposal!

2 - Proposal

When sending through a proposal, the key word is clarity. Make sure the prospect has all of the information in front of them. This stage should be as easy as it is fast.

Proposal delivery

The proposal should initially be sent via email. This gives the prospect a chance to review the offer at their own pace. Calling up a prospect to make a proposal can feel pushy, and you don’t want to push them away at this stage.

Send through your proposal, along with any further information that might be of use to them. Every conversation you have should provide value, and this is no different.

With this email, arrange a time for your next call, to discuss the terms.

Proposal meeting

A phone call is good, a video call is even better! Prospects react well to face-to-face interaction.

They’ll likely have some questions or requests. Here are some guidelines:

  1. A lower-paying, long-term contract is better than a higher-paying, short-term contract. Prospects sometimes need time to see a return on investment, and a longer term contract helps ensure this.
  2. Hear them out. The prospect’s requests will usually be reasonable. If they are, see what you can do to get it over the line. If they’re not, have a think about alternatives.
  3. Offering additional value which doesn’t have a great cost to your company will help you close deals. This could be additional licenses or credits. If a bit of extra value sweetens the deal, it’s a win-win.

Once you’ve agreed terms, it’s time to send through a contract.

3 - Contract

When finalising the deal, the keyword is speed. Send a contract through as soon after the proposal as possible. Don’t keep the prospect waiting - it suggests inefficiency on your end.

Contract review

If you need to, send a summary along with the contract itself. Contracts are often full of legal jargon and it can take time to find the parts that count. The key points to highlight are:

  • How much am I paying?
  • How long am I paying for?
  • What am I receiving?

This should have been discussed in the proposal stage, but a quick recap won’t hurt.


Signing a contract should be the easiest thing in the world.


Because we have access to contract management tech!

Tools such as DocuSign and PandaDoc can reduce a long-winded signing process into a couple of clicks. This makes life easier for yourself and the prospect, which is absolutely worth it.

An easy signing process not only increases conversion rates, but also improves the relationship with your new client heading into their initial contract period.

Sign things off by making sure your new client is set up and ready to go. The sales funnel ends when the client no longer needs your help!

Get more SaaS sales insights!

So there you have it! We hope you enjoyed the article and will use some of these techniques when designing and refining your own SaaS sales funnel.

We’ve got plenty of articles just like this one which will help your SaaS sales process, from start to finish. In fact, we have a guide full of them!

Introducing our whitepaper How to sell SaaS: Cognism’s guide! Full to the brim with tips on managing your outbound, throughout the funnel. Take a look today and learn how to:

  • Improve your sales demos.
  • Use social proof to your advantage.
  • Drive results from pain points and problem-solving.
  • Better understand the future of SaaS.
  • Much, much more!

Click 👇 to download your free copy!

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