By Ankur Tiwari on 13-10-2022Follow @Ankurt04
Here is an organic sales funnel for your SaaS business that can attract new leads without paid ads.
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“Go where your audience is” — it’s marketing 101, but people often ignore it.
The easiest way to fail a growth strategy is to promote your business to the non-audience, for no matter how loud you shout in the vacuum, no one will hear. On the other hand, even a casual introduction of your business to the right audience can generate new leads.
LinkedIn is the hub of ‘right audiences’ for SaaS businesses — CXOs, VPs, and even B2C ninjas. Using LinkedIn alone as a social network may not drive growth for a SaaS business, but there are effective ways to harvest a LinkedIn audience for growth. Most famous of them (pushed by LinkedIn) rely on LinkedIn ads. However, I found LinkedIn ads expensive, low-touch, and unsuitable for early-stage SaaS businesses.
A lesser-tried yet effective way is to integrate LinkedIn with a content funnel. When you do it right, you set in motion an organic, scalable, and semi-automatic acquisition machine that generates new sale at will. What truly sets it apart from the paid ads is its ability to provide ancillary benefits - idea validation, message and positioning testing, insights gathering, and networking for future benefits.
As a SaaS founder, you will create an immensely powerful and, more importantly, long-lasting leverage if you build such a LinkedIn funnel.
In today’s post, I am going to discuss the ways of the LinkedIn organic funnel.
And, at the end, I will link a spreadsheet to manage and run the entire LinkedIn funnel for your SaaS business like a breeze.
The LinkedIn content funnel thrives on native LinkedIn posts from the personal accounts of the founding team. This is different from publishing LinkedIn articles or posting in a LinkedIn group. When you create an interesting post on your LinkedIn account and people in your network read it, you help LinkedIn increase engagement on its platform. In return, it rewards you by showing your posts to more people.
Your initial network size is the baseline for the reach and engagement level, but as you become more active on the platform, you invariably increase your reach. To understand this point, let’s look at an account that had a small network and had never published much content. I worked on this account by creating daily posts for thirty days. We received high-quality engagement, website traffic, and sales inquiries for about 90 days.
Here is a snapshot of LinkedIn’s analytics for that account:
The way to derive business growth from such content distribution is to ensure that potential buyers and people within your target audience see your content. If your ideal prospects are not already in your network, then you must add them in your network. The sales process depends on ideal B2B buyers within your network.
Thus the two essential elements of the LinkedIn sales funnel are:
In addition, you will have to integrate your LinkedIn account with the overall content funnel. The content you post on LinkedIn should be a part of your overall content marketing. It means many things and an important one of them is to create broad content themes around which you will post on LinkedIn in addition to themes for blogs, webinars etc.
Before you can implement the LinkedIn ABM funnel for your SaaS business, there are a few action items that you must complete:
You have to do only a few things on daily basis but do them consistently — old-fashioned relentless execution.
The first action item is network building. Send 5-7 LinkedIn connection requests daily to the people from your accounts list. You can add a non-salesy note with your requests and experiment with different note copies. Consider sending cold emails to those who do not respond to your connection requests. Keep the cold email short. Crafting cold emails is a topic, but if you are completely out of ideas, you can begin by being non-salesy and sharing the link to your BOFU content as the solution to their problem.
The second action item is posting content every day. LinkedIn does not have much engagement on weekends, so you can leave out Saturday and Sunday and post content from Monday to Friday; that's 20-22 days a month. When you create content, think about your ideal client. Create a mix of educative, inspirational, and social-proof content.
The third action item is network engagement. It includes liking, sharing, and commenting on others' posts, replying to comments on your posts, and sending direct messages to people if you want to appreciate things they are doing or if you have noticed something interesting about them.
My independent experiments indicate that despite overall activity on weekends being low, Sunday is a good day to send connection requests and DMs'. That's something you can try out for yourself.
The fourth action item is to pay attention to potential leads. When someone asks you for more details, handhold them on priority. Every discussion is an opportunity to build a sales pipeline.
Pro Tip: You might come across people who do not belong to your target audience but would be interested in your organic posts. They may be industry analysts, investors, students, or fresh-out-of-college employees. It's unlikely that they will buy from you; still, you should add them to your LinkedIn network. If they are interested in your work, they will like, comment, and share your content and, in turn, amplify its reach.
Overall, it should take you around an hour or less every day to build the LinkedIn funnel for your business.
John Doe, the antagonist of the movie Se7en said:
“Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore - you've to hit them with a sledgehammer. Then you'll notice you've got their strict attention.”
Unlike John Doe, I am a non-violent person, and I don't suggest hitting someone, but for the sake of my work, I believe in writing headlines and content that make people pay their attention. Once you have someone’s attention, you can leverage it for business growth. And here is what Jeff Bezos said about attention in 1997:
Bottomline? Write content to capture people’s attention.
Often people find it difficult to find topics to write about. The goal of posting on social media is to build trust and position your business in the minds of your target audience. It is not direct sales. Thus, your posts should discuss your audience's challenges and present their solutions based on the unique point-of-view you have gained while building a business to solve those problems. Broadly you can categorize the content into three categories — thought leadership, domain insights, and product use cases. Brainstorm and make a list of topics that you can write about under each of these categories. If you have a business blog, filter the insights from blog posts and repurpose them for LinkedIn.
Pro Tip 1: In some posts, you would want to add a link to your website. Do not add the link in the posts itself. The way LinkedIn works, posts with links in them get suppressed by the algorithm. Instead post the link as the first comment of your post.
Pro Tip 2: If you find synergy between your point of view and things someone in your target audience is doing, it's a perfectly smooth way to give a shout-out - link them in a post and add a line of appreciation.
Systems simplify everything, especially those that you repeatedly do. For the LinkedIn ABM sales funnel, I use a simple three parts system that streamlines all activities and make execution a breeze.
In advance stages of this funnel, for scalability, you can consider using LinkedIn sales navigator, but you do not need it at the beginning.
The account-based approach I have discussed above goes well with B2B SaaS businesses. However, we can tweak it to work for B2C businesses. If you are a founder of a B2C SaaS business, try targetting B2C influencers instead of company accounts. These influencers can be media persons, social media influencers, or analysts - anyone who works within your domain and can influence individual customers to sign up for your product. These influencers can share and repurpose your content or create their own content and quickly spread the word about your business. Think of them as advocates of your business.
Like everything in life, SaaS growth is a mindset game. There are two specific mindset challenges that you must be aware of to win with the LinkedIn funnel:
You now know everything to start building a LinkedIn ABM organic sales funnel for your SaaS business. Give it 30 days and then take a decision whether it is working for you or not.
That’s all I wanted to discuss today on building the best product. I welcome your suggestions, questions and feedback. Leave a quick comment below.
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