Bleeding Funnel – The Marketing Blind Spots Draining Your SaaS Profits

Growth Marketing, Insights 02 Feb 2024 by Paul Akinola
The Marketing Blind Spots Draining Your SaaS Profits
SaaS-Growth funnel

Do you think your SaaS marketing funnel leaks? Are you losing money even though you have a funnel in place? Maybe not in a gushing manner, but just enough to make you question the effectiveness of your funnel. At least all experts agreed that funnels always save the day in marketing. Maybe not as you use it on this occasion. But yes, funnel is supposed to stop bleeding or at least, discover them, then you plug the holes. 

In the fast-paced world of SaaS, where the competition is cutthroat and user acquisition is paramount, businesses often overlook this silent killer – the bleeding funnel. You might have a top-notch product, execute stellar outreach campaigns, and build a brand with remarkable perception and awareness, but the elusive profits could be the result of unseen leaks draining your SaaS earnings. Let’s embark on a health check – a journey through the intricacies of your SaaS marketing funnels.

Unseen Leaks in Your Marketing Funnels

Once you are ready to dive into marketing, the next logical step is often building a funnel to scale your efforts. Yet, what often eludes even the most seasoned marketers are the subtle leaks in these funnels – bleeding funnels that act like unseen holes in a ship, leading to a slow and steady sinking of the entire enterprise. Even successful companies can fall prey to the misconception that their funnel is impervious to leaks, a notion shattered only when a critical reevaluation becomes inevitable. 

You don’t have to wait till leaks have become drains to consider your funnel health check. 

Consider the case of the Anti-Money Laundering Company I worked with last year, a rising star in the financial industry. Despite their cutting-edge product and a robust marketing team, potential customers were slipping through the cracks at various marketing funnel stages. This realisation prompted a critical reevaluation of their strategy – a scenario I’ve encountered in almost every project, regardless of its size. It was a rude and a sad revelation. Especially when you seem good in the books. 

The Anatomy of a Bleeding SaaS Marketing Funnel

To understand and address bleeding funnels, we must dissect the marketing funnel into its key stages. From awareness and consideration to conversion and retention, each phase presents opportunities for leaks. Most SaaS companies pay lip service to retention even though they cried most times that it is very important. (More on that in another post) There are several critical steps to grow and scale your SaaS company and this is one of them.

What are the common possible holes in a funnel?

  1. At the awareness stage
    • Targeting Trouble: Vague targeting parameters or relying solely on demographics can attract the wrong audience, leading to irrelevant interactions and wasted ad spend.
    • Messaging Misfire: Generic messaging that doesn’t resonate with your ideal customer leaves them feeling uninformed and uninterested.
    • Channel Chaos: Using the wrong channels to reach your target audience can make your message invisible, causing potential leads to slip through the cracks.
  2. At the consideration stage
    • Content Clog: Unclear or overwhelming content overwhelms prospects and hinders their understanding of your offer.
    • Friction Factory: A complex or buggy user experience during product demos or website navigation creates frustration and drives potential customers away.
    • Comparison Conundrum: Lack of differentiation from competitors makes it easy for prospects to switch their attention elsewhere during research.
  3. At the Conversion stage
    •  Abandoned Carts: Unexpected costs, confusing checkout processes, or lack of trust in your payment system can lead to cart abandonment at the last minute.
    • Sales Snuggles: Overly aggressive or pushy sales tactics can turn off potential customers and make them question your intentions.
    • Objection Avalanche: Unpreparedness to address common customer objections leaves potential deals on the table and weakens trust in your product or service.
  4. At the deal stage
    • Handover Hangover: A clunky handoff between sales and customer success teams creates confusion and delays, leaving the customer feeling lost and disengaged.
    • Onboarding Overwhelm: Complex or jargon-heavy onboarding processes make it difficult for new customers to get started and experience the value of your offer.
    • Communication Catastrophe: Poor communication during implementation or lack of ongoing support can erode trust and damage the customer relationship.

This is just a quick list.

Quick Tip: Visualising your marketing funnels in this way allows us to identify potential problem areas and take targeted corrective action.

The Marketing Funnel Blind Spots
Sales and Marketing adding to SaaS Growth

The Cost of Ignoring Funnel Leaks

The financial repercussions of ignoring funnel leaks can be staggering. Pouring substantial resources into marketing campaigns, only to see minimal returns, is a scenario all too common for businesses grappling with bleeding funnels. According to industry statistics, a significant percentage of marketing budgets are wasted on leads that never convert due to undetected leaks in the SaaS marketing funnel.

Do you remember that unhealthy saying – “50% of our marketing budget is wasted; we just don’t know which 50% it is”?

Consider this example of a Health-on-Demand with Telemedicine company’s funnel I reviewed. Despite having a compelling product and a substantial marketing budget, it struggled to see a positive return on investment. Closer scrutiny revealed that a substantial portion of their budget was being directed toward leads that never progressed beyond the consideration stage. This revelation underscores the critical need for businesses to address funnel leaks for sustained profitability.

Ask this question: What would be the result if you spend the fund you raised to drive a perfect marketing funnel?

Diagnosing Your Funnel – A Hands-On Approach

Now that we’ve established the impact of bleeding funnels on SaaS profits, let’s delve into practical steps for diagnosing. You should also identify leaks within your own funnel. A hands-on approach is crucial for uncovering vulnerabilities that may be hindering your conversion rates.

To assist you in this process, I’ve created a simple yet effective self-assessment tool.

Take a moment to evaluate your current marketing funnel by answering the following questions. Each question is designed to uncover potential leaks and guide you toward a clearer understanding of your funnel’s health.

  • Audience Targeting: Are your marketing efforts reaching the right audience? Are you attracting leads with little affinity for your product?
  • Content Relevance: Is your content resonating with your target audience? Are they addressing their pain points, and guiding them seamlessly through the funnel?
  • User Experience: How smooth is the user journey from awareness to conversion? Are there any bottlenecks or points of friction that might be causing potential customers to drop off?
  • Lead Nurturing: Are you effectively nurturing leads throughout the funnel? Are potential customers slipping through the cracks due to a lack of engagement?
  • Customer Retention / Churn: Did your customer journey end before the customers’ real-life journey ended?

Sit with me and other experts to review your funnel and see how many holes you have to plug.

Some Strategies for a Profitable SaaS marketing funnel

Now that you’ve identified potential leaks in your SaaS marketing funnel, it’s time to explore effective strategies for plugging these gaps. And ensuring a more profitable customer journey. Let’s break down each stage of the funnel and discuss best practices for optimization.

Awareness Stage:

  • Targeted Advertising: Refine your advertising strategies to ensure that you are reaching the most relevant audience for your product.
  • Content Personalization: Tailor your content to address the specific needs and pain points of your target audience, increasing engagement and resonance.

Consideration Stage:

  • Seamless User Experience: Streamline the user journey to reduce friction, making it easy for potential customers to move from consideration to conversion.
  • Interactive Content: Incorporate interactive elements such as quizzes, calculators, or demos to keep users engaged and invested in the decision-making process.

Conversion Stage:

  • Clear Call-to-Action: Ensure that your call-to-action is compelling, clear, and strategically placed to guide leads toward conversion.
  • A/B Testing: Experiment with different conversion strategies to identify the most effective approaches for your specific audience.

Retention Stage:

  • Customer Engagement: Implement strategies to keep existing customers engaged and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of churn.
  • Personalised Communication: Tailor your communication to the individual needs and preferences of your customers, fostering a sense of loyalty.

Building a Healthy Funnel Ecosystem

Addressing funnel leaks is not a one-time fix but an ongoing process. To build a robust and sustainable funnel ecosystem, businesses must adopt a holistic approach that extends beyond the traditional stages of awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Think about a holistic funnel ecosystem which includes:

  • Customer Retention: Emphasise the importance of retaining existing customers through loyalty programs, personalised experiences, and ongoing support.
  • Post-Sale Engagement: Stay connected with customers even after the sale, seeking feedback, and providing additional value to maintain a strong relationship.

The bleeding funnel phenomenon is a pervasive challenge that can undermine even the most well-executed SaaS marketing strategies. By acknowledging the existence of these silent leaks and taking proactive steps to address them, businesses can unlock hidden profits and ensure a sustainable path to growth.

Get a personalised Insight Session and discover how our expertise can elevate your SaaS profitability.