Debt: The Solution for Growth Acceleration
When you’re ready to scale your SaaS business to the next level, you’ll need to do more of what you’ve been doing on the marketing and sales side while adding new technologies, solutions, and processes to the mix. But even if you’ve hit a strong MRR/ARR, additional capital to fund those efforts likely remains one of the greatest barriers to accelerating growth. It’ll also be important to take a hard look at your SaaS marketing funnel to see where you have the greatest opportunity to drive results.
Need a funnel primer? Learn about the SaaS funnel and what each level represents.
Every SaaS company is different. You might have had little to no trouble filling the top of your funnel with prospects but struggled with moving them deeper. Or, you might have excellent close rates on the leads you get but struggle to consistently keep more coming in at the top. Both ends might be challenging (meaning a new approach is needed) or successful (meaning you just need more resources to do even more) as well.
Whatever your company’s position may be, venture debt financing is one of the fastest and most flexible ways to fund the growth that you’re looking to achieve. Here, we’ll explore the top, middle, and bottom of the SaaS marketing funnel and discuss a few solutions that can be implemented, streamlined, or accelerated with this type of financing.
The Three (General) Stages of the SaaS Marketing Funnel
A SaaS marketing funnel can take a number of different shapes, with new levels and categories added based on your company preferences, sales structure, and marketing efforts. Here, we’ll stay high level and focus on the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel as well as how venture debt financing helps to accelerate results in each.
The Top: Driving Awareness and Capturing Opportunities
The top of the funnel is unique in that it’s likely one of the most costly levels. It’s all about creating awareness, capturing prospects so they enter your database, and starting your sales engine on them. This includes people signing up for demos, subscribing to newsletters, entering the database from an event or show, etc. To capture these leads, you have to be out there — online or in-person — and that has a cost. While these efforts can always be optimized to produce better results, to get more you have to spend more.
Venture debt financing helps by providing the resources you need to do more. Examples include outreach efforts like pay-per-click advertising, public relations efforts like content sponsorships, exhibiting at shows or sponsoring events, and general content marketing and SEO efforts to answer prospects’ questions and show up in key search results. You’ll cast a wide (yet still somewhat targeted) net to capture more prospects and begin working them toward conversion. With venture debt, you’ll have more resources to expand these programs with a larger budget.
Case in point: Cirrus Insight, an intelligent sales automation solution on the Salesforce AppExchange, used venture debt to increase awareness of its brand via content marketing initiatives.
The Middle: Qualifying Opportunities and Moving Them Forward
Middle-of-funnel efforts in the SaaS marketing funnel are all about qualifying leads to ensure they’re sales-ready and moving them forward. It’s also about nurturing those that aren’t qualified or ready, building a relationship with them, answering questions and providing education, and ultimately keeping your business and solution front and center for when they’re ready.
Solutions that should be developed and accelerated here include better marketing automation capabilities, refining your demo processes, building more specific and strategic assets like case studies and more targeted email campaigns (such as lead scoring and activity-based workflows). Additionally, expanding your sales team to work these leads is a common use of venture debt, along with hiring a sales leader to develop strategy.
Case in point: Etail Solutions, a platform for sophisticated online sellers, used venture debt financing to expand its sales and account management teams without diluting its ownership.
The Bottom: Overcoming Objections and Closing the Deal
Leads at the bottom of your SaaS marketing funnel should be speaking with sales, navigating the particulars of any quotes or fees. Often, marketing efforts simmer in this stage because leads have been identified as marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and transitioned to sales-qualified leads (SQLs). Thus, they’ve been handed off. While some marketing such as retargeting, specific content assets, and other solutions can be utilized, the onus is primarily on your sales team to push the prospect across the finish line.
But just as you’ll need a strong sales team to move prospects forward, you’ll need a strong team to close them. Venture debt helps in this stage by not only expanding your sales team but also by refining the sales process. With debt funding, you can implement more advanced systems and processes for developing playbooks, assessing sales performance, tracking prospect behavior, and more. And of course, you’ll have the resources needed for any additional marketing assets needed to move the prospect to a decision.
Case in point: When Proformex, a solution for life insurance professionals, wanted to build a new sales initiative to ramp up its enterprise growth, it used venture debt from River SaaS Capital.
Flexible Funding for SaaS Marketing Funnel Success
River SaaS Capital offers one of the most flexible venture debt financing solutions available. Whether you’re looking to accelerate your growth or obtain debt as a bridge between raise rounds, our capital is designed to support your goals. Best of all, we don’t take an ownership position in your company — either by taking equity or by accepting warrants. This means you’re free to grow your business the way you see fit. Along the way, our team will provide insights, recommendations, and other guidance — but you stay in control at all times.
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