How to build a predictable revenue pipeline for SAAS?

The term ‘predictable revenue’ explains the revenue that you can predict over a period of time. It is not supposed to be any kind of guesswork. It has to be backed by some concrete data.

As a salesperson, you know the value of having a data-driven approach to have predictable revenue. Instead of relying solely on your intuition and hard work, you have to set a system in your sales process.

You should have strategies to generate a predictable lead flow that would consistently provide qualified leads through efficient prospecting, nurturing workflows and ultimately closing the deals.

When you have a proper system that helps you with your predictable revenue, then you will not have to worry about any kind of organizational or marketing changes. 

For SaaS startups, a scalable and predictable revenue pipeline isn’t just a nice to have. It is a need that can help SaaS startups level up their big ideas. 

By the end of this blog, you will know, 

  • How to have a predictable lead flow.
  • How can you communicate with your prospects at scale with automation?
  • How can make better data-driven decisions?
  • How can you build and maintain a predictable revenue pipeline?

But first, let’s see what are the challenges that SaaS startups face while building a predictable revenue. 

  • Finding product market fit (PMF)
  • Building a sales engine
  • Balancing growth and customer success
  • Data and measurement
  • Resource constraints and uncertainty

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into building a robust sales engine to generate a healthy and predictable sales pipeline. Before we do that, let’s tackle the common roadblocks to a flourishing sales pipeline.

Challenges faced by SAAS startups while building a predictable revenue pipeline

Building a SaaS startup is exciting and fast-paced, but it has the potential to throw you off if you don’t hold on tight. Let’s discuss some common challenges you might have or will face over the next 2 to 3 years w.r.t. building and scaling a predictable revenue pipeline. 

Initial Traction  – Zero to One

This phase is called the 0-1 journey, where SAAS startups are in their early phases and haven’t attained product-market fit. 

It is when SAAS businesses are trying to build and test a minimum viable product. The risk is quite high, they are still trying to figure out if the market needs their product or service.

Getting those first few customers on board can be hard. Convincing people to try something new and unproven can take time and effort.

Shooting arrows in the dark

Finding the right decision-maker to approach in big companies is tough for new SaaS startups. These companies have many layers in their structure, and decisions pass through many hands. 

If you just contact anyone without knowing who’s right, it often doesn’t lead anywhere. It can feel like all your hard work goes to waste.

Finding contact details of decision-makers

Finding verified contact details of the prospects who can make buying decisions can get tough most of the time. As the details  are not readily available, so the team has to spend extra time digging for the set of information

Low Productivity – Manual Efforts

Startups spend a lot of time doing tasks manually as they can’t afford high-end tools. From customer onboarding to data analysis, every repetitive step takes up a lot of precious time and resources that could be driving growth. 

With the lack of funds, the growth also slows down. Even small jobs become big problems, stopping them from growing without the help of automation.

Personalization at scale

Personalization is one of the important factor that affects your revenue pipeline. When you personalize your communication, the prospect feels more connected. 

For a SaaS startup, you might be targeting to send more than 200 email per day. So with limited resources, personalizing huge number of messages can consume quite a lot of your productive time. 

Dependency on a single-channel

Email is still one of the most efficient ways to communicate. But solely depending on the email for your cold outreach can lead to many missed opportunities. 

If you are using a single channel to reach your prospects, the options are limited. It can be harder to find and connect with the right prospect who might be interested in your product.

This could slow down your business growth. 

Replying to prospects’ queries on time

When your prospects respond to your outreach or when you receive new queries, keeping track and responding to each one promptly can get overwhelming. 

Sometimes, team members could be on leave, messages might get lost or take too long to answer, which can impact the potential sale.

Failing to answer prospect’s queries can result in an unhealthy sales pipeline.

Outreach timing

Figuring out the best time to contact potential customers is a challenge, especially when you are targeting global prospects. You want to reach them when they’re most likely to respond positively, but finding that exact timing isn’t always easy.

Lack of sales prospecting and outreach knowledge

Not all team members hired would have prior software sales experience. As sales reps with software sales experience, some at a cost. This might affect the startups in terms of knowledge of the latest tools & technologies.

Most might not be familiar with the latest prospecting techniques, like warming up your domains, checking domains in the blacklist, or using Spintax to scale personalization. And hence, would be difficult to compete with other brands.

Also, they might not know which metrics to track like average touchpoints per reply etc.This lack of knowledge makes it harder for their business to grow. 

You must be facing these challenges and many others as well. 

Do not worry. 

We will now discuss how you can overcome all these sales process challenges and close deals faster. 

One easy way is to use the services of a demand generation agency that will source and provide sales-qualified leads or book meetings for you at a defined cost. This approach is expensive and not a scalable approach.

The best strategy is to build a robust sales engine that could churn of a defined number of qualified leads every month, irrespective of external factors like a top sales performer’s resignation, etc

How to build a scalable and predictable sales pipeline? 

Now let’s discuss a step-by-step process by which you can build a scalable sales pipeline faster for your SaaS product. 

You could also schedule a demo with SmartReach experts to learn more.

Outlining your sales process with automation

The foundation of a predictable revenue pipeline lies not just in automation but in a meticulously crafted sales process. 

Before you set up workflows or automation, it’s important to map out the ideal customer journey, outlining every touchpoint from initial lead capture to closed deal. This blueprint defines the stages, activities, and metrics that will guide your automated engine. 

Once this roadmap is in place, automation tools can take the reins, seamlessly steering leads through each stage with personalized engagement, qualification, and nurturing. 

From dynamic email sequences adapting to individual interactions to AI-powered chatbots answering simple queries, automation keeps the journey running smoothly, freeing your sales team to focus on high-value conversations and closing deals. 

Sales engagement tools like SmartReach.io provide you a platform to set-up your complete sales process. Right from finding decision makers to booking appointments to closing the deal.

Now let’s discuss, with automation, how you can ease your sales process and build a predictable sales pipeline. 

Identify and target the right prospect

This is the first phase, where you need to have a detailed portrait of your ideal customer profile (ICP). You should be able to answer questions like Who are they? What keeps them up at night? What challenges do they face in their business? Where do you find them? and more. 

You can start looking out for your ideal prospect on different social media platforms like LinkedIn, twitter, etc. You can also engage in industry forums and events to connect with prospects who understand and appreciate your SaaS solution.

It takes time and effort to refine your ICP, identify the right channels, and craft compelling messages. But by focusing on quality over quantity, you will attract prospects who are a perfect fit for your SaaS product.

Fast and effective way to get your prospect list

Having accurate data on your potential customers is crucial. If you already have a prospect list, it’s important to keep it updated before sending mass emails. It’s not a good practice to send emails to an unclean list.

You might also get tempted to buy prospect list by companies selling lists of CXO’s etc; it’s a time bomb waiting to explode. They’re more trouble than they’re worth. Imagine, zero engagement, spam law violations, blacklisted domains, and legal headaches. Steer clear, your reputation and inbox health are worth far more.

Now  imagine a prospect list-building tool that lets you build lists based on your ICP  and gives you contact details and work profiles of your potential customers. That would be valuable, right?

LinkedIn is one of the best social networking platforms for business professionals. LinkedIn has more than 880 million users. Taking advantage of it can be so much beneficial for your SaaS product. 

Email finder tools like ProspectDaddy can quickly gather and enrich your prospect data with an email address, LinkedIn profile, current job title and company, state, country, etc.

For example, let’s say you have sales software, and you are targeting sales leaders from the education industry.

Using LinkedIn, you can find your ideal prospects based on your ICP. Add filters based on your criteria like industry, location, title, etc. 

Then sign in to ProspectDaddy. Since you already have your prospect’s list filtered, ProspectDaddy starts searching for the details. 

After the search is completed, you will get two options: add the prospects to SmartReach’s outreach campaign or download the list in CSV format. 

In the CSV file, you will get details that include first name, last name, company, designation, location, email address, LinkedIn profile URL, and more.

In just a few minutes, you will have built a list of prospects that fit your ICP and have the highest possibility of converting.. This is your first step toward building a predictable and scalable revenue pipeline.

You can leverage this collated information to run multichannel outreach campaigns.

Connecting with your prospects

After finding potential customers and getting your lists, it’s time to connect and start building relationships.

Personalization is one of the most important things that you should keep in mind while trying to build an everlasting connection. 

You should try to personalize your message, discuss the chances for business growth, and show off what makes your company special. With SmartReach, personalization gets easy and faster. It provides merge tags that you personalize based on your prospect’s interest or add any other relevant information.

SmartReach.io also provides spintax, which allows you to create dynamic and hyper-personalized content. Spintax helps to improve email deliverability by sending unique emails to all your prospects at scale. This, in turn, reduces the chance of getting caught by the spam filter. 

Then you can encourage your prospects to chat with you over a call.

During the call, get to know your prospects very well. Learn about their business challenges and get a complete understanding of their needs. Offer insights and resources without pushing too hard.

Before going too far 😉 let’s discuss how you can start engaging and building a relationship with your prospects.

Start by creating an outreach campaign for sales  leaders we found using ProspectDaddy. I will explain using SmartReach.io as an example, as it is one of the top sales engagement platforms.

Sample Prospect Outreach Sequence

Step 1: LinkedIn Profile View

(Day 1)

Start by viewing their LinkedIn profiles first. It’s more likely to catch their attention than sending an email. Many LinkedIn users are curious about who views their profiles.

Step 2: LinkedIn connect request

(Day 2)

On day two of your campaign, send a personalized LinkedIn connection request using automation. It’s a great way to grab your prospect’s attention.

Step 3: Send Email

(Day 4)

Next, schedule an introductory email. When setting up the campaign, you can save your email content. 

Check out  6-Step LinkedIn Sales Sequence to Book Meetings in 2024 for a detailed email template that has booked us a lot of meetings.

You can generate AI-powered email content by giving specific inputs on how you want them to appear and also create multiple versions.

Make use of merge tags for hyper-personalizing your emails by highlighting their skills or achievements. SmartReach offers spintax that can help with creating different emails for every prospect.

Step 4: LinkedIn send message

(Day 6)

On the sixth day of your campaign, you can consider sending a personalized LinkedIn message. 

You can choose from an automated message or add it manually, especially if you want to review the pricing before sending.

Step 5: Follow-up Email

(Day 8)

Next, you can set a follow-up email to be sent on the 8th day of your outreach campaign. No need for manual reminders—it’s automated.

Simply set up the campaign steps in SmartReach and monitor it closely without any manual interference.

This is just an example of a multichannel outreach sequence, but you can create your sequence to include messages, calls, and WhatsApp based on your use case.

Step 6 could involve setting up a calling step using SmartReach’s calling features to reach out to your prospects. These steps appear in your ‘Task Manager,’ scheduling all daily tasks.

If any of your prospects respond, the campaign stops for them. Otherwise, you can manually stop the campaign.

Once the campaign is set up, there’s no need to recreate it for another segment of prospects. Simply duplicate the campaign, tweak the content as needed, and you are all set.

Using multiple channels for reaching out to your prospects can speed up the process of building a healthy and scalable sales pipeline.

SmartReach also offers a detailed reporting feature, allowing you to monitor your campaign’s performance and make informed decisions based on data.

As responses start coming in from your campaign, managing them becomes crucial. SmartReach addresses this issue too.

With SmartReach’s shared inbox feature, all candidate interactions are centralized in one place. This keeps everything organized and available to your entire team, preventing scattered messages and redundant efforts and enabling more effective response management.

So how can a SAAS startup benefit from a shared inbox?

When you have a consolidated view of candidate interactions, it helps save time and effort, eliminating the need to check each response separately.

Consider a scenario: You have a list of 1000 sales leaders and start an outreach campaign. You receive responses from 300 prospects, encompassing both positive and negative replies. 

So do you differentiate between positive and negative replies? 

Using SmartReach’s reply sentiment feature, you can sort and identify positive responses. A shared inbox will give a clear picture of how your sales pipeline looks like. Based on that you can make the required changes to your marketing strategies. 

In addition to the shared inbox, SmartReach offers supplementary features such as leaving internal notes for better reference, ensuring no prospect responses are missed, and preventing duplicate responses.

SmartReach.io has lately launched its opportunities pipeline tracking feature, with this you will be able to monitor your sales pipeline. This would help you to make informed decisions and make changes to your strategies if required.

You will have many prospects that might not reply but instead book a meeting with your team directly via a calendar app. SmartReach offers this for free (yes, there is no need to pay extra for Calendly). 

With SmartReach’s rotational calendar app, you can integrate your Google and Microsoft calendars; you can also integrate Zoom. With the app, you can schedule your meetings and create customizable calendar links. Your outreach sequence stops whenever a meeting is booked with the next available sales rep. 

Make a pitch

When you have established a strong rapport with your prospect, gently introduce your product as the ideal solution to their problem. You can personalize your offer according to their pain points.

Maintain transparency about what you are offering. You can encourage them to start the free trial or schedule a demo with your team.

Be patient and allow your prospect time to consider the offer, as closing the sale might take a bit with a startup.

Some of your prospects might book a demo or take your free trial. Based on this information, you can start a campaign. It is related to taking a subscription or starting a free trial (whichever is applicable).

With sales engagement software, the possibilities are endless. 

The entire process enhances your prospect’s experience as you can provide faster responses to their inquiries, ensuring consistent and timely communication.

SAAS startups can utilize sales CRM tools to handle prospects and their statuses. Some tools, such as SmartReach, offer a complimentary sales CRM with their plan. 

For startups already using their own CRM, sales engagement platforms like SmartReach.io offer two-way sync and seamless data integration with popular CRMs like Hubspot, Salesforce, Zoho Recruit, and more. 

This ensures constant data updates, enabling recruiters to maintain organization and streamline their workflows.

Building a predictable revenue pipeline with a sales engagement platform (SEP)

So the big question is

“How can a sales engagement platform help with building a scalable and predictable sales pipeline?”

By now, you might have an idea of how a sales engagement platform can help you build a scalable sales pipeline faster. 

But do you know what features to look out for while subscribing to sales engagement software?

Let’s discuss.

Disclaimer: SmartReach.io is a leading sales engagement platform used by top SAAS companies in the United States. All features mentioned below are provided by SmartReach.

Multichannel outreach

Don’t limit your approach to emails only; diversify them beyond emails. Some sales engagement platforms offer various channels to reach out to prospects.

From a single platform and with a single sign-on, you can utilize LinkedIn, WhatsApp, messaging, and calling to establish contact with potential customers. Utilizing multiple channels to reach your prospects can get you a healthy sales pipeline.

Email Automation

This feature saves you from the boring job of copying and pasting email content. 

Once you have got your list of prospects ready, start a campaign. The emails will go out automatically at set times.

SmartReach provides inbox rotation, where you can reach thousands of prospects daily from a single campaign. You can seamlessly add multiple email addresses with different service providers or domains. Sending email accounts will be selected randomly, minimizing the risk of getting flagged by the spam filters. 

Automated follow-up sequencing 

You get the benefit of sending follow-up emails or messages to prospects automatically until they reply.  

You can personalize these follow-ups and select how often to send them. You have the option to stop them manually whenever you want.

More visibility – Reach the primary inbox

Sales engagement platforms like SmartReach.io help increase the visibility of your emails. 

It provides features like spam test reports to fix any kind of authentication or setup issues and email warmup that slowly increases your email sending volume & reduces the risk of getting marked as spam. 

With these features, the chance of your email landing in the primary inbox increases. It ultimately results in a higher open and engagement rate, helping your business to grow. 

Personalization at Scale

SEPs let you make your outreach communication hyper-personalized by using merge tags. You can gather info about your prospect’s online activity, recent achievements, or latest projects and add these details to your emails using merge tags.

AI-Powered Content

Some sales engagement platforms, such as SmartReach.io, offer AI-generated emails. You just need to give some prompts like your audience details, writing style, tone, and words you prefer. Then, the platform creates your email content.

You can even edit or make any part of the email shorter. You also have the choice to get an AI-generated subject line based on your email content.

AI-powered content

Shared Inbox

This feature gives you a complete view of your sales pipeline. It gathers all responses from prospects in a single location. A shared inbox can help you predict your revenue. 

Some platforms, like SmartReach.io, even provide reply sentiments, giving a summary of positive and negative replies for a quick overview.

Opportunities Pipeline & statuses

Very few sales engagement platforms, the likes of SmartReach.io, help to track your opportunities and pipeline. 

SmartReach.io allows you to manage your pipeline dashboard, where you can create multiple pipelines and statuses as per your requirements. 

Under opportunities, you can view the status of your pipeline. Here you can create opportunities, giving prospects details like the value of the deal, closing date, confidence level, campaign name, etc. 

You would get an overall idea of what your pipeline line looks like (real time) and where you need to focus your efforts. From the status of your pipeline, you will be able to forecast your deals ready to close in the coming days, months, or quarters.

Detailed Reporting

Sales engagement platforms like SmartReach offer in-depth reporting for making decisions based on data instead of guesses.

You can monitor important metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and response times for each channel. This helps you determine which channel is most effective. Also, you can study how engaged prospects are and figure out what interests them the most.

CRM Integrations

Sales engagement platforms like SmartReach.io provide two-way CRM data syncing. So any changes made on one system would reflect directly on the other system. 

This feature eliminates manual intervention, which might cause any conflict in information. With this, your team will always have access to the latest data, regardless of the platform they are using. 

With the latest data, you can generate accurate reports and gain deeper insights. 

Latest features and trends

Now that you are well aware of the features to look for while subscribing to a sales engagement platform, you also know the importance of staying updated with the latest trends and features in the industry. 

Takeaway on building a predictable revenue pipeline 

Building a predictable revenue pipeline for a SaaS startup is essential for growth and success. 

However, there are many challenges that startups face in this process, such as finding product-market fit, building a sales engine, balancing growth and customer success, and managing data and measurement.

One way to overcome these challenges and build a predictable revenue pipeline is to use a sales engagement platform (SEP). SEPs can help you automate many of the tasks involved in the sales process, such as outreach, follow-up, and reporting. 

A sales engagement platform like SmartReach.io can help you with 

  • Organize your contacts
  • Personalize your messages at scale
  • Send out communication via multiple channels automatically
  • Keep track of responses
  • Measure how well your campaigns are doing

This can free up your time to focus on other important tasks, such as building relationships with your prospects and closing deals.

Remember, a predictable revenue pipeline doesn’t happen by chance – it’s meticulously designed and fueled by the power of automation. Get your sales blueprint ready, engage the engines, and watch your pipeline transform into a steady revenue stream.

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