PUBLISHED: Aug 1, 2022

SaaS Customer Journey Stages – What You Need to Know

Pratik Dholakiya
SaaS Customer Journey Stages What You Need to Know
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As per a Global Study by Salesforce, 80% of customers consider their experience with a company to be as important as the product they offer. The same study also mentions that 91% of customers agree to purchase again after a positive customer experience.

Keep in mind that the buyer’s journey is crucial for SaaS marketers to address customers’ key touchpoints and needs effectively. Plus, the stages involved in the customers’ journey form a foundational need to build an effective sales funnel for your SaaS business model. They define what customers experience during their buying journey and the process of becoming evangelists.

Thus, optimizing each customer journey stage can help you offer a better experience and maximize your lead acquisition, conversions, and customer retention. However, what the stages look like is still far from the understanding of many.

To better understand them, let’s first unravel the SaaS customer journey:

What is SaaS Customer Journey?

SaaS customer journey is every interaction that visitors have with your brand and every action they take to become your customer and fulfill the complete lifecycle. It starts with customers’ realization of problems that they want to solve for increased flexibility in life or productivity at work.

Thus, customers start looking for SaaS-based products or platforms that help them resolve those problems that otherwise wouldn’t get fixed. Similar to a standard journey, the SaaS customer journey also includes stages from awareness to purchase and even evangelism.

While it may sound similar to a sales funnel, there are subtle differences between the two concepts. 

Let’s get to know what it is:

SaaS Sales Funnel vs SaaS Customer Journey

The SaaS sales funnel tells a company-centric story, where leads start from the top of the funnel and steadily move to the bottom, leading to a purchase.

Funnels are focused on the broad categorization of the purchase process rather than individual touchpoints. Even though customers achieve all the milestones, the road from awareness to purchase can be filled with many twists and turns, which is why funnels can’t offer much insights into them.

SaaS customer journey is a user-centric approach that helps you understand customer behavior. As per HubSpot, companies with a customer-centric mindset are 60% more profitable than the companies that aren’t.

Mapping and understanding customer behavior is crucial for defining their journey to purchase. It’ll help you break through the 4th wall to gain their attention and make them realize your SaaS product is the one they need.

Important SaaS Customer Journey Stages to Know

Stage #1: Evaluation

In this stage, customers realize certain pain points they face on a regular basis and want to look for solutions. They become aware of the problem and come across various SaaS-based products that are either a perfect fit, or need some assistance.

They start to look for information, case studies, and other resource materials that they can evaluate, and start exploring features, reviews, and testimonials. What you can do here is create a content strategy that’s packed with value and entice users to try the demo or the whole product and move to the next stage.

Stage #2: Consideration

Once customers evaluate bottlenecks, and solutions to eliminate them, they move to the next stage of consideration. Here, they look more closely at the SaaS product or solution to see if it is worth investing in the product. 

The customer journey will slow down here as they are in the stage where your product has drawn customers to it and triggered a purchase intent. After considering all the options, they will make the final decision.

Stage #3: Adoption

After going through an elaborate stage of consideration, customers finalize and adopt a SaaS product based on its suitability to solve their problems. In this stage, users will make the payment and officially join your customer list.

However, don’t get used to it as this is just the beginning, there’s more to their journey.

Stage #4: Onboarding

A seamless onboarding process is what customers look for when they sign up for your SaaS product. Send your new customers a warm welcome email and let them know you are there to provide the best possible experience. Doing so will aid in the smooth adoption of your SaaS product.

Step it up a notch by ensuring that your customers have access to tools, information, and all the support they need to reinforce their decision to invest in your product. You can also measure the success of your onboarding stage by tracking the following metrics:

  • Email open rate
  • Engagement on content
  • Support resolution time
  • Product action

Stage #5: Renewal

The onboarding experience and value customers get from your SaaS product will inspire them to take the next step and renew their subscription. Even though they are already associated with your company, your customers are still at the delicate stage where one wrong move can lead them to jump ship.

Thus, you have to be extra careful with customers during this stage and ensure the experience stays the same, leading them to expand further.

Stage #6: Expansion

In this stage of the customer journey, customers are fully acquainted with your SaaS products as if it’s their second nature. The important thing, however, is that you’ve been successful in solving their problem.

In this stage, your customers become ready to expand depending on their increasing needs. What you can do here is introduce new features and create customizable plans to let your customers upgrade to a suitable one. If their team is growing, so do their needs for using your SaaS product and you must make it worth every dime when they plan to expand.

Stage #7: Evangelism

Now that customers have been renewing their subscription for your SaaS, moving to another platform would be hard and they’d have to go through a lot of trouble. They’ll keep using your products and move to a stage of loyalists.

Further, they may turn into your brand advocate or evangelist,  which means your customers can’t keep calm and spread the good words about your SaaS brand. A well-satisfied customer will recommend your SaaS brand to their co-workers, family, or friends. Because nothing can quite beat referrals from existing customers.

How to Map Your SaaS Customer Journey Stages

A systematic mapping of your SaaS customer journey stages can help you come up with what needs to be done at each stage. It allows you to form a standard procedure that’s designed to retain, expand, and turn customers into brand evangelists. You can train your team to utilize the outcomes of your journey mapping to optimize each interaction with customers.

While the process starts with defining what type of map you should use and ends with making adjustments and optimization, let’s look at this process step by step:

Step 1: Defining the Type of Map to Use

Customer journey maps have several different formats depending on their use cases. Here are some common maps you can use for your SaaS customer journey mapping:

  • Current State Map: This map defines the current state of feelings, thoughts, and behavior customers show and experience at each step of their journey.
  • Future State Map: It expands focus from the current state to how customers would feel, think, and behave in the coming stages of their journey.
  • Day in the Life Map: This includes customers’ experiences beyond just their everyday interactions to provide deeper insights into their pain points.

Step 2: Define Customers

Defining your customer journey starts with defining and understanding your customers. Craft detail-oriented profiles of your ideal prospects that includes information such as demographics, characteristics, needs, and pain points. You can run quick surveys and analyses to gather data that help you with defining your customers.

Step 3: Identify Customer Interaction Touchpoints

The next thing in the process of mapping customer journey is finding customer interaction touchpoints. An enhanced understanding of your customers will allow you to analyze how they interact with your brand. This can include organic search, website reviews, social media, referral programs, and email marketing.

Also, it can include post-purchase touchpoints for the onboarding stage where customers need profile set-up, or anything else.

Step 4: Layout Your Customer Journey Stages

Now is the time to connect the dots and prepare a sequence of the customer’s journey stages. Break down each journey stage at a granular level for better understanding. For instance, you can sub-categorize the evaluation stage into steps that lead your prospects from being just a visitor to becoming aware of your SaaS product. Do the same for the rest of the stages too.

Step 5: Mark Milestones Customers Complete

Find what are the major milestones customers have to complete to move to the next stage from the current stage. This can include actions such as signing up for the newsletter, registering for a demo, taking a trial period, or anything else that correlates with key events in your customer’s experience.

Step 6: Adjusting and Optimizing

The last step of the journey mapping is to adjust and update your customer journey map periodically to incorporate new data. Also, don’t let it remain static, test out its performance and find the gaps where optimization is necessary. This will enable you to improve and optimize your map to deliver better results.

Customer Journey That Leads You on the Path of Success

Mapping and leveraging SaaS customer journey stages can help you improve your relationships with clients. You can get desired outcomes from each stage to promote customer satisfaction. Further, mapping key SaaS customer journey stages and their outcomes will help you standardize your SaaS buying process and automate the journey to bring fruitful results.

Each stage requires tailored SaaS content and resources that lead customers from the evaluation stage to evangelism. Creating such a level of personalized content requires the hands of an expert SaaS content marketing agency like Growfusely.

With a proven track record of serving industry-leading SaaS brands, you can trust the Growfusely team for your SaaS content marketing needs. We deliver content that can be tailored to each customer journey stage and produce desired results for your SaaS brand.

Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Growfusely, a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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