The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS

This extensive guide will teach you how to create a complete marketing automation strategy for your SaaS business. Let’s do it!

Marketing automation is everywhere.

It’s so ubiquitous today that it’s almost impossible not to do any marketing automation in your SaaS.

A lot of you are doing some automation without even naming it that way.

But even if you know you work with marketing automation, it can be hard to describe.

So…

What the heck is marketing automation?

The use of marketing automation makes processes that would have otherwise been performed manually much more efficient, and makes new processes possible. – SearchCRM

In a nutshell, marketing automation helps you:

What?
Deliver personalized messages.

Where?
On multiple channels: email, SMS, push, social media, direct mail.

Who?
To a broader audience.

When?
At the right time.

How?
Using software.

Why?
To attract, convert and retain more customers with fewer resources, more efficiently.

Contents

What Marketing Automation Is NOT?

Marketing automation is not:

1. Blasting irrelevant spam emails

I hope if you’re reading this post you’re smart enough to know that purchased email lists don’t work in 2019.

If you start sending emails (or other messages) to a list full of prospects with a questionable quality you can expect high bounces, low open rates, and spam reports.

Most marketing automation systems are protective of their email reputation and have built-in spam reports. In other words, your account is going to get blocked.

For example, Encharge has baked-in Bounces and Spam reports:

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS
Marketing Automation Metrics in Encharge

What to do instead?

Focus on building solicited/inbound leads for your SaaS and nurture them through your marketing funnel.

2. Email marketing only

Although email marketing is a massive part of marketing automation, it doesn’t all end there.

Marketing automation allows you to create holistic lifecycle journeys that connect multiple touch points and channels, including but not limited to:

  • SMS
  • Push notification
  • Paid channels – Facebook ads and Google Ads
  • Social media – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.
  • Direct physical mail.

3. Cold and impersonal

One of the main goals of marketing automation is to allow you to speak to an audience of one at a scale.

74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement. – eConsultancy

With marketing automation platforms like Encharge, you can segment your customer base granularly in order to deliver custom-tailored messages and offers.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS
Creating a Segment in Encharge

4. Something that benefits marketing only

The goal of marketing automation is to ultimately improve the bottom line of your SaaS – increase MRR and CLTV. As long as your whole team is aligned on this object, marketing automation can benefit all of your departments.

  • Sales teams will get more Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) => close more deals.
  • Customer Success teams will be able to provide better value through the Onboarding and Upselling phases => retain more customers and increase average customer lifetime value (CLTV).
  • Support teams will be able to provide contextual education at the right time to the right customers => reduce support overhead.

5. Something that you set up once and forget

Feedback loops and metrics are a reflection of how effective your marketing automation strategy is. Whether a person converts, clicks through to your site, ignores the message, flags it as spam, or unsubscribes from your list, that tells you something about how the recipient felt about your message. – Angela Petteys, Moz

Similarly to how you use feedback loops when you validate your SaaS ideas, you use Build > Measure > Learn loop to execute and iterate your marketing strategy.

Metrics tell you how effective your marketing automation efforts are: Whether a user signs up, converts, ignores the message, flags it as spam, unsubscribes from your list or churns completely, that tells you something about how the recipient felt about your message.

Is Marketing Automation Right For Your SaaS?

The lower your ACV (average customer value), the more “automation” you’ll need to employ in your SaaS.

And vice-versa – if you’re a low volume/high price product you may get away only by selling through the phone and with very little automation.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS
Lower value – high volume VS High value – low volume companies

Let’s look at the extremes:

Palantir

Palantir is a “big data analytics” company with 2,000+ employees. Being one of the most secretive companies in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to say precisely how many customers Palantir has but it’s safe to bet it’s less than 100 or even 50.

Having just a few clients don’t stop them from being valued in the billions.

With clients like Ferrari, Airbus, and the FBI, you could imagine that most of the Palantir deals are made on the table breaking bread and drinking (expensive) wine; not through an automated email.

WhatsApp

On the other end of the spectrum is WhatsApp – another company valued in the billions.

WhatsApp earns $1 per download on iOS and $1 per year on other platforms, and not even for all of their users.

Just lifting the phone for a single customer, would cost WhatsApp more than the total lifetime value of a customer. It’s literary impossible for WhatsApp to convert and retain customers without automating everything.

Since you’re not Palantir, nor WhatsApp, it probably means you’ll need to employ both Marketing Automation and high-touch manual processes in your marketing and sales.

The best marketing automation campaigns strike the perfect balance between scalability and personal touch.

So..

Is marketing automation right for your SaaS business?

Ask yourself if scalable, personalized marketing campaigns aimed at the right users, at the right time can improve your bottom line?

If the answer is Yes, you’ll need to look at your marketing automation more seriously.

If you prefer a more systematic decision process you can complete this survey by Marketo to evaluate if marketing automation is right for your SaaS:

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS

What Are the Benefits Of Using Marketing Automation For Your SaaS?

Here are some insightful statistics about marketing automation:

70% of people find improved targeting of messages to be the most important benefit of marketing automation.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS

Another one:

Business owners and marketers asked to identify the biggest benefit of Marketing Automation for them, say it is:

  1. Saving time (30%)
  2. Lead Generation (22%)
  3. Increase in Revenue (17%)
The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS

At the end of the day, companies care about the revenue marketing automation can bring to the table.

The most useful metrics for measuring marketing automation performance are Conversion Rate and Revenue Generated – say 58% of best in class Marketing Automation users.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS

Across all reports, high-performing marketers find marketing automation beneficial in:

  • Increasing revenue.
  • Improving the customer experience.
  • Improving the targetting of messages.
  • Getting more and better quality leads.
  • Saving time

In other words, it’s not just about being more efficient; marketing automation has a profound impact on your revenue.

Of course, only if executed well.

Marketing Automation Glossary

Before we dive into the actionable bits of marketing automation and how to execute a marketing automation strategy for your SaaS, I want to clarify a few definitions and how I use them in this guide.

Lifecycle Funnel (or Lifecycle Framework)

This is the process a person takes towards becoming a customer of your SaaS.

From the very first touchpoint with your business until they churn or stay as an advocate.

The lifecycle funnel is broken down into multiple stages. The person progresses from one stage to the other until they reach the very end of the funnel or exit the funnel (i.e. churn).

An example funnel is:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Action

Customer Lifecycle Journey

The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer. – SurveyMonkey

A customer journey example:

  1. Your potential customer is browsing Facebook and stumbles upon one of your webinar ads. (Awareness stage)
  2. The customer skips the ad but later sees your LinkedIn post about the webinar. (Awareness)
  3. She opens the webinar landing page and signs up for the webinar. (Interest)
  4. You send her an SMS confirmation about the webinar. (Interest)
  5. 7 days later she attends the webinar. (Interest)
  6. She jumps on your product trial. (Consideration)
  7. She doesn’t convert in the 7-day trial period, but 2 days later you sent her a promotional email with a discount. (Consideration)
  8. She converts and becomes a customer. (Action)
  9. By tracking her product activity, you identify her as a good fit for your Team plan. You send her a sequence of emails about your Team features. (Awareness)
  10. She addresses her objections about the Team plan via a support ticket. You handle the objections brilliantly (Interest)
  11. She invites her team members to join the product. (Consideration)
  12. A week later her team members convert. (Action)

As you can see the Customer Journey and Lifecycle Funnel (In that case: Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Action) are intertwined. Every single customer experience moves the person through the funnel.

Customer Journey Map

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the process a customer or prospect goes through to achieve a goal with your company. With the help of a customer journey map, you can get a sense of your customers’ – their needs and pain points. – HubSpot

You can visualize a Customer Journey Map in different ways:

  • Post-it notes
  • Low fidelity paper sketch
  • High-fidelity chart diagram using a flow chart maker like Draw.io
  • Or even just write it down using plain text.

Marketing Automation Workflow or Flow

Workflow or just Flow is what I refer to as the actual marketing automation flow you create in your marketing automation platform.

A flow has at least one Trigger and one Action.

  1. A Trigger is the starting point of the flow. For example, you can start a Flow when a user enters a specific segment.
  2. An Action is what you do once the trigger is activated. For example: When a user enters a specific segment -> Send them an email.

A simple marketing flow in Encharge:

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS
Basic Workflow in Encharge

User or Customer Segment

A Segment is a group of users or customers grouped by common characteristics so you can market to each group effectively and appropriately with targeted and relevant messages at the right time.

Create Your First Marketing Automation Strategy for Your SaaS

In the following chapters, I’m going to help you design a complete Marketing Automation and Lifecycle Journey Strategy for your SaaS.

This is our action plan:

  1. Decide on a Lifecycle Funnel.
  2. Define the metrics you need to track at each stage of the Funnel
  3. Map your Lifecycle Customer Journey.
  4. Build your automation Workflows

We’re going to use the worksheet below to design your marketing automation strategy, so make sure to download it before we start:

Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Empty
Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Empty

So…

Let’s get to business.

Step 1: Decide on a Lifecycle Funnel

As mentioned in the previous chapter the Lifecycle Funnel is the process a person takes towards becoming a customer of your SaaS.

It’s a framework that helps you understand how your business is performing at different stages of your customer journey. From the first customer touchpoint with your product until the moment they become loyal customers.

There are dozens of lifecycle funnels (or frameworks) out there.

Just to name a few:

  • AARRR – Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue – Dave McClure’s model from 500 Startups.
  • AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action
  • AICA – Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Action
  • AIDAS – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action, Satisfaction
  • AIDASlove – Attention, Interest, Search, Action, Like, Share, Love
  • TIREA – Thought, Interest, Evaluation, Engagement, Action
  • REAN – Reach, Engage, Active, Nurture
  • NAITDATSE – Need, Attention, Interest, Trust, Desire, Action, Satisfaction, Evaluation.

Or you can use something completely different.

For example, the team at Metrilo is using:

  1. Awareness
  2. Education of Problem
  3. Education of Solution
  4. Consideration

On top of that, the Metrilo funnel is different for each of their Personas:

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS
Metrilo’s Personas

Similarly, you may need to create different funnels for the different personas that use your product.

My advice is to start with your primary persona or the persona you’re most familiar with and define your Lifecycle Funnel stages only for that persona.

Once you’re done with that, make sure to fill-in the stages in your worksheet.

Note: Learn how to create and identify your ideal customer personas.

As an example for this guide, I’m going to use a simple Lifecycle Funnel – the AIDA funnel/framework that has 4 stages: 1. Awareness | 2. Interest | 3. Desire | 4. Action

Important note: Use this guide and the examples in the worksheet as a framework. Please do not blindly copy my worksheet input without understanding your customer persona and customer journey.

If you need help with setting up or improving your marketing automation, I’d be more than happy to help – just drop me a line at [email protected]

Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Step 1
Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Step 1

Step 2: Define the Metrics You’re Going to Track at Each Stage of the Funnel

There’s no way to know how good your Marketing Automation is performing without tracking metrics.

Each funnel stage deserves its own metric or set of metrics.

In my previous post, I’ve explained how to set up a Tracking Dashboard for your marketing funnel.

To get your brain juice flowing, here are some ideas for metrics to track at each stage of the funnel:

1. Awareness

  • Visitors – Unique website visitors
  • Email subscribers – How many people subscribe to your newsletter via lead magnets or educational material like webinars, articles, etc.
  • Visitor-to-Subscriber Conversion Rate
  • Best referring channels – track your traffic with UTMs and analyze which ones bring the most and highest quality traffic (i.e., traffic with the highest visitor-to-subscriber CR).
  • Social media engagement – how many people view and click on your social media posts.

2. Interest

  • Average Email Open Rate – or more specifically email open rates for your onboarding campaigns.
  • Leads generated – the number of marketing qualified and sales qualified leads (MQL and SQL). You can use a Lead Scoring System to qualify your leads.
  • Demo calls booked – the number of demo or discovery calls booked.
  • Demo-to-Close Conversion Rate
  • Lead Velocity Rate – The Lead Velocity Rate is the growth percentage of qualified leads month over month. That is, how many (quality) potential customers you’re currently working on converting to actual customers.
  • Trials – number of new monthly trials/sign-ups.
  • Visitor-to-Trial Conversion Rate.

3. Desire

  • New User Product engagement – User activation in the onboarding/trial phase – how actively the trial user is using the product and/or how many features the user has used.
  • NPS – NPS in the onboarding/trial phase.
  • Support questions asked in the onboarding/trial phase

4. Action

  • New customers – number of new paying customer for the month.
  • Trial-to-Customer Conversion Rate
  • New Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) added
  • Gross Revenue added – total revenue added for the month.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – is marketing automation actually helping you reduce CAC.
  • Churn Rate

Other metrics to track:

  • CLTV – Customer Lifetime Value
  • ARPU – Average Revenue Per User
  • ARPPU – Average Revenue Per Paying User
  • Daily/weekly or monthly User Retention – how many people login into your product on a daily/weekly or monthly basis (based on the type of the product).
  • CAC Payback Period – the number of months it takes to earn back the money invested in acquiring customers. It shows your break-even point.

Make sure to know the difference between causal and correlated metrics and track only the things that move the needle for your SaaS.

Once you’re done with this step, your Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet should look something like this:

Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Step 2
Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Step 2

Step 3: Map Your Lifecycle Customer Journey

To understand your customer journey, you must put yourself in your customer shoes.

What are the specific actions and set of activities (or scenarios) a person needs to complete in order to become a customer of your product?

Try to map these actions on a separate file/board.

You may also want to include what are their: goals, feelings, and the touchpoints.

An example customer journey map:

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS
Customer Jounery Map

For our Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet we only need to list the actions/experiences that the person is doing at each stage of the funnel.

For example:

  • Visit the marketing website homepage
  • Booking a demo call
  • Registering for trial
  • Opening onboarding email
  • Using feature Y
  • Skipping feature X
  • Upgrading trial account to paid plan A
  • Upgrading trial account to paid plan B, etc.

Alternatively, you can list touch points instead of actions:

  • Marketing website
  • Demo form
  • “Set up your account” page
  • Onboarding email #1
  • Onboarding email #2
  • Feature Y
  • Billing page
  • Cancellation page

Or both. Whatever makes you understand your customer journey best.

Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Step 3
Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Step 3

Mapping these actions or scenarios will greatly help you when you’re brainstorming and building your actual marketing automation flows.

Step 4: Build Your Marketing Automation Workflows

The most exciting step of creating your SaaS marketing automation is building the actual workflows.

This is where you put the theory into practice and execute like a badass marketer!

It’s also the step that requires the most legwork.

You’re going to:

  • Integrate and connect tools to make magical automation happen.
  • Work along your developer to map events from your product into your marketing automation platform.
  • Test multiple tricky flows to make sure everything works flawlessly.

Automation workflows are not for newbie marketers. However, I’m going to assume that if you’ve reached this point of the guide you’re not satisfied with the basic untargeted Mailchimp blasts that your average SaaS marketer is sending out.

I have to praise you for not skipping straight to this chapter. My observations show that marketers usually skip the first 3 steps of this process and jump straight to their marketing automation software.

I get it. It’s not sexy to sketch and map funnels and customer journeys.

Thing is if you don’t see the whole picture, you’re building your automations in the dark. It’s like drawing on a computer without sketching on paper first; coding without knowing what features to code; building without having a blueprint.

So…

Let’s get to building your marketing automation workflows.

I’m going to ask you to list and outline the workflow automations you plan on building. Again, the exact medium doesn’t really matter. You can use pen and paper or a low fidelity sketching tool like Balsamiq.

I, also, love to have the actual copy of my messages (emails, in-app messages, push notifications, etc.) written before I start building the workflows. As you probably know, whatever I do in marketing, I start with the copy.

For OutreachPlus, one of my previous SaaS clients, I used a simple Google Doc to outline the workflows before building them in the marketing automation tool.

As you can see below, I had my messages copy written as a part of that outline.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS
Marketing Automation Workflows outlined in a Google Doc

You can use automation flows for everything:

  • ONBOARDING: Convert your trial users with targeted onboarding campaigns. – Put trial users in different buckets by demographics, firmographics, lifecycle phase or usage data and expose them to the most relevant content for them.
  • CONVERSION: Engage your high-value leads on every channel. – Email, in-app messages, push notifications and ads. Leads on bigger plans and customers with higher CLTV deserver more attention. Segment higher-value leads with billing data and aim more marketing and sales efforts at them.
  • NURTURE: Double newsletter open rate – Resend an unopened newsletter with a new subject line “Reminder: Original Subject“. Make sure to wait a couple of days after the original has been sent.
  • RETENTION: Reduce churn with automated engagements – Predict which customers are most likely to churn by using in-app events and other usage data from your data warehouse and send timely in-app messages.
  • REACTIVATION: Revive dead leads – If a prospect is older than 90 days and not converted, and very low site/email activity, send “Are you still looking for a marketing automation solution?”

The possibilities are literary endless and are only limited by the features of your marketing automation provider and/or your product.

To make your life easier and jumpstart your brainstorming process, in the next chapter, I’ve compiled 30 marketing automation flows for you.

30 Marketing Automation Workflows

This chapter is a playbook of 30 marketing automation workflow examples or recipes.

Every flow has a Trigger and Action. (Check the Glossary section to understand what are Triggers and Actions).

Some of the flows also have a Filter. Filters check whether a person meets a specific characteristic. For example “Has responded to Typeform form” or “Is on plan Premium”.

Each flow is accompanied by a low-fidelity chart that visualizes how the flow works.

I used Balsamiq to design the charts. Hence they’re completely software-agnostic. (Expect some flow examples built in Encharge pretty soon).

Example marketing automation workflow chart
Marketing Automation Workflow Diagram

Pick the flows that are relevant to your product and assign them to the appropriate stage of your lifecycle funnel in the Marketing Automation Worksheet.

1. Capture Leads With a Lead Magnet and Send a Nurture Sequence

Description: When a person downloads an eBook, cheatsheet or another lead magnet through a form on your site: 1. Tag them 2. Send them a nurturing email sequence.

Goal: Convert a lead to a trial.

Metrics: Lead to trial CR.

Tools: OptinMonster, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Capture Leads With a Lead Magnet and Send a Nurture Sequence

2. Remind a Person to Download a Lead Magnet

Description: When a person leaves their email for a lead magnet on your website but doesn’t click on the Download link in the confirmation email, remind them with a follow-up email.

Goal: Get a person to download your lead magnet

Metrics: Email click rate.

Tools: OptinMonster, Email.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS

Remind a Person to Download a Lead Magnet

3. Double the Open Rate of a Newsletter Broadcast

Description: Send a follow-up email with a different subject line to people who haven’t opened your first broadcast. That way you’re going to drastically increase the open rate of the broadcast with almost no extra efforts.

Goal: Increase open rate for an email broadcast.

Metrics: Email open rate.

Tools: Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Double the Open Rate of a Newsletter Broadcast

4. Send Targeted Messages to Different Segments Across All Channels

Description: Send a relevant email, SMS, push-notification and in-app message to the right segment.

Goal: Improve targeting of messages across channels.

Metrics: Email open rate / clickthrough rate / response rate

Tools: Email, Twilio, PushCrew, Intercom.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Send Targeted Messages to Different Segments Across All Channels

5. Capture Leads From a Form, and Segment Based on Value

Description: Capture lead information in a form and segment leads based on their Budget input. Send low-value leads an automated email sequence. Assign high-value leads to a sales rep and ask them to book a demo.

Goal: Convert a lead to a trial or paying customer.

Metrics: Lead to trial CR / Lead to demo call CR

Tools: Typeform, Email, HubSpot, Calendly

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Capture Leads From a Form, and Segment Based on Value

6. Send Profiling Emails to Understand and Segment Your Audience

Description: Better understand who your audience is. When a user clicks on a specific link in an email, that way showing interest in a topic, add a relevant Tag. You can later use the enriched data to deliver personalized content and experiences.

Goal: Enrich your users’ data

Metrics: Email open rate / Email click rate

Tools: Email

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Send Profiling Emails to Understand and Segment Your Audience

7. Serve Customized Landing Pages Based On Data from Your Marketing Automation Platform

Description: Use a tool like RightMessage to change anything on your website using the information you already have in your marketing automation tool. Connect your ESP/CRM/marketing automation tool to fetch data into RightMessage.

Goal: Convert a lead to a trial or paying customer.

Metrics: Lead to trial CR / Lead to demo call CR

Tools: One of the supported Right Message integrations, RightMessage

8. Follow Up On Pricing Page Visit

Description: If a user visits your pricing page, show them an instant in-app message and send them an email.

Goal: Convert visitor to trial or paying customer.

Metrics: Visitors to trial CR.

Tools: Intercom, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Follow Up On Pricing Page Visit

9. Identify a Hot Lead and Act Proactively

Description: If a person visits your pricing page more than once, check the email of that person: If an email is recorded -> send a Slack notification in your #sales channel to get a sales rep to follow-up manually via email. If no email is recorded for that person, send an in-app message to book a demo.
Goal: Convert visitor to trial or paying customer.

Metrics: Visitors to trial CR.

Tools: Segment.com, Intercom, Slack, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Identify a Hot Lead and Act Proactively

10. Identify Sales Opportunities In Pre-sales Live Chat Conversations

Description: Turn your support team into a leads generating machine. When having a conversation with a person on live chat, a representative may identify a hot lead. By tagging the person in Zendesk, that lead gets pushed automatically to a Facebook audience and added in your Pipedrive pipeline for sales follow-up.

Goal: Convert a lead to trial/paying customer.

Metrics: Lead to trial CR/customer CR.

Tools: Zendesk, Pipedrive, Facebook.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Identify Sales Opportunities In Pre-sales Live Chat Conversations

11. Follow-up With Offline Leads

Description: Import leads from a CSV, send them an “It was nice meeting you” SMS or email, and assign them to a sales rep in your CRM.

Goal: Convert a lead to trial/paying customer.

Metrics: Lead to trial CR/customer CR.

Tools: Twilio, Email, Pipedrive

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Follow-up With Offline Leads

12. Push Unfinished Registrations to Complete Sign-up

Description: If a user has completed step 1 of a sign-up process but hasn’t finish steps 2 and 3 -> send them a reminding email.

Goal: Convert a trial to a paying customer

Metrics: Visitors to trial CR.

Tools: Segment.com, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Push Unfinished Registrations to Complete Sign-up

13. Convert Your Trial Users With Targeted Onboarding Campaigns

Description: Send Trial users the most relevant content for them with the help of user data that you’ve collected through the sign-up process AND product usage.

Goal: Convert trial users to paying customers.

Metrics: Trial to paying customer CR

Tools: Stripe, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Convert Your Trial Users With Targeted Onboarding Campaigns

14. Engage Your Important Trials on Facebook

Description: Add users that have signed up for a trial for a bigger plan to a Facebook audience and engage them with Facebook Ads.

Goal: Convert a trial to a paying customer.

Metrics: Visitors to trial CR.

Tools: Stripe, Facebook Ads.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Engage Your Important Trials on Facebook

15. Re-engage Expired Trials

Description: When a trial ends, but the user didn’t convert, update a record in your CRM and assign to a sales representative. If the user doesn’t respond to the sales rep’s calls, send them an automated re-engagement email sequence. Also, for all users that didn’t upgrade to premium show Facebook ads with a successful case study of your product.

Goal: Convert a trial to a paying customer.

Metrics: Trial to paying CR.

Tools: Stripe, CRM, Facebook Ads, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Re-engage Expired Trials

16. Cart Abandonment for SaaS

Description: If a user goes to the checkout page, but doesn’t complete the order, send them an email nudging them to finish. Also, assign to a sales rep to follow up manually.

Goal: Convert a trial to a paying customer.

Metrics: Trial to paying CR.

Tools: CRM, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Cart Abandonment for SaaS

17. Start a Mini Educational Course When a Customer Visits a Page On Your Knowledge Base

Description: When a customer visits a specific page on your knowledge base, send them a relevant mini course.

Goal: Educate customer.

Metrics: # of support tickets (aiming at the reduction of tickets).

Tools: Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Start a Mini Educational Course When a Customer Visits a Page On Your Knowledge Base

18. Deliver Proactive Support

Description: When a user has searched your knowledge base 4 times or has visited more than 4 help pages, send a follow-up email “Need help? Did you find what you’re looking at?”

Goal: Educate customers.

Metrics: # of support tickets (aiming at the reduction of tickets)

Tools: Segment, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Deliver Proactive Support

19. Revive Dead Leads

Description: If a prospect is older than 60 days and not converted, send “Are you still looking for a marketing automation solution?”

Goal: Reactivate customers.

Metrics: Trial to Paying customer CR.

Tools: Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Revive Dead Leads

20. Prevent Inactive Customers From Churning

Description: If a customer is not active for more than 30 days, send “Do you need help?” email, in-app message via Intercom and start showing them successful case studies via Facebook ads.

Goal: Prevent churn.

Metrics: Churn Rate.

Tools: Email, Intercom, Facebook Ads.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Prevent Inactive Customers From Churning

21. Alert The Team When a Customer is About to Churn

Description: If a customer has not used a key feature X and feature Y, alert your team with an email and Slack notifications.

Goal: Prevent churn.

Metrics: Churn Rate.

Tools: Segment, Stripe, Email, Slack.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Alert The Team When a Customer is About to Churn

22. Delinquent Churn Prevention

Description: Follow up on failed payments to prevent churn.

Goal: Prevent churn.

Metrics: Churn Rate.

Tools: Stripe, Email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Delinquent Churn Prevention

23. Nudge Customers to Upgrade from Monthly to Annual Plan

Description: Entice customers to upgrade from a monthly subscription plan to an annual plan by sending “Get X months free of ProductName” email and a push notification.

Goal: Up-sell and expansion.

Metrics: ARPU / CLTV.

Tools: Stripe, Email, Push Crew.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Nudge Customers to Upgrade from Monthly to Annual Plan

24. Send an NPS Survey Before a Trial Ends

Description: Better understand trials sentiment towards your product Send a Delighted NPS survey 3 days before a trial ends.

Goal: Get customer feedback.

Metrics: NPS.

Tools: Promoter.io.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Send an NPS Survey Before a Trial Ends

25. Win Over NPS Detractors

Description: Get critical feedback from unhappy users who replied with a score of 1-4 on your NPS survey and invite them to book a consulting session on how to get the best from your product.

Goal: Get customer feedback.

Metrics: NPS.

Tools: Promoter.io.

The Essential Guide to Marketing Automation for SaaS

Win Over NPS Detractors

26. Ask NPS Promoters for a Product Review

Description: Ask promoters who replied with a score of 8-9 for a testimonial or a review on Capterra or G2Crowd.

Goal: Get positive product exposure.

Metrics: Reviews earned.

Tools: Promoter.io, email.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Ask NPS Promoters for a Product Review

27. A/B Split Test Different Email Subject Lines

Description: Increase the open rates of your email newsletters by running an A/B Split test with different subject lines.

Goal: Increase email open rate.

Metrics: Open Rate.

Tools: A/B Test, email

Example marketing automation workflow chart

A/B Split Test Different Email Subject Lines

28. A/B Test Different Google Ads

Description: Increase the Conversion Rate and Return On Ad Spend by testing multiple Google Ads. Simply create 2 different Google Audiences to test.

Goal: Increase CR and ROAS

Metrics: Ad CR / ROAS

Tools: A/B Test, Facebook or Google Ads

Example marketing automation workflow chart

A/B Test Different Google Ads

29. Score Your Leads

Description: Set up a scoring system. Increase and decrease score points when a user visits a page, submits a form, or completes an event in your app.

Goal: Qualify leads, users and customers for sale and up-sell opportunities

Metrics: MQLs.

Tools: Scoring system

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Score Your Leads

30. Add Features Requests to Trello Board

Description: Create a new Trello card when a user completes a “Feature Request” Google form.

Goal: Collect and act on customer feedback.

Metrics: NPS.

Tools: Google form, Trello.

Example marketing automation workflow chart

Add Features Requests to Trello Board

Conclusion: Executing Your Marketing Automation Strategy

Once you choose your workflows, don’t forget to list them in your Marketing Automation Strategy worksheet and bucket them in their appropriate funnel stage.

Note: You may need to create a separate column for workflows that are relevant across the entire customer lifecycle like the Scoring flow, for example.

Your completed Marketing Automation Strategy worksheet will look something like this:

Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Complete
Marketing Automation Strategy Worksheet – Completed

That’s it!

You’re ready to execute your marketing automation strategy now. Jump to your favorite marketing automation tool of choice and make these workflows work for you.

Get Access to All SaaS Marketing Resources. Plus Regular Updates

Share
Tweet16
Share
Vote
Buffer28