saas funnel value prediction for start ups

How to project your SaaS start-up funnel with no historical data

Adriana Rubio
May 25, 2021

Projecting SaaS sales and funnel values with no historical data is often described as "shooting for a pie in the sky."

You’ll hear marketing and sales throw out phrases like “There’s just not enough data,” or “Our funnel would be impossible to predict.” 

And, to a certain extent, this is true. 

There isn’t enough data, and it is impossible to predict the exact number. 

However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. There are ways to project sales goals strategically, but (and I say this with a large emphasis) your SaaS company is walking on dangerous ground if you commit to these numbers without a large asterisk and the understanding that they are by no means concrete. 

how-to-calculate-funnel-value

Download our free template to project your SaaS funnel values



Five tips to determine your SaaS funnel value without data

Without further delay, here are five pro tips that will help guide your funnel projections as a B2B SaaS start-up without historical data to work off of. 

  1. Be realistic. Putting bold numbers in front of your team won’t make them any more or less possible. Create projections that inspire and motivate your team to do better and be better. A number too high or too low can hinder your team’s motives. Striking the right balance is key.  It’s also important to consider scalability.
    As a start-up, you likely have a small sales team. Stay two steps ahead and ensure your projections take into account your current team size and resources. You should establish a game plan for the influx of leads you’re preparing to attract. It’s a wonderful problem to have so many leads that your sales team can no longer properly support them, but it is a problem. Bake your anticipated sales hires into your financial projections and ensure they align with your anticipated sales.  
  2. Teamwork makes the dream work. Ask your sales and marketing leaders to create their own SaaS funnel projections and a breakdown of how they created their models. They may be considering factors you might not have thought of, which provides you with another perspective. In addition, your team leads will be more motivated to enforce the numbers that they helped create. 
  3. Project a range of results. Remember when we talked about how “it’s impossible to predict the exact number of sales projections”? As a B2B SaaS start-up, you’ll experience a very, very steep learning curve as you project your funnel. This is even more true if you’re entering a newer market or industry.
    Although you can’t predict the exact value of your future marketing funnel, you can predict a range of results. Think Best case scenario, worst-case scenario, worst worst case scenario, and land somewhere in between these values.
    As Maya Angelou once said, “Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.”
  4. Research. You may not have your own historical data, but you can leverage your competitors’ data. Study your competitors in the space and become familiar with their growth progression. Take into account variables that may have prompted these competitors to reach higher or lower results, i.e. what gives them an advantage or puts them at a disadvantage in comparison to your company.
    Research external factors that may affect your growth such as seasonal impacts, the political climate, or any economic crises taking place. If you are trying to reach a global audience you’ll need to familiarize yourself with major global issues that could impact your sales. Here are some B2B SaaS funnel conversion rates to get you started. 
  5. Don’t get lost in the numbers. If you’re projecting sales with no historical data, chances are you haven’t reached PMF (product-market fit). Reaching PMF should serve as your stepping stone into reaching your sales goals.
    Worry about building a healthy marketing foundation and strong SaaS sales process that will attract, support, and sustain the leads you’re bringing in. The first few customers are the most difficult to acquire, but they’re also the most important and exciting. They’re the start of your referral loop, and they’re your future advocates. Focus on nurturing these first few prospects, and the rest will follow.

Start projecting your SaaS funnel

Before you go off to build the SaaS funnel projection model of your dreams, remember that these numbers should simply serve as guides. 

They give your investors, sales, marketing, and entire company tangible targets to measure against. However, once you are out in the field, things may change, and that’s okay. Be prepared for that steep learning curve I mentioned earlier. And note that progress can look differently than closed-won sales. 

Simply being out in the field and learning what works or doesn’t work are all steps that will get you closer to reaching exponential growth. 

Stay optimistic. Stay sensible. Be Patient. 

With this in mind, you’re ready to start building out your sales projections!

how-to-calculate-funnel-value

Download our free template to project your SaaS funnel values



You May Also Like

These Stories on Strategy & Planning

Subscribe by Email