Optimizing the SaaS Funnel from Top to Bottom




In my talk at the 2017 SaaStr Annual conference, the goal was to offer a simple model of a SaaS business and highlight key areas for optimization within the SaaS funnel. Watch the video presentation to learn the key levers a CEO can pull to make the greatest impact to their business.

(video from SaaStr Annual 2017)


To get an idea for what I talk about in the video above, you can take a look through the accompanying slide deck presentation here:

12 Key Levers of SaaS Success [View or download on Slideshare]


During my talk, I only had time to touch on each key lever at a high level. For more learnings, I wanted to share a list of resources that will help you dig deeper into each of the key levers within the SaaS funnel:

Product/market fit

Top of the funnel flow

Conversion rates

CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)

Number of salespeople

PPR (Productivity Per Rep)

Getting enough leads


Customer retention rate, Dollar retention rate, Months to recover CAC

Recruiting, onboarding & management

  • A Strong Team Starts at Onboarding: Having a high performing team means not only hiring the right people, but creating the structure, culture, knowledge and skills to enable them to do great work.
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David Skok

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  • Alex Burlitsky

    Make a deposit before you make a withdrawal :)…. a good one.

  • Shadi Halloun

    I was lucky enough to see this live at SaaStr. Definitely one of the best!

  • David:
    Great talk, thanks for sharing it. Quick question about slide 6 – “One sign that you’re getting there”.

    Is “bookings” meant to represent net new bookings or total bookings? (ie. Do you need to have an increasing number of new orders every month, or at least maintain the current pace of orders that you’re getting).

    I realize it’s probably immaterial but just wondering what your intent was. I understand the point of the slide was to say that you can generate revenue in a number of different ways, not just new customers.

    (Long time reader, first time commenter. 🙂 )

  • Hi Mike, sorry – I should have been more clear on the use of the term bookings. By that term in this specific instance, I meant New ARR from new customers.
    Thanks for commenting and raising a valuable question!
    Best, David

  • Thanks for sharing David.
    Very good points about customer acquisition cost. What I’ve notice is, most Saas companies fail to account for how much they spend to acquire a new customer. Viewing this from the real world, I’ve seen startups fail because of high CAC and not understand how to incorporate strategies to drive down marketing dollars.

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