Less Waste, More Revenue: How To Grow A Higher Quality Pipeline

Published: April 5, 2024

If marketers and salespeople have one commonality, it’s that their pipeline invariably includes a high percentage of companies they aren’t a fit. This creates a negative impact on key business metrics, such as falling close rates, longer deal cycles, lower order values, decreasing renewal rates and more.

As a result, sales and marketing alignment gets affected, and internal finger pointing becomes a regular pastime. This story, unfortunately, doesn’t always end well — but the good news is that it can.

Panic Results In The Cutting Of Cost Centers

When metrics are painting a negative picture, a company’s board is likely beginning to panic. In response, their first instinct is to eliminate costs. Sounds like a decent plan, right? Well, not always.

If marketing hasn’t proven otherwise, it will be seen as a cost center, and the most common knee-jerk reaction businesses make is to cut the marketing budget and reduce headcount. But then, crazily, this same business continues to demand B2C activities, prioritize quantity over quality and leverage “spray and pray” advertising tactics and “spam cannon” style email campaigns for “more leads,” a simplistic yet mistaken tactic for any B2B business.

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How To Determine If You’re At Risk

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that these actions can — and usually do — backfire, sometimes even causing irreparable harm to the business and its bottom line.

The trouble is, if all you can prove as success metrics are anonymous clicks and opens, unknown website traffic and a pipeline full of poor fit opportunities, you will definitely be in the firing line.

Cut Waste, Not Resources, To Hit Revenue Goals

Instead of impulsively axing resources, the best course of action is to cut waste. Everyone has limited time, budget and resources, so the key is to make sure that every element is spent chasing, engaging and closing companies that your business wants to focus on and nothing else.

Did you catch all the action words in the previous sentence? They’re not there by accident. You can’t simply wait for people from in-market accounts to come to your website and fill out a form. Even if they do come to your site, they’ve likely done most of their research already and are typically seeking pricing information — and at that point, it’s too late for sales and marketing to influence their preconceived thoughts.

Increase Data Reliance To Better Target Prospects

Instead, if you use your resources intelligently and harness your data, you can identify target accounts that are showing genuine, relevant buying signals, such as talking to your competitors or coming to your website anonymously. By identifying an organization that you’re really interested in (and that’s also showing good buying signals), you can engage with them earlier in their buyer journey and take control of it.

Combine Strategy & Technology For Success

To maximize resources and revenue by cutting waste, you must have the right technology and strategic direction. The two are deeply intertwined; building a strategy without the correct insight is guesswork. You need technology to get account intelligence (e.g., online and offline behavior/intent data, levels of engagement, buyer journey stage, etc.), which then helps you fuel your strategy.

Armed with this information, you can interpret the data, decide what to prioritize and decide what actions you’ll take and what channels you’ll utilize. Then, you can use your strategy to guide your tech and orchestrate actions, digital advertising, email cadences and more. This takes the “fingers crossed” approach out of your strategy, and helps you focus where it counts —the in-market folks who intend to change.

Harnessing Intent

A lot of intent data is essentially noise that does nothing more than confuse everyone, so you need to make sure the intent data you’re getting is high quality and accurate — and that you know how to interpret it.

Otherwise, you’ll tell a salesperson to go after an opportunity because they’re “in-market,” but won’t be able to tell them why or where they are on the buyer journey. They’ll have no idea what messaging to use or whether it’s maybe too early to engage the prospect, which will undermine sales’ confidence in the data. Then, they’ll decide to go their own way and end up spending more time researching rather than selling, killing that nirvana of sales and marketing alignment.

The Power Of Rich Data

On the flip side, having rich and accurate data will give you and your sales team everything you need to deliver relevance and make an impact.

When metrics are sliding and your board is looking to cut costs, you can be seen as a profit center — not a cost center — by taking these steps. After all, when you’re efficiently cutting waste and maximizing resources, you’ll be the heroes of the business, providing great returns and helping the organization grow.

Paul Gibson is the SVP, International for Demandbase, an account-based go-to-market platform.

Posted in: Demanding Views

Tagged with: Demandbase

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