How to build the best sales tech stack for your business

Need help building the perfect sales tech stack so you can easily hit your revenue targets? We understand!

We also understand that this isn’t always the most straightforward task. There are hundreds of options for sales tools, and it can be tough to know which ones are the best fit for your team.

In this blog post, we’ll show you what to consider when building a new sales tech stack or evaluating whether you should add new tools to your current one. We’ll also share recommendations on 10 of the best sales tools that you can use to streamline your sales processes.

But before we dive in, it’s important to understand exactly what we mean when we say “sales tech stack.”


What is a sales stack?

A sales tech stack (also known as a sales stack or sales technology stack) refers to the set of tools and software solutions your sales team uses to do everything from lead generation to closing deals. 

When used optimally, these sales tools help reduce and automate the tedious, time-consuming tasks that slow down your sales reps from revenue generating tasks. They also help improve the efficiency of the overall sales process by providing data and insights to help reps make informed decisions.

So how do you know which sales tools to include in your stack? The answer is it depends.


What type of tools should you have in your sales tech stack?

We can’t tell you exactly which sales tech stack is the best for your business. However, there are some essential tools and features that every sales team should consider when looking to build or evaluate their tech stack.


Sales CRM

A customer relationship management (CRM) software is the foundation of any sales team’s tech stack. It’s where all your customer data is stored and tracked so you can easily access it when needed. A good sales CRM will allow you to track customer interactions, store contact information and automate sales processes.


Sales prospecting tools

Sales prospecting tools are essential for any sales team that wants to stay on top of new leads. These tools allow you to quickly identify, qualify and prioritize leads to increase the efficiency of your sales process.


Sales automation software

Automation is key for staying organized and managing your sales team’s workload. Automation software can help streamline mundane tasks, like updating customer information in the CRM and following up with leads. This gives you more time to focus on what matters most—closing deals!


Lead generation tools

Lead generation tools are great for identifying and getting new leads into the sales pipeline. These tools can help you do things like connect with leads on social media, create targeted campaigns to engage prospects and track results.


Reporting and analytics software

Reporting and analytics provide valuable insights into your sales process. These tools can help you track key performance indicators (KPIs) and identify improvement opportunities. With the right reporting tool, you can easily spot trends in your data and make informed decisions about your sales strategy.


Communication and collaboration tools

Effective communication and collaboration are essential for sales teams to stay on the same page with one another and communicate with prospects. Video conferencing, chat and messaging apps, and enterprise social networks are all examples of communication and collaboration tools used by successful sales teams.


Scheduling tools

Scheduling tools make it easier for sales reps to manage their calendars and book meetings with prospects. Without these tools, sales reps would have to manually manage their schedules, resulting in time-consuming back-and-forth emails and unnecessary delays.


How many tools should you have in your sales tech stack?

There’s no limit or minimum. The number of tools you need will depend on the size and complexity of your sales processes, as well as the number of sales reps in your team.

That being said, according to a recent survey conducted by Gartner, businesses with high-growth sales teams use an average of 5 tools. But the report also says that companies are increasingly embracing the new sales and marketing tools available. At the time of the survey, 72.4% of businesses reported having plans to add more software tools to their sales tech stack.

But there is one major problem for those businesses and yours… There are way too many sales tools to choose from these days. Even if you just looked at project management tools on G2, the business software review site, you’ll see you have 431 options!

So, how do you pick the right tools for your sales tech stack? 


How to evaluate sales tech stack tools

The answer lies in your sales process. It’s essential to understand how it works and which sales tools can help you optimize it. Here’s a framework to help you evaluate your sales tech stack:


Analyze your sales process and user needs

Start by breaking down all the steps involved in your current sales process, from lead generation to closing deals. Next, talk to your sales team to understand what each person needs from their sales tech stack.

Make sure to gather feedback from your sales reps, sales managers and account managers to get a comprehensive view of the team’s needs. Ask each team member questions like:

  • What areas of the sales process are taking a long time?
  • Which sales tools do you find most helpful?
  • Which features make your job easier?
  • If you had to eliminate one of our current tools, which would you choose? Why?
  • If the budget wasn’t an issue, which tools have you heard of and would you like to try?


Research tools

Once you understand your sales team’s needs, it’s time to explore the various sales software available. You can start this process with a simple Google search or by reading software reviews on websites like G2, Capterra and SoftwareSuggest.

As you research different vendors, look at pricing, features, customer service reviews and any other factors that may influence your decision. To narrow down your list, ask yourself questions like:

  • How user-friendly is the tool?
  • Will this tool integrate with our existing systems?
  • Does the software have a robust set of features and capabilities?
  • How often is the software updated, and what additional features have been added?
  • Are there any customer success stories that demonstrate the efficacy of the tool?
  • What does customer support look like (e.g., response time, availability for help)?
  • What are the pricing options, and is it cost-effective for our team?
  • What are the major pros and cons that frequently appear in customer reviews? Does the good tend to outweigh the bad?


Evaluate cost-effectiveness

Your budget concerns are real. So, it’s essential to consider thoughtfully the potential return on investment (ROI) that comes with each tool. Take the time to calculate what you stand to gain from using a particular tool and compare it to other options.

But remember, the upfront price isn’t the only factor that matters. Also, consider how much time it can save per sales rep, how quickly it can pay for itself as well as the cost of implementation, training and maintenance.


Test-drive the tools

After you’ve narrowed down your list of potential new sales tools, request demos-= to test each tool out with a few of your sales reps. Make sure to listen to any feedback they provide—after all, they’re the ones who’ll be using the software! That way, you can determine whether a tool is intuitive enough for them to use and whether or not they think it could help them streamline their sales processes.


Don’t overlook customer support

We mentioned this in the questions to ask yourself during research. But it’s worth repeating! When evaluating a sales software tool, make sure you also consider the quality of customer support provided by the vendor.

Good customer support is essential for getting the most out of any sales tool. And bad customer support can make even the best sales tool a pain in the neck if something goes wrong.

So, check how quickly customer support responds to inquiries and what forms of support they offer (such as email, live chat, phone calls, etc.).


10 of the best sales tech stack tools

Now that you know how to evaluate sales tools, let’s look at some of the best tools available. Here are 10 top-notch sales software solutions worth considering as you build your sales tech stack.


#1 Rev

Rev is an AI-powered Sales Development Platform that helps sales teams identify the best-fit prospects and develop a clearly defined customer profile using their best customers’ exegraphics (data on how companies operate and behave). With this information, your sales team can identify the best prospects to prioritize, improve the quality of leads and win more deals with targeted messaging.


#2 Salesforce

Salesforce is among the most popular customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. If you’re looking to leverage sales automation, Salesforce has a vast array of features and integrations that make it easy to customize your sales processes. Salesforce allows you to store customer data, track sales activities, build strategies to optimize sales performance and more.


#3 ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo is a powerful sales prospecting tool that gives you access to the contact data of professionals working at companies worldwide. With detailed profiles about potential clients, you can personalize your outreach and build stronger relationships with your leads.


#4 HubSpot

HubSpot has emerged as one of the most popular inbound marketing platforms. It provides easy-to-use tools for creating content, tracking website analytics, and automating marketing tasks like email campaigns or lead generation activities. For sales teams, HubSpot also offers various sales tools for managing contacts, tracking deals and optimizing workflows to increase efficiency.


#5 LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful sales tool that helps you use LinkedIn to find and engage with the right prospects for your business. It offers lead recommendations, automated account insights, and other features to help you build relationships and increase sales.


#6 DocuSign 

DocuSign makes signing contracts and other legal documents quick and secure, so you can close deals faster. Plus, DocuSign integrates with most of the other sales tools you use to make your workflow even smoother. 


#7 Outreach

Outreach is a sales engagement platform that helps sales teams make automated sequences to send personalized emails, track customer conversations and schedule follow-ups. Outreach also features analytics and reporting tools that can help you gain valuable insight into your prospects’ behaviors so you can optimize your sales strategy. 


#8 Chili Piper 

Chili Piper is a sales acceleration platform that helps companies streamline their lead management and routing process. It allows you to easily assign leads to the right sales reps at the right time, accelerating the sales process and ensuring your leads get the attention they deserve.


#9 Gong

Gong is a conversation intelligence platform that helps teams improve their sales processes by automatically recording and analyzing conversations. It provides valuable insights into customer preferences, conversation topics and how to best structure your sales calls. 


#10 Slack

Slack is a communication platform that can be used to streamline your sales process, allowing teams to collaborate in real-time. It allows you to share important documents and files, create channels for specific topics or sales processes, and even use bots to automate certain tasks.


Final thoughts

When evaluating and choosing the right sales tech stack for your business, there are many options out there. But given the countless software solutions available, selecting the tools that best fit your team’s needs can be overwhelming. 

To narrow your options, use the framework shared in this post that starts by analyzing your sales process, then matching the right tools to each stage.

Want to see how Rev can help you build and prioritize a list of target accounts that look and behave like your best customers? Contact us, and we’ll show you how exegraphic data can help take the guesswork out of lead generation, prospecting, churn prevention and more. We’ll also give you a free target account list, personalized for your company.

How to build true demand in today’s buyer’s market, with Manuel Rietzsch

The undeniable reality of demand marketing is that buying behaviors have changed, and the old tried-and-true playbook hasn’t aged gracefully.

“It’s much more a buyer’s market now than it used to be,” says Manuel Rietzsch, VP of Revenue Marketing at AudioEye. “There was much less information out there, and buyers had to engage with vendors much sooner in the cycle to get that information.”

Manuel has witnessed these transitions firsthand for the past two decades in B2B demand marketing. He’s led teams at Pluralsight, Hopin, InsideSales and Divvy, and serves as an advisor to several other organizations. He has collected particular insights into how the marketing playbook has become outdated—and how to build true demand in today’s market.

In this interview, Manuel looks at what makes today’s market so buyer-centric, why marketing teams need to get comfortable with the long game, what attribution-heavy strategies miss about organic marketing methods, and how marketing organizations can optimize themselves by focusing on the right programs (even when managing budget constraints).


It’s a buyer’s world: Meet them where they are

Manuel says that it’s a buyer’s market out there because the dynamics have shifted to where buyers have abundant options—and marketers must jockey for limited attention and resources. In this environment, buying behaviors have changed well beyond just the tools that marketers use to communicate with potential buyers.

It’s a lot like the ways that film production must shift over time in order to keep pace with evolving viewership. Marketers have to adapt their playbook to how, exactly, today’s market favors buyers and presents increasing challenges for demand marketing teams.

  • So much info, so much noise. Every strategy you’re using to reach buyers, your competitors are using too. Then multiply that for every product and service vying for your audience’s attention—we’re all awash in marketing. “So many companies market and target the same people that everybody else wants to sell to,” Manuel says.
  • People know the process. The first marketing email you ever got, if you can remember it, might have surprised you. How could you know that giving out your email address would result in a sales attempt? Now, it’s beyond given. “People know the process,” Manuel says. “They know that if they fill out a form and they download something, they will get a call from the SDR and they’re getting a lot of emails sent to them. People don’t want that anymore.”
  • Trust is shifting from brands to peers. “There’s a loss of trust in companies and marketing in general,” Manuel says, “and buyers are much more shifting to trusting their peers.” He also notes that customers tend to engage with peers (whether colleagues, personal acquaintances, online reviews or social media connections) long before they actually engage with a vendor. “People follow people,” he says. “We pay much more attention to what people have to say than we do what brands have to say.”
  • People prefer the B2C engagement style over the classic B2B one. “People want to go somewhere and educate themselves on their own time, their own pace and want venders to give them all the information they need to make a decision,” Manuel says. They don’t want to be nudged or nurtured or led to water by an SDR, but they do want to understand what you offer, how you solve their challenges and how you provide solutions that they need.
  • We consume content differently now. Successful marketing playbooks used to feature high-value downloadables like white papers and ebooks. Those still have their place—but now, “We are so much more used to scrolling through bite-sized content,” Manuel says.


Any one of these dynamics shifting might require a marketing team to rethink its strategy. All of them? “You’ve got to approach people differently and meet them where they are,” Manuel says. “You can’t just rely on the old fill-out-my-form kind of motion.”


Demand isn’t instantaneous: Play the long game

We’ve heard a frightening (maybe even controversial) statement recently that demand is dead—that you can’t generate demand anymore.

Manuel weighs in that this statement is true. Half true, anyway. Because there is creating demand for your solution—and then there is forcing demand. The latter looks like cold calling, for example, and generally sees very, very low conversion rates.

If that approach isn’t dead in B2B, it’s dying.

“How do you market to somebody and create demand with somebody who either doesn’t have a challenge right now, doesn’t have initiative, doesn’t have budget, or isn’t making the buying decision on their own?” he asks. “It’s really hard to do that.”

Manuel sees that some small percentage of the market is both in your ICP and actively looking for solutions. It’s the other, much larger group where he identifies the potential for creating real demand.

“That’s where you can create demand long-term by educating them, by creating that relationship with them, by showing them that you understand their challenges and that you are able to solve their challenges—and you have solved their challenges for lots of other customers successfully,” he says.


Keep hitting the pavement: Optimize the short game

To generate long-term demand, though, marketing teams need to make the long-term play of creating relationships with potential buyers. This is exponentially more difficult when there are multiple people involved in the buying decision, each one held accountable. It’s much harder to create short-term demand if there are no initiatives and challenges that prospects have top-of-mind.

Harder, but not impossible—if we optimize our short-term demand engine. Yes, even with cold-calling.

“As marketers, we can equip and point our BDRs and SDRs in the right directions,” Manuel says. “What accounts are hitting our website, who’s showing intent. That’s where there might be some short-term demand. We just don’t know who they are yet because they haven’t filled out a form. But we can point to the accounts hitting our website. Let’s go after them. Let’s identify the personas within that account, start being proactive.”


Attribution is not a stand-alone: Lean into organic channels, too

Above, Manuel listed that buyers consume content differently now, especially with seeking their own information. We wondered what unexpected channels he would identify as highly relevant and effective in today’s market.

His answer: The ones marketers tend to ignore.

“Marketers have always defaulted to the channels that are closer to us, because we can measure and track them much more easily,” he says. “Paid search, SEO. It’s much harder for me to measure and really understand what impact my podcast has, or a community that I sponsor has.”

These channels may not be more important, but they are underutilized. To use them more, Manuel suggests that marketers (and our counterparts in finance) need to grow more comfortable with investing in activities that our attribution systems don’t fully pick up.

“One thing that I’ve seen really work is creating good organic thought leadership on LinkedIn,” he says. “Actually make that an orchestrated demand initiative instead of it being an unmanaged thing.”

This play connects with the idea that people follow people and pay attention to what they have to say, more than they do with brands. In other words: remember the human element to really understand what connects with your buyers. “Demand has relied heavily on paid tactics in the past,” Manuel says. “I think it can shift to more of this organic and community marketing.


Remember that attribution and organic play together

Attribution better not go out the window altogether—through various platforms, marketing teams can boost engagement and visibility of these organic programs. The danger in leaning too heavily on attribution is that it can pick up an exact moment of interaction with a prospect, while overlooking all the levels of organic engagement that preceded it.

During a relevant project he worked on, Manuel compared an attribution tool with self-reported attribution and found nearly completely incompatible results. Self-reported attribution showed entry points that never would have showed up in the attribution tool itself.

Marketing teams need this deeper, more holistic understanding to point sales teams in the right directions. (In fact, Manuel points to this alignment as the reason for the advent of RevOps teams.)

“Before somebody engages with you, they read a post on LinkedIn and they asked a peer about you,” he proposes. “They might’ve seen somebody talking about you on Twitter, they’ve listened to podcasts, and then they go to Google. The only thing you’re going to see is the attribution to Google search—and this can create bad behavior if you put more money and focus on Google and no effort put into these other things that actually are creating the demand.”


Final thought: Lean, mean demand machines

Regardless of what’s happening in the buyer’s market, most marketing teams are facing a different, internal constraint: consolidation. Do more with less—we’ve all heard it. So how do we deal with these frictions?

Manuel offers a paradigm shift. It’s not do more with less. Instead, it’s do more of the right things.

“When I do consulting or I come into a new company, what I see is quite a bit of waste,” he says. “I always look at it as the 80/20 rule: 20% of your activities lead to 80% of your pipeline.”

When the economy is great, Marketing gets to ride the wave of higher budgets, more headcount, so very many tools. Now, with times more uncertain, we all get forced to do our work more efficiently and with a different focus.

“I think we need to focus much more on revenue and business outcomes—not leads, not MQL, but pipeline and revenues,” Manuel says. “This requires a change in mindset. We have to feel comfortable with shutting off the channels that the data tells us aren’t working.”

In the end, Manuel says, marketing teams can run really efficiently—and the C-suite knows it. Marketers are going to be held more and more accountable, which means that the same old playbook isn’t going to keep cutting it. The market has changed, buyers have changed—and Marketing gets to lean into what matters most to their buyers.

Customer expansion: Grow your bottom line with these AI-powered upsell and cross-sell strategies

Want to increase the lifetime value of your existing accounts with customer expansion (aka account expansion) strategies? Well, here are some questions you need to consider:

  • How do you know if your customers are ready for cross-sells and upsells?
  • When should you pitch those customers additional offerings?
  • What do you say to make it clear that you’re promoting these offers to benefit your customers and not just use them to increase revenue for your business?

If you’re not sure how to answer those questions at the moment, don’t worry. You’ll be able to by the end of reading this blog post.

We’ll also show you how AI technology is changing the customer expansion game and making this revenue growth strategy a more effective and predictable task for SaaS companies.

Let’s start with the basics before digging into how you can implement a customer expansion strategy for your SaaS company ASAP.


What is customer expansion?

Customer expansion is the process of increasing customer lifetime value by exploring various tactics that encourage customers to purchase more and engage further with your company. This strategy can help you increase your company’s overall revenue more sustainably than simply relying on new revenue streams.

You may have heard that customer retention is 5x cheaper than customer acquisition. But have you also heard you have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer? On the other hand, you only have a 5-20% chance of selling to a prospect.

With those odds, it would be a huge mistake not to explore customer expansion strategies, especially if you’re in the SaaS industry.


Why is customer expansion important for SaaS companies?

Operating in the subscription economy has its unique challenges—from pricing and product packaging to customer engagement. With a customer expansion strategy in place, SaaS companies can boost revenue by increasing the lifetime value of their customers and focusing on generating new business from existing customers.

Customer expansion strategies also help SaaS companies build deeper relationships with existing customers through account based marketing. In turn, these strategies can help to boost customer loyalty and encourage those customers to stay with your company for a longer time.

So, whether you’re a newly funded startup or an established large enterprise, customer expansion is where you can find gold. Well… if you know when and how to dig for it. In other words, if you know when and how to implement an effective customer expansion strategy.


What is a customer expansion strategy?

Customer expansion strategies are specific tactics that companies use to increase the value of existing customers. These tactics include upselling, cross-selling and add-ons. Here, we’ll discuss each tactic in more detail and give examples of how they apply to SaaS companies.



For SaaS companies, upselling involves offering customers subscription plan upgrades or higher-priced versions of a product. For example, let’s imagine you work for a cloud hosting company. As an upsell, you could offer customers an upgrade from basic hosting to premium hosting plans.



Cross-selling means introducing customers to complementary products. This tactic allows SaaS companies to increase sales while also creating a more comprehensive and attractive customer experience. For instance, an EdTech company that sells online certification programs could offer students access to additional courses or study materials when they purchase one of their courses.


Add ons

Add-ons typically come in the form of a few additional features rather than standalone products, as they depend on another product or service to be functional. For example, a financial software company could offer additional tracking and analytics features to existing customers who have purchased their financial software.


How to know when your current customers are ready for expansion opportunities

So, how do you know when to actually offer account expansion opportunities? And how do you avoid annoying your existing customers with sales pitches for upsells they may not be ready for?

Data. Yes, you can determine when to offer account expansion opportunities by looking at the data. But what kind of data?

Well, typical advice on customer expansion will tell you to look at data on customer usage. For example, by looking at usage data, you can determine when customers use your product more over time. This type of data could indicate those customers are likely to be open to account expansion opportunities.

Customer sentiment data can also be helpful. This data type can include customer survey responses, NPS scores and customer service conversations. If customers provide overwhelmingly positive feedback, they’re more likely to expand their usage or add other products or services.

Both of these data types are great starting points to get you thinking about the right time to offer account expansion opportunities. But what you really need is data that shows what behaviors customers tend to display when they’re ready to purchase upgrades and additional products from you. And that type of data is called exegraphic data.


How exegraphic data can show you how to identify an upsell opportunity

What is exegraphic data? Exegraphic data is data showing how businesses operate and behave when they’re ready to purchase. For example, exegraphics might show that your best customers have all purchased upgrades after launching a product targeting a new market segment.

With that information, you’d know to keep an eye on customers who have recently acquired a new customer base and proactively upsell offers. With exegraphics, you could also learn how to tweak your messaging to show how an upgrade can enhance their market expansion strategy.

But how do you find exegraphic data? Well, we’re a bit biased. But the easiest way is to use Rev

Rev uses AI-powered technology to pull and analyze exegraphic data points from company websites, job boards, press releases and similar sources. The platform even prioritizes the accounts based on readiness and fit, so you know which companies to pitch upsells to first!


5 additional tips to optimize customer expansion strategies

In addition to using AI and exegraphic data, here are five additional tips to help you drive revenue through upsells and cross-sells.


#1 Update your ideal customer profile and the customer journey

Where do expansion offers fit into the customer journey? At what point might your customers need more than your standard service plan or standalone product? Knowing your ideal customer profile (ICP) and their behavior within each stage of the customer journey will help you target expansion offers at the right time.

If you use Rev, you can update your ICP using exegraphics to better understand what influences businesses to buy from you. Rev also allows you to create a dynamic model of your ICP (we call it an aiCP) that evolves as your customer base grows. 

That way, you always have the most accurate view of your best customers, which helps you market more effectively when looking to earn more from your existing customers and acquire new customers.


#2 Empower your customer success team

If your customer success team still needs to make customer expansion efforts a priority, it’s time to get them onboard. Empower your team with the tools and strategies that will help them spot opportunities for upsells and cross-sells.

For example, you can train customer success managers to analyze customer and exegraphic data to recognize when customers are likely ready to upgrade their plans or add additional services. 

This way, you’d develop a team of customer success professionals who are ready to leverage customer expansion strategies to drive growth without needing the direct support of sales for every customer.


#3 Learn from customer churn and downgrades

No one likes to see customers leave, but analyzing customer churn can help you identify any potential issues that may have led to their departure. How do you do this? By gathering insights from surveys and the customer success team on why customers downgraded their plans or decided to leave.

With that information, you may be able to identify new offers to present as upsells or cross-sells to prevent churn proactively. It can also help you develop an upselling strategy for current customers at risk of downgrading.

For example, let’s say you identified that a customer was unhappy with the customer support they received. You could offer them a customer success package that includes access to exclusive content, one-on-one training sessions with customer success representatives or discounts for upgrades for the year.

Exegraphics data is another data point that can help you prevent churn. By evaluating the exegraphic data of recently-churned customers, you can see the deeper signals that led to churn—so you can build programs that help mitigate it well before renewal conversations.


#4 Segment your messaging to demonstrate the value of an upsell or cross-sell

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the customer will automatically understand the value of an upsell or cross-sell. You need to use language that demonstrates the value and outlines how the offer will help solve their unique problem.

For example, suppose a segment of your customers is using your software to streamline their financial operations in the HR tech space. In that case, you could tailor your marketing messages to highlight how a particular upsell or cross-sell specifically helps HR Tech companies save time and money.

On the other hand, you may also have a segment using your financial software in the legal industry. In this case, you could emphasize in your messaging how a particular upsell or cross-sell can help streamline time-consuming, tedious legal processes.


#5 Create and promote relevant content about your premium features

Quality, in-depth content about the benefits of your upsells and cross-sells can enable your sales team to sell more efficiently as they talk to customers about why they should upgrade or purchase additional features. 

Even without the involvement of sales reps, content explaining the value of your premium features can convince customers who prefer to do their own research before making decisions.

For example, you could create a case study on how one customer benefited from your upsell and another blog post about how a particular upsell or cross-sell can help customers get more value from your product or service.


Final thoughts

Customer expansion is ultimately about improving customer relationships and providing value. But it’s not enough to just present customers with upsell or cross-sell opportunities. Instead, you should focus on how these additions will help customers get more from your product and make their lives easier.

Exegraphic data is an invaluable tool for knowing when and how to do this. Not only can it show you which businesses are the best fit for upsells and cross-sells, but it can also indicate when they’re most likely to purchase additional items. Using exegraphic data also helps ensure that you can tailor your messaging to each business’s unique circumstances.

Want to see the power of exegraphics in helping you increase the value of your existing customers? Contact us, and we’ll give you a free audit of your ICP so you know the characteristics of the best candidates to pitch your additional offers.

7 sales pipeline stages: A breakdown

Every company needs an effective sales pipeline. It’s a non-negotiable. Properly managing your leads and prospects throughout their journey to becoming customers optimizes your resources, closes deals faster (and more often), and drives revenue growth. 

However, note that all businesses have unique pipelines for their specific journey. 

To create a sales pipeline that works for your company (because, let’s be real, this is not a one-size-fits-all structure), it’s essential to understand the individual stages or steps in the sales pipeline—what they are and how you can manage each of them for maximum effectiveness in your business.

In this blog post, we will dig deep into the different steps of a typical sales pipeline, understand how those are commonly organized, and explore available tactics and tools to set up or optimize yours for better performance.

You’ll also get tips on how to manage the sales pipeline stages efficiently.

Let’s get started.

But first, a quick overview of what a sales pipeline is.


What is a sales pipeline?

A sales pipeline is an organized (and visual) way to track prospects as they move through the different stages of the buying journey, from initial contact to final sale. It helps sales teams understand where prospects are in their sales journey and how close they are to inking a deal. 

Simply put, the pipeline represents sales activities and forecasts that help sales teams measure the effectiveness of their process and practices, and quickly identify areas that need to be optimized for better performance. 


Sales pipeline stages

Every sales pipeline has several stages. It’s what allows you to see exactly where your prospects are in their buying journey. This kind of clarity makes it easier to pinpoint sources of friction, identify areas for improvement and establish goals for success.

While every company may have its own variation, here are the core stages each sales pipeline should include.


1. Prospecting

Prospecting involves identifying and reaching out to potential buyers who would be interested in your solution. This could include contacting people who have previously expressed interest in your product or service or actively searching for people who haven’t heard about you yet. The most important thing is that you find the prospects that match your ICP.

Sales teams are often responsible for outbound lead gen efforts. And let’s be honest, it can be a grind. Identifying which prospects have the characteristics you care about most can be hard. That’s why we recommend using exegraphic data.

Companies continue to invest in sales prospecting because it works. It pays off. It builds a strong pipeline. Getting this first step right impacts the performance of every stage moving forward, which makes it the most critical stage of your pipeline.


2. Lead qualification

Once you have a prospect in hand—whether it came from outbound or inbound efforts—the next step is to qualify them. You don’t want to invest too much time working a lead that’s not qualified or spend too much time on a lead that’s less qualified while a more qualified lead sits untouched. 

Lead qualification involves assessing sales leads to determine if they are qualified enough to enter the sales pipeline. The critical step here is to ensure that a lead meets the criteria for sales success. There are a few factors sales teams should consider when qualifying leads. These factors include

  • Needs: Does the lead actually need your product or service?
  • Authority: Is the lead positioned to make the purchasing decision?
  • Interest: Does the lead have enough interest in your product or service?

Mind you, you can still have sales opportunities from unqualified leads. However, your teams should focus first on leads that meet all the criteria. Focusing your attention on the most ready leads gives you the ability to close deals faster—and beat out your competitors.

Whether a lead meets qualifying criteria is up to the parameters you and your team set. It will differ from business to business. So, be sure to clearly communicate the minimum criteria to your team and train them on the right discovery to conduct to get a clear picture of the lead’s fit and readiness.


3. Initial contact

Congratulations! You have qualified sales-ready leads. Now what? It’s time to reach out and make the initial contact.

This sales pipeline stage involves reaching out to leads through email, phone or video. It’s all about getting to know your leads better and offering them something of value.

At this stage, sales reps need to be able to understand leads better and build trust by providing them with useful information about your company that includes

  1. How they would benefit from your company’s product or services 
  2. How they make use of the product or service
  3. Success stories and customer testimonials
  4. A free trial of the product or service

Sales reps also need to be able to create a pitch, which should be customized for each lead. This sales pitch should provide valuable information about the product or service being sold and a clear call to action.

By providing qualified leads with helpful information and making a personalized sales pitch, sales teams can get their leads safely to the next stage of the sales pipeline.


4. Scheduling meetings, demonstrations and presentations

Are your leads interested in learning more about your company’s offerings after your sales team has made initial contact with them? Great! You’re on to the next stage. 

At this point, sales reps need to create an agenda, schedule sales meetings and prepare sales presentations. The sales team should also develop a sales strategy for this sales pipeline stage.

Your sales presentations should be designed to show your leads how your company’s product or services can help them reach their goals. During this time, be sure to also differentiate your product or services from competitors.

Differentiating your products or services from that of others doesn’t necessarily require sales teams to point out their weaknesses. Instead, they should focus on the strengths of your company’s product or services and what it can do for your customers.

Demonstrations may include:

  • Using visuals in sales presentations to emphasize product or service features 
  • Using sales collateral such as sales decks and brochures to explain products or services further
  • Demonstrating how sales prospects can use the product or service

By preparing sales presentations and strategies, your team can help leads better understand your company’s product or services and help prospects move one step closer to solving their problem with your solution.


5. Needs analysis

By the time you reach this stage, sales reps should better understand leads’ needs. They must go beyond sales presentations and focus on each lead’s specific needs and desired results. And it all starts by understanding their goals, budget and timeline. This won’t always be an easy conversation; it may require some delicate prying. It will, however, help you better understand how to best meet your lead where they are and adjust your sales strategy to motivate them to take action.


6. Close the deal

The next stage of the sales pipeline is closing the deal. It’s all about negotiating sales contracts and agreements while ensuring your (almost) new customer understands the terms and conditions of their contract.

To be successful in this stage, you and your team need to be ready and able to answer the critical questions your leads might have. You’ve built trust—and now you have to maintain it. It’s what reassures your leads that they’re making the right decision.


7. Follow up with future needs or possible business 

Once you’ve landed a new customer, it’s important to follow up and ensure that they’re satisfied with their new product or services. Not only do you want to retain them as customers, but you also want to keep the relationship warm for possible future upsells and expansion opportunities. A great way to do this? Keep your customer informed of new products, services and capabilities.

But, that’s not all. Keeping in touch with your customers provides a great opportunity for you to solicit feedback that allows you to improve your sales strategies—and even get referrals.


Tips on how to efficiently manage sales pipeline stages

These stages are great, but maybe you need a little extra guidance on how to help buyers move from one stage to another? Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure your team knows which accounts to target and why. (If you’re using a static doc to document your ICP criteria, reach out. We’ll build a dynamic AI-powered ICP and provide you with a prioritized target account list.)
  2. Set up stage-specific tasks for your sales team. This will help your team direct their energy to the activities that keep prospects and leads engaged (and prevent them from falling through the cracks).
  3. Provide your sales team with clear goals and strategies for each stage of the sales pipeline so they can see if they’re on track—and where they need to double down.
  4. Make sure your sales team is equipped to answer questions they might receive from prospects and leads, especially the tough questions. Providing this type of training removes one of the most common points of friction in the sales process and instills trusts with your brand.
  5. Use sales and automation tools to keep track of prospects, leads, tasks—and all the metrics associated with them. You could do it manually, but offload it so you can focus on the important things that can’t be automated.
  6. Document sales processes and create sales training material. This should encompass everything from how your internal processes work to value-based selling tips.

If you’re ready to optimize your sales pipeline, contact us. We’ll show you how to strengthen your entire funnel by starting with the best-fit prospects.

7 sales enablement best practices to maintain revenue growth in 2023

Endless meetings. A disorganized sales process. Communication that lacks clarity. These are just a few common pain points for B2B organizations.

And, amid a looming recession, it’s never been more critical to resolve these issues ASAP. That’s why sales enablement can be an invaluable tool to help you navigate the choppy waters ahead and build a more efficient sales department.

In this blog post, we’ll look at 7 sales enablement best practices that you can implement to optimize your sales team’s performance and remain profitable no matter what happens with the economy.

Let’s get started.


What is the goal of sales enablement?

Sales enablement is a strategic approach centered on providing sales teams with the necessary resources and strategies to increase their success. It focuses on aligning sales goals with customer experience, product knowledge and tactics that will drive sales volume.

For example, it might involve providing salespeople access to customer data, training on product features and benefits, or using technology to automate sales processes. Sales enablement also helps to ensure that salespeople are equipped with the right knowledge and resources to easily access relevant information when closing deals.

Ultimately, the goal of sales enablement is to create a culture of success and collaboration among sales reps so that they can meet their quotas and drive revenue growth for the company at large.


7 sales enablement best practices for 2023

Now more than ever, investing in effective sales enablement processes can be the difference between a business’s survival or failure. With a potential recession on the horizon, the following seven sales enablement best practices can help your business stay competitive and increase sales despite a challenging economic climate.


#1 Use exegraphic data to better understand your ideal customer

Annual revenue, employee numbers, industry or geographical location don’t define your ideal customer. Think about it. Even if you could accurately define these qualities, it doesn’t mean that all customers within that definition are alike.

Instead of relying on traditional demographic and firmographic data, use exegraphic data to help you better understand your customer. Exegraphics give insight into how a company operates and behaves when executing its mission.

For example, you might focus on topics your ideal customer is talking about in their press releases and social media postings. Are they investing in a new sales process or customer service platform? Are they launching a new product or feature? What are the challenges that their customers are facing?

By understanding what’s going on with your customers, your sales reps can anticipate their needs better and position your solutions to meet those needs.


#2 Create content that addresses different stages of the buying process

Content is a crucial component of sales enablement. It not only helps you build relationships and trust with prospects, but it can also accelerate their buying process. Consider creating content that addresses different stages of their buying process, from early-stage education to late-stage product comparisons and success stories.

The more relevant, helpful content you create, the easier it will be for prospects to make decisions. Plus, by having content tailored to each stage, you’ll be able to track which pieces work best for your buyers.

How do you know what type of content will resonate with your target audience? Spend time analyzing your buyers’ behavior and use qualitative (interviews, surveys) and quantitative (analytics) research to understand where they are today, how they make decisions, and what content will move them through the sales process.

For example, imagine knowing that nearly 70% of your ideal customers prefer to get information through a series of short articles instead of one webinar. With that information, your marketing team can create blog posts, ebooks and other content pieces that align with those preferences. 

Exegraphics can also help with this process, as this type of data can help you decide where and how to distribute your content to reach the right people at the right time.


#3 Ensure your marketing and sales team have shared goals and definitions of success

Misalignment between marketing and sales teams can be a significant roadblock to sustainable revenue growth, especially during an economic recession. Why?

Well, these days, your leads and prospects are doing their own research and often interacting with your company’s marketing content before they even consider making a purchase decision. According to a HubSpot study, 60% of prospects only want to engage with sales after they’ve researched and shortlisted all of their options.

That means it’s essential for your sales and marketing teams to understand each other’s roles, align on the customer journey, have shared criteria for qualifying leads and agree upon the metrics for success.

For example, can your marketing team create more effective lead-nurturing campaigns by better understanding the sales team’s messaging? Probably. What about your sales team? Can sales reps better identify and prioritize qualified leads if the marketing department regularly provides them with more detailed customer insights? Absolutely.


#4 Equip sales reps with sales enablement tools that are

The sales toolkit is growing and evolving fast, with new solutions popping up all the time. So, how do you decide which ones are essential for your sales tech stack? You have to understand the needs of your sales team and analyze which tools can best support them.

For example, if you’re in a B2B sales environment, then having a well-integrated CRM system will likely be essential. Or suppose your team has trouble identifying and closing deals with high-fit target accounts. In that case, you may benefit from a Sales Development Platform that helps you build and prioritize a list of accounts that look and behave like your best customers.

Having the right tools to support sales reps can make all the difference when it comes to closing deals successfully. But it’s not just about having the best tools. It’s also important to have processes ensuring sales reps use those tools effectively.


#5 Invest in sales training that teaches reps how to maximize sales tools

If your sales reps are using sales automation software and tools, they need to know precisely how to leverage and use them to their full potential to drive efficiency. For example, if you have a sales prospecting tool, reps should know exactly how to use it—everything from creating templates for cold calls to setting up automated email follow-up sequences.

Why invest resources into this type of training? Because sales automation software and tools were designed to help sales reps get more done in less time. That means, when maximized, these tools can help shorten your sales cycles and increase your win rates, making you better equipped to weather a potential recession.


#6 Prioritize customer retention over customer acquisition

In a recession, customer retention takes precedence over customer acquisition. After all, even during economic upturns, it’s harder and more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing customers.

That’s why, according to the Twilio Segment Growth Report, 67% of companies agree that retention is one of the best ways to respond to uncertain economic circumstances. But how do you go about it?

Sales reps can emphasize customer retention by managing customer relationships proactively instead of reactively. They should learn to recognize customer pain points and propose solutions to those issues. Additionally, reps should understand the importance of building strong relationships by regularly following up with customers and providing helpful information to ensure they remain loyal.

You can also use exegraphic data to prevent customer churn. How? For example, by gaining deep insights into a company’s investment level in customer support, you can proactively launch programs to show how your solution helps to address this problem.


#7 Measure results and look for ways to optimize

There is no way for your sales team to know what’s working and where there is room for improvement if you aren’t regularly measuring results.

For example, you can identify areas for improvement in your sales process by looking at performance metrics like win rate, average deal size and close cycle time. You may also be able to recognize sales reps who are consistently performing well and incentivize them to share their strategies with the rest of your team.

You might also identify patterns in the customers who are most likely to close deals, so you can focus more energy on targeting those types of prospects. Using Rev’s Sales Development pPlatform, you can even automate this process and prioritize your target account list based on data showing a company’s readiness and fit for your solution.


Final thoughts

A potential recession may cause stress for B2B sales professionals. But with the right sales enablement practices in place, you can help your sales team stay competitive and continue to drive revenue growth for your organization.

Ultimately, the best approach is to arm your sales team with the right tools and data to make informed and strategic decisions about which accounts are most likely to close.

When implementing the sales enablement best practices that we’ve shared here, consider using exegraphic data to help you better understand the customer’s readiness and fit for your solution.

Want to see the power of exegraphics for yourself? Contact us, and we’ll show you the exegraphics of your best customers and give you a prioritized list of accounts that operate and behave just like them.

What is product-led growth?

Successful companies grow fast by moving users swiftly through their pipeline. In an ever-evolving market, this requires frequent fresh approaches to revenue generation.  One method of supercharging growth (and used to success by companies like Slack and Candidly) is product-led growth (PLG). And with the impact of PLG on user adoption, customer satisfaction and revenue growth, it’s no wonder the B2B tech world lapping it up. 

PLG emphasizes a user-centric approach. It prizes organic growth, fosters lower customer acquisition costs and focuses on faster time to value realization for customers. This data-driven iteration on business growth can offer your organization the benefits of scalability, global reach and industry validation—if you can adopt it effectively and it’s a good fit for your company. 

Let’s find out if product-led growth is right for the next edition of your B2B RevOps playbook. 


Let’s get started!


What is PLG? 

Unlike market-led growth, product-led growth uses the product itself to drive acquisition, expansion, conversion and retention. The product is designed to be intuitive, user-friendly, and capable of delivering value to customers, requiring fewer sales or marketing efforts. Customers should move through the sales funnel almost without even knowing it. They gain hands-on practice with your product or service and get hooked at the outset. 

Key elements of PLG include providing a free or trial version of your product that allows users to experience its value before making a purchase. The product is designed to be self-serve, so users can easily sign up, onboard, and start using it without the need for extensive training.

PLG relies on the concept of product virality, where satisfied users naturally share their positive experiences with others. This leads to organic growth and increased adoption. Additionally, PLG emphasizes gathering user feedback and data to continuously improve the product and drive customer satisfaction.

By prioritizing the product and user experience, companies adopting a PLG strategy aim to drive customer acquisition, retention and expansion. And the best part, it does it all while minimizing the need for traditional sales and marketing techniques.


Who’s doing it right? 

As it becomes more popular, especially in tech, we see several companies successfully embracing a PLG strategy. Here’s what they’re doing right:

  • Slack: The popular collaboration platform has grown through a PLG approach. It offers a freemium model, allowing users to sign up and use the product for free with limited features. As teams adopt and use Slack, they often invite more users, contributing to the platform’s viral growth.
  • Dropbox: This cloud storage and file sharing service utilized a PLG strategy to achieve significant growth. By offering a free version of their product with a limited amount of storage, Dropbox attracted millions of users. Those user then shared files and invited others to join, driving growth.
  • Atlassian: A software company that offers a range of collaboration and development tools, including Jira, Confluence and Trello, Atlassian has embraced a PLG approach by providing free versions of their products, allowing users to try them out and upgrade as their needs expand.
  • Zoom: The video conferencing platform experienced exponential growth, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers a freemium model with limited meeting durations for free users, allowing individuals and businesses to experience the platform’s capabilities and subsequently upgrade to paid plans for more features and longer meetings.


These companies have a product that solves their users’ problems. They offer limited versions of their solution, incentivize usage and enable sharing right in the product and watch their loyal customer base expand with almost no lift from their marketing orgs (or their budgets). These companies demonstrate how a PLG strategy attracts, retains, and essentially clones customers by focusing on delivering value through products and facilitating organic growth through user adoption and advocacy.


What are the benefits of PLG? 

PLG offers several benefits for businesses. Key advantages include customer satisfaction, reduced sales and marketing costs, faster user adoption, viral growth and network effects, data-enabled iteration, upsell and expansion opportunities, and differentiation from competitors in an already volatile market. Whew! PLG is about as close to a secret weapon as you can get. It offers the potential for scalable and sustainable growth by aligning business success to customer success, reducing friction in the user journey, and leveraging the viral nature of happy customers.


What are the pillars of PLG?

The three pillars of PLG are as follows: 

  1. Design for the converted user
  2. Deliver value before they seek it out
  3. Investment


Pillar 1: Designing for the converted User

With PLG, we immediately put the customer in the driver’s seat of the product. They should find their problem solved as soon as they use the product. The converted user, then, refers to the practice of optimizing the product experience and features to cater to users who have already upgraded from free or trial versions to paid plans or higher tiers of the product. These users have already experienced the value of the product and have made a commitment to continue using it. The first pillar of PLG is designing for the converted user. When designing for the converted user, the focus shifts from initial user onboarding to deepening the engagement and maximizing the value for these users. 

A few key considerations to make in the process of designing for the converted user:

  1. Advanced features and functionality: Converted users often have more advanced needs and are willing to explore the full capabilities of the product. Designing and enhancing features specifically targeting their requirements can help increase their satisfaction. It’s also a great way to ensure they continue to derive value from the product.
  2. Customization and personalization: Providing options for customization and personalization allows converted users to tailor the product to their specific workflows and preferences. This flexibility enhances the user experience and further integrates the product into their daily operations.
  3. Power user tools and efficiency enhancements: For converted users who are actively using the product, incorporating power user tools and efficiency enhancements can boost productivity and streamline their workflows. This can include advanced automation features, shortcuts, integrations with other tools, or advanced reporting and analytics capabilities.
  4. Proactive support and customer success: Designing for converted users involves providing proactive support and customer success initiatives. This can include personalized guidance, targeted resources, and proactive communication to help users achieve their desired outcomes and address any challenges they may encounter.
  5. Expansion opportunities and cross-selling: Designing for converted users also involves identifying expansion opportunities within the existing user base. This can include introducing additional features or modules that align with their evolving needs, cross-selling complementary products or services, or providing seamless pathways for users to upgrade to higher tiers.


Pillar 2: Delivering value before they seek it 

With PLG, the customer gains instant gratification from using the product and solving their problem immediately. This is often done through a demo or free trial. They don’t have to seek the value out of the product because their issue is solved on the spot. Delivering value before the customer seeks it, then, refers to the concept of proactively providing a solution to users even before they explicitly express their needs. 

The goal here is to anticipate and address user needs in a way that creates a positive user experience and builds a foundation for customer success. This approach is rooted in the idea that a product should be designed to intuitively meet user needs and deliver value from the moment they start using it. This includes intuitive onboarding, default settings and presets, proactive suggestions and recommendations, automated workflows, and contextual help and support. 

The idea behind delivering value before customers seek it is to exceed their expectations, make their experience as frictionless as possible, and demonstrate the product’s value proposition from the start. By providing value upfront, businesses can increase user satisfaction, encourage adoption and engagement, and lay the foundation for long-term customer success.


Pillar 3: Investment

Introducing the customer to success before they’re handed off to Sales makes them more inclined to buy. The funnel should lead directly to product usage, not a salesperson, earning the customer’s investment seemingly before they know it. The goal is to provide a self-serve experience that empowers users to achieve their desired outcomes independently. 

Basics of funnel design

Engagement funnel

Sales funnel

  • Drives user engagement, interaction and builds relationships with your target audience. 
  • Creates meaningful interactions, increases brand awareness and nurtures potential customers.
  • Captures leads, encourages users to explore your product or content and foster ongoing engagement. 

The primary objective may not be immediate sales, but a well-designed engagement funnel can eventually lead to conversions by building trust and loyalty with your audience over time.

  • Guides users through the customer journey and optimizes conversions.
  • Moves users from initial awareness to making a purchase or completing a desired action. 
  • Involves lead generation, product education, showcasing value propositions, providing persuasive offers and facilitating the actual sales process. 

The primary objective is maximizing the conversion rate and driving revenue.


Getting the user out of the sales funnel and into the product requires an audit of your funnel structure, as well as implementation of in-product features that foster investment. These may include:

  1. Comprehensive onboarding: Design a self-guided onboarding process that helps customers understand and use the product effectively. Provide interactive tutorials, videos, and step-by-step guides that highlight key features and showcase how to achieve specific goals.
  2. In-app education and resources: Offer in-app education materials, knowledge bases and help centers that customers can access at any time. These resources should provide answers to frequently asked questions, troubleshooting guides and best practice tips to empower users to overcome challenges independently.
  3. Automated success milestones: Define success milestones within the product and track customers’ progress toward those milestones. Celebrate achievements and provide guidance or recommendations for next steps when customers reach certain points in their journey. This helps users feel a sense of accomplishment and motivates them to explore further.
  4. Product-embedded analytics: Provide customers with access to product analytics and data that help them understand how they are benefiting from the product. This can include usage statistics, performance metrics and insights into how their actions within the product contribute to their desired outcomes.
  5. Proactive communication: Establish automated, in-app messaging or email campaigns to engage customers at various stages of their journey. Send personalized messages to provide tips, feature updates and success stories that showcase the value of the product. This ongoing communication keeps customers informed and engaged, driving their success.
  6. Customer community/user forums: Foster a customer community or user forums where customers can connect, share insights, and learn from one another. Encourage engagement and provide a platform for users to ask questions, share best practices and support each other.


Is PLG right for my company?

Determining whether PLG is the right strategy for your company involves considering various factors. 

You must assess if your product has the potential to be self-serve and deliver value without extensive sales or marketing efforts. PLG works best when the product itself is intuitive, easy to adopt and provides tangible value to users. Similarly, evaluate if your target market is receptive to self-serve experiences and willing to try and adopt new products without significant assistance. PLG relies on users independently discovering, adopting and expanding their usage of the product.

Consider if your business model supports a freemium or trial-based approach, where users can start with a free version of the product and upgrade to paid plans for additional features or functionality. PLG is often effective when revenue growth comes from expansion within the existing user base.

Does your product have the potential for viral growth, where satisfied users naturally share their positive experiences with others? PLG can be particularly successful when word-of-mouth referrals and network effects contribute to organic user acquisition and adoption.

PLG relies on data-driven insights to iterate on the product, enhance the user experience, and drive customer satisfaction and retention. Determine if your company has the capabilities and processes in place to gather and analyze user data effectively.

PLG also requires a cross-functional collaboration between product, engineering, marketing, customer success and data analytics teams to ensure a cohesive strategy. Evaluate if your company culture, structure, and resources are aligned with a product-led approach. 

Finally, analyze the competitive landscape and market dynamics to understand if a product-led approach would differentiate your company and provide a competitive advantage. Consider if other successful companies in your industry have adopted PLG and if it has yielded positive results for them.

It’s important to note that PLG is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Its suitability varies based on factors specific to your company and product. Consider conducting market research, customer surveys and analyzing your product-market fit to make an informed decision about adopting a PLG strategy. 


What does the future of PLG look like?

Initially popular among startups and SMBs, PLG is now gaining traction in the enterprise market. Companies are adopting PLG strategies to cater to the changing preferences of enterprise buyers who expect intuitive and self-serve experiences. What makes this strategy really exciting is that it continues to change. New PLG trends continue to emerge. 

For example, more companies are adopting free or freemium models as a way to attract users and provide them with a low barrier to entry. This approach allows users to experience the value of the product before committing to a paid plan.

There is an increasing emphasis on leveraging product analytics and user data to make data-driven decisions. Companies are leveraging these insights to improve the product experience, identify user behavior patterns, and drive engagement and conversion.

There is a growing ecosystem of tools and platforms specifically designed to support PLG initiatives. These tools assist with onboarding, user analytics, product tours, in-app messaging and other aspects of the PLG journey.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a significant role in powering PLG strategies by enhancing user experiences, enabling data-driven decision-making and automating processes. One application will have AI algorithms analyzing customer data to segment your customer base effectively. By identifying groups with similar characteristics, behaviors or needs, AI helps you target specific segments that are more likely to be receptive to upsell offers. This segmentation enables tailoring upselling strategies and messaging to maximize their effectiveness.

AI can also analyze user data, behavior and preferences to deliver personalized experiences, crucial to successful PLG. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, AI can provide tailored product recommendations, content suggestions and targeted offers to individual users, increasing engagement and conversion rates.

AI can be used to detect churn risk. Yes, churn. It gives companies insight to address customer needs and situations. And with that insight, companies are better equipped to proactively build retention programs. Sometimes those insights and signals lead to upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

And, AI algorithms can analyze user behavior and usage data to identify opportunities for upselling and expansion. By understanding user needs and preferences, AI can suggest relevant upgrades, additional features or higher-tier plans, driving revenue growth and customer satisfaction.

Remember: successful implementation of AI in PLG requires robust data infrastructure, ethical data practices, and ongoing monitoring and optimization. Additionally, AI should complement the human touch and be used to augment the user experience rather than replace it entirely.


PLG: Long story short

Remember, optimizing PLG is an iterative process that requires continuous monitoring, experimentation and adaptation. Stay customer-focused, leverage data, and be open to learning and refining your strategies to drive sustainable growth through product-led approaches.

Learn more about how you can optimize PLG with Rev’s AI-powered Sales Development Platform. Schedule a demo with us, and we’ll show you how to identify which of your customers are ready for expansion opportunities—and why.

Data integrity and revamping your ICP

Every GTM motion in a RevOps organization has its own distinct function. Yet somehow, they’re supposed to collaborate darn near seamlessly.

Data is the medium that facilitates that interdependence. It’s a common language that provides common context to everyone in RevOps, highlighting where resources are best focused and driving decision-making across the org.

But all too often, that data lacks integrity, coherence and meaning. We see this perhaps most prevalently in a RevOps team’s ICP. Where nearly every other function benefits from updated tools and cutting-edge practices, the role of data in shaping an ICP is frequently overlooked.

Here, we demonstrate the concerns with traditional ICPs that lack data. Then we look at the kind of data that can redefine and dynamize the way you identify best-fit prospects, strengthen and support the entire RevOps team and optimize your practices for driving business efficiency (and, of course, revenue).


Old-style ICPs lack data

Ideal customer profiles are as old as time… or at least as old as sales. And ICPs are rooted in sound philosophy: if you can identify what your best customers have in common, you can better identify great prospects because they’ll look alike.

Unfortunately, the ICP concept really hasn’t evolved much beyond superficial indicators in all those many years.

ICPs in practice are too often static documents with maybe half a dozen characteristics. These are usually fairly easy for salespeople to access, determine or estimate: an organization’s industry, headcount, revenue and geographic location might combine into a pretty standard ICP.

A sales team, or their company, might even settle on an ICP and rely on it for years—meaning that not only is their ICP built on superficial traits, but static ones, too.

But we know that the world is always changing. ICPs should be just as dynamic, in order to reflect the ever-evolving behaviors, strategies, attitudes and needs of your best customers (and your prospect audience).

ICPs can only become dynamic if they’re infused with meaningful, insightful data—data that goes deeper than surface-level firmographics in order to understand not only how a company looks but also how it behaves.


Exegraphics infuse dynamic ICPs with data

The demand signals missing from traditional ICPs already exist. We call them exegraphics.

Exegraphics are, in short, millions of pieces of information about a company that together build a comprehensive assessment of how that company ticks. Thus, they help B2B sales teams better understand what actually makes their best customers their bestthereby generating a much more powerful ICP.

(We call this an aiCP, for an AI-driven customer profile. At Rev, we utilize the power of AI to analyze where companies stand—and how they are shifting over time—from the value they bring to market to the functions of people within the organization.)

When companies first started aggregating consumer data in the B2C world, they focused on demographics. Learning the age, gender and ZIP code of their customers was a huge leap forward. But that leap could not compare to the leap of using psychographics. These enable retailers to predict when a couple is expecting a baby, or who is likely shopping for a new home, or any other of the uncountable predictors of customer behavior.

Exegraphics do for B2B what psychographics are doing to B2C: redefining the ways we can assess and understand our customer bases.

Think of it this way: if you specialize in HR solutions, you likely care less about a company’s headcount (firmographic) and more about where that company’s headcount is heading in the short-term future (exegraphic). Now, picture two prospects of equal headcount. What if exegraphics reveal that one is about to scale while the other is about to downsize? That knowledge, built from myriad individual data points, changes your RevOps strategy across the board.

And the whole of your RevOps organization stands to benefit.


Powerful data strengthens the entire RevOps team

RevOps teams need powerful data like exegraphics to build the strongest possible foundation for every GTM motion—not just in prospecting, but in retention, expansion and success as well.

With exegraphic data powering their ICPs, your RevOps team can: 


… better identify new market segments.

With a traditional ICP, you’ll keep targeting more of the same. Why would you go prospecting in new industries when all your best customers exist together in one?

For starters, because that’s how you open up entirely new customer segments. But there’s also high risk in venturing into a new market segment, with no guarantee of success.

Exegraphic-driven GTM motions minimize that risk when expanding into new market segments. They can target the prospects who share the right “fit” and “ready” characteristics with their best customers (even if one’s in aerospace and the other’s in medicine).

Analyzing new market segments for prospects with similar traits arms a GTM team with strategies to test surgically and precisely.


… test outbounding strategies on the right target accounts.

Whether in a new market or a familiar one, testing out new strategies and collateral costs less and leads to clearer results when your teams can target their absolute best-fit prospects. Exegraphics enable what we call a SWAT method: a small, skilled team can implement a test strategy, pivot on a dime and adapt based on real-world results.

This kind of strategy doesn’t work with a buckshot approach and little-to-no intel. You’d never know if a strategy failed because the strategy didn’t work, or because the prospects weren’t going to bite anyway.

Powerful exegraphic data can identify which prospects are most likely to engage, so you can get meaningful results—both in new customers and in tighter feedback loops—faster.


… improve and track their aim.

Our research at Rev shows that up to 2/3 of the leads in the average pipeline sit untouched. The average RevOps org loses well more than half of its best future customers, simply because the pipeline is clogged with less-than-ideal prospects. This is what happens when you cast a wide net: you catch a lot of fish, many of them not the ones you’re fishing for.

A strategy driven by strong data helps your teams improve their aim and track results over time, continuously honing the ICP based on actual results.


… strategically expand existing accounts.

Of course, an efficient RevOps organization isn’t just prospecting; it’s also expanding existing accounts. Exegraphic data demonstrates the qualities of your customers that have already expanded—and you can better understand what makes other accounts ripe for the same kinds of expansion.

After all, identifying which exegraphic predictors exist among your current customer base is far more likely to lead to new expansion than the superficial predictors we often use, like “highest spending,” “high activity” and “most friendly.”

Plus, creating aiCPs for each of your specific products or services can optimize a RevOps team for not only who is ripe for expansion, but what direction they’re ready to expand in. (Your team may even be able to speak to pain points that the customer doesn’t yet realize they’re experiencing!)


… stay ahead of churn.

Powerful data also assists with the opposite of expansion: identifying the early signals of a customer’s likelihood of dropping off.

Of course, churn happens for all kinds of reasons, many out of your control. Unless your company is brand-new, you’ve experienced it. Those lost customers are learning opportunities! Exegraphics can identify the shared traits of your lost clients just the same as it can your best ones—then anticipate the most at-risk customers based on those same trends.

Imagine your RevOps team being able to connect with those organizations—and work to resolve their pain points—long before they begin conversations to shift away from your product or service. This puts you in the proactive role of helping customers succeed, rather than reacting to their deficits once they’re too late to fix.

Being proactive in this way is a powerful approach for reducing churn and sticking with companies as they transition.


Final thoughts: The competitive edge of advancing how you use data 

Data is pervasive. It’s how organizations utilize and optimize that data that differentiates them from their competitors. It’s how they integrate data usage that connects them most efficiently with the customers that need them most.

We’re reminded of discussions around one of today’s worst baseball teams. The coaches, players, scouts and front office have access to essentially all the same data as every other team in the majors. But they don’t use the data coherently; they don’t mine it for all the value it contains; they don’t communicate it between departments and they allow old-school mentalities to override its lessons.

That baseball team is competing with the baseball equivalent of an ICP, ignoring the exegraphic-level data sitting on the tablets in the dugout. And the results show in the standings.

Data integrity matters to the success of all the GTM motions in a RevOps organization. What data is your team playing with—and are they maximizing its potential for optimizing results.

Curious to see the exegraphic data behind your best customers? Contact us and we’ll show you—and conduct a free ICP audit.

Everything you need to know about growth marketing

Growth marketing is a multi-pronged approach to scaling profits, gaining an edge in a competitive market and driving tangible results with minimal effort. It’s become a respected and core marketing function because of its ability to open opportunities that create massive lift—with minimal effort.

This powerhouse strategy offers an efficient way to acquire, convert, engage, and retain customers over time and gives companies a significant edge in expanding their market share. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore everything there is to know about growth marketing—from what it entails to the strategies and tactics marketers use today. Get ready. Here we go.


What is growth marketing?

Growth marketing is a holistic approach to marketing that focuses on experimentation and optimization. It is an iterative process that leverages data and analytics to identify and target high-value customers and optimize marketing campaigns for maximum conversions.

This is different from any other type of marketing in that it is highly focused on testing and optimizing. Instead of relying on intuition and guesswork, growth marketers constantly test and refine their campaigns to get the most out of their investment.

By testing different strategies and tactics, you can identify the most effective ways to reach your target audience. This type of marketing requires an understanding of analytics, data-driven decision-making and an ability to think outside the box.

Growth marketing involves several techniques, from social media marketing to email marketing and SMS marketing. It’s a great way to maximize the return on your marketing investment and is especially helpful for startups and small businesses that need to make every dollar count. (And let’s face it, in today’s economy, every company is measuring the impact of every dollar.)


Growth marketing vs. traditional marketing

Growth marketing is a relatively new concept, but it is quickly becoming the go-to approach for many businesses. So, how does growth marketing differ from traditional marketing? 

At its core, traditional marketing focuses on creating and delivering messages that appeal to potential customers. It can involve anything from radio and television ads to billboards and even direct mail. Growth marketing, on the other hand, takes a more holistic approach. 

Rather than focusing on single messages, growth marketing looks at the overall customer experience to identify areas for improvement. This includes everything from product design to user experience and even customer service. 

The primary purpose of growth marketing is to increase a business’s metrics and user engagement. To that end, growth marketers will use data and analytics to measure their campaigns’ success and adjust accordingly. This helps them get the most bang for their buck, leading to more conversions and sales. 

In short, growth marketing is a far more efficient way of getting customers. Its focus on data and analytics makes it a more efficient approach than traditional marketing, and its ability to track metrics gives businesses a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.


Key components of growth marketing

We just touched on a few things that growth marketing does, but let’s get more specific and dive into the “how.”


A/B testing

A/B testing is a crucial component of growth marketing. It compares two versions of a website ad, or other marketing assets to determine which version performs better. This testing allows marketers to quickly identify the most effective version of a marketing asset and optimize their campaigns for maximum performance.

When creating an A/B test, focus on testing the elements that are most likely to influence customer behavior. This could include the headline, images, call-to-action or other features likely to impact customer behavior.

Note that A/B testing isn’t a one-and-done process. You should continuously test and refine different elements to identify the most effective combinations.


SEO strategy

You want to make it as easy as possible for your buyers to find you, and that’s where SEO comes in. SEO involves optimizing a website for search engines, such as Google, to ensure that it appears at the top of the search engine results page. 

It requires an understanding of how search engines work and how to optimize content for maximum visibility. This involves a combination of on-page optimization (content optimization and keyword research) and off-page optimization (link building).

SEO is an iterative process, and it’s important to test and refine different strategies to make sure you’re always ranking the highest you possibly can. It’s also important to keep up with the latest trends and best practices to ensure your website remains competitive. And trust us—this is key. The world of SEO is always changing.


Data-driven email campaigns

An email is a powerful tool that allows you to reach a large audience with highly-targeted messages. Email campaigns help to build relationships with customers, drive conversions, and promote products and services.

Data-driven email campaigns combine the power of email with data analytics to create highly-targeted and personalized messages. This type of marketing involves segmenting customers based on their behavior and preferences and creating messages tailored to their needs.

It also allows marketers to identify the most effective messages and offers for a given audience, increasing engagement and conversions and building customer relationships.



Personas are an important part of growth marketing. They are fictional representations of a target customer and are used to help marketers understand the needs and behaviors of their target audience.

This is used to create content that resonates with a target audience and to identify the most effective messages and offers for a given customer segment. This type of marketing requires understanding the customer’s needs, motivations and behaviors.

Building your personas allows you to create highly-targeted and personalized campaigns. By understanding the customer’s needs, marketers can create messages and offers tailored to their target audience.


Ad copy

Ad copy is a critical component of growth marketing. It’s the text that appears in an advertisement and is used to communicate a message to potential customers.

When creating an ad, focus on creating a compelling message that resonates with your target audience. Ad copy should be clear, concise, and persuasive and focus on the product’s or service’s benefit.

Test different ad versions to identify the most effective messages and offers. 


How to build a growth marketing strategy

To build a meaningful (and impactful) growth marketing strategy, you need to first have an intimate understanding of your customers’ journey, from how you identify them as a prospect to when they make their purchase—and even beyond. It’s what will guide how you interact with them and how you iterate to optimize results.  

Your growth strategy should be all about optimizing the customer journey. (After all, that optimizes your funnel too.) So, without further ado, here are the steps you should take to build your growth marketing strategy.


1. Determine your goals

The first step in creating a successful growth marketing strategy is getting clear on what you want to achieve, your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase your customer acquisition rate? Increase your conversion rate? Increase your customer retention rate? Or all of the above?

Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. SMART goals will help you track the progress of your growth marketing efforts and ensure you’re on track to achieving your desired outcomes.

2. Understand your ideal customer profile and personas

An ideal customer profile (ICP) defines the types of companies you sell to, the ones that are most likely to become your most valuable customers. This is a step a lot of company’s gloss over (and pay for down the road).

The misstep? A lot of companies define their ICP using only firmographics. The problem there is that firmographics alone are superficial. We find that companies that include exegraphic data into their ICP have a better picture of who to target—and how to talk to them.

From there, it’s also important to understand the personas within the companies you’re targeting. A persona is a fictional character that represents your users and buyers. Knowing who they are is vital in creating strategies to reach and convert them effectively.

When building personas, you should focus on your target customers’ needs, motivations, goals and pain points. This will help you understand their needs and empathize with their pain—which will serve as a solid foundation for building trust.


3. Map your customer journey

The next step in creating a successful growth marketing strategy is mapping your customer journey. Your customer journey is the path your customers take from when they first become aware of your company to when they make a purchase. By clearly defining the journey and the stages within it, you’ll be better poised to serve them at any given time.

The customer journey typically consists of the following:

  • Awareness stage: Your customers become aware of your product.
  • Consideration stage: They’re considering whether or not to purchase your product.
  • Decision stage: They’re deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

At each stage of the customer journey, your potential customer will have different questions. At the awareness stage, they may ask questions like, “What is your product?” and “How does it work?” At the consideration stage, they may ask, “Why should I buy your product?” and “What are the benefits?” At the decision stage, they may ask, “How do I purchase your product?” and “What are the payment options?”

Understanding the questions and objections they may have at each stage will help you proactively address them, making the entire experience smooth. The other element to take into consideration is how to reach them during each stage of their journey.

It takes time to really understand where to effectively (and efficiently) reach potential customers during each phase of the journey. So, test. You may find that social media is great for awareness and that email is better for consideration, but other channels may work more effectively for your audience.


4. Build creative and intentional content for every stage of the journey

Next, create assets and content that will resonate with your potential customers at each stage of the funnel, from awareness to decision. And remember, the content needs to be compelling enough to move them to the next stage.

At the awareness stage, you should focus on creating content that will help introduce your product and get your customers interested. Include blog posts, videos, infographics and even podcasts. 

At the consideration stage, you should focus on creating content to help your customers understand why they should purchase your product. Case studies, product demos and customer testimonials work great. 

For the decision stage, create content that helps your customers make a purchase: sales pages, special offers and even payment options.


5. Go live

Once you’ve created your campaigns, it’s time to launch them. This is where you’ll start seeing results from your growth marketing efforts.

When launching your campaigns, ensure that they’re well-targeted. Target the right audience based on your ICP, and make sure the campaigns resonate with them. Additionally,  make sure that your campaigns are well-timed. 


6. Test, test, test

Testing is what growth marketing is all about. You should test different elements of your campaigns, such as the copy, the visuals, the timing and the channels. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not and adjust accordingly to drive the results you want.

When testing your campaigns, track your progress. Make sure that you’re tracking your metrics, such as customer acquisition rate, conversion rate and customer retention rate.


7. Repeat

Repeating the process is the last step in creating a successful growth marketing strategy. Growth marketing is an ongoing process, and it’s important to test, optimize continually and repeat. It continuously improves your campaigns and ensures they’re effective.


Final thoughts

Creating a successful growth marketing strategy can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and techniques, you can create a successful growth marketing strategy that will help you acquire, convert and retain customers.

If you’re looking to make the biggest impact possible on your growth marketing strategy, start by getting clear on who you’re targeting. Afterall, if you’re targeting the wrong ICP from the beginning, you’re spending resources—time and money—on accounts that will never close or will churn quickly.

Let us help you avoid that. Contact us, and we’ll build you a free AI-powered ICP and even give you a free list of target accounts that fit your profile.

Sales prospecting ultimate guide: Tips, examples, techniques and templates

When it comes to sales prospecting, there is no magic formula. Yes, there are some key ingredients like patience, persistence, persuasion and hard work. But, at the end of the day, prospecting is a skill.

That said, there are certain tactics and strategies that can help you become more successful at prospecting. That’s why we’ve compiled this ultimate guide to sales prospecting, providing actionable steps and advice so you can start growing your customer base and driving sales. 

We’ll start by exploring the basics of prospecting, from understanding your target audience to defining a productive process. Then we’ll end by looking at specific prospecting techniques that can help you secure more leads and close more deals.

Here’s an overview of everything we’ll cover along the way: 


Let’s get started!



What is sales prospecting?

Sales prospecting is the first step in the sales process. It involves researching potential customers and finding qualified leads that could become paying customers.

Prospecting is tedious, requiring a lot of research, outreach and follow-up. However, it is essential to a successful sales strategy as it helps you identify potential customers who are likely to be interested in the product or service you offer.


What makes sales prospecting challenging?

Buyers now have access to more information than ever before, so it’s easier for them to understand a product or service and make their own decision without ever having to speak with a sales rep.

With the rise of digital marketing, it has also become easier than ever for companies to target their audiences with precision and accuracy. This has led to a highly competitive environment where companies compete for the same customers.

Sales prospecting is also becoming more difficult due to the sheer number of companies now operating in any given space. With so much competition, it’s become increasingly hard for sales reps to identify and target those potential customers who are most likely to make a purchase.

Lastly, success rates for prospecting methods can also be discouragingly low. For example, if you’re just starting your sales career, you may only convert 1 out of 10 prospects, meaning that 9 out of 10 potential customers don’t make a purchase.


Why you shouldn’t neglect prospecting

As a salesperson, you’re going to “fail” a lot while prospecting. Despite recent surveys reporting that 40% of salespeople view sales prospecting as the most challenging part of the sales process, it’s still an effective method to drive revenue and build strong customer relationships 

Here are some reasons why you should never neglect prospecting (even when it feels like a waste of time):

  • Prospecting leads to more opportunities: The more people you talk to, the higher your chances of making a sale and increasing your customer base.
  • Prospecting helps you build relationships: By talking to people, you can start to build a relationship with them and get to know their needs and wants. 
  • Prospecting helps you establish yourself as an authority: By engaging with leads, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and increase the credibility of your business.
  • Prospecting helps you build brand awareness: Through conversations, you can increase your company’s visibility and help to spread the word about who you are and what you offer. 


Sales prospecting vs. lead generation

Sales prospecting and lead generation often get confused, but they are two distinct strategies. And understanding the difference between them is essential if you want to maximize your sales team’s efficiency and success.

Lead generation is the process of developing potential customer leads, while sales prospecting is the process of actively identifying and engaging with these leads to generate sales.

Lead generation typically involves creating content and experiences that capture potential customers’ attention and contact information. The goal of B2B lead generation is to create a database of companies that have the potential to become customers.

Sales prospecting, on the other hand, is the process of actively engaging with leads to create sales opportunities. This often involves researching potential customers, sending cold emails, making cold calls and setting up sales meetings.

Learn more about the difference between sales prospecting and lead generation: Lead generation vs. sales prospecting: Key differences, examples and strategies


How to prospect: general tips

Your goal while prospecting is to connect with your prospects and create the opportunity to discuss how your products or services can meet their needs. As such, you’ll want to apply the following tips to maximize your success:


Become an expert on your offering

This first tip is basic. But it’s essential because, without in-depth knowledge of what you’re selling, it will be difficult to establish credibility with potential customers.

If you’re in a new sales role, selling a product or service with which you’ve never interacted, take the time to become an expert on your offering. Understand every aspect, from its features and benefits to any literature or training materials your company has produced.

Also, schedule some time to speak with your organization’s product and customer success experts. They can provide detailed answers to any questions you may have about the product or service and give you additional insight that can help you understand how your offering fits in with the customer’s needs.


Update your ideal customer profile with exegraphic data

Your ideal customer profile (ICP) is the foundation of sales success. As such, you should update it regularly to ensure it reflects the ever-changing behaviors, trends, and pain points of the companies most likely to buy from you.

Most companies develop their ICP using a combination of firmographic, demographic, and technographic data. But there are limits to the insights you can draw from these data types.

For example, how well can you really determine if a company with the following data points will be interested in buying a new marketing software solution?

  • Firmographic: Technology company, 100+ Employees
  • Demographic: Based in the USA
  • Technographic: Uses a web marketing platform

The answer: not well.

However, by supplementing firmographic, demographic and technographic data with exegraphic data—data on how companies operate and behave—you can create a profile that more accurately reflects your target market, allowing for more precise targeting and more efficient prospecting.

Exgraphic data helps you answer questions like:

  • To what degree does a company show willingness to take a chance on new technology?
  • How much data risk does a company handle as part of its operations?
  • How much of the company’s workforce is IT compared to their peers?
  • What’s the frequency of turnover within a company?
  • How fast/slow is the company growing in terms of headcount, revenue or both?

By combining traditional customer data with exegraphic data, you can prospect more efficiently and target your campaigns with precision. This can result in higher conversion rates, a better customer experience and more returns on investment for your organization.

For more information on exegraphic data and how to use it to update your ICP:


Prioritize your list of prospects based on fit and readiness to buy

You can and should segment your target audience and prioritize prospects who meet specific criteria for fit and readiness to buy. This way, you can invest more time and energy into prospects most likely to convert.

Using a platform like Rev’s Sales Development Platform, you can take advantage of AI technology to build and prioritize your target list for you. But, if you’re doing this manually, consider the following questions to help you decide which prospects are most valuable:

  • What needs to happen for this prospect to become a customer?
  • How urgently do they need your product or service?
  • When was their last interaction with you or your website?
  • How well do they fit your customer profile?
  • Where are they in the buying process?


Provide value before attempting to make the sale

You and your prospects have at least one thing in common: you’re bombarded daily with advertisements, sales pitches and other attempts to influence you to buy. That means, just like you, your prospects are more suspicious of sales tactics than ever before. 

So, start by connecting and building relationships with your prospects. Don’t just go in for the sale right away; instead, work to educate and inform them about your product. By providing helpful information and insights, you can create a positive impression, start to build trust and show prospects how they can benefit from your solutions.

You can also give away something of value to your prospects, such as a free trial, demo version or complimentary consultation. This helps them get to know you and your product better and provides an incentive to learn more.


Personalize your messaging with specific pain points

Prospecting is an art of persuasion. And to be successful, you must be able to craft a message that speaks to the individual and their needs. By focusing on their pain points, you can craft a message that resonates and inspires them to take action. 

You must also make your message timely and relevant. Consider the current market conditions, what is top-of-mind for your customer, and the exegraphics that show how the customer is a good fit for your product or service.

For example, let’s go back to the example of selling a marketing software. The exegraphics of your ICP might show that the customer is a small business owner with limited resources and struggles to keep up with their digital marketing efforts.

In this scenario, your message should focus on how the software can help small businesses save time, make their marketing efforts more efficient and help them drive results despite limited resources. In addition, you could also focus on how easy it is to use the software and how it can be integrated into their existing workflow. 


Align your sales strategy with your marketing strategy

It’s essential to ensure that your sales and marketing teams work together to create a unified message and that each team is reinforcing the other’s efforts. So, how can you get your marketing team to support your prospecting efforts specifically? 

The key is to get marketing to focus on building awareness and trust with prospects early in the buying process. This means creating content that educates, informs and entertains your target audience and provides them with valuable insights.

Marketing should also be prepared to provide sales with qualified leads so they can focus their time on closing deals. This involves using automation tools for tasks like email marketing and lead scoring to identify prospects who are ready to move through the sales cycle quickly, as well as nurturing those who may not be prepared to buy just yet.

Finally, marketing can help sales by providing the necessary resources to close deals. This includes things like case studies, customer success stories, demo videos and product information sheets.


Ask your best clients for referrals

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to acquire customers in the B2B world. Some report that more than 90% of all B2B sales are influenced by a peer. So, why not reach out to the best clients you’ve worked with and see if they’d be willing to provide a referral? 

Ask them directly or offer an incentive such as a discount on their next purchase if they refer a customer. This can effectively drive in new clients who have already received positive feedback from your existing customers.

You can also consider incorporating referral programs into your customer retention efforts. Offer incentives to businesses that refer their contacts to you or provide discounts for customers who refer a certain number of new clients. This type of program can be an effective way to build your client base and increase revenue.


Follow up with prospects regularly

The likelihood that your prospects will be ready to buy from you the first time they hear from you is slim. That’s why it’s important to nurture your prospects with careful follow-up.

Reach out regularly and remind them of the value you offer and why they should buy from your business. This steady reminder can help keep your business top of mind and ensure that prospects don’t forget about you.

It’s also important to note the following sales statistics that demonstrate why following up is essential to succeeding with prospecting:

  • 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact (InsideSales)
  • 80% of prospects say no four times before they say yes (MarketingDonut)
  • 83% of prospects who request info don’t buy for 3–12 months (MarketingDonut)
  • It takes 8 cold calls to reach a prospect. 72% of all sales calls aren’t answered (Baylor University)


Use outbound and inbound sales prospecting techniques

Some prospects may need more convincing than others before they’re interested in purchasing your offer. Some may also prefer a more subtle approach to sales that doesn’t feel as intrusive as a cold call. That’s why you should use both inbound and outbound sales strategies to reach potential customers.

Outbound tactics include cold calling, cold emailing and social media prospecting. Inbound tactics involve warm emailing, social selling and creating helpful content that draws potential customers to you by emphasizing the value of your service.

Which method is best? The answer depends on your business and the customer’s needs. But there are some tips that can help you make the most out of outbound and inbound sales prospecting techniques.


Outbound and inbound sales prospecting strategies, examples and resources

Remember when we said there’s no magic formula to succeed with sales prospecting? Well, there is something you can do to make your life easier and increase the success of both outbound and inbound prospecting: learn from the best.

That’s why, in this section, we’ve compiled examples, tips and resources on sales prospecting from sales, marketing and customer success professionals.


Cold calling

Cold calling is a classic outbound sales prospecting technique. It involves calling up potential customers and trying to start a conversation with them. But is it still an effective tactic in the age of digital marketing?

The short answer is ye —if you know what you’re doing. According to recent statistics, 82% of buyers reported setting up sales meetings after receiving a cold call. But cold calling also only has around a 2% success rate for most sales professionals.

So, if you don’t have the right strategy, cold calling can quickly waste time and energy. It can also make potential clients feel frustrated and put off by your unwanted call. 

How do you ensure that your cold calling efforts are effective and are a good use of resources? Before you start dialing numbers, it’s essential to research your target customer, build a script and create a target list.

Here’s an example of a script that you might use to start a cold call and capture your prospects attention within the first 15 seconds: 

“Hi, is this {Prospect’s Name}? Hi {Prospect’s Name}, thank you so much for taking this call. Do you have a moment before your next meeting? 

The reason I’m calling is because you’re a {Prospect’s Title} and we help {Titles} increase their client base and maximize their ROI. 

Do you want to have this conversation now, or should we put something on the calendar?”


Resources to learn more: 

Cold emailing

Similar to cold calling, cold emailing involves sending emails to potential customers in an attempt to start a conversation. But do people actually open and respond to cold emails?

Yes, but not all of them. According to recent data, around 50% of cold email campaigns have a reply rate of under 10%. 

To get the most out of cold emailing, you need to craft an interesting subject line, create a compelling message, personalize the content and include a clear call to action. Additionally, you should conduct A/B testing to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s an example of a cold email you could use for outbound prospecting:

Subject line: Question about {Name of Prospect’s Company}

Hi {Prospect’s Name},

How are you growing your database with new leads? 

The reason I’m asking is because our software platform, {Software Name}, offers comprehensive helps {Title} boost engagement, built an your audience and drive conversions.

Curious to know if you’re growing your database at the pace that works for you—and with an audience that’s turning into closed-won.




Resource to learn more: 12 cold email templates for sales teams to nail outreach (2023) 

Social prospecting

Social prospecting on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram can offer a wealth of opportunities for connecting with prospects. But it also requires tact to ensure that your messages don’t come off as too salesy or intrusive.

Start by researching and engaging with prospects on their public profile and look for opportunities to create meaningful conversations. Keep in mind that direct messaging is best used for continuing an existing conversation or starting a new one when it feels natural.

Once you’ve established a rapport, you can transition to more sales-oriented topics and suggest ways your product or service could benefit them. Maintaining a friendly but professional tone throughout the conversation is important, so avoid sounding too pushy or aggressive.

Here’s an example of a message you can send to prospects found on social media platforms:

Hey there! I saw your recent post about the challenges small agencies are facing and thought our software might be able to help. Our software offers a range of features that make marketing easier, such as automated customer segmentation, analytics and reporting and CRM integration.

Want to hear more about it?


Your Name

Resource to learn more: Social prospecting: What it is and 5 tips to do it well

Warm emailing

What makes a warm email different from a cold email? Warm emails are personalized and focus on establishing relationships with people already familiar with your product or service. 

For example, you might send a warm email to someone you’ve networked with in the past, someone mentioned by a mutual connection, or someone who has already expressed interest in your product or service. 

A warm email should be tailored to that individual and include personal details—such as mentioning something relevant from your conversations—to show you remember them. You should also highlight any shared interests or experiences that could help build a stronger relationship.

When writing warm emails, you should also use a casual yet professional tone, be direct and concise with your message, and include your contact information if the recipient wants to follow up.

Here’s an example of a warm email:

Hi John, 

I hope you had a nice weekend, and that the weather held up for your family camping trip. (I’m looking forward to hearing all about Yosemite!)

I’m reaching out to you because I believe you could benefit from {your company, product} to scale your marketing impact.

Our software is designed to give you the insights and reporting needed to make data-driven decisions. We also offer custom features that can be tailored to your specific needs. To help you get started, I’d love to schedule a demo where I can walk through our product in more detail. 

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please let me know, and we can set up a meeting. I look forward to hearing from you soon! 


Your Name

Resource to learn more: What is warm email? How to write a compelling warm email 

Social selling 

Social selling is the process of using social media platforms to build relationships with potential customers. It involves engaging prospects in a meaningful way, such as providing helpful resources and responding to inquiries.

As a sales professional, you can use a variety of tactics to make social selling effective, including:

  • Establishing an online presence: A strong presence on social media platforms is essential for building relationships. Make sure your profiles are up-to-date and professional, and engage with your target audiences regularly.
  • Personalizing content: Tailor your messages to your target audience by providing relevant and helpful content. This can include blog posts, videos, and other forms of media that give insights into their industry or area of expertise.
  • Building relationships: Social selling is all about building meaningful connections with people. Take the time to get to know your prospects, answer questions, and offer advice or solutions to their problems.
  • Engaging with prospects: Once you have established a relationship with your prospects, stay engaged and continue to nurture the relationship. This can include responding to comments, answering questions, and providing helpful resources and information relevant to their industry or the product being sold. Doing this will create a sense of trust and loyalty with the customer, which can lead to sales in the future.

Here also is an example of something you might see a salesperson post on LinkedIn as part of a social selling strategy:

Did you know that over 38% of small digital agency owners struggled with converting leads last year? We didn’t either! We also didn’t understand why until we at [Company] looked at the results of our recent survey of 125 small agency owners.

Oddly enough, [company name] added a premium feature right before the survey closed that solves the issue. Want to know more? Click the link in the comments to read the full report and learn how to boost conversions in 2023!

Resource to learn more: 6 social selling examples and strategies to improve sales 

Content marketing

As a salesperson, it’s not your responsibility to create content for your prospects; that is marketing’s job. But, you can use content marketing to your advantage by curating and sharing relevant articles, blog posts or other materials with your prospects. 

Using your company’s content this way will help you strengthen bonds with existing prospects and show potential customers that you are knowledgeable and up-to-date on industry trends.

This method also gives you an opportunity to work closely with your marketing department to strategize the creation of useful, targeted materials that can help you generate leads and influence prospects to move through your sales funnel. This could include whitepapers, e-books or in-depth guides with information tailored to the specific needs of your prospects.

Resource to learn more: How to use inbound prospecting to win better deals 

Final thoughts on sales prospecting

Sales prospecting can be intimidating, especially when there are fewer sales opportunities and more competitors vying for the same customers. However, proper planning and research can significantly improve your chances of success. 

Exegraphic data also provides invaluable insight into the prospects you are targeting, allowing you to hone in on the best prospects that fit your product or service. It helps you understand the trends in the market and allows you to tailor your message to better meet the needs of your target customers.

Want to see the power of exegraphics for yourself? Contact Rev and we’ll give you a free custom target account list and show you how to harness exegraphic data to update your ICP and start closing more deals.

Stop the random tactics and optimize your demand gen

Frozen, slashed, cut, trimmed, tightened—no matter which word you hear, this is what happens to demand gen budgets in the current economic environment. And this reality is forcing demand gen organizations to rethink the way they operate.

“Our budgets are roughly 75% of what they were in 2022,” reports Kendrick Shuler, Outbound Marketing Manager at Tipalti. “Yet we still have very similar lead goals. We actually increased booking numbers.”

Plenty of demand gen teams are experiencing cuts in areas like media spend, testing and investment in new programs. They also see stronger asks for ROI analyses, particularly for larger spends, and increased scrutiny on the dollars going out the door.

This new normal forces demand gen teams to operate as lean as possible—and the high-performing ones are claiming this opportunity to improve.

“The silver lining is that both we and our clients are being forced to look hard at what we can do better,” says Howard Sewell, President and Co-founder of the Spear Marketing Group. “‘Optimize’ is the term for the day. What can we make more efficient? If we’re not going to spend on new technology and new programs, what can we do better to generate better results?”

When demand gen organizations were flush with resources, we could afford tactics that today might feel reckless and random. Now, with expectations holding steady (or increasing!) while budgets are shrinking, it’s time to hone our approaches.

That’s why we turned to Howard and Kendrick for their insights and experiences. Howard’s agency specializes in demand gen, primarily with B2B technology companies, and he’s been in the agency business himself for 25 years. And Tipalti provides AP procurement and payment automation; Kendrick’s teams sell mainly into finance functions globally—customers and prospects who experience this economic climate as keenly as anyone.

In talking to these two experts, we look at multiple ways to optimize demand gen strategies for a more restricted resource environment—a reality that requires more certain decision-making (and the ability to pivot) ever earlier in the sales cycle. Ultimately, we hear how this leads them to create stronger, more focused approaches to demand gen.


Scrutinize your CRM to shorten the sales cycle

Demand gen organizations don’t just have to produce more with less—they often have to produce more quickly with less, too.

This means that demand gen teams are learning to practice greater scrutiny. They have to find the biggest bang for their bucks—and they can’t always wait 12 or 18 months to see some well-nurtured leads pay off.

This reality has generated what Howard refers to as more sales-oriented tactics. Where can you find the active buyers? How can you accelerate the pipeline? How do we generate revenue in the short term?

“One of the things that we’re preaching as an agency, and that clients are doing more aggressively, is looking at the leads we already have,” he says.

It takes more effort (and more money) to identify buyers who are making decisions in the short term when those buyers have no brand awareness and no relationship with your company. Your CRM database is a curated selection of leads who already have heard of you, because you’ve been nurturing them. It’s a list you can hyper-segment to prioritize where you spend your resources.

“We’re following up with syndicated content leads. We’re refreshing the data and following back up with individuals who came into our system a couple years ago. We’re squeezing out every last drop of juice from our campaigns,” Kendrick says. “It’s making us dig a little deeper, get a little more creative. Ultimately we are evolving as an organization to see through the noise and pick and choose campaigns that will work really well.”


Dig into data to ID a good investment early—and recognize the limitations

Everyone claims that their organization is data-driven. The differentiator, as always, is how an organization uses that data, and how they evolve those uses over time. In today’s economic climate, demand gen has shifted from full-cycle analyses to trying to identify strong ROI early in the cycle.

Howard again points to the increasingly short-term nature of demand gen goals, and how it creates challenges for assessing them. “If you’re generating a lead today that isn’t going to close for 6, 12, 18 months, at what point in the cycle do you say Wow, that was a good investment?” he says.

“It’s going to be very difficult to measure anything right now on down funnel metrics because you’ll be waiting a good long time before those numbers come to the fore,” he adds. “It’s a tough chore, when people are taking their sweet time to make purchase decisions.”

Some of the short-term metrics demand gen teams are using include lead-to-op conversion rates, total ops, total bookings and engagement with Sales. Yet these metrics, while certainly insightful and beneficial, provide an imperfect look at how the data will look after a full long-term sales cycle.

These aren’t the full picture,” Kendrick says. “You can influence ROIs. You can influence ops to close. LinkedIn and Facebook bring in leads, but they don’t often close leads because they’re so top of funnel. But we’re still looking at these key metrics and analyzing our programs based off them.”


Reimagine short-term KPIs as assessment opportunities

Since short-term demand gen goals are an imperfect predictor, we wondered: what KPIs are most helpful to today’s demand gen orgs? Are there ones that teams are paying more or different attention to than they did in the past?

“I know there’s a school of thought that the MQL is dead,” Howard says, “and that we’re also supposed to be looking at opportunities and pipeline now, but we work with some very large clients for whom the MQL is very much alive. Especially in this climate, it’s a metric that still has significance as a leading indicator for how a particular program or message or ad test is performing.”

Leads are converting at a much lower rate and a much slower rate than they were even just a year or two ago, Howard adds. This is why so many leaders focus on those short-term stats like total ops and total bookings—which Kendrick identifies as the ones management tends to care about most, alongside ROI.

But when I’m trying to improve my programs,” he says, “the KPI I care about is where is the biggest room for growth.

Put differently: he identifies the biggest weaknesses in a campaign, and how he can help improve them.

For example: the sales cycle duration is just too long on syndicated content to see a genuine ROI. So Kendrick’s team is working on nurturing those leads across different channels, educating the Sales team on what exactly those leads do in order to enter the system (in order to improve their follow-up) and providing the Sales team with tips from their vendors.

Rethinking KPIs to create a more optimized demand gen function is itself one such growth opportunity. It’s an edge where such edges are precious: the stark truth is that there is no magical KPI for demand gen orgs, when ROI is ultimately where it’s at.

“It’s a struggle in any kind of attribution model to prove ROI in a very short-term window,” Howard says, “because those leads just aren’t going to convert.”


Final thoughts: Test everything, collaborate with everyone

Demand gen as a whole is in largely uncharted space. Reduced budgets, combined with longer sales cycles, would challenge even the hardiest among us. But rather than this climate forcing us to do without—these experts take the view that these restrictions allow us to do more with what we’ve got.

Howard’s advice: Test everything.

“What we’re all going through is an opportunity to take a close look at all the programs and content and ads we’re running and figure out how to make them better,” he says.

“Every LinkedIn ad and every Facebook ad should be a test. Every subject line should be a test. I would look at the nurture programs. What can we do to better segment those? Are they working? Are they pulling people through the cycle? Those leads that you have in your database were paid for long ago. So make them pay and do what you can to move them along the journey. So, I think there’s a lot of opportunities to be had, things you can do to get through this.”

Plus, we’re not in this alone. Kendrick’s advice: Collaborate with everyone.

“We’re really trying to integrate our Sales and Marketing departments, make sure we’re collaborating as much as possible,” he says. “We want to make sure that what we’re doing is working for the Sales team because that’s the ultimate goal. And they’ll be the first ones to tell us if a program is not working. They’ll scream it from the rooftops. So make sure just to talk with them and know what they are saying about your programs.”

Because, in the end? As Kendrick says: “We’re all focused on one central goal.”