Stay informed of critical events among your best prospects, with EV lenses

Reaching out to a prime prospect at a critical moment in their company’s journey—and before the competition does—could be the difference between a closed-won and closed-lost. You know that, and we know that. So, we decided to give you the first-move advantage.

Our groundbreaking AI-driven Sales Development Platform just got even more powerful for RevOps and sales development teams. We’re stoked to announce EV lenses, a new category of exegraphic data that is event based. EV lenses identify critical events among your top accounts and best prospects—in real time.

Now, the moment that meaningful event happens within your customer base and your target accounts, your revenue team will receive triggered notifications. This heightened level of visibility equips your team to take relevant and timely action, while your target companies’ needs are at their most immediate.

With EV lenses, you’ll know when a target account experiences a major event:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Funding rounds
  • Office expansion
  • Closing offices
  • Hiring sprees for particular functions
  • Layoffs in particular functions
  • And more

Exegraphics have always been able to identify trends in your target accounts over time. (Check out this article to learn how exegraphics work.) In short, they are pieces of information or characteristics that convey how a company executes its mission. They’re deeper signals for identifying accounts that fit your product and are ready to hear your pitch. With the availability of EV lenses, you can now catch a prospect’s attention at a moment when your prospect could use your help the most—or when you simply want to tailor an outreach message that feels timely and relevant.

But, that’s not all. We also just launched a new notification capability that flags any shifts in exegraphic status among your target audience. So, if a target account went from “early adopter” to “late adopter”—you’d be the first to know. It’s all about equipping your revenue teams with critical updates, right when they matter most.

Want to see it in action? Contact us to schedule a demo.

B2B demand generation marketing: Nearly everything you need to know

Whether you’re working at a startup or a large enterprise, demand generation marketing is too good for business to ignore. Because imagine this…

You’ve just launched a unique, innovative SaaS platform. You have no doubt that it’s the best on the market, sure to revolutionize your industry. BUT… no one’s buying. Like, at all. Why? Few people know your platform exists. And even the people who do know can’t articulate why they would choose your platform over another.

So, despite being the best on the market, you struggle to hit your sales goals. And eventually, you begin to doubt whether you’ll actually revolutionize your industry.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens all the time to businesses with outstanding products and services. But it doesn’t have to. If you apply what you’re about to learn in this guide, you can start to harness the power of demand generation (demand gen) to increase your sales pipeline with quality leads.

Here’s a preview of what we’ll cover:

  • The difference between demand generation and lead generation
  • A 5-step demand gen strategy using AI and exegraphic data
  • How to measure the success of a demand generation campaign
  • Our recommendations for the top demand gen tools
  • Answers to frequently asked questions on demand gen for startups, enterprises and everyone in between

Click the links above to skip to the section that interests you most. Or, stick with us, and we’ll teach you everything you need to know, starting with…

 

What is demand generation marketing?

Demand generation marketing is the process of creating interest in your brand and its offerings. Rather than waiting for your ideal customer to stumble upon your website, demand gen involves actively connecting with your target audience to:

  • Build brand awareness and interest in your offer
  • Attract and build long-term relationships with prospects
  • Nurture prospects towards making a purchase decision
  • Drive steady revenue for your business

If you think this sounds like lead generation, you’re not alone. But there is a difference. So, before we go further, let’s explain…

 

Demand generation vs. lead generation: What’s the difference?

Understandably, many people don’t know how to explain demand generation vs. lead generation. And that’s because both are important for a successful marketing strategy and often go hand in hand.

However, demand generation focuses on interest and desire for your product or service over the long term. In contrast, lead generation (aka lead gen) focuses more on acquiring new leads and customers.

For example, to generate demand, you might create compelling content that teaches your ideal buyer how to solve a common problem related to your offering. On the other hand, to generate leads, you might create a landing page to capture leads interested in signing up for a free trial of your service.

Ultimately, lead gen is a form of demand gen. But demand gen encompasses a broader range of marketing tactics to build brand awareness and get attention from high-quality leads—sometimes before they’re even in the market to purchase a new service or product.

Learn more about:

 

Why is demand generation important for B2B companies?

You may think, “I already have leads coming in from my marketing and sales team’s strategies. Why would I need to focus on demand gen?”

In today’s digital age, buyers are more informed and less reliant on salespeople for information. They’re also doing their own research before making a purchasing decision.

Just think about what you do whenever you need to buy new software for your job. You could only authorize purchasing new software after explaining why you’ve chosen it to your team.

So, you’ll research and read reviews before making a decision. Then, you may start seeing targeted ads and receiving content recommendations about one company. And because you’ve become familiar with this option, you’re more likely to consider it a top choice when it’s time to buy.

A demand gen campaign helps to build brand awareness to drive qualified leads to your business and build a steady pipeline of sales opportunities. And it does this without your sales team needing to push your audience with hard sales tactics, excessive discounts or endless promotions.

Instead, your ideal customer gets pulled through your demand generation funnel until they’re ready to contact your sales teams for more information or make a purchase.

 

What is a demand generation funnel?

Your demand generation funnel outlines a lead’s steps, from first becoming aware of your brand to making a purchase. It can also help you retain the customers you already have and increase their overall customer lifetime value. 

Creating this type of funnel is similar to any other marketing or sales funnel. You’d start by defining your ideal customer profile and developing buyer personas, then create messaging and content that aligns with each stage of the customer journey. 

Learn more about:

However, you’ll have the most success with your funnel if it’s incorporated into a strategy that begins with a rigorous update to your ideal customer profile.

 

How to develop a B2B demand generation strategy

Your marketing team is likely already doing things to drive demand for your product or service. For instance, you might drive demand with content marketing or social media campaigns.

But to truly succeed with demand generation marketing, you need a plan to ensure you’re targeting the right audience, creating personalized messaging and nurturing leads until they are sales-ready. Here’s an overview of a 5-step B2B demand generation strategy to achieve those goals.

 

Step 1: Determine clear goals and metrics of success

What exactly do you want to achieve with demand? Take some time to determine what a successful demand generation campaign would look like for you and ensure it aligns with your overall business goals.

Here are some examples of goals you may have for your demand gen campaigns:

  • Generate X number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Increase website traffic by X% to build brand awareness
  • Decrease MQL churn rate by X%

Your goals will also inform the metrics you track to gauge success. We’ll discuss that soon. But first, your ICP needs an update. 

 

Step 2: Use exegraphic data to update your ICP

Understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas is critical to creating a successful demand gen strategy. Doing so will inform your targeting and messaging, ensuring that you’re reaching the right people with the right message at the right time.

Unfortunately, many businesses use demographics and firmographics to make generic assumptions about their target audience. These two types of data give you information like geographic location, company size and industry. But they don’t provide the deeper insights that truly define your ideal customers.

That’s why we recommend studying the exegraphics of your current best customers to create a more comprehensive ICP. What are exegraphics? The behaviors, attitudes and motivations of your ideal customers that drive purchasing decisions. For example, an exegraphic of your ideal account might be:

  • Brands that are currently expanding their sales and marketing teams
  • Companies with a CEO who’s an early adopter of cloud-based software solutions
  • Businesses with high turnover in their accounting departments

Why go through all of the effort to create a more rigorous ICP? Because this is how you can better understand your customers’ pain points, buying behavior and more.

As a result, your demand generation campaigns have a higher chance of success because you’ll be able to create content that resonates with the issues your target audience is experiencing.

How do you find this information? Well, you could find it by studying things like a company’s website, job postings or messaging from PR campaigns. It might take you forever to gather sufficient information on all of your best customers, but you can do it.

Another option is Rev’s Sales Development Platform, which uses AI to gather this information quickly and create a dynamic model of your ICP that updates as the behaviors of your ideal customer change.

Learn more about:

 

Step 3: Create content for every stage of the customer journey

Content is a crucial component of demand generation, as it helps attract and educate prospects while driving them to take the desired actions. When creating demand gen content, you’ll aim to strike a balance of top-of-the-funnel (TOFU), middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) and bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content.

TOFU Content

For the awareness stage, focus on providing valuable information about your industry and solutions to common problems that potential buyers may have. For example, you might create blog posts, whitepapers, infographics and social media posts.

MOFU Content

In the consideration stage, your content should focus on showcasing your product’s or service’s benefits and features. For example, case studies, demo videos, free trials and webinars could help guide prospects to begin seeing your business as a potential solution to their problem.

BOFU Content

Finally, for the decision stage, your content should focus on building trust and showcasing the results that customers can expect when using your product or service. This type of content can include product demos, ROI calculators and free consultations.

As you develop your content, you must also consider what channels you will use to distribute it. These channels may include your website, email marketing, paid advertising, social media and events.

 

Step 4: Test, analyze and optimize

You’ll want to regularly test, analyze and optimize your demand generation strategies to ensure it’s achieving the desired results. This can include A/B testing different variations of content, analyzing the performance of each distribution channel, and making changes based on what’s working and what’s not.

 

Step 5: Measure success based on your goals

Some people think measuring the ROI of demand generation is impossible because they believe there is no direct correlation between the strategies and revenue. However, that’s not true—it just takes a bit more effort to track the right metrics and connect them to your bottom line.

Once your demand gen campaigns run for a few months, go back to the goals you set in step 1. Where are you in terms of reaching those goals? Are you seeing an increase in website traffic or leads? Are those leads converting to customers at a higher rate? If not, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Learn more about:

 

How do you measure the success of demand generation strategies?

You’ll know whether your demand gen strategies are effective by tracking the metrics related to the goals set for your demand generation campaigns. Here are the metrics we recommend you use to communicate the value of demand gen to the rest of your organization: 

  • Number of marketing-qualified leads (MQLs): These are leads that have demonstrated interest in your product or service through their actions and fit your target buyer persona
  • MQL to SQL conversion rate: This metric tracks the effectiveness of your lead nurturing efforts by showing how many MQLs turn into sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • MQL churn rate: The percentage of MQLs lost during the sales process
  • MQL and SQL to customer conversion rate: The percentage of MQLs and SQLs that turn into paying customers
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The total revenue that a customer is expected to generate over their lifetime with your company
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): The cost incurred from sales and marketing activities to acquire one paying customer
  • Content marketing performance metrics: This could include metrics such as website page views, blog post shares and email open rates that come from your demand gen content and campaigns 
  • Close rate per channel: The percentage of leads converted to customers through each demand gen marketing channel
  • Marketing cycle length: The average time it takes for a lead to go through the entire funnel and become a customer
  • Contribution to total revenue: The percentage of revenue generated from demand generation strategies

For more information on these metrics, including tips on improving them, check out our article on demand generation metrics for B2B marketing

 

Which tools should you use to maximize your demand gen campaigns?

There’s a vast array of tools available for demand generation. These tools will help you automate and optimize your marketing efforts, saving time and improving results. Some particularly helpful ones we recommend are: 

  • Rev: A Sales Development Platform that uses AI to help you identify the exegraphic characteristics of your best customers, build a living model of your ICP and provide a data-driven list of high-fit target accounts. 
  • Ahrefs: An SEO tool that helps you do things like track your website’s search traffic, find the keywords your target audience uses on search engines and learn your competitors’ backlink strategy.
  • Quora: A Q&A website where you can answer relevant questions and build brand awareness by positioning yourself as an expert in your industry.
  • Leadpages: A website and landing page builder that includes options for lead generation forms and pop-ups.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: A tool for finding, connecting with and nurturing leads on LinkedIn.
  • Wishpond: A tool for creating and running social media contests, promotions and landing pages.
  • RiteKit: A tool for finding and scheduling relevant hashtags for social media posts and other tasks like creating and sharing branded graphics.
  • Outgrow: A tool for creating interactive content such as calculators, quizzes, and surveys to engage and capture leads.
  • HotJar: A tool for analyzing website user behavior and visually representing it through heatmaps, recordings and surveys.
  • Zapier: A tool for automating repetitive tasks by connecting different software and applications.
  • EverWebinar: A tool for automating live and evergreen webinars to generate demand and leads.
  • BuzzStream: A tool for managing and organizing outreach campaigns to potential leads and influencers.
  • ZoomInfo: A tool for finding and connecting with targeted accounts through advanced search filters.

For more information on these tools and why we recommend them, check out our article on the essential demand generation tools for B2B marketers.

 

Demand gen FAQ

There’s no one size fits all approach to demand generation, and it’s essential to tailor your strategy to fit the specific needs of your business. So, you may have questions we haven’t covered in this guide. However, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions that may arise as you get started:

 

How often should I run B2B demand generation campaigns?

The frequency will depend on your industry and target audience, but it’s important not to bombard your audience with too many messages. A good rule of thumb is to run campaigns consistently but not more than once a week.

 

Who is responsible for demand generation?

Ultimately, demand generation is a collaborative effort involving input and buy-in from sales, marketing, product and management. In larger organizations, a demand generation team or department may be responsible for planning and executing demand generation strategies. In startups and SMEs, the responsibility may fall on the marketing team or an individual marketer.

 

Does demand gen work for startups?

Demand gen can definitely work for startups, as it allows them to build awareness among their target audience and generate interest in their products or services.

However, startups may have to tailor their strategies and tactics compared to larger, established companies. This could include focusing on a niche audience and targeting them through personalized messaging and content. Startups may also have to be more resourceful and creative in their approach, using paid and organic tactics.

 

What makes valuable content for demand generation campaigns?

Demand generation content is valuable when it offers solutions and helpful information for potential customers rather than just promoting your products or services. Additionally, it should address your target audience’s specific pain points and needs.

 

How does thought leadership impact demand generation?

Establishing thought leadership in your industry can significantly impact demand generation. By positioning yourself as a go-to source for information and solutions in your field, your target audience will likely turn to your business when they need it. 

Thought leadership pieces can also increase brand recognition and trust, leading to more organic demand generation. Additionally, thought leadership can help establish valuable partnerships and collaborations with other industry leaders, further expanding your reach and potential customer base.

 

How is inbound marketing different from demand generation? 

Inbound marketing focuses on creating valuable content and experiences for customers to attract them to your brand. Demand generation, on the other hand, aims to actively drive demand for your products and services through targeted tactics and campaigns. 

While inbound marketing is a larger umbrella strategy, demand generation can be a tactic you use within or without an overall inbound strategy.

 

Can demand generation increase pipeline growth?

Yes, demand generation can increase pipeline growth by sending your sales team high-quality leads that show signs of being ready to convert. However, it’s essential to remember that a demand generation strategy should be supplemented with efficient lead scoring, lead nurturing and sales processes to maximize pipeline growth.

For example, Splunk increased its pipeline by 15% using Rev to develop an AI-generated ICP, identify leads in a new market segment and run an efficient content syndication campaign targeting high-fit accounts with a high propensity to engage.

 

What are some examples of businesses that demonstrate demand gen best practices?

One example of a company that excels at demand generation is HubSpot. They have a well-defined buyer persona and offer various free educational content, including online courses, webinars and ebooks, to attract their ideal buyers.

Another example is Litmus. To generate demand for their email marketing platform, Litmus has created various resources, such as ebooks and blog articles, to educate their audience on email marketing best practices.

Learn more about:

 

Final thoughts

Demand generation shouldn’t be an afterthought for any brand that wants to increase sales and attract high-quality leads. It’s one of the best ways to drive long-term growth and success as it builds a foundation for the continuous demand of your offer.

If you want to hit the ground running with demand gen, make sure you take time to understand your ideal customer profile before you launch your next campaign. Contact us, and we’ll help you create an ICP that reveals the hidden characteristics your best customers share.

How to find new customers and increase sales

You’re not alone. When most B2B companies set out to find new customers and increase sales, they rely on an outdated ideal customer profile, use one-size-fits-all marketing tactics and hope for the best.

But what if there was a better way? What if you could focus your marketing efforts and target potential customers with the highest likelihood of buying from you?

Well, you’d have found a more predictable way to increase sales without wasting time and resources on unqualified leads. And that’s what we’re going to show you how to do in this blog post!

Whether you’re a RevOps leader, marketing professional or sales development leader, you’ll walk away with actionable tips on how to find new customers and increase sales. For each tip, we also share an additional resource that dives deeper into the specific tactic to help you learn how to implement it in your business.

But, before we can get to those tactics, we want to help you correct that first mistake. Because, unfortunately, it’s one that many companies make without even realizing it…

 

How to fix the biggest mistake companies make when attempting to find new customers and increase sales 

Most companies make the mistake of trying to find new customers without understanding who their ideal customer is. This misguided approach leads them to cast a wide net and waste valuable time and resources chasing after prospects who are not a good fit for their business.

How do you avoid this? By creating a dynamic ideal customer profile (ICP) that doesn’t just look at demographics or firmographics but also data that shows the behaviors companies display when they are ready to buy. Here’s a three-step strategy to help you do that:

 

Step 1 – Study the behaviors of your best customers

Most companies also don’t take the time to research and understand the behavior patterns of their best customers. But by studying your current successful clients, you can identify potential new targets with similar characteristics and behaviors.

What type of characteristics and behaviors should you look for? Anything that influences how your best customers make buying decisions. 

For example, do your best customers usually come to you when they’ve restructured their team or hired a new CEO? How big are the teams that end up using your product? Are those teams made up of early adopters?

At Rev, we refer to this type of information as a company’s exegraphics—data points that give insight into how the company executes its mission. We’ve found that this type of data is much more reliable than demographic or firmographic data when predicting how likely a business will buy a B2B solution or software. 

How do you find exegraphic data? You can find this information by doing things like talking to your current clients, researching their website and social media presence, and reading their job descriptions to identify what they look for in employees. The only problem is that this type of research can be tedious and time-consuming, making it nearly impossible to scale quickly enough to be worth the effort.

To speed things up, you can use Rev’s Sales Development Platform, which uses AI to find and analyze the exegraphics of your best customers. This technology allows you to quickly refine your ideal customer profile so you can increase your sales pipeline with high-fit target accounts.

 

Step 2 – Refine your ideal customer profile

Once you’ve identified the characteristics of your best customers, the next step is to use that information to update your ideal customer profile. Ideally, you’ll go from having an ICP that only tells you things like company size, annual revenue and geographic location to something much more comprehensive and reflective of how the ideal company operates. 

For example, once you start using exegraphic data, the change in your ICP might look like this: 

Old ICP using demographics and firmographics

  • Fortune 100
  • Mid- to large-size manufacturing companies in the Midwest with annual revenues between $20-50 million
  • Employee base of 70k-100k

New ICP using exegraphics

  • Companies that have recently expanded their accounting teams
  • Decision makers who prioritize efficiency and ROI
  • Prior experience using financial software like Quickbooks
  • Strong focus on data-driven decision making

Another critical component of refining your ideal customer profile is regularly updating it as your industry and the behaviors of your best customers evolve. 

 

Step 3 – Tailor your messaging to appeal to your ideal customer profile

Once you understand your ideal customer’s exegraphics, use that information to tailor your communication with potential clients. This can help attract their attention and make it clear how your product or service can benefit them specifically.

Going back to the example above, perhaps you’d go from positioning your product as the perfect solution for mid-size manufacturing companies to communicating how your product helps companies with large data-driven accounting teams that need to prioritize efficiency and ROI. 

See how that second type of messaging might better capture the attention of your ideal customer and convince them that your product is worth learning more about? This is the power of having a more comprehensive understanding of your ideal customer. It’s also the secret to getting the most out of the tactics below!

 

15 B2B marketing tactics to find new customers and increase sales

Now that you’ve refined your ICP and messaging, let’s dive into some specific tactics for generating leads and increasing sales from new customers. 

 

#1 Invest in inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is one of those strategies that may take time to see results, but it’s worth it in the long run. Research shows that leads generated from inbound marketing cost 61% less on average than leads from outbound marketing.

But what exactly is inbound marketing? Good question! Inbound marketing is about creating valuable content and experiences tailored to your ideal customer. This could be anything from blog articles, downloadable guides, webinars or any helpful piece of content or tool. 

By providing potential customers with value, you’ll position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. In turn, potential customers will become more likely to trust you as a solution to their problems.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

24 inbound marketing strategies you need to start using today 

 

#2 Guest post on industry blogs

No matter your industry, there are likely websites and blogs that cater to your target audience. Guest posting, or writing a blog post for another website in exchange for a link back to your site, can introduce you to a whole new group of potential customers.

It’s important to do your research and find guest posting opportunities on reputable sites with high domain authority. Once you’ve found your target sites, ensure your pitch offers value to the site’s readers and highlights how your expertise can benefit their audience. If you’re unsure how to find guest posting opportunities, check out the helpful guide below from Backlinko!

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

Guest blogging: The definitive guide 

 

#3 Cold outreach high-fit targets

Many sales teams still rely on cold calling and emailing to try and get new customers. But how successful is this tactic really? Depends on how you choose which account to contact.

Instead of blindly reaching out to any target, prioritize teh targets that have already shown interest in your product or service—or that are a “fit” for your product/service and show signs of high-propensity to engage. If you use Rev to find target accounts, each will have a “Rev Score”—a number from 0-5—that reflects which businesses show the most signs of being ready to buy.

Another way to warm up cold calls and emails is through referrals from your current customer base. Customer referrals not only improve your chances of success but also strengthen relationships with your existing customers.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

​​Why your cold outreach sucks (and what to do about it)

 

#4 Incentivize referrals from current customers

Speaking of referrals, remember to ask for them and, if possible, offer an incentive. This not only brings in more potential sales but also shows your existing customers how much you value their loyalty. Plus, word-of-mouth referrals tend to carry a lot of weight in the decision-making process for many buyers.

Some valuable incentives for B2B buyers include offering a discount on their next purchase or a free upgrade to their current product or service. Again, make sure to tailor your offering based on what would be most valuable to them. For example, a SaaS company might offer a complimentary month of service for every successful referral.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

The 7 best incentives for B2B referral programs

 

#5 Generate leads on LinkedIn

If you’re not already using LinkedIn to generate leads, you’re missing out! LinkedIn is a powerhouse for B2B lead generation and networking, especially in industries like tech, finance and consulting.

To start, ensure your company’s executives have profiles that showcase their expertise, use targeted keywords in their headlines and summaries, join relevant groups, and actively engage with others on the platform by commenting on their posts and messaging potential leads.

Posting content on LinkedIn can also be a great way to attract new customers, particularly when the content showcases expertise and thought leadership relevant to your industry. Ideally, this type of content would come from the personal profiles of executives or senior-level employees. But it can also come from your company profile as well. 

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

How to generate leads on LinkedIn, according to LinkedIn’s VP of Marketing

 

#6 Join or create Facebook groups 

Depending on what you offer, Facebook groups can be a great place to network with potential customers. To find groups relevant to your business, search for industry keywords or related interests on Facebook and request to join. Once you’re a member, engage with the community by sharing valuable content, starting discussions and reaching out directly to members who could benefit from your offering.

If you find that the existing groups fail to meet your needs, consider starting your own group. This strategy would allow you to handpick members and create a space specifically for networking and finding new customers. 

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

10 ways a Facebook Group can increase lead generation 

 

#7 Participate in Reddit groups 

When used strategically, Reddit can be a gold mine for finding and engaging with potential customers. The Q&A platform makes it easy to find and engage with potential customers as users openly ask questions to find solutions to their problems, air their grievances about failed solutions and provide advice to fellow Redditors.  

For lead generation, you can start by joining Subreddits related to your industry or offering. Then, you’ll want to become an active member of the community and build authority on the topic by providing valuable insights and solutions.

Once you’re comfortable with the platform, consider hosting an AMA (ask me anything) to introduce yourself and your business to the Subreddit members and answer any questions they may have about the problem your business solves or your offering. Doing so not only positions you as a thought leader but also allows potential customers to get to know you and your business on a more personal level.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

Complete guide to using Reddit marketing for B2B SaaS businesses

 

#8  Target your ideal customers with paid ads 

Consumers get bombarded with a constant stream of advertising. So, sometimes, traditional paid advertising can get lost in the noise. But, done strategically and with targeting, paid advertising can be highly effective in finding new customers.

When creating your ads, focus on highlighting the specific pain points your product or service solves and how it can provide value to the consumer. One way to approach this is by basing the messaging of your targeted ads on your ideal customer profile and then targeting those specific segments. This strategy ensures that your ad is being seen by the right people, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

7 ways to build a better paid advertising strategy

 

#9 Improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO)

If your ideal customer can’t find your website, you could lose them as a potential new customer. And that’s because showing up on the first page of search engine results is an essential component of any lead generation or customer acquisition strategy.

According to Google, there are over 200 factors that go into SEO and how well a website ranks in search engine results. But you don’t need to address everything at once to see results. To start, make sure your website uses relevant keywords, is mobile-friendly, loads quickly and has high-quality content that appeals to your ideal customer.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

6 SEO tactics for maximum customer acquisition

 

#10 Incentivize new sign-ups

Consumers occasionally need a little push to try something new, especially when it comes to signing up for a new product or service. That’s why offering incentives, such as a discount or free trial, can be a great way to attract new customers. Just make sure the incentive aligns with your target audience and their needs.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

5 tried-and-true ways to drive more sign-ups to your SaaS website

 

#11 Win back lost customers

Sometimes customers stop using your product or service, whether it’s due to a better offer from a competitor or just simply forgetting about you altogether. Don’t give up on them though! Reach out to these lost customers with personalized messaging and offers to win them back.

For example, you might create an email campaign that offers a discount to customers who haven’t purchased from you in the past six months or offer a free trial for a new feature. You’d be surprised how many customers are willing to come back if you make an effort to reach out to them.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

Winning back lost customers: 5 tips for success

 

#12 Pitch your business for media coverage

Media coverage can bring in new customers and increase sales by expanding your reach and establishing credibility. So, why not pitch your business to podcasts, radio shows and other media outlets as a guest expert?

If you’re not where to start, look into HARO (Help a Reporter Out), where journalists and reporters constantly look for expert sources to include in their stories. Another option would be to start a company podcast that covers industry news and topics and invites guests to share their ideas.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

How to get media coverage for your business in 2022 (w/ expert tips) 

 

#13 Attend and network at industry events

While it may be a high investment in terms of cost and time, the networking opportunities at industry events and conferences are unparalleled. At these events, you can connect with other professionals who may become your next clients or be able to refer business to you.

Local events can also provide valuable networking opportunities. For example, a local Meetup group that aligns with your target audience can also be an excellent opportunity to make connections that lead to more business.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

What is B2B Event marketing and why is it important?

 

#14 Establish cross-industry partnerships and collaborations

Sometimes, businesses in a different industry may have a similar target audience to yours. Consider how you can partner with a non-competitive, complementary business to co-market and co-sell to each other’s customer bases.

For example, if you sell HR software, consider partnering with a payroll company to host an event for HR professionals. This type of partnership allows you to reach new potential clients and adds value for existing customers.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

The ultimate guide to B2B partner marketing in 2022

 

#15 Set up an affiliate program

Never underestimate the power of a word-of-mouth referral. Affiliate programs incentivize others to refer your product or service, giving them a commission for every successful sale.

These programs can also be a great way to expand into new market segments and drive sales from a trusted source, as they can help you tap into networks your business may not have access to. Affiliate programs can also increase customer loyalty by incentivizing existing customers to promote your business to their network.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic: 

How to start a B2B affiliate marketing program: 10 strategies you can’t afford to miss

 

5 tips to increase sales from your existing customers

It would be a mistake to only focus on acquiring new customers to increase sales. Research shows it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer. Existing customers are also 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers.

Here are five tactics you can use:

 

#1 Develop a customer loyalty program

Customer loyalty programs incentivize repeat purchases and encourage customers to spend more with your business. Loyalty programs also have the added benefit of collecting important customer data and providing valuable insights into your customers’ purchasing habits.

For example, you might learn that a particular group of customers always purchase your product during a certain time of year or after they receive a specific promotion. This type of data can help inform how you target and market to customers in the future.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

B2B loyalty programs: A comprehensive guide (2022)

 

#2 Offer upsells and cross-sells

Upselling is offering a higher priced or upgraded version of a product the customer is already interested in while cross-selling is offering a related product or service. Both strategies can help increase the average transaction size and boost sales from current customers.

No one likes to get bombarded with sales pitches, so make sure you’re offering these additional products or services in a natural, non-pushy way. For example, if you’re a B2B software company, you can offer training or implementation services as a cross-sell. (And if you need help identifying which customers to cross-sell to, check out this article.)

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

Cross-selling and upselling: The ultimate guide

 

#3 Create product bundle deals

Bundles are also an excellent option for cross-selling related products or services. For example, a data storage company could offer storage hardware, installation services and data backup plans as a bundle package.

Creating these bundles not only allows you to increase the average transaction size but also provide additional value to your customer by offering a complete solution. Without any extra effort, customers can easily purchase all the products or services they need in one go.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

Product bundling 101: Guide, strategies and examples

 

#4 Give personalized discounts and promotions

Personalized discounts and promotions show your customers that you value them as individual accounts and are willing to go the extra mile for their business. You can even personalize the deal using the information you learned while refining your ICP.

For example, let’s say you’re a SaaS company offering HR software solutions. You might consider offering a personalized discount to your customers with large teams that have used your product for over a year, as they could benefit greatly from upgrading to your premium package.

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

The best practices for B2B promotions & discounts

 

#5 Keep in touch with customers

It’s important to keep in touch with your current customers, even after they’ve made a purchase. You can do this through email marketing campaigns, personalized phone calls, thank you notes and maintaining an active presence on social media. 

Why do this? Because consistent communication helps maintain your relationship with existing customers and keeps your brand top of mind for future purchases or referrals. Think about it. If customers regularly see your brand in their inbox or social media feeds, they’re more likely to recommend you to a colleague when the opportunity arises. 

Resource to help you learn more about this tactic:

10 B2B email marketing tips that will increase your sales in 2022

 

Final thoughts

Don’t make the mistake most businesses make when attempting to find new customers and increase sales! Take time to truly understand your ideal customer and how to serve them effectively before diving into marketing and sales strategies.

For the most efficient way to do this, consider using Rev’s Sales Development Platform to take advantage of AI technology that finds the exegraphics that define the behaviors of the companies most likely to be interested in buying from your business.

Want to see how it works for yourself? Contact our team, and we’ll schedule your free ICP audit.

Evolving through the phases of a mature demand gen engine

If we had to summarize the modern relationship between marketing and sales, it would sound something like: Generate more and better leads, so we can close more deals more effectively. But how? How can marketing leverage the data it has available to drive more value and get better leads? How can they provide measurable and repeatable value to the company?

That’s the work of a demand gen team. We recently sat down with Joe Paone, Senior Director of Worldwide Marketing at Splunk, to talk about not only why a mature demand gen engine is critical to a modern marketing team, but how to understand the evolution of that program.

After all, a demand gen program doesn’t grow spontaneously out of that initial lead gen stage of grabbing whatever leads pop up and throwing them over the fence. There’s a distinct maturation process, from that initial stage to a full-funnel experience.

In his 15+ years of experience, starting in the financial service industry and shifting into sales and marketing for B2B tech, Joe understands the phases of building and evolving a modern demand gen engine to generate higher-quality leads at scale.

Here, he takes us on a deeper look at those phases, how to keep sales and marketing aligned efficiently through the whole process, and finally how to frame this process to achieve better buy-in (and thus better funding) for your demand gen program.

 

Phase 1: Generating leads

In the early stages of maturation, a marketing team might already be handing some leads to the revenue team, but there’s likely only a couple channels driving those leads at this point, and limited data on the interaction points within these leads.

So square one is all about lead generation.

“There aren’t necessarily any other KPIs tied to the marketing team,” Joe says. “And it’s probably a very small team. If there’s even one or two people focused on the demand gen-type role, they’re probably running tactics that are broad-based in nature.

This phase is more about lead volume than optimization. Sales priorities drive the strategies in these early stages. The technology is typically limited to a CRM, maybe an email service provider and not much else.

“You have to be a little bit crafty in what you’re doing to generate leads,” Joe says.

 

Phase 2: Building out your tactics

After some time in phase one, the team starts adding more people. Operations don’t change too much, and the team still focuses on generating quantities of leads more than optimizing the characteristics of those leads.

But with more people comes the ability to add more and different tactics. Tack on an ESP. Build out some marketing automation. Leverage third parties for paid lead-generation programs. All strategies that emphasize increasing lead volume—particularly when we’re in B2B and high-growth tech.

It makes sense that these first two stages of demand gen maturity emphasize volume: a marketing org can’t figure out where to learn and how to grow with just a handful of data points. Plus, the sales side is striving to add sellers, and marketing has to keep up with adding leads. There’s still not the luxury of overly concerning ourselves with quality.

“The maturity in this early-ish stage coincides oftentimes with the sales maturity,” Joe explains. “There’s no pre-sales role or function developed. Once that gets mapped out on the sales side, it pushes forward what’s happening on the marketing side, so you can shift additional programs more toward quality.”

 

Phase 3: Getting technical

But when that shift to quality over quantity happens, it happens quickly. “All of a sudden you now need to move from a marketing perspective to how you are going to nurture leads, how to move them through the funnel, how to provide the sellers with higher-quality leads,” Joe says.

This is the tipping point of demand gen maturity: now a team needs to add roles like marketing operations to tie together the technologies it’s been adopting. In many cases and to varying degrees, the org ends up being tech-driven in order to integrate tactics and better understand touch points.

By this point, a team has its marketing automation well integrated and is doing basic segmentation. It’s got lead scoring going on. It’s possibly even leveraging sales productivity tools, which could be owned by either the marketing or the sales team. And it’s using these advanced technologies to begin optimizing toward different touch points.

“From a strategy standpoint, now in demand gen, you can attribute pipelines to different tactics you’re running,” Joe says. “You’ve likely got some version of a pipeline goal, and you need to be able to build a fully integrated plan that’s driving pipeline. You’re going to be held accountable at some level with the sales org on what sort of pipeline you’re generating.”

 

Phase 4: Becoming specific and specialized

Pipeline goals drive this increasingly complex phase of demand gen maturity. It’s no longer enough to have a strong pipeline—the team is now concerned with what is in that pipeline, and how it fits what the company is looking for.

For instance, if a company has several products in its suite, each one might have its own specific pipeline, in addition to a general purpose pipeline. Then, what are the conversion rates in each pipeline—by channel and motion? A team by this point has to become increasingly sophisticated to analyze what happens after pipelines are created, as well.

“From a people standpoint, this is usually the moment when people shift from being generalists in demand gen, doing a little bit of everything, to specialists,” Joe says.

The roles get more clearly defined by necessity. The person running paid programs cannot also manage email marketing—everyone needs to fill a specific role at some stage of the funnel, and they all work together in an integrated plan. 

Thus, this stage of maturity also embraces more resources, and technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and predictive to inform the targeting. This stage is often when companies integrate services like Rev, which leverages an AI-driven model to evaluate your current best customers and identify act-alike prospects most likely to engage with your products.

“You’ll probably be leveraging third-party data along with your first-party data in the programs that you’re putting in and the segmentations that you’re building,” Joe says. “Depending on the type of company, this is where you’ll likely have an account-based approach if there’s a top list of sales accounts, or maybe you’re using a predictive model to determine what those top sales accounts are. Depending on the type of company, you might see a breakdown between enterprise and SMB focused, and customers versus prospects. The teams may align based on that, so they can build much more specific programs.”

Essentially, by this point in maturation, the team has completely shifted from lead gen to demand gen—incorporating and synthesizing the full funnel experience.

 

Align sales and marketing through the entire evolution

In a mature demand gen model, marketing is accountable to both sales and potential customers longer than in lead gen models. It’s not a case of throwing leads over the fence anymore. Instead, it’s increasingly essential to bring sales into the demand gen process—in a productive and healthy way—so that the process results in leads they can close.

But there is no easy silver-bullet answer to how to do that. But where to start is clear: at the beginning.

“It starts with the plan of record and ensuring that sales is part of that, that what marketing is signing up for is what sales leadership agrees with,” Joe says.

He sees companies often struggle with following through on that agreement. Even with agreement at the beginning of the process, changes often happen—sales priorities shift (and frequently) based on what’s working and not working in the field. Joe understands that it’s marketing’s role to remain flexible in what it’s doing, while staying in alignment with the goal posts (even as those also shift).

“If we can have a guiding post of our objective is X percent of pipeline overall will be generated by marketing, we know we might have to flex on where that pipeline is coming from or what we’re focused on,” he explains.

“We can change dollars to different types of programs, as long as we can agree that for this fiscal year we will be generating this amount of pipeline with sales. That’s the right starting point. Having them involved in the beginning helps them buy into it so they understand what marketing is signing up for.”

The idea of a shared vision allows not only sales but other areas of the company to engage in real feedback loops that help iterate how the company can reach its goals. Flexibility within marketing is necessary not only to maintain alignment with sales, but also to respond to input from other stakeholders, and to adapt to an ever-changing world.

 

Advice for starting out: Get buy-in with your demand gen vision

Building out a demand gen engine can be intimidating. Whether a company is ripe and ready for a natural maturation, or marketing is getting pushed to build a robust program, it’s a serious undertaking that can actually feel a bit scary.

So to get started, Joe recommends getting clarity and support from senior leadership within marketing.

“It definitely helps to have buy-in on what the objectives are and where you’re taking the demand gen team,” he says. And if you need to communicate that to the senior leadership to earn their buy-in? “Start by showing the benefits of moving in a more mature direction.”

For instance: if you don’t yet have a marketing automation platform, you can present a conceptual understanding of what it can achieve for the company. Joe points out that so many vendors offer sophistication in their programs, including assistance in helping you sell to your leadership team—not just the product, but the vision and the direction.

Conceptually, these growth stages make a lot of sense. “You’re already generating some volume of leads, and you’re going to hear feedback from sales—whether these are good leads, not good leads, whether you need to do something more, participate in certain types of events, be where your competitors are,” Joe says. “That’s going to help push you too. You can combine the sales pressure to be more sophisticated, and the technology that’s available.”

Once you can make your demand gen maturation goals explicit to leadership and other internal stakeholders, you can make the case for budget so you can actually implement the vision. Then, continuing to make the case for resources gets easier—the more you develop, the more easily you can point to the impact you’re having, track your results and justify better funding. It becomes a positive fulfillment cycle,

“What I’ve seen work is really showcasing the value to sales,” Joe says. “Ultimately, it’s not even about pipeline that’s being generated, it’s about the bookings that are being won. That’s the final stage of maturity: optimizing programs based on what has closed bookings. Seeing that target, where ultimately you’re going to need to go, can help you start to build the path to get there.”

Level up your lead follow-up: 11 best practices

Congratulations! Your hard work paid off. You successfully generated leads from your marketing efforts. Now it’s time to convert those leads into customers. But, it’s not as simple as just picking up the phone and calling them all. Meaningful lead follow-up is much more than that.

You need a plan that will ensure that you’re reaching out to the right leads at the right time to optimize conversion. And this blog post will help you with just that. We’ll cover 11 lead follow-up best practices that will help nurture your prospects to close.

But first, let’s talk about what lead follow-up is and why it’s crucial.

 

What is lead follow-up?

Lead follow-up is keeping in touch with a prospect or client after an initial meeting or contact. It’s an integral part of the sales process and can be done via phone calls, emails or even physical visits. The goal of lead follow-up is to build on the initial engagement with the prospect and create a stronger relationship with them with the intent to nurture that lead to sale. 

Lead follow-up is crucial. It’s how you show your prospects that you’re interested in them, their goals and the obstacles that stand in their way (that your product or service solves). It’s a great way for you to stay relevant and top of mind, which requires consistency.

 

Why follow up with your leads?

More often than not, prospects need some guidance on their buying journey. It’s not often that they hear about a product on their own and purchase it on their own. In the B2B world, it’s much more likely that a buyer came across a piece of content you published or walked up to your booth in their search for a solution to a problem they’re facing. And, they’ll probably need more than just that one interaction to show them that your solution is the right one.

Following up with leads helps to build relationships, establish trust, fuels education and ultimately close deals. It enables you to uncover your prospects’ real needs and creates an opportunity for you to showcase how you can help. Lead follow-up allows you to:

 

1. Gauge your lead’s interest level (and need)

Follow-ups allow you to measure your lead’s interest and determine how best to proceed. The level of interest they show (or the urgency of their need) can be used as signals for how to best lead them to the sale. The lead may need more information—or they might just need to know where to sign. Either way, the most efficient path forward starts with knowing where they stand.

 

2. Render the services your leads may need

Your leads are looking for a solution to a problem, and understanding how big that problem feels to them is important. It helps you understand their urgency. And, if there’s a way you can help them solve it—at least a little—now with no strings attached (think free version of your platform or a guide), share it. This is a great way to show your level of commitment and for them to see the value you bring to the table. It increases the likelihood that they’ll take the next step in the sales process and become a paying customer when they’re ready.

 

3. Build a solid relationship and trust

Lead follow-up helps to build a strong relationship and trust with your leads. Leads are potential customers, so nurturing those relationships and building trust is essential. Your prospects are going to purchase from a person and a company they feel has their best interest in mind, so it might as well be you.

 

4. Provide information about your products and services

Lead follow-up also creates an opportunity for you to provide information about your products and services. Use this chance to educate your leads about your offering and how they can benefit from it.

 

5. Demonstrate excellent customer service

Following up on your leads shows your prospects that you’re responsive to their needs and inquiries. The level of service you show them won’t go unnoticed. In fact, it gives them a glimpse of what they can expect in the future as a paying customer. Every follow-up engagement needs to be grounded in customer service, so be sure to reach out in a timely manner—when you have something new and of value to share and when they ask a specific question.

 

6. Convert leads to paying customers

When you follow up with leads, you’ll be in first position to guide them to the next stage of the buying journey when the customer is ready. So, follow up and let them know you’ll be there when their timing is right.

 

6. Expand marketing channels

Once you close a deal, the work is not done. In fact, it creates more opportunities. Take a look at your lead follow-up data to see how the leads that came from various channels performed. Were some leads “warmer” than others? Did some leads close faster than others? By reviewing your lead follow-up data, you’ll get a better sense of which channels to invest more in. 

 

11 best practices to boost your lead follow-up strategy

Following up on your leads—whether inbound or outbound leads—is a critical step in the lead generation and sales process. A well-executed follow-up is the biggest differentiator between a professional sales team and a mediocre one. 

The problem is that many people who are responsible for follow up… don’t. This can be for several reasons, but the most common two are: 

  • They aren’t following up promptly, causing the prospect to lose interest (or forget about the company) 
  • They’re waiting for sales to contact the lead, which is jumping to the last stage of the journey

To convert leads into customers, you need to follow up with them promptly and consistently. Here are 11 best practices for follow-up to ensure your leads are nurtured and converted into paying customers.

 

1. Know your target audience

When you’re reaching out to leads, make sure you’re reaching out to people who fit your ICP. (You don’t want to waste your time contacting people who wouldn’t benefit from your product or service.)

You won’t follow up with every lead the same way. Your follow-up should be tailored to each persona. Your documented ICP can give you a starting point for all your follow-up messages across all the personas you engage with. And if you want to kick things up a notch, make sure to take your ICP’s exegraphic data into account. By knowing the exegraphics of your ideal customer, you’ll know exactly how to craft a message that lands.

 

2. Separate your leads based on the funnel stage

A sales funnel has four main stages: awareness, interest, consideration and decision. Where your leads are in the funnel will determine how you’ll follow up with. (Yes, each stage will be different.)

At the awareness stage, you’re generating brand awareness and introducing your product or service to potential customers. Your goal at this stage is to get leads interested in learning more about what you have to offer. You can send them more helpful resources, such as ebooks, blog posts, infographics or whitepapers.

Once you’ve piqued their interest, it’s time to move them further down the funnel. In the interest stage, you want to get leads interested in your product or service. Send them information about your product, such as case studies or data sheets. You can also invite them to webinars or free trials.

At the consideration stage, leads evaluate your product or service to see if it’s the right fit for them. Here, your goal is to help them decide by providing more information about your product. You can send them pricing sheets, product comparisons or testimonials from happy customers.

Finally, at the decision stage, leads are ready to buy your product or service. Seal the deal by sending them a contract or proposal.

If this sounds overwhelming, we get it. It can be. But by only engaging with leads that match your ICP—especially down to the exegraphic level—the process is a lot smoother and faster.

 

3. Respond promptly

The key to successful follow-up is to respond to leads promptly. If you wait too long, they may lose interest or go with a competitor.

A quick response shows that you’re interested in their success and builds trust with potential customers. It also shows that you’re organized and efficient, which customers value.

Ideally, aim to respond to leads within 12-24 hours. Every organization is different, and if that’s unrealistic for your business, try to acknowledge receipt of their inquiry within that time frame. Letting them know you see them matters. The market is competitive, and, when it comes to making a sale, timing is everything. Respond quickly to increase your chances of closing the deal.

 

4. Use a follow-up schedule

When it comes to follow-up, consistency is key. Stay in touch with leads, but don’t get pushy. Appearing desperate is not a good look.  

The best way to strike this balance is to create a follow-up schedule. A solid follow-up schedule should include the following:

  • The date you contacted the lead
  • The type of contact (email, phone call, etc.)
  • The date of your subsequent follow-up

 

5. Use different contact methods

Not everyone likes to talk on the phone. Some people don’t like the surprise text message from a vendor… but some appreciate a cold FaceTime (according to a recent LinkedIn post, anyway). The point is, you’re not always going to know what form of communication your lead prefers. Try a few so you can discover what’s most convenient for them. 

Here are some different contact methods to consider:

  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Social media messages
  • In-person meetings
  • Mail

These methods can be effective, so it’s important to experiment to see what works best for your leads.

 

6. Personalize contact

How do you stand out in a sea of generic follow-up messages? The answer is simple: personalization.

When you personalize your message, you show interest in the individual lead. It builds rapport and makes the lead more likely to respond to your message. So, do a little research on your lead and customize your message to match your contact’s profile. You can add a personal touch by referring to the piece of content they engaged with or even a recent milestone their company achieved. What’s important here is that you tailor your message so it resonates with them.

Beyond building rapport, use personalization to sell to leads. Show them your product isn’t a one-size-fits-all but a perfect solution for their needs.

 

7. Track contact attempts

This is a must. Keeping track of your contact attempts with leads keeps you from bombarding them with emails or phone calls and ensures you’re doing your part to get their attention.

Keep track of how many times you have contacted a lead, and take detailed notes of each conversation so you can refer back to them later. This will help you remember what the lead is interested in and their pain points. It will also help you personalize your next contact attempt.

 

8. Solve the lead’s problem

When you follow up with a lead, always try to solve their problem. If they have a specific issue, show how your product helps or, even better, recommend solutions to show you’re not only about selling. This will show you’re attentive and genuinely interested in helping them.

Plus, it’s a great way to convert them down your sales funnel because you’ve established a solvent relationship, and they’re willing to learn more about your offer. 

Keep this in mind as you continue your follow-up efforts.

 

9. Always ensure the lead is interested in the next step

Always. After all, you don’t want to waste your time (or theirs) by continuing to follow up with someone who’s no longer interested in what you have to offer.

How do you make sure they’re interested? 

Be clear about your intentions and let them know when you plan on following up again and what you may offer with that follow-up. For example, if you’re a software company, let them know you’ll follow up in a few days to see if they’d like a product demo.

It’s also a good idea to have a strategy for cold leads. There’s no set formula for this, but an automated email reminds the lead why they were interested in your product or service in the first place. And if they still don’t respond? Keep following up. 

 

10. Continue to follow up

Don’t give up even if a lead doesn’t respond to your initial contact. (In fact, they likely won’t.) Continue to follow up and reach out multiple times—and via different communication channels.

Be persistent. Studies have shown that it takes an average of eight follow-up attempts to convert a lead, so don’t give up after one or two tries. It can be challenging to continue following up without seeming pushy. Still, as long as you’re polite and respectful, you’ll be fine.

Following up can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it when you consider the potential payoff. By making a concerted effort to follow up with your leads, you’re much more likely to convert them into customers.

 

11. Know when to stop

We just told you to be persistent. To follow up multiple times in a variety of ways. But, there comes a point when you may need to space out your outreach or even stop. If a lead doesn’t respond to your follow-ups after a few weeks or months, it’s probably time to move on.

There’s no universal magic number, so track enough data to know how to set one for your team. The guidance we’ll give here is that a good practice is to revisit the customer against your ICP. Do they still align? Is your product still relevant to them?

 

Final thoughts

Staying in touch with leads after they’ve expressed interest in what you’re selling is how you’ll land a deal. But it might take some work. Following up the right way will take time and effort.

Rev can help make the entire process smoother by ensuring that your leads match the characteristics that matter most to you—and that they’re fit and ready to hear your pitch. Want to see how? Contact us and we’ll level up your ICP to an aiCP.

The lead generation best practices you need to adopt in 2023

How do you acquire good B2B leads?

First, let’s clear the air. “Good” is relative. To some, good leads are contacts that match their ideal customer profile (ICP). To others, it’s anyone that shows signs of purchase intent or has a higher likelihood to convert.

Whatever your definition of “good” is, there are some fundamental best practices for generating leads that are more likely to turn into customers—which, at the end of the day, is what we all want.

Lead generation is essential to any business, but it’s more complex than just sending an email. It requires a thorough understanding of your target audience’s behavior, which can be challenging to find when you’re not in their shoes. 

This post will cover almost everything you need to know about good leads and how to generate them. With these 13 lead generations best practices, you’ll have what you need to up your lead gen game.

Let’s start with the basics.

 

What is B2B lead generation? 

Simply put, lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers into prospects and prospects into customers. It includes a variety of inbound marketing tactics that target specific personas, or groups of people, to turn them into leads.

The lead generation process usually starts with creating awareness, interest, and desire for a product or service. Then, you nurture those leads until they’re converted into customers. 

The main difference between B2B and B2C lead generation is that the B2B sales process is often longer and the buying journey is more complex. Most organizations follow a formal decision-making process, and it can stretch out the sales cycle.

 

What are the four steps of the lead generation process? 

There are four main steps in the lead generation process. They include:

 

1. Define your ideal customer

Your lead generation process should start with identifying your target market. You need to know who you’re targeting before you can start generating leads.

And, you need to know more than just your ICP’s industry, geographical region and company size. Get crystal clear on who you’re targeting by including more meaningful details about your ideal customer—like their growth rate, their level of investment in customer care, whether or not they’re an early adopter.

Going beyond firmographics and surfacing the exegraphics behind your best customers is the best way to reveal the deeper signals that make your best customers “fit and ready” to purchase from you.

You can also use surveys, interviews and data analysis to gather attitudinal insights about your ideal customers.

Once you have a good understanding of who your ICP, you’ll be ready to kick off the next phases of the lead gen process.

 

2. Determine which channels to invest in

As you lock down the details of your ICP, you’ll also want to get a sense of where your target market hangs out. You need to know how to reach them with your marketing messages.

Getting clear on your channel strategy may take time and a bit of testing. Even if one channel gains a lot of preliminary traction, you’ll want to make sure the leads from that channel are actually closing. (Because, that’s the whole point, right?) And be sure to diversify your channel strategy. Having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.

So, whether you decide to tap into SEO, social, content syndication, email, affiliate programs, influencers or some blend of them, make sure you’re tracking the right metrics to optimize your impact.

 

3. Create a content strategy and launch attractive offers

The next step is to create an attractive offer to your brand in front of your ICP. This is how you’ll create awareness for your brand and the solution you offer. It’s also how you’ll start to build the necessary trust that will ultimately move them through to closed-won.

An “offer” can be a free ebook, a webinar or anything else that, agnostic to your product, gives them insights to help them solve a problem they’re facing.

Your offer needs to be relevant, engaging and valuable enough that your ICP will exchange their contact information for it—and that’s where your content strategy comes into play. 

Your content should be designed for each stage of the buyer’s journey. That means creating different content for each step, such as blog posts, quizzes, podcasts and case studies—all with the goal to move them to the next stage in the process and closer to a sale.

 

4. Promote your content

Content without promotion ends up on the shelf collecting dust. You don’t want that.

To get your content in front of your target market, you need to promote it. You’ve already determined which channels you’ll be using and the content you’ll be creating. Now it’s time to decide how you’ll promote the content across your channels.

The key is to get your content in front of as many people in your target market as possible, content that matches their stage in the funnel.

 

13 lead generation best practices

Now, on to the actionable tips you’ve been waiting for. We analyzed top B2B companies’ data to see the best lead generation practices. Here’s what stands out:

 

1. Have a state-of-the-flow website

The average B2B company has a website that’s about six years old. If your website is starting to feel a little dated, it might be time for an update.

A state-of-the-flow website is critical to lead generation. It should be fast, mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. It should also be designed with your buyer persona in mind. Every element on your website should be there for a reason, helping to move your buyer through their journey.

The first thing you need to do is have a clear, easy-to-navigate website. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile and search engine optimization (SEO). This will ensure that people can easily find what they’re looking for, which helps with lead generation.

For example, a blog optimized for SEO can help buyers find you. The valuable tips and insights they got from the post might encourage them to share the post with their colleagues—which then fuels word-of-mouth marketing. (That’s another great way to get leads, BTW.)

Regardless of how your buyer found your site or which page they land on first, you need to be ready to move them to the next phase. That’s why call-to-actions are so important. Your CTAs should be very prominent on your homepages, and all subsequent pages too.

 

2. Use data to drive your decisions

Data should be at the heart of everything you do in lead generation. It should be used to track the impact of your strategy—at the deepest level. Like we mentioned before, seeing how many leads come in through one channel and at what price point is good to know. But if those leads don’t convert, you need to know why.

Does the lead really match your ICP?

Is the content misaligned with the stage of the funnel?

Are leads getting too cold before an SDR reaches out?

Having detailed data at your fingertips will help you refine the process, and make bold bets on new approaches to test.

 

3. Personalize your approach

Personalization is critical in lead generation. It’s one thing you can do to stand out from all the other companies who are trying to reach your target market.

One way to do this is by personalizing your communications. Now, we’re not talking about “form fill” customization. That’s not personalized enough for today’s buyer. But, curating content specific to the challenges they’re facing—that’s what we’re talking about.

Personalization shows that you care about your lead and are willing to take the time to get to know them. This can go a long way in getting their attention, building trust and moving them through the buyer’s journey.

 

4. Be human

In a world of automation, it’s important to remember that your leads are people too. (Louder for the people in the back.)

You need to show that you and your team are approachable, friendly and relatable. Be a real person who cares about your customers and prospects—don’t just be another salesperson or marketer trying to make a buck off of them.

Make sure your communications are human and personable. This means avoiding generic messages and taking the time to understand each lead’s needs.

Don’t promise anything unless it’s possible for you (or has been approved by management). If certain things require approval from higher up, let them know in advance, so they don’t waste time waiting on something that isn’t going anywhere!

Your goal should be to build a relationship with your leads. The more you connect with them, the more likely they will do business with you.

 

5. Keep it short and sweet

Clarity and brevity matter—especially in lead gen. You want to ensure that your message is clear, so use a conversational tone when speaking with (or writing a message to) your potential customer.

If your message is long, your lead is likely going to skip over it. No one wants to read a long, drawn-out message from a company they’re unfamiliar with. However, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality for brevity. You can still pack a lot of helpful information into a short message. Just make sure it’s easy to digest and doesn’t require much effort to read. (Tip: Use bullets. They’re very skimmable.)

 

6. Use numbers

People are more likely to pay attention to something if it’s quantifiable. Whenever possible, use numbers in your lead generation efforts.

For example, instead of saying, “We’re the best at what we do,” say, “We have a 98% success rate.” This lead generation best practice will help your leads understand your offering and why they should care.

 

7. Promote your content 

The best content in the world won’t do you any good if no one sees it. Make sure you’re promoting your content to the right people.

You can promote your content on social media by

  • Sharing your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Promoting your new video series on YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Posting an infographic about the topic you’re writing about in a blog post and reposting it on other platforms where people are more likely to see it if they follow you back (and if not, then at least make sure that it’s hyperlinked).

Also, practice email marketing to get your content in front of as many people in your target market as possible.

 

8. Make it easy to contact you

If someone wants to get in touch with you, make it easy for them. Include multiple ways to contact you on your website and in your communications. Make sure your phone number is prominent and your email address is easy to find. You should also have a “contact us” form on your website that’s easy to use.

The easier you make it for someone to get in touch, the more likely they will reach out.

 

9. Be responsive

When someone does reach out to you, make sure you’re responsive. The faster you respond, the better.

Try to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours. This shows that you’re serious about your business and that you care about your lead—and their time. Also prioritize a prompt response for someone who emails to ask for more information about your product or service. You don’t want to give the impression that they’re ignored! If they know that their concerns will be addressed promptly, then they’ll be more likely to become full-blown customers (and refer others).

 

10. Stay in touch

Leads are the most important part of any marketing strategy. Still, keeping them engaged and active over time can be difficult. 

You need to ensure that you have a system for nurturing them from the beginning of their relationship until they become a paying customer or convert into an advocate for your business. (And even beyond too.)

Just because someone may not be ready to buy right now doesn’t mean they never will be. Stay in touch with your leads and keep them updated on what’s new with your business. You can do this by sending periodic emails, calling them from time to time or even sending them a postcard. The more you stay in touch, the more likely they will do business with you when they’re finally ready to buy.

 

11. Get creative

There are a lot of lead generation ideas out there. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new. Remember, not all lead generation tactics will work for all businesses. You need to find what works best for you and run with it. But, you’ll never know if you don’t create an environment that’s willing to get out of the comfort zone.

 

12. Be patient

Good things come to those who wait. Lead generation takes time, so don’t expect overnight results. Also, remember that leads are not sales. They require patience to convert, so keep going even if they aren’t converting quickly. 

The more successful B2B companies we analyzed all had some form of a lead generation program in place. Still, they also had systems for nurturing their leads until they were ready for a sale or close.

Building up a sizable leads list can take months or even years. But if you’re patient and keep at it, you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labor pay off.

 

13. Get help

There’s no shame in admitting that you need help. If lead generation is proving to be more difficult than you thought, reach out to a professional for assistance.

Whether you need help to determine who to target, how to create the most impactful content, how to promote content in different channels—there’s expertise out there waiting to guide and help you. Speed up your learning curve by partnering with a freelancer or agency that has a proven track record. 

 

Final thoughts

That was a long list of best practices, and it goes to show that lead generation isn’t a set and forget effort. In fact, doing so will only create space for your competitors to take the lead. (Pun intended.) 

If we can hit home any one point, it’s that getting your ICP right—that first step—matters more than most people give it credit. After all, if you engage with the wrong prospect, every step after is wasted. 

At Rev, we can help you better understand your ICP and surface the deeper signals that separate the great leads from the rest. Contact us, and we’ll conduct a free ICP audit so you can see the exegraphic data behind your best customers.

Finishing the sales year strong, with sales guru James Buckley

For most companies, Q4 is the largest forecasted quarter of the year. It’s also a short quarter—not only because it’s cut short by the holidays, but because sales teams often stare down the business end of unmet quotas and unclosed deals.

These realities are connected, says sales guru James Buckley: “The reason why Q4 is often the most forecasted quarter, the biggest quarter, is because sales reps have been bullshitting their numbers the entire year. What they’ve actually produced is not what it should be, and they’re in danger in most cases.” 

James knows his stuff: as a member of the Sell Better by JB Sales team, he’s dropping knowledge daily to elevate the sales profession.

He recognizes that the end of the year tends to exacerbate a development team’s worst habits. We all feel the pressure to close deals and meet targets by the end of Q4. So James offers perspectives on how to convert our worst practices into solid ones that actually improve our chances not only of closing deals—but of closing quality ones.

His Q4 tactics bear fruit all year round, but are particularly beneficial to teams looking to maximize these final weeks of the year. These best practices apply just the same throughout the year for round-the-calendar pipeline health. And they go beyond prospecting to closing deals and coaching SDRs for continued growth and effectiveness, setting up sales teams for next year’s success—now.

 

Instead of discounting—add value

Sales teams proactively discount all the time in order to close deals under deadline, and James finds the practice distasteful. “When you do this, you essentially say to the prospect, ‘I knew this wasn’t worth what I was charging you to begin with, and now I’m validating and confirming that by telling you that I can do it for this cheaper price,’” he says.

Instead of proactively discounting prospects, add value for them (and incidentally for your org) instead. For example:

  • Offer a multi-year contract. This actually increases the contract value for the prospect, and you land your team more time and opportunity to show your worth to a loyal customer long-term. “It’s a better, more effective way to add more value to the deal and convince them to close,” James says.
  • Add straight gives at no cost. Demonstrate some of the value you offer customers by providing some collateral that is actually helpful for the prospect’s team. Show your appreciation for the back-and-forth so far by offering to waive service fees for folks who need to close in Q4. You’re not undercutting the deal’s worth to your org, and instead making the deal more valuable to the prospect.
  • Ask for value in exchange for discounts. If you truly need discounts to sweeten the pot, James recommends not just giving them out like candy. Instead, ask for reciprocity: discounting is doing the prospect a favor, and you want the customer to support your company in return. “When we provide discounts on products, we ask for social shares, X referrals per month, case studies,” James says. “A discount is something we can use to our advantage if we use it right.”

 

Instead of fabricating urgency—create connection

Creating urgency happens consistently throughout the year, but it gets epidemic in Q4. “This thought we can create urgency where there is none—this is a myth,” James says.

Of course, real urgency helps close deals. He points to John Barrows (of JBarrows Sales Training) teaching that we can uncover urgency rather than fabricate it. But what if instead of dealing in urgency, we dealt in connection?

James points to video as a powerful (and underutilized) tool for personalizing communication and connecting with prospects.

“Oftentimes we get bogged down in prospecting with video,” he says. “We think it’s only useful for prospecting.” But if you’re trying to close a sale, send a quick video and walk the prospect through whatever stage you’re at or whatever documents you’re sending.

These videos don’t have to be polished productions. But they are personal. They are ways to say you put in the time to make and customize the process for a prospect. And it opens dialogue—whether the prospects simply appreciate it, or they want to clarify some things, which just earns you another phone call.

“These are great ways to start getting them thinking about moving forward,” James says.

 

Instead of prospecting only new contacts—dig for CRM gold

It’s easy and tempting to think of closed lost opportunities as done deals. Really, they’re not-yet-done deals. You’ve already established contact and engaged in conversations. It just didn’t work out the first time.

So the legwork is done. Now’s your chance to throw your hat back in the ring.

“Ask, ‘Did you ever find a solution?’ That is a simple email to send out to your closed lost opportunities, and you might have some that get back to you and say ‘No, we’re still looking,’” James says. Then you use the magic language (presuming it’s actually true): “A lot has changed on our end—I’d love to connect and show you some stuff.”

If things actually have changed in your features or services, this is worthwhile to discuss with them. And if not, it’s still possible your prospect—having failed to find the right solution—will see yours as the best available solution and sign up before end-of-year. After all, decision-makers need to do the things they’re held accountable for: if you can provide solutions and situation improvement with the least effort on their end, they’re more apt to talk with you.

You just have to rekindle the conversation.

 

Final thoughts: Instead of just pushing for immediate wins—coach for next year’s Q4 wins

SDRs aren’t alone in feeling the pressures at the end of Q4. Leaders are ultimately responsible for the team’s numbers. So the temptation is to sideline everything but sprinting over the finish line, and to save everything else for Q1… or Q2… or Q3… and then you’re right back in the same boat next year.

James believes that more involved coaching is part of achieving immediate Q4 progress—while simultaneously setting up SDRs for a better Q4 next year.

  • Pair struggling reps with accounts primed for wins. “There’s no shortage of people you could sell to, if you know your ICP and the personas you sell well into,” James says. So if you identify SDRs running light at the end of the year, find them some likely accounts to reach out to. This sets them up to win as often as possible—and your team knows you’re in it to help them win.
  • Play to your team’s weaknesses. Let’s say an SDR is sending a disproportionate amount of automated emails and making noticeably fewer calls. James proposes coaching to that weakness: “Let’s be cautious about going too heavy on email because it could damage our domain. Let’s talk about deliverability in the future and a better balance and workflow for your daily routine. You’re not in it to criticize or condemn or hold her accountable in that moment. You’re coaching her to her need.” If you do this with every rep you have—find where they’re weak and really dial it in with them—it will catapult that individual and their results forward.
  • Focus on the future. Sales success rests on both reps and leaders—and Q4 is not the time to sleep on offering resources and coaching reps through pipeline management skills. 1:1s and coaching in general don’t have to take a back seat to closing deals; instead, use the immediate needs of Q4 to facilitate better coaching in the long term. “1:1s are not real 1:1s if you’re not coaching to the individual and helping them improve both personally and professionally so they can grow in their careers,” James says. He likes to wrap those meetings with a big-picture question: What does your future here look like in your mind? “It lets me know my leadership is looking at me as having a future there, which is really comforting,” he says. “At the same time, it makes me think, huh, what do I want out of this job? And now I’m working for something I want.”

TL;DR? Great leaders never stop leading, even when end-of-year concerns start full-court pressing. It’s back to ABC for James: “Always be closing, yes, but always be coaching too.”

RevOps guide to expanding into new markets and targeting new customers

Expanding into new markets can be an exciting and risky decision. On the one hand, it’s an opportunity to increase revenue and expand your customer base. But, on the other hand, it’s also a huge investment of time and money that doesn’t always pay off.

So, if you’ve decided to expand into new markets, you’ll want to approach this decision with caution. And that means you need a strategy that allows you to confidently decide which markets to expand into and which businesses within that market are most likely to be a good fit. 

How do you form that kind of strategy? How do you successfully identify new market segments that your business has the highest chance of converting? 

The key ingredient is exegraphic data.


If you’re unfamiliar with that term, you won’t be by the time you finish reading this guide. Because we’ll be showing the benefits of exegraphic data as we share a step-by-step market expansion strategy for B2B companies.

But, first, let’s start by discussing what benefits you can expect if you successfully execute your market expansion strategy! 

 

Why should a business expand into new markets?

Of course, one of the main reasons to expand into new markets is to increase your revenue. If you can successfully reach new customers, you’ll see a significant boost in your bottom line. 

But increased revenue is only one side of the story. Here are some of the other top benefits of expanding into new markets: 

  • Grow your customer base. If you’re selling products or services that are only targeting a specific group of people in your current market, expanding will give you access to new groups of potential customers.
  • Satisfy growing customer needs. Your customers’ needs are constantly changing. Expanding into a new market can help you guide customer trends rather than simply trying to follow them.
  • Keep up with competitors. If you don’t expand your business, you risk falling behind your competitors. If they are expanding into new markets and you’re not, they’ll have a leg up on you in terms of market share.
  • Gain a competitive advantage. When you enter a new market before any competitors, you can establish yourself as the go-to brand in that market before anyone else has a chance.
  • Diversification. If your business only serves one customer segment, you’re essentially putting all your eggs in one basket. But, if you expand, you’re diversifying your risk, giving your business a better chance at long-term success.
  • New talent. When you expand into new markets, you’ll also have the opportunity to bring in new talent. These new employees can help refresh your company and give you a new perspective on your products and services.

 

Market expansion strategy: How to find and target the right prospects in new markets   

To successfully expand your business into new markets, you can’t just go out and start selling your product or service. You need to understand the nuances of that particular market and know how you will compete with other businesses already there. You also need to know whether a particular market is actually worth your time.

To help guide you through the process, here’s a market expansion strategy framework you can use.

 

Step 1: Build your ICP using reliable data 

First, you need to develop an ideal customer profile (ICP) for your target market. This will help you understand who your target customers are, what they’re looking for and how to best reach them.

But here’s the thing: most ICPs are shallow. Despite it being one of the most valuable parts of your market expansion strategy, most businesses develop their ICP using firmographic characteristics that don’t tell you much. 

And that’s a huge mistake! 

Why? Because firmographic data isn’t reliable for such a high-risk investment as entering a new market. It only shows you things like company location, size, industry and annual revenue. And while that information can be useful, it doesn’t tell you anything about the factors influencing a company’s buying decisions. 

This is where exegraphic data can give you a huge advantage as you expand into new markets. 

 

Use exegraphics to build a reliable ICP

Exegraphics give you data on how companies operate and behave. For example, with exegraphic data, you can find out which companies are early adopters of cloud technology or which companies are in the process of expanding their data engineering teams. 

How do you find exegraphic data? By scraping company information that can only be found on company websites, social media platforms and similar sources. Of course, your company can manually collect this type of data. It’s just extremely tedious and time-consuming.

With Rev’s Sales Development Platform, you can use AI technology to speed that data collection process up. And because the AI is constantly searching for new information, Rev allows you to build a living model of your ICP—what we call an aiCP—that evolves as the behavior of your ideal customer changes over time. 

Having an aiCP means your market expansion strategy also evolves based on real-time data. And this is a huge advantage in the initial stages of market expansion when many companies get scared and divest too quickly.

 

Step 2: Understand the TAM/SAM for each potential new market

Oftentimes, companies also rely on firmographics to find the total addressable market (TAM) and the serviceable available market (SAM) in a new market segment. Typically, these companies use some database and say, “find me all of the companies in this vertical, this size, with this annual revenue…” And, then, they make a leap and decide whichever companies fit those parameters is their TAM.

But it’s not. 

Just because a company falls into those basic parameters doesn’t mean they’re ready or likely to buy from you. You don’t have enough information to make that assumption. So, what can you do instead? 

By using Rev, you can add some scientific rigor to finding your TAM. With exegraphics, we help you find the companies in the new market that are already exhibiting behaviors similar to the best customers you already have. 

Sometimes, you might find that the TAM/SAM for a new market is too small. And that’s great! Because you can use that information to pivot before investing too many resources. 

If, however, you find that a new market looks like it’s worth pursuing, you’ll have the data to continue building your market expansion strategy with confidence.

Step 3: Study the competition

Next, you should take a close look at the competition. The goal here isn’t to copy their strategies or even go after the exact same prospects. The goal is to figure out what your competitors do well, what can be improved and what you can do differently to stand out to your target audience. 

As you look at the competition, consider the following: 

  • What do your competitors offer?
  • What’s their share of this market?
  • What is the quality of their products or services?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • How are they marketing their products or services?
  • Are there any gaps in their marketing? 
  • Does their marketing strategy appeal to your ICP? 
  • What’s their pricing structure? 
  • Do you have the resources to compete? 

 

Step 4: Rank each potential new market for your business

Next, you’ll use your research to prioritize which potential markets offer the most opportunity for your business. Here are some factors to consider when ranking potential new markets:

  • Does the market have enough potential customers? 
  • Is the market growing or shrinking? 
  • What’s the level of competition in the market? 
  • What’s the overall risk level of entering the market? 
  • What are the estimated costs of entering the market?

You can use these criteria to create a scoring system and rank potential markets from most to least attractive.

 

Step 5: Define new market success criteria

Before you begin any outreach, you first need to establish what success looks like in your new market. This will help you set measurable goals and objectives, and track progress over time.

Some success criteria to consider include:

  • Revenue goals.  How much revenue do you want to generate from the new market?
  • Market share. What percentage of the market do you want to capture?
  • Customer acquisition costs. How much are you willing to spend to acquire each new customer?

 

Step 6: Create a target list of accounts in the top-ranked new market

Your list is your strategy. So, once you’ve identified your top new market, you want to start with a high-quality target account list. Remember: you don’t need to guess which accounts to target. Use exegraphic data to your advantage. 

Rev’s AI technology uses that data to create a comprehensive list of all of the companies that show signs of being a good fit for your company’s product or service–even if those companies are outside of the industries you’d normally target. 

That way, you don’t waste time and resources pursuing companies that aren’t likely to buy from you. It also means you’ll find new opportunities for deals with companies you might have otherwise never considered. 

With Rev, you’d also get to see a Rev Score—i.e. how likely a company is to be a good fit—for each of the accounts on your list. This insight helps you prioritize accounts and increase your probability of early success as you begin testing the new market.

 

Step 7: Create a SWAT team to test initial messaging and engagement

By starting with a SWAT team, you can get a sense of whether there is genuine interest from potential customers in the new market. In other words, you can further minimize the risks associated with expanding into new markets! 

Plus, you can start small. Your SWAT team only needs 2-3 employees who are company specialists in sales, marketing, product and customer success. The goals of this team will be to:

  • Validate the new market before investing additional resources
  • Develop early messaging and some marketing collateral
  • Test various engagement strategies
  • Collect data to fine-tune outreach efforts
  • Create a set of processes that your marketing and sales teams can eventually follow (if you decide to pursue the new market)

 

Step 8: Measure early results and iterate

After a few months of testing, your SWAT team should have a pretty good idea of what’s working and what’s not. At this point, you can start to think about putting more resources toward your market expansion efforts. 

But before you do, analyze the data and consider the following questions: 

  • Does the market show signs of promise?
  • Are companies responding to your messaging?
  • Are there any areas where you can improve your approach?
  • What is the quality of leads coming out of the market?
  • How many deals were you able to close?
  • What types of deals did you close?
  • Was the quality of deals in line with your expectations?

If you’re happy with the results of your market expansion efforts thus far, then it’s time to start thinking about the best fit market.

 

Step 9: Select the best new market fit

Now that you’ve done a bit of testing, it’s time to decide which new market is the best fit for your business. Which market showed the most promise in terms of potential customers and sales?

Start by evaluating your metrics with questions like:

  • Which market had the highest number of new customers or the greatest increase in sales? 
  • Which market had the most engaged customers or the highest website traffic? 
  • Which market feels like the best strategic fit for your business? 
  • Which market represents the greatest opportunity for growth?

Once you’ve decided on a market, it’s time to start developing a marketing and sales plan to target the rest of the accounts on your list.

 

Step 10: Develop a marketing and sales plan

Now you’re ready to strategically create a marketing and sales plan that targets your ICP in a way that’s unique from your competitors. This plan should include a mix of online and offline channels. Some channels you may consider include:

  • Paid advertising (e.g. Google AdWords, Facebook ads)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing (e.g. blog posts, eBooks, infographics)
  • Social media marketing (e.g. posts, influencer outreach, paid social media ads)
  • Public relations (PR)

Once you’ve identified your channels, you need to create content that resonates with your target market at every stage of the customer journey and develop a strategy for promotion and distribution.

Exegraphic data also comes in handy here. Because instead of creating a marketing plan to appeal to a static profile, you can use exegraphics to inform your strategy with insights, such as:

  • Whether a company’s director is an early adopter of new technology
  • Which departments within a company are currently shrinking or expanding 
  • Where and how a company communicates its value to the public 
  • How many people work on a company’s data engineering team 
  • What are the core functions of newly-hired customer service reps

By knowing this information, you can personalize your marketing message and offer to each company, increasing your chances of success.

 

Final thoughts

Expanding into new markets can be a stressful endeavor if you’re relying on outdated methods for developing your ICP, target account list and outreach strategy.

But by using Rev to collect exegraphic data on your best customers and build a dynamic aICP, you can minimize the risks involved and ensure the market is worth pursuing before fully investing your resources. 

Want to see how it works for yourself? Get a free ICP audit to find your next best customers—before you even enter the market! 

What is outbound lead generation?

Not all outbound lead generation strategies are built equally. While some are effective within a short time, others require a compound investment.

This post distills the best outbound lead generation strategies and how to execute them to get lasting results fast. We’ll cover:

  • Outbound lead generation and how it works
  • Methods you can use to generate leads
  • The benefits of outbound lead generation 
  • And more

Without much ado, let’s dive right in.

 

What is outbound lead generation?

Outbound lead generation is a sales and marketing strategy used to build pipeline by reaching out directly to prospects—and often to people who may not know your company or the solution you offer. It’s a way to open new opportunities and expand your customer base.

Outbound lead gen is a critical strategy for many B2B companies and can take many forms: cold calling, email and social selling. At the end of the day, it’s about reaching out and engaging with potential future customers. And, in order for it to be effective, you and your team need to be strategic about who you target in the first place and how you reach out to them.

 

Inbound vs. outbound

Simply put, inbound lead generation is about attracting people to your business through content and outbound lead generation focuses on actively searching for and reaching out to potential customers.

The benefit of inbound is that people often find you as they’re actively looking for a solution to a problem they’re facing. The content you created—with no strings attached—caught their attention, guided them in solving their problem and helped build trust with your brand. These folks found your company organically, which means you didn’t have to risk annoying or bombarding them with calls or emails. You simply served valuable content that was relevant to their interests.

Outbound, on the other hand, has a reputation for being a little more aggressive. The upside of outbound is that its active nature has the potential to bring in more qualified, people—and customers—grow your bottom line. 

With outbound, you’re often targeting net-new accounts targeting accounts, so there’s a lot of growth potential. And today, there are many aspects of outbound lead generation that can be automated, making it a less time-consuming process.

So, which method is best for you? That depends on your business and your goals. Many B2B organizations use both. But in general, outbound lead generation can be more effective—especially if you’re looking to reach a specific target market.

 

What are the benefits of outbound lead generation?

There are several benefits to outbound lead generation. They include:

1. Increase brand awareness

By reaching out to potential customers, you’re putting your company in front of people who may not have heard of you. And that can be a great way to increase mind share,  market share and grow your business.

 

2. Hyper-target lead

If you take a very thoughtful approach with your outbound efforts, you can tailor your communications to reach and resonate with people who are great fits for your product/service—and have a high propensity to engage. Doing this allows you to save time, money and increases the speed by which these leads move from prospect to closed-won.

 

3. Speed

And speaking of speed, outbound lead generation also allows you to reach new prospects faster. No need to passively wait for them to stumble upon your blog post or infographic. Since you are sending an email directly to someone who fits your ICP—and at the exegraphic level, you’re already increasing your chances of a response.

 

4. Automation

Many steps within your outbound lead generation strategy can be automated so you don’t have to spend time manually contacting leads one-by-one every day. It also allows for more consistent sales activity over time. 

 

5. Reach new markets

Outbound lead generation helps you reach potential customers on a larger scale. This expands your customer base and builds brand awareness for your business in a more active way than inbound marketing allows.

 

Outbound lead generation strategies

When it comes to outbound lead generation, you need to think beyond the basics. You can’t just pick up the phone and start dialing or send an email without putting any thought into it. Well, you can, but it won’t be fruitful.

Instead, create a strategy that targets the right people and engages them in the right conversation. But, how do you do that effectively? There are several things you can do.

 

Cold calling

Even though it often gets a bad wrap, cold calling is a great way to generate outbound leads and build your sales pipeline. 

Start by researching the best times to call and know how to pitch your company’s products. Make sure you have a prioritized target account list so you know exactly whom to contact…and whom to contact next. Understand what makes these accounts a good fit for your product/service, so you can guide the conversation in the most effective way possible—and even follow-up the conversation with a piece of collateral that can help your prospects solve their problem, whether or not they decide to purchase from you. This is a great way to build trust with them and demonstrate that you have their best interest in mind.

 

Outbound email

A cold, outbound email is another way for you to get in front of a prospect that hasn’t yet heard of you. With email, you can build relationships with prospects, build trust with them and educate them about your product or service.

A word of caution: Spam filters are a big barrier to success for this tactic. If you slap in a bunch of keywords and send a “buy our stuff” message to your database, your email will end up in your prospect’s spam folder and not their inbox. 

So, how do you avoid this? First, personalize your message and make it conversational. Even if you rely on automation to send your outreach sequences, make sure you add the human touch to your message to minimize the chances of your email getting filtered out.

 

Social selling

Social media. What can we say about it besides everyone is on it? So, why not get in front of new prospects there?

Social selling allows you to use social media channels to find new prospects, build connections with them and generate more leads. For the B2B world, LinkedIn is a great platform to use. But, depending on your ICP, you might also want to consider using Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. 

 

Multi-channel outreach

Teams used to rely on one or two channels to generate leads. That’s no longer the case—and that’s where multi-channel outreach becomes essential. 

Buyers today don’t just read one magazine, listen to one podcast or use one social media platform. They’re much more complex than that—which means you need to stay top of mind for them. With the right outbound strategy, you can do just that.

That may mean that your outreach plans include cold calling, a follow-up email, a message on LinkedIn and other forms of direct communication. Find the balance that works best for your ICP and lean into it.

 

Who makes up the outbound team?

When you’re putting together an outbound team, there are a few key positions you need to fill, which include; 

1. Sales development representatives

Sales development reps (SDRs) are the frontline of many outbound lead gen strategies. They’re the ones cold calling prospects and sending emails—day after day after day. They’re the ones tasked with initially pitching your product/service to the prospects, and getting a commitment from the prospect to learn more.

 

2. Account executives

Account executives take the warm lead from the SDRs and move them (if all goes well) through to closed-won. An effective account executive will always act in the best interest of the lead—and the company—by clearly communicating the value of the product/service they’re selling. Just like SDRs, they’re intimately familiar with your company’s ICP so they know exactly how to speak to the value the prospect can expect and will receive.

 

3. Content marketers

Content marketers are often associated with inbound marketing, but don’t take that to mean they don’t play a critical role in outbound lead gen. In fact, great content marketers can arm your SDRs with content to include in their emails. These could be exciting articles about your industry or products, or they could be short videos, infographics and ebooks that help you explain how your product works in a fun way.

 

Final thoughts

Now that you’re familiar with outbound lead generation—the process of reaching out to potential customers who don’t know you exist yet—you can decide if it’s the best strategy for your organization. While outbound lead gen can be a great way to get more leads and grow your business, it can also be a lot of work. So, make sure you set yourself up for success.

At Rev, we believe outbound success starts at the very beginning, by targeting the right accounts—the ones that fit the characteristics you care about most. We’re not just talking about firmographic details. We believe it’s important to understand how your ideal customers run their business. And with the help of AI, you don’t need to guess. Our Sales Development Platform can tell you exactly what your ideal customer profile is—and it can build you a prioritized list of other accounts that look just like them.

Want a free list of customers that match your ideal customer profile? Contact us.

How to build a high-performing RevOps team

Revenue operations (RevOps) is all about optimization—whether that means improving sales cycles, analyzing customer data to understand their needs and preferences better, or developing effective lead generation strategies

As such, you’ll need a team of skilled professionals with a range of expertise in go-to-market strategies. This team will tackle everything from marketing and sales to finance and customer support.

But depending on the size and resources of your organization, creating the optimal RevOps team structure can be tricky. How do you set clear objectives for your team? Which roles are needed to achieve those goals? What tools will the team need to be effective? And what are the benefits of revenue operations teams in the first place?

This guide will explore all these questions and more. It will also provide you with everything you need to know about building a high-performing revenue operations team.

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll learn:

  • The core goals and KPIs of a RevOps team 
  • How to create a revenue operations org chart 
  • Examples of how to write revenue operations job descriptions 
  • The essential tech stack for revenue operations teams

Let’s get started!

 

What are the core goals and KPIs of a RevOps team?

You have two main options when it comes to building a revenue operations team:

  1. Establish a RevOps team within your organization, recruiting members from existing departments such as finance, sales, marketing and customer service to take on new tasks and responsibilities related to revenue generation.
  2. Create a dedicated RevOps function from scratch, building a team solely responsible for all revenue-related tasks and decisions within your organization.

The option you choose will depend on several factors, such as your organization’s size and structure, your available resources and your team’s level of experience with revenue operations.

Either way, the core goals and KPIs of your RevOps team will be to:

  • Streamline and coordinate revenue generation activities, processes, and goals across all departments and functions
  • Increase visibility into revenue performance, sales pipeline health, marketing operations, customer lifetime value and more
  • Monitor metrics and KPIs, such as monthly recurring revenue (MRR), customer churn rate, average revenue per user (ARPU) and more

Achieving those goals will take a collaborative effort across various functions within your company. So, whether you’re building a team from scratch or recruiting members from within your organization, it helps to start by creating a revenue operations org chart to identify the key roles and team hierarchy.

 

How to structure your RevOps org chart

Since revenue operations is still a relatively new field, there is no one “right” way to structure your team. However, it’s essential to establish a hierarchy of roles so that there is clear ownership and accountability for revenue-related tasks.

You will typically have a revenue operations leader at the top of your RevOps organizational chart. For this role, you’ll look to hire someone with a background in revenue management or sales operations, who can effectively manage and lead a team. Typically, this person’s title will be Director or VP of Revenue Operations.

Below the VP of RevOps, your org chart will typically have senior-management positions like Sales Ops, Marketing Ops and CS Ops. The people in these roles will work closely with the departments they support and ensure that all revenue-generating teams are aligned and working effectively.

Depending on the size of your organization and team, your organization’s revenue operations team structure may also include specialists in areas like sales enablement, product management, financial analysis, customer success operations and more. These specialists will take on specific tasks or projects within the RevOps team, such as optimizing the customer onboarding process or tracking product usage metrics.

Here’s an example of an org chart that follows this revenue operations team structure:

After creating a RevOps org chart specifically for your organization, you may find that you’ll need to recruit new talent or cultivate certain skill sets within your team.

The following section will share examples of job descriptions you can use during your hiring process or when outlining the skills required of your employees that will transition into these roles.

 

RevOps job description examples

Writing a job description for a revenue operations role can be challenging, as you must find candidates with technical and business acumen. The following are examples of job descriptions for two key roles you may need to fill to create the optimal RevOps team structure.

 

VP of Revenue Operations job description example

The VP of Revenue Operations (RevOps) will drive revenue growth strategies across sales, marketing and customer success. The ideal candidate will have strong leadership skills and experience managing a revenue-focused team. Reporting directly to the CEO, the VP of Revenue Operations will also work closely with other department heads to ensure our RevOps team has the necessary resources and support to meet revenue goals.

 

Some of the other key responsibilities for this role include:

  • Defining and implementing a revenue operations team structure that is optimized for performance and efficiency
  • Providing strategic direction for RevOps initiatives and collaborating with other departments to ensure alignment with overall business goals
  • Identifying the right tools and technologies to support revenue operations, such as CRM software, marketing automation platforms and analytics tools
  • Maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders across the organization and working closely with them to achieve revenue targets
  • Overseeing revenue performance and identifying areas where improvements can be made to maximize revenue growth
  • Forecasting revenue and creating strategies to meet revenue targets in the face of changing market conditions
  • Defining KPIs and tracking performance against targets to identify areas for improvement

What we’re looking for:

  • 10+ years of experience in a leadership role within an enterprise organization, dealing directly with driving revenue through sales, marketing, customer success and/or operations
  • Extensive knowledge of all aspects of revenue operations, including marketing automation platforms, analytics tools and stakeholder relationship management
  • Strong analytical skills, with a demonstrated ability to analyze large amounts of data and identify key trends that can be used to improve revenue performance
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to work closely with different teams and stakeholders across the organization
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail, with the ability to effectively manage multiple projects at once
  • Proven track record of success in driving revenue growth through effective revenue operations strategies and tactics

RevOps Analyst job description example

The Revenue Operations Analyst will be responsible for supporting the growth and development of the revenue operations team by building effective processes and systems to enable data-driven decision-making, collaborating with other teams and stakeholders, and managing key metrics.

 

Some of the other key responsibilities for this role include:

  • Identifying and implementing tools and systems to effectively manage revenue operations processes, including data collection, analysis, forecasting and reporting
  • Developing and maintaining team budgets, including budgeting for software licenses, marketing campaigns, employee resources and other expenses
  • Collaborating with other teams and stakeholders, such as sales, marketing, finance, product development and IT, to ensure goals are aligned with overall company and departmental objectives
  • Managing relevant metrics, such as customer lifetime value, churn rate and net revenue, to help identify areas for improvement and track overall team performance
  • Using financial dashboards, reporting tools, and other analytics software to gain insights into performance and identify trends or patterns that could impact revenue generation
  • Establishing best practices for RevOps, including forecasting, pricing optimization strategies and automation processes

 

What we’re looking for:

  • 4+ years of experience in RevOps or a related field
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, with the ability to think critically and make data-driven decisions
  • Experience working with a variety of revenue operations tools and platforms, including CRM systems, marketing automation software and financial reporting dashboards
  • Proven track record of delivering revenue growth and increasing operational efficiency in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with diverse teams and stakeholders, including sales, marketing, finance and IT

Essential tech stack for the optimal revenue operations team structure

Another component of a high-performing RevOps team is having the right tools and technology to streamline processes and collaborate effectively.

Some essential tools in the tech stack for revenue operations include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) system: A CRM, such as Pipedrive, is key for tracking and managing customer data and interactions, as well as automated lead scoring and nurturing.
  • Project management software: Project management software such as Asana can help team members stay organized and on track with their work.
  • Data analytics tool: A data analytics tool such as Tableau can help revenue operations team members gain valuable insights into customer behavior, marketing effectiveness and more.
  • Marketing automation software: Marketing automation software such as Pardot can help increase efficiency and automate marketing efforts, from lead generation to nurturing and conversion.
  • Sales Development Platform: A Sales Development Platform like Rev is another essential tool for RevOps teams, as it streamlines the process of identifying new market segments, targeting accounts with a high propensity to engage, reducing churn and driving predictable revenue growth.

Work closely with your revenue operations team members to determine which tools best suit your specific needs and goals. Investing in the right technology can help ensure that your team can achieve maximum success, generate revenue and drive real results for your organization.

 

Final thoughts

Establishing the optimal revenue operations team structure is about having the right people, processes and tools. By focusing on these key factors, you can set your RevOps team up for success and help drive long-term revenue growth for your organization.

Want to hit the ground running with your RevOps team? Contact Rev to get a free prioritized list of high-fit target accounts that resemble your best customers.