5 strategies to effectively sell software to enterprises

Selling software to enterprises? Good luck! Enterprise sales are tough–even for the most seasoned sales professional.

You’ve got to navigate complex decision-making processes, deal with a lot of red tape and bureaucracy, and build strong relationships with key decision-makers.

But guess what? Enterprise sales is a skill. And that means you can crush your sales goals with the right mindset and approach.

And in this blog post, we’re sharing some key tips and strategies to help you do just that. So, this advice will help you take your software sales career to the next level, whether you’re just getting started or looking to boost your sales performance.


What is enterprise software sales?

Enterprise software sales involves navigating the complex, often bureaucratic world of large organizations to sell software solutions to key decision-makers. To succeed, you’ll need to have a deep understanding of the software you’re selling and the needs and challenges large organizations face.  


Challenges of selling software to enterprises

Enterprise software sales can be the bane of your existence if you don’t have an effective strategy for approaching and engaging potential customers.

At the core of this challenge is the fact that software solutions are often high-priced, complex products that require a significant investment in time and resources to implement. 

On top of that, large organizations have strict requirements for vetting software solutions, including extensive market research, product demos, and trial periods to ensure that the software meets their specific needs.

To overcome these challenges, you’ll need to navigate this complex landscape and develop a tailored approach that resonates with potential customers. This involves understanding their needs, building strong relationships, offering valuable insights and support, and effectively addressing any concerns or hesitations.


Selling software to enterprises vs. selling software to small businesses or individual consumers 

Enterprise software sales require a different approach than other types of software sales. Unlike selling to smaller organizations or individual consumers, selling to enterprises requires a strategic mindset and a focus on building long-term relationships with potential clients. 

Additionally, you will need to be adaptable to different situations and environments. Enterprise software sales can often be highly competitive and require you to constantly stay up-to-date on industry trends and emerging technologies.

For example, think about how different it would be to sell software to a small start-up company versus a large software enterprise like Microsoft or Google. At the smaller company, you would likely need to focus more on building rapport with key decision-makers and tailoring your pitch to fit the individual needs of that particular client.

In contrast, selling software to an enterprise like Google would require a more in-depth understanding of the company’s software landscape and demonstrate your ability to understand their specific needs and respond to their unique challenges. This may include leveraging your knowledge of industry trends and emerging technologies and developing strong relationships with software engineers and software vendors at Google.

Overall, succeeding in enterprise software sales requires a combination of the following:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Technical expertise
  • The ability to effectively position your software as the ideal solution to your prospects’ problems 


5 effective enterprise software sales strategies and tips

To succeed in software enterprise sales, you need to be highly organized and responsive, as well as flexible and adaptable to changing customer needs. You should also build strong relationships with customers, leveraging your knowledge of software technologies to help them achieve their business goals. Here are five strategies and tips to help you stay ahead of your competition.


#1 Update your ideal customer profile

If you created your ideal customer profile (ICP) years ago using firmographic and demographic data, it’s time for a much-needed update. 

How do you update it? By adding behavioral characteristics, companies display when they’re ready to buy software solutions. At Rev, we call this type of information exegraphic data. Our Sales Development Platform makes it easy to collect and analyze that information to inform your sales strategy. 

We’ll talk more about the benefits of exegraphics for software enterprise sales at the end of this post. But you can start by using the following questions to update your ICP: 

  • Which enterprises are you already selling software to?
  • How do those enterprises typically purchase software solutions?
  • What were the specific pain points and challenges those enterprises faced when they first contacted you? Are there any similarities across those enterprises? 
  • How can you position your software products or services as a solution to those specific pain points and challenges?


#2 Identify your high-fit target accounts

Focus on quality, not quantity. Rather than trying to sell to as many enterprises as possible, focus your efforts on those most likely to buy from you. To do this, you need a method to identify and prioritize high-fit target accounts.

Mapping out your ICP, as we just mentioned, is a great starting point, as you can use this information to target the right accounts and focus your sales efforts on those most likely to be a good fit.

Of course, you’ll also need a lead scoring method to determine which companies best fit the bill. At Rev, we recommend prioritizing the companies that behave and operate most like your current list of best customers. 


#3 Personalize your messaging for key decision-makers

No one likes hearing sales pitches that lack personal touch. So, customize your messaging for key decision-makers within your targeted accounts. Again, this is where exegraphic data is beneficial.

If you can identify a current pain point that tends to influence prospects to buy, you can mention in your pitch how you’ve helped similar companies solve this issue and how you can do the same for your prospective customer. 

Demonstrating that you understand your client’s needs will help build trust and establish yourself as a reliable software enterprise sales professional. 


#4 Lead prospects through the customer journey

The customer journey for enterprises is a lot longer and more complex than for smaller businesses. Enterprise software sales professionals must be prepared to guide their clients through the process. 

This can involve everything from sharing content highlighting your company’s software solutions to answering questions and providing feedback on the client’s software needs.

Demos are also a vital part of the software enterprise sales process. So, it’s essential to make sure you can present the software in a way that is engaging, informative, and useful for potential clients. 


#5 Maintain contact after closing the deal  

Enterprise software sales don’t stop once you’ve closed the deal. You should continue building and maintaining relationships with your clients to ensure their continued success with your software solution.

This ongoing support will likely be a collaborative effort across the sales, marketing, and customer success teams. So, communicate regularly with these teams and develop a system to ensure all accounts receive all the information they need. 

Also, remember that building strong relationships is key to long-term success, as it’s one of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction and prevent customer churn.


How to build a high-performing enterprise sales team

You can’t do this alone. So, at some point, you’ll need to invest time to build a high-performing sales team. To start, identify the qualities and skills your team members will need to execute your enterprise sales strategy.

Some key attributes to look for include strong prospecting and closing skills, a deep understanding of your target market, and the ability to build effective relationships with key decision-makers.

You’ll hire these individuals to fill roles like:

  • Account executives, who are responsible for targeting and acquiring new accounts
  • Business development reps, who reach out to potential customers and secure new business
  • Sales engineers, who provide technical expertise and product demonstrations to clients


How exegraphic data from Rev can help you reach your enterprise software sales goals

AI technology is transforming the software sales industry, and companies that leverage tools are already seeing tremendous success. For example, by using a tool like Rev, you can collect and analyze exegraphic data to better understand your target prospects and identify the key decision makers and influencers within their organizations. 

Whether you’re looking to grow your business or improve your enterprise sales strategy, Rev can help you achieve your goals by providing you with data indicating how likely an enterprise is to show interest in your offer. 

Want to see for yourself? Contact us, and we’ll show you how Rev can help you succeed in enterprise software sales by giving you a free audit of your ICP. 

6 tips to optimize lead handoff between marketing and sales

You have one hour. Yes, just one hour to follow up with leads and secure the best chance of speaking to key decision-makers and converting them into customers—at least, that’s what a study from the Harvard Business Review found.

Of course, this one-hour rule only really applies if your lead handoff process prioritizes highly-qualified leads that are, in fact, ready and able to buy. Unfortunately, at many companies, that’s not always the case. Low-quality leads make their way to sales, and some of the most qualified leads fall through the cracks.

Sound familiar? If so, this blog post will give you 6 tips to optimize your lead handoff process by getting your marketing and sales teams working together more efficiently. We’ll also share how you can use AI technology and exegraphic data to find the best-fit leads at the top of the funnel.

Let’s begin!


What is lead handoff between marketing and sales?

Lead handoff is the transfer of marketing-generated leads to sales for further follow-up and potential conversion into customers. It’s a critical step in marketing and sales alignment and must be handled carefully to ensure that no prospective customer falls through the cracks.

You see the issue? Lead handoff is a particularly challenging process for sales and marketing teams to get right. It’s time-sensitive. It needs to be highly efficient. And it requires shared definitions for terms like “marketing qualified leads” and “sales accepted leads.”


When is a lead qualified for handoff from marketing to sales?

There are several criteria that marketing teams should consider when deciding if a lead is worth passing along to sales. These include things like the contact’s engagement with marketing campaigns, their level of interest in products and services, their budget and their timeline for making a purchase decision.

It also helps if marketing and sales teams have shared definitions for the following terms:

  • Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
  • Sales accepted lead (SAL)
  • Sales qualified lead (SQL)

Marketing qualified lead

A marketing qualified lead is a contact who has engaged with marketing in meaningful ways, usually through marketing campaigns or content. The marketing team decides if the lead meets the criteria for qualification and passes them along to sales as an MQL.

For example, if someone attends a marketing webinar, they might be classified as an MQL because they have shown interest in marketing content and may be ready to learn more from sales.


Sales accepted lead

A sales accepted lead (SAL) is a marketing qualified lead that the sales team has accepted for further consideration. This means marketing has done their job, and now it’s up to the sales team to nurture the lead through the sales funnel and convert them into a customer.

To qualify a SAL, sales usually relies on information that marketing shares during the handoff process. This could include contact information, form responses or marketing content the lead has engaged with.

For example, a sales team at a marketing tech company might receive a lead from marketing that has expressed an interest in their marketing automation product. The marketing team could pass over the contact information and any engagement data showing which marketing content they engaged with and how often.

However, the sales team will still need to evaluate whether the lead has the potential to be a good fit by also considering things like whether the lead fits their ideal customer profile and whether the lead has the budget for a new marketing automation solution.


Sales qualified lead

A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a lead that sales reps have determined to possess the potential to become a customer based on how they’ve responded to sales outreach activities. 

For example, the lead may have responded positively to emails or calls from the sales team. They may also have asked several questions about the product and submitted a form for a demo request.

If your lead handoff process is properly optimized, marketing will send sales only the most qualified leads that meet the agreed-upon criteria for a SAL. This way, marketing ensures that sales isn’t wasting time on low-quality leads that won’t result in closed deals, allowing sales reps to focus on more productive tasks that can shorten the sales cycle.


6 ways to improve your lead handoff process

Every company is different. So, you’ll need to experiment to find the most efficient way for your sales and marketing teams to perfect lead handoff. Still, there are some basic principles and strategies that you can implement right away.


#1 Establish a shared definition of a SAL

The definition of a SAL in the previous section is just a starting point. Your sales and marketing teams should agree on what leads will qualify as a SAL for your company specifically. To achieve this goal, sales should provide marketing with set criteria for what makes a qualified lead, including customer pain points, unique interests and budget size.

For example, sales can tell marketing that qualified leads need to have at least $10,000 in budgeted spend for their marketing efforts, or they need to have expressed a serious interest in the product. 

Knowing these criteria upfront will help marketing focus on creating and distributing content that appeals to qualified leads instead of wasting resources trying to attract leads who aren’t likely to convert.

Once marketing has identified the qualified leads, they should provide sales with the lead’s contact information, background info, interests, and information on whatever factors could influence a purchase decision. 

These insights will give sales a jumpstart in engaging the leads by allowing them to tailor their conversations around topics relevant to each lead.


#2 Automate lead scoring

Automating lead scoring can help reduce the time marketing and sales teams take to evaluate lead qualification. Lead scoring is the process of assigning numerical values to leads based on their behavior, allowing marketing and sales teams to prioritize leads that are more likely to convert. 

Lead scoring typically takes into account a wide range of criteria, such as website visits, page views, email interactions, social media activity, and lead data like industry or job title. At Rev, we like to add a bit more rigor to this process by using exegraphic data. What’s that?

Exegraphic data is data on the factors that represent how a company operates and behaves. It can provide insights into a customer’s motivation, interests and other external factors influencing their buying decisions.

For example, by looking at the exegraphics of your best customers, you may find that businesses are most likely to buy from you when they’re in the process of expanding their marketing team or have recently hired a new CMO.

With that information, Rev’s Sales Development Platform automatically prioritizes the targets that best fit your ideal customer profile. That way, sales can quickly identify and contact the most promising leads.


#3 Use a CRM that streamlines lead handoff

In addition to lead scoring, you can also automate lead handoff by using a CRM (customer relationship management) system. If you’re unfamiliar, a CRM is a marketing tool that helps sales and marketing teams store, manage, monitor, analyze customer information and track marketing campaigns.

Using a CRM, marketing teams can collect and store leads’ information in one place and automatically assign those leads to sales reps based on individual lead criteria. 

For example, marketing teams can automatically assign leads based on lead scores, the marketing campaign they were generated from, or their position in the sales funnel.

Rather than manually transferring lead information from marketing to sales, a CRM system makes it easy for marketing teams to set parameters for what type of lead should be assigned to different sales reps. 

This automation helps marketing and sales teams create a seamless transition from marketing efforts to successful sales conversions.


#4 Regularly analyze lead performance

Measuring the long-term lead performance is essential to ensure your process is working and that marketing and sales teams continue improving how they guide leads through each stage of the sales funnel.

Common metrics to track and evaluate during this analysis include:

  • Marketing qualified lead (MQL) to sales qualified lead (SQL) ratio
  • Average sales cycle length
  • Sales conversion rates

If any of these metrics are lagging, it could indicate a need for better marketing and sales alignment. Similarly, understanding which marketing channels lead to the most successful conversions can help marketing teams focus their efforts and ensure that leads from certain channels get handled with the utmost care.


#5 Implement feedback loops between sales and marketing

Communication is critical when it comes to marketing and sales alignment. Sales teams should provide marketing departments with feedback on which lead sources are most successful and which marketing messages resonate best with leads.

This feedback can and should be incorporated into marketing campaigns moving forward. It can also help marketing teams target their efforts more effectively by focusing on lead sources that are proven to work.

To make this process easier for marketing and sales teams, it’s a good idea to set up automated feedback loops. This way, marketing and sales can stay in sync with each other’s efforts. 

For example, marketing can set up automatic reports to know when marketing campaigns or channels have generated a high volume of SALs. 


#6 Continue to optimize the process

There will always be room for improvement when it comes to lead handoff. To keep the process efficient, marketing teams should continually review their lead sources and campaigns to identify areas for improvement. Similarly, sales teams should review their qualifying criteria and methods to find ways to better qualify leads.

For example, at Rev, we recommend companies continue updating their ideal customer profile (ICP) as their client base grows. Why? Because your ICP is rarely static. It evolves as the market changes, your company grows in size and scale, and when you attempt to expand into new market segments.

Using Rev, you can create a dynamic model of your ICP (we call it an aiCP). This model considers changes in your customers’ exegraphics, firmographics, intent, and more to ensure you’re marketing and selling to the right customers. 

Once marketing and sales teams better understand their ICP, they can collaborate more efficiently on defining which leads marketing should prioritize most for handover to sales.


Final thoughts

Lead handoff can be challenging to get right due to the complexity of timing for follow-up and defining the criteria of a qualified lead. However, with the right strategy, marketing and sales teams can collaborate to develop an efficient system for managing leads while also increasing visibility into lead quality and conversion rates.

Want to ensure you’re targeting and passing the best leads to your sales team? Contact us, and we’ll give a free audit of your ICP and use exegraphic data to show you the leads most likely to become your next best customers!

9 steps to craft your perfect go-to-market strategy

A well defined go-to-market strategy is the difference between a successful launch and a flop. It outlines your product’s target market, customers, channels, pricing and more—and makes sure that all teams are aligned and working together.

Creating and perfecting a go-to-market (GTM) strategy that works for your business is essential. It optimizes the way your business stands out from the competition, reaches more customers and increases revenue. Not only does it help you effectively communicate your value proposition and product offering, but it also helps bring customers closer to you.

Whether you’re new to building a GTM strategy—or you’re ready to refresh any areas of your existing one—this blog post is for you. You’ll get a close look at the critical components of go-to-market plans, the steps to create one and tips to help you make the most out of your strategy. 


What is a go-to market strategy?

A go-to-market strategy is a plan to introduce your product or service to the market, reach customers and generate sales. It outlines the steps you need to take to get your product or service to market and the tactics you need to use to make it successful.

GTM is a critical part of a successful business plan. It outlines how a business will make its products/services from concept to reality and create an effective path to market, fully ready for launch. It’s here in the GTM strategy that most companies create the process for identifying, segmenting, and targeting potential customers and the tactics and strategies marketing, sales and customer service will use to reach them.

Strong GTM strategies also include a combination of market research, product positioning and pricing, and orchestrated plans across marketing, sales and customer service. The comprehensive approach is what enables your product/service to reach the most potential customers.


Why do you need a go-to-market strategy?

You might already be doing several things that are part of a comprehensive GTM strategy and wondering why you need to formalize your efforts. Here’s why you need it. 

  1. Position your company against competitors: A well-designed GTM strategy ensures that you understand how you compare to your competitors. Through this process, you’ll gain insight into the key differentiators you should play up in your messaging to customers and prospects, giving you the edge with customers and any new markets you decide to enter.
  2. Create a unified inbound and outbound strategy: Far too often, companies run inbound and outbound efforts independently. With a GTM strategy, you can tightly align the two to reach more ideal prospects. You’ll also be able to create campaigns that are well-tailored for the individual needs of each potential customer segment, and regardless of how they enter your funnel, you’ll know they’re getting a consistent message from your team.
  3. Achieve your business goals: A GTM strategy gives you a roadmap of where your business wants to go and how it will get there. By positioning yourself correctly and understanding your customer base, you can adjust as needed to achieve success quicker than the competition. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to make accurate predictions and decisions that drive your business forward faster. 
  4. Reduce marketing costs: By evaluating your competition and crafting an effective inbound and outbound strategy, you can save high costs on marketing efforts. You’ll be able to focus resources on campaigns that are more likely to yield results instead of wasting money on activities that won’t drive growth. 
  5. Understand your customers: A go-to-market strategy enables you to deeply understand your customers, their needs and their pain. This data can be used to tailor your products and services (and your sales and marketing efforts) to meet their specific needs, which can help you increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

Components of a GTM strategy

If you’re still reading, you’ve seen the vision of what a GTM strategy can do for you and your business. Now, let’s drive into the components you need for your strategy.

  1. Product market fit: Your GTM strategy needs to ensure that your product has market fit. You’ll do this by talking to customers, conducting research and keeping a pulse on your market. It’s not enough to have market fit. Make sure your product also has a key benefit that differentiates it from the pack.
  2. Target audience: You understand how your product works—and you need to understand how your target audience could benefit from it. Knowing the ins and outs of your target market and potential customers can give you actionable data to inform the direction of your  marketing campaigns and product distribution plans.
  3. Competition and demand: You’ve got competition. (Louder for the companies in the back who think they don’t.) You shouldn’t ignore it. Get intimately familiar with how you compare to them, and what sort of demand they’re seeing compared to what you’re seeing. This assessment will help you understand if/where you need to invest in product development to stay afloat—and where you can invest in product development to take the lead.
  4. Distribution: Your GTM strategy should consider how your products will be distributed to customers. It includes understanding where potential customers are located and determining the most efficient way to get the product into their hands (or network, or database…. You get it.). 
  5. Pricing: Let’s not forget pricing. Your pricing should be based on the outcomes your product can create and its ability to solve customer pain points. Consider how you can price your products and services to maximize profits while meeting customer expectations. 
  6. Promotions: Promotional activities, such as advertising and public relations campaigns, are necessary for the success of most GTM strategies. It’s all about creating awareness of your product and aircover for when sales teams start outreach. 
  7. Measurement: Last, but certainly not least, you need to track and measure the performance of all GTM functions. This will help you understand where to double down and where to divest. 


How to build a go-to-market strategy

Whether you’re launching a new product or expanding into a new market, having an effective go-to-market strategy is vital for any business looking to increase its reach and stay ahead of the competition. So, if you’re ready, let’s get to it.

To help alleviate the confusion around GTM strategies, we’ve created this comprehensive guide on creating an impactful GTM strategy that increases visibility and drives sales and conversions. Here are 9 essential steps for creating an effective GTM plan for your products and services.


1. Get clear on your ICP (ideal customer profile)

Every company should have an ideal customer profile (ICP), which clearly documents what their dream customer looks like. This document helps the entire organization understand whom they’re selling to and why. It helps the company narrow their focus and invest their energy on the right accounts. Most ICPs include details like industry, company size and geographic location. But, that’s not enough anymore—and the companies with strong GTM strategies know that.

So, stop and really think about the characteristics that your best customers have. Are they early or late adopters? Do they have a growing or shrinking IT workforce? This level of detail that goes deep to uncover how companies operate, is called exegraphic data. And while your current ICP may have only included demographic and technographic details, you’ll change the game (for the better) by bringing exegraphics into the fold. 

Lastly, don’t be like other companies. Don’t let this doc collect dust. It should be a living document that’s adjusted to account for your product’s evolution and changing market conditions.


2. Craft a value proposition for messages

Your value proposition should be crafted to clearly articulate your product’s or service’s main benefits and how it will solve a customer’s problem. Your value proposition should be clear and tailored to your target market. It needs to be eye-catching and easy for customers to understand.

Concisely explain your product’s unique features, how it differs from competitors and how it will meet customers’ needs.

When crafting your value proposition, consider the core benefits that differentiate you from the competition and create a clear message that resonates with your target market as they browse your website.

Tip: Use customer reviews and testimonials to support your value propositions.


3. Test your messaging

Once you’ve crafted your value proposition, it’s time to test it. (After all, they need to resonate with your target audience.) You can test your messaging online and offline, with customers and prospects. Test variations of the value props to see which show the most promise. 


4. Optimize ads based on messaging tests

Once you’ve tested your value statements and determined a winner, you can start optimizing your ad campaigns. Afterall, advertising is a critical component of any go-to-market strategy as it helps to build awareness, generate leads and ultimately increase conversions.

Using the results from your messaging tests, you can create ads that target the same audience with more relevant copy and visuals. Be sure to use up-to-date data when optimizing your campaigns, so they’re consistently delivering the best results.


5. Understand your buyer’s journey

The buyer’s journey is the process by which customers become aware of, evaluate, and purchase products or services. Everyone involved in your GTM strategy needs to know what the buyer’s journey looks like as if it was the back of their hand. It’s this level of obsession that will empower everyone to spot friction and come up with innovative solutions.

As you dive into the buyer’s journey, think about the questions they have at each stage, what they’re looking for and how you can solve their problem. Creating content that resonates with your target market at every stage of their journey is important and increases the chances that they’ll stick around until the end.


6. Build awareness and brand demand with inbound and outbound methods

Building awareness is essential for any successful go-to-market strategy. You must reach your target market with the right message on the proper channels.

Inbound marketing methods such as content marketing, SEO and social media are effective ways to engage with potential customers—they’re looking for you. Outbound methods such as email, print advertising and direct mail can help you reach a broader range of potential customers.

Mixing inbound and outbound methods helps you create brand recognition, generate leads and build customer relationships.


7. Optimize your sales pipeline

Your sales pipeline is the process by which prospects move from leads to opportunities and ultimately become paying customers. Optimize your sales pipeline to maximize conversions while reducing costs.

Think about each step of the process and ensure it’s as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Consider automating specific steps, such as follow-up emails or lead qualification. Also, look at ways to measure the success of each step to identify any areas that need improvement.

Often, the first step in optimizing pipeline is making sure that your prospecting team knows who to contact and why.


8. Strategize ways to tap into your current customer database

Your existing customers are likely your most valuable source of revenue. To maximize your ROI, consider increasing existing account value by upselling or cross-selling products and services.

Also, consider what incentives you can provide for current customers and how to engage them with relevant content. These incentives should include discounts, free products or services, exclusive content and other offers to encourage customers to purchase more from you.


9. Adjust and iterate as you go

No go-to-market strategy is perfect the first time; adjustments must be made based on feedback and data analysis to get the best results. As you go along, keep track of the successes and failures so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Make sure to track key performance indicators (KPIs), such as leads generated, conversion rate, cost per acquisition, etc., to measure success. And, be prepared to make changes quickly if something isn’t working—after all, the best go-to-market strategies are constantly being optimized.


Set your GTM strategy up for success

A GTM strategy will help your team march in unison in the right direction. But if you made even one wrong assumption at the very beginning of your launch, your team will go wildly off course and not reach your goal.

One of the most common missteps? Having an incomplete picture of who your ideal customer is. Let us help. Rev’s AI-powered Sales Development Platform can tell you the hidden characteristics that make your best customers your best—and find you others that look just like them. Our platform can show your demand gen team which accounts to target and give your SDRs a prioritized list of accounts to contact.

Contact us, and we’ll get you started with a FREE ICP audit so you can understand the deep and more meaningful characteristics of your ideal customers.

6 proven methods for reducing churn, and how to prevent it altogether

When companies wait to put customer retention strategies into action until after churn becomes an issue, they essentially write the script for their own demise. Look at once-industry leaders Blockbuster, Kodak and Sears. Each failed to adapt to an evolving market. Almost as quickly as they skyrocketed in popularity, they lost their customers and fell well behind their competitors. While these are B2C examples, we’re all familiar with B2B companies in our industries that are slipping down and to the right. Now, their logos collect dust while churn-savvy companies collect revenue.

At the other end of the spectrum are companies that prioritize customer satisfaction and get ahead of churn before it eats away at their bottom line. Churn-proof your organization and you become, in a word, timeless! Apple and Amazon are prime examples—both surely had growing and retaining a loyal customer base baked into their business strategy from the outset, making the case for early churn prevention and regular churn reduction.

The results are in. Reducing and preventing churn is an absolute must-do for successful, sustainable business growth.


Identifying customer churn

Customer churn (aka attrition or turnover) is the amount of customers that stop using a product or service over a period of time. 

High churn rates substantially decrease revenue, but having a strategy in place to act on early can change the odds of tipping the scale too far too fast to recover. A hopeful statistic: According to research from Bain & Company, just 5% increase in customer retention positively impacts profits by 25% to 95%. 

Left unchecked, however, churn will lead to a decline in revenue, lower profits and decreased market share. Identifying the warning signs of churn, then, is critical to sustaining a business. 

Traditional red flags for churn include: decreased engagement, declining usage, customer complaints, late or missed payments, low Net Promoter Score (NPS) and lack of response to outreach. There are quieter signals of churn as well—harder to spot at a glance and, therefore, detrimental to revenue growth. When a company experiences office closings or a reduction in workforce, security concerns, or fail to adapt their product or processes to sudden change (global pandemic, anyone?,) they may start the slow march to annihilation without warning. When the signs of churn are identified too late, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the reasons why your customers are churning, resulting in missed opportunities for improvement. 

Think of your last lost customer. Was the problem poor customer service, lack of perceived value or inconsistent product quality? Did you provide a poor user experience, or was it a lack of communication that drove loyal customers away? Did reducing your workforce to cut costs actually hit the end user where it hurt the most? Having strategies in place to spot and address churn early–before the possible reasons pile up and become impossible to identify (let alone correct) enables companies to remain competitive. 


How to reduce churn

Monitoring six touchpoints in your customer experience will help nurture and maintain your customer base. Relationship-building throughout the lifecycle is crucial to reduce churn. Have a strategy that supports customers during: 

  1. Onboarding
  2. Education
  3. Feedback 
  4. Product usage
  5. Engagement
  6. Follow-up


Steps to take at each touchpoint are detailed below. 


1. Improve your onboarding experience

Your first defense against churn is to help new users quickly and easily learn how to use your product or service, understand its value and achieve their desired outcomes. And remember, keep it simple. Some tactics for doing so include:

  • Providing clear and concise instructions
  • Creating a personalized approach
  • Presenting your value proposition 
  • Being interactive and engaging
  • Allowing for progress tracking
  • Offering ongoing support


Another way to optimize user experience and grow a loyal customer base during onboarding is to drive home your company values and beliefs. To do this, you’ll need to first define them. Craft a clear and concise statement that describes what your company stands for and what you want to achieve. Your values should be aligned with your brand and mission.

Next, find ways to incorporate those values into your company culture. This can include hiring practices, employee training and internal communication.

Showcase your values in your messaging. Ensure that they are prominently featured throughout your website, social media and marketing materials. Use language that reflects your values when communicating on behalf of your brand and products or services.

Engaging in social responsibility is another way to show you don’t just talk the talk. Supporting local communities, environmental sustainability and charitable causes that align with your company standards.

Finally, always engage with your customers and stakeholders in ways that reflect your company’s values and beliefs. This can include responding to customer inquiries and feedback in a timely and respectful manner, and showcasing examples of how your company is living its values in the community.


2. Educate your customer

Once your customer is onboarded, they need to be educated. Education is typically focused on building relationships and loyalty—critical to reducing churn and retaining your customer base. It builds trust and credibility and increases customer satisfaction. Provide information and resources about the features and benefits of your products or services, model how to use them effectively and reiterate your value proposition while educating your customer. 


A mini-guide to instructional content

Expert tip: Use different mediums for customer education. Here are some examples to inspire offers that teach while keeping people engaged.

To illustrate the features and benefits of your products or services, consider creating how-to videos. These videos can show step-by-step instructions on how to use the product, how to solve common problems or how to take advantage of advanced features. 

User manuals and guides can also provide detailed information about a product or service in various formats, such as PDFs or physical books. 

Tutorials and online courses provide structured learning experiences for customers. These can include interactive lessons, quizzes and other tools to help customers master a product or service. 

Webinars and live events offer customers the opportunity to learn from experts and ask questions in real time. These events can cover a wide range of topics, from product updates to industry trends and best practices. 

Additionally, infographics and other visual aids can be made to simplify complex information and make it easier for customers to understand key concepts, compare features or provide other educational information.

Give customers a hands-on experience to teach about what you do in a more interactive way. This can include product demos and/or free trials or samples. 

Take advantage of opportunities on your website to help customers learn. Consider creating an easy-to-find knowledge base: A resource library or frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on your website provides easy access to information about your products or services.

Finally, offer training or workshops. Engage users with in-depth knowledge about your products or services and how to use them to maximum impact.

Educating customers about your products or services is an ongoing process that requires a commitment to clear and effective communication. By educating strategically through multiple mediums, businesses create a broad approach that both attracts new customers and builds strong relationships with existing ones, setting themselves up to knock the main goal out of the park: buh-bye churn! 


3. Work the feedback loop

Open lines of communication are key to customer retention. Collecting feedback is essential for understanding how customers feel about your products or services and identifying areas for improvement. Here are some steps you can take to collect feedback and measure satisfaction:

  1. Define your goals: Determine what you want to achieve through customer feedback. Are you looking to improve a specific product or service? Do you want to identify customer pain points? Focus your efforts to collect the most relevant feedback.
  2. Choose your feedback channels: There are many channels you can use to collect customer feedback, such as surveys, feedback forms, social media, email or in-person interviews. Choose the one(s) most appropriate for your business and audience.
  3. Create a feedback survey: Keep it short, easy to understand and ask relevant questions. Use a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions to gather both qualitative and quantitative data.
  4. Analyze the data: Once you have collected feedback, analyze the data to identify patterns and trends. Look for areas where customers are consistently satisfied or dissatisfied and identify opportunities for improvement.
  5. Take action: Use the feedback you have collected to make improvements to your products or services. Communicate with your customers about the changes you are making based on their feedback.
  6. Track customer satisfaction over time: Regularly measure customer satisfaction over time to track trends and identify areas where you need to make further improvements.


By listening to customer feedback and taking action based on their insights, you build stronger relationships and improve the overall customer experience, reducing the risk that they will seek alternative products and services.


4. Integrate retention hooks

In-product retention hooks encourage users to return to you. They’re a great way to keep existing customers engaged and reduce churn. 

Think about your favorite products and apps. The ones you keep coming back to. They likely integrate some mix of the following:

  • Easy-to-use interface: Simple and user-friendly
  • Personalization: Aligned with your preferences, behavior or history
  • Gamification: Including points, badges or levels 
  • Frequent updates and improvements: A demonstrated commitment to quality and satisfaction
  • Social proof: Customer reviews or endorsements that build trust 
  • Customer support: Help should be available to those who ask for it
  • Exclusivity: Unique benefits or access to a product or service


The key to using retention hooks to keep customers engaged and loyal is understanding their needs and preferences. Enhance the effect by continuously evaluating and improving retention strategies to ensure they remain effective in an evolving market.


5. Incentivize engagement

Offering a discount, promo, loyalty program, etc. gets customers to stick around. You may want to personalize offers based on a customer’s purchase history to help them feel understood. Provide excellent customer service and promptly address any issues or concerns that customers may have to earn trust and loyalty. Offer exclusive access to products, services or events so they feel valued. Then, regularly communicate with customers through email newsletters, social media or other channels to keep them engaged with the business and aware of new offerings or promotions.


6. Follow up, check in, re-engage

Retention emails provide your customer with ongoing value, keep them engaged, reduce churn and increase customer lifetime value. 

Personalized messages to inactive customers are a great way to get feedback on why they aren’t using your product or service and rehook them. 

Retention emails can also be used to encourage active customers to make repeat purchases. For example, businesses can send emails that highlight new or popular products, offer personalized recommendations based on past purchases, or provide special discounts or incentives for repeat purchases.

And don’t forget to check-in with your customer base with product updates and education. Make offers of exclusive content and promotions that are not available to the general public. 

By staying in touch with customers and offering relevant content and promotions businesses increase customer loyalty.


How to avoid churn in the first place

Stay ready and you don’t have to get ready, right? This philosophy applies to business beautifully. If you avoid churn in the first place, you don’t have to scramble and spend costly resources (and risk your foothold in your market) attempting to reduce it.

Prevention begins with spotting the deep signals that churn is brewing. Superficial indicators are external or observable factors, often based on actions that customers take or do not take, like decreased engagement, declining usage or customer complaints. Deep indicators of churn, on the other hand, are internal behaviors or traits that may drive customers to abandon a product or service that no longer serves them. In B2B, deep indicators can include changes in team structure or staffing, challenges with scaling, substitution or replacement in key roles, expansion or pivoting to new markets, and more. When a company makes adjustments to the way they operate (adjustments that aren’t apparent in their demographics but impact the behaviors of the organization) churn becomes more and more likely. 

Superficial signals of churn

  • Decreased usage and engagement              
  • Customer complaints
  • Late or missed payments
  • Low NPS
  • Lack of response to outreach

Deep signals of churn

  • Changing needs
  • External impacts on internal business structure
  • Product or service mismatch
  • Competitive pressures
  • Scaling or expanding challenges


Deep factors are difficult to observe directly, but not impossible. In fact, keeping tabs on your customers’ deep signals may save your business from going the way of the dinosaurs. 


Behave like a churn-proof company

Only by focusing on both superficial and deep indicators of churn can businesses develop a most comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and take targeted actions to increase retention and loyalty. 

And those deep signals of churn are only revealed to those with a handle on exegraphic data. Exegraphics are the quiet and early signals of your customers behavior. Understanding exegraphics—insights into how companies operate, like their investment level in customer care for example—makes swift and early intervention possible. 

Exegraphics are your churn-proofing magic wand. 

Mitigate future turbulence with retention. Preserve and protect your existing revenue stream with the pattern-predicting power of exegraphic data plugged into Rev’s Sales Development Platform. Want to see the exegraphics behind your best customers—and the ones churning? Contact us, and we’ll show you.

Lead generation vs. sales prospecting: Key differences, examples and strategies

They’re not the same. But you’re not wrong for thinking that the goals of lead generation and sales prospecting sound similar.

While both strategies aim to generate new customers, lead generation focuses on generating large volumes of leads, while sales prospecting focuses on targeting and converting specific, high-quality prospects.

Easy to understand, right? Maybe. But you’re also not wrong if you think you’d benefit from a deeper understanding of how lead generation and sales prospecting work and what makes them different.

In this blog post, we’ll look at some key differences between lead generation and sales prospecting, including examples to help illustrate these concepts. We’ll also discuss how exegraphic data can help integrate the two processes, allowing you to focus more time and energy on developing high-quality leads and closing more deals.

Let’s get started!


Leads vs. prospects

Before diving into the intricacies of lead generation and sales prospecting, it’s important to first understand the difference between leads and prospects.

Leads are individuals that have shown some interest in your product or service. They may have visited your website, signed up for an email newsletter or engaged with your company on social media.

In contrast, prospects are individuals who have been identified as potential customers and are actively being pursued by your sales team. They may be entirely new to your business and still trying to understand what you offer.

Of course, both leads and prospects are essential to the success of your business. So, you’ll want to ensure your company has a strategy that effectively targets both and engages them in meaningful ways.

How do you do that? We’ll help you begin brainstorming some ideas by looking individually at the definitions of sales prospecting and lead generation, as well as examples of how you can apply them in your B2B marketing and sales processes.


What is sales prospecting?

Sales prospecting is a short-term strategy focused on finding, qualifying and closing deals with prospects in a specific market segment. Sales prospecting is typically performed by sales teams who use various techniques such as cold calling, cold emailing or social media outreach on platforms like LinkedIn.

Sales prospecting can be particularly challenging, as it involves navigating complex buying processes and competing with other vendors for the attention of busy decision makers. However, there are several strategies that sales professionals can use to make their prospecting more effective.


B2B sales prospecting examples and strategies 

At its best, prospecting is a powerful way to build your pipeline and generate revenue from new customers. However, it can also be time consuming. According to a Crunchbase report, the best sales reps spend around 6 hours a week researching their prospects. But, if you’re doing it incorrectly, it can be an inefficient process.

For example, many sales reps rely on lead lists purchased from outsourced lead generation services as a starting point for prospecting. But since a lead generation service may not accurately understand your ideal customer, these leads may not actually be interested in purchasing your products or services.

Fortunately, there are now many innovative tools and techniques that can help you prospect more effectively. One strategy is to leverage exegraphic data on your best customers to update your ideal customer profile (ICP) and identify the most promising market segments.

For example, let’s say you sell a solution that helps IT companies manage their software licenses. To improve prospecting, you could look at exegraphic data and discover that you have the most success converting IT companies that have recently merged with another company.

With that information, your sales reps can focus their outreach efforts on the prospects that best fit this characteristic, personalize their messaging to speak to specific pain points and improve the likelihood that they can convert those prospects into customers.

Learn more about how to succeed with sales prospecting:

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of finding new leads that match your target market, building brand awareness, and nurturing leads to influence their interest in your products or services. 

Marketing teams are typically responsible for this process, as lead generation activities involve various digital marketing strategies such as email marketing, social media advertising, content marketing and more. For 91% of marketers surveyed by Ruler Analytics, lead generation is their most important goal. 

But lead generation is not just about finding new leads—it’s also about qualifying those leads and ensuring they are who you want to focus your sales efforts on. For example, some lead generation strategies may attract many unqualified leads, such as unsolicited email blasts. But these leads may require a lot of time and energy to sift through and qualify and, ultimately, may not be worth the effort.


B2B lead generation examples and strategies

To avoid wasting your time on unqualified leads, you need to have a strategy for determining the characteristics that make a lead worth pursuing. Again, this is where exegraphic data comes in handy.

Let’s go back to our example of selling a solution that helps IT companies manage software licenses. Since you’ve already used exegraphic data to determine that your best customers tend to be those that have recently merged with another company, you’re already on the right track to creating an effective lead generation strategy.

Your next step would be to brainstorm and create content that would generate interest from IT companies in this scenario. For example, you might create:

  • A whitepaper with tips and best practices for successfully integrating two separate IT systems. This could include real-world examples of how other companies in similar situations have successfully merged their IT systems and recommendations for avoiding common pitfalls.
  • A webinar that walks IT professionals through the process of planning and executing a successful IT merger. This could include an overview of common challenges, sample timelines and budgets, and tips for successfully communicating with stakeholders throughout the process.
  • A blog post that offers tips for managing software licenses and IT contracts during company mergers, including recommendations for creating systems to track and monitor expiring licenses, negotiating renewal terms with vendors, and understanding the importance of data security and compliance.

In exchange for the value provided in that content, you can request contact information, which you can then use to start building a lead database to nurture with marketing materials.

As you can see, lead generation is a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort over time. However, as you identify and nurture more leads, your lead database will grow, which helps to fuel sales prospecting efforts.

Learn more about how to succeed with lead generation:

Lead generation vs. sales prospecting: 5 key differences 

Now that you have a better idea of how sales prospecting and lead generation work individually, let’s look at some key differences between these two strategies.

  1. Lead generation is focused on generating new leads to be nurtured over time. In contrast, sales prospecting focuses on identifying potential customers who are already interested or show signs of potentially being interested in your product or service.


  1. Lead generation focuses on generating large quantities of leads that can be converted into prospects. In contrast, sales prospecting aims to identify specific, high-quality leads that are likely to convert into customers.


  1. Lead generation is a long-term strategy for building a quality base of potential customers to drive sales. In contrast, sales prospecting is a short-term strategy for finding, qualifying and converting the prospects who are most likely to buy your solution.


  1. Lead generation involves using a variety of tactics, such as social media ads, content marketing and email marketing. Sales prospecting typically relies on more traditional outreach methods such as cold calls, cold emails and in-person meetings.


  1. Lead generation tends to be the responsibility of marketing teams, while the sales team typically drives sales prospecting. However, there are some cases where lead generation and sales prospecting can be combined to create a more seamless process that benefits both teams.

How to use AI to integrate lead generation and sales prospecting

With the help of platforms like Rev, it’s possible to integrate lead generation and sales prospecting, consistently engaging the type of high-quality leads and prospects most likely to convert into customers.

Rev’s Sale Development Platform uses AI technology to help businesses identify the companies that display similar exegraphics to your best customers and, therefore, are likely to be interested in your product or service.

With this information, your marketing teams can improve their lead generation efforts by better understanding what type of content will resonate best with your target market. Similarly, your sales teams can use this information to know which prospects to prioritize when prospecting and tailor their outreach to speak directly to each prospect’s unique pain points.

Want to see how exegraphics can help your company generate more revenue? Contact us, and we’ll conduct a free ICP audit and give you a free target account list, so you know exactly who to target to generate quality leads and succeed with sales prospecting.

RevOps framework: What it is, why it works and how to use it

Revenue Operations (RevOps) is a breakthrough application of data and automation. It’s gaining in popularity across all industries—and for good reason. 

Winning organizations break down silos and optimize the flow of work across sales, marketing and customer success teams. RevOps has emerged as their key to achieving this enormous effort. In fact, According to Gartner, 75% of high-growth companies will have a RevOps model within the next two years. With a focus on alignment and collaboration, a RevOps framework reduces costs, improves customer experience and accomplishes the ever elusive goal of consistent, sustainable revenue growth. 

In short, RevOps is the intersection of data-driven and customer-centric revenue generation. Leaders who understand and are able to implement a RevOps framework realize their company’s revenue goals through integration of processes, data and technologies across teams. 


The benefits of RevOps

Streamlined processes across key teams with improved data analysis and automation deliver powerful, actionable insights into customer behavior, helping organizations find and tap new revenue streams. 

Benefits of RevOps include: 

  • Improved collaboration
  • A unified approach to revenue generation
  • Reduced inefficiencies
  • Increased productivity
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Accountability


A RevOps framework enables organizations to crush revenue goals, increase customer retention and improve overall business performance.


The elements of a RevOps framework

Every RevOps framework contains four key elements: People, processes, technology and data. 

People are the core of every revenue operations team. From leaders to specialists, all are responsible for implementing a RevOps framework. They should be able to develop and execute a cohesive strategy that aligns with the company’s overall goals and objectives.

Developing and refining processes across all revenue-related functions will increase efficiency and effectiveness. In RevOps, these processes belong to different departments, often including sales, marketing and customer success. 

Advancements in technology have produced sophisticated RevOps software. Use it! Your tech should help you exchange data, segment your audience and/or automate workflows. Integrating various technologies such as CRM, marketing automation, and customer success tools will streamline and optimize revenue operations.

Finally, being able to collect and analyze data is critical to making informed decisions under a RevOps framework. RevOps relies on key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that track revenue growth, customer acquisition and retention.

Waterfall vs. agile models

Project management methodologies waterfall and agile can be applied to RevOps frameworks, Waterfall being a traditional, sequential approach and agile being the more iterative approach involving continuous collaboration, adaptation and improvement. 

The time-saving advantages and emphasis on collaboration may make agile a good fit for your RevOps framework, although ultimately, the choice of framework will depend on the specific needs and requirements of your organization, as well as industry, size and revenue goals.


The different frameworks

Several RevOps frameworks have emerged recently, each with its own approach to optimizing revenue-generating functions within an organization. 

The Clari RevOps framework, for example, is a waterfall model that helps GTM teams take control. It focuses on four key pillars: revenue process optimization, connected intelligence, dynamic forecasting and collaborative execution. The Clari RevOps framework also includes a set of best practices, tools and technologies to help organizations implement their strategy, including data management and analytics tools, AI-powered forecasting and pipeline management, and integrations with other sales and marketing tools.

Oriented toward aligning people, process, platform and insights for revenue acceleration, the McAlign framework is another that seeks to unify sales, marketing, customer success and revenue operations under one strategy. This agile model boasts an ability to mine processes, track the customer life cycle, optimize customer journeys and create unified revenue funnel view across various revenue functions.


How to apply a RevOps framework

You know you need a RevOps framework to align fractured processes, tools and teams across your company. There are many approaches to growing this muscle within your organization, but these basics will get you started while you gather a holistic view of your revenue growth and determine (or design!) the best framework to suit your needs.

  • Step 1: Define goals and responsibilities. This could include optimizing revenue-generating processes, improving sales and marketing alignment, and managing customer experience. 
  • Step 2: Identify necessary roles and skills needed to meet those goals. This could include roles such as revenue operations manager, sales operations manager, marketing operations manager, customer success operations manager or data analyst.
  • Step 3: Determine a reporting structure. Some organizations may choose to have the team report directly to the CEO, while others may choose to have the team report to the VP of Sales or another executive.
  • Step 4: Establish collaboration between revenue-generating teams to align goals, processes and metrics. These may include sales, marketing, customer success, etc.
  • Step 5: Leverage technology and data. Your team should have access to tools and technologies that enable efficient and effective analysis of revenue-generating activities.
  • Step 6: Agree on metrics and KPIs (given the data and skills available on the team) that align with the organization’s revenue goals. Regularly report progress.


Get your RevOps framework up and running

A RevOps framework aligns and optimizes the revenue-generating functions within an organization. It’s the proven way to equip the right people with the data and technology to streamline their processes, make the right decisions for your customers and drive predictable revenue growth. 

Advancements in data analysis and automation will continue to supercharge RevOps models in the years to come. As you can imagine, the deeper the insights you have into your customers’ behavior and readiness to purchase, the stronger your RevOps foundation becomes, allowing for even more efficiencies and profits to be gained during revenue growth activities. 

Just as B2C companies have moved from demographics to psychographics, B2B needs to shift from firmographics to exegraphics—dynamic data that reveals how a company executes on its mission. Want to see the exegraphics behind your best customers so you can uncover their hidden traits and target others just like them? Contact us, and we’ll show you.

8 outbound prospecting tips to help you crush your sales goals

Your cold email just arrived in your prospect’s inbox. But will your prospect open, read and respond to you?

Here’s what the data says: probably not.

And that’s because cold emailing, a form of outbound prospecting, is notoriously difficult and challenging for even the most seasoned sales professional. Still, outbound prospecting is an essential part of any successful B2B sales strategy that you shouldn’t avoid. 

So, what can you do? The good news is that there are ways to improve your efforts. And in this blog post, we share some of the best outbound prospecting strategies to help you crush your sales goals. 

Let’s get started! 


What is outbound prospecting?

Outbound prospecting is the process of reaching out to potential customers or clients to sell them your product or service. This can involve anything from sending out cold emails and making phone calls to attending industry events and networking with potential leads.

If you’re new to sales, prospects might find your outbound prospecting efforts annoying and easy to ignore. But in reality, outbound prospecting is a highly strategic and effective way to generate sales opportunities. According to a survey of IT executives, 75% of executives are “willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call or email alone.”

On top of that, outbound prospecting allows you to proactively engage with potential customers who may not otherwise be aware of your product or company. Rather than waiting for leads to come to you, outbound prospecting gives you the power to reach out and connect with prospects directly.


Inbound vs. outbound prospecting

Outbound prospecting is all about hunting for new business opportunities, while inbound prospecting involves waiting for those opportunities to come to you.

Strategies for outbound prospecting include cold calling, email outreach and social media prospecting. These techniques allow you to target specific potential customers based on their needs and interests, increasing your chances of connecting with the right people.

On the other hand, strategies for inbound prospecting involve building your brand or company’s online presence and any tactic that helps you generate quality leads. This can include optimizing your website for search, creating engaging social media content and partnering with influencers or industry experts to reach a wider audience.

Ideally, you’ll use a combination of outbound and inbound prospecting strategies to reach new customers and grow your customer base. For more information on how to do that, check out our post on inbound vs. outbound sales.


8 tips for building an effective outbound prospecting strategy

#1 Use behavioral data to update your ICP

When was the last time your company updated its ideal customer profile (ICP)? For many companies, it’s been a while, and all the info is somewhere on an old PowerPoint presentation. 

And you know the worst part? Most of the information in that presentation doesn’t even scratch the surface of what characteristics and behaviors actually define your ideal customer. 

If you’re looking to do outbound prospecting more effectively, it’s time to look beyond firmographic and technographic data and focus instead on what we at Rev call exegraphics. What are exegraphics? The characteristics and behaviors of companies that define how they operate and make important decisions, such as when and how to adopt new software solutions. 

By assessing these qualities and using them to update your ICP, you can develop a clear understanding of who to target and how to reach out to them.


#2 Personalize your messaging

You may know your prospects’ names and job titles. But personalization is so much more than that. To do outbound prospecting like a pro, you need to understand your prospects’ motivations and pain points and craft messages that truly resonate with them.

For example, by using exegraphic data, let’s imagine that you discovered that the type of companies most likely to buy from you are in the process of downsizing their marketing teams. To start outbound prospecting effectively, you might personalize your messaging by highlighting how your product or service can help these companies replace lost revenue and automate essential marketing tasks.

By tailoring your outbound prospecting strategy to address your prospects’ specific needs and concerns, you will be able to establish more meaningful connections and increase your chances of closing big sales.


#3 Identify the best medium and channel for communication

Depending on your target audience and the type of outbound prospecting campaign you run, you can use various methods and channels to connect with potential customers. Some popular methods include email marketing, phone calls, social media outreach, and webinars or live events.

For example, email marketing is a popular and effective outbound prospecting method, as it allows you to easily reach out to many potential clients at once. However, because your message is delivered electronically, you may find that it doesn’t always resonate with your target audience or elicit the response you are hoping for.

On the other hand, phone calls and live events may be more effective at fostering real conversations with your prospects and building trust. Of course, these methods can also be more time-consuming and challenging to scale. 


#4 Share valuable product-led content

Content marketing is typically seen as a component of an inbound prospecting strategy, as it allows you to create valuable content that speaks directly to the needs and interests of your target audience.

But rather than just creating content and hoping your prospects find it organically, you can incorporate content into your outbound prospecting strategy. How? By leveraging product-led content to guide prospects through the sales journey.

What is product-led content? Product-led content is any type of content that helps to educate potential customers about the features and benefits of your offering. This can include blog posts, ebooks, infographics, webinars, video tutorials and more.

One of the key benefits of product-led content is that it helps to build trust and credibility with potential customers. By providing high-quality, relevant information about your product, you demonstrate that you are an expert in your field and can be trusted to help solve your customers’ problems.


#5 Include social proof

No matter how detailed and thorough your sales pitch is, prospects are likely to always ask themselves questions like:

  • What are other people saying about this offering?
  • Has this company helped businesses like mine before?
  • What do others think of its quality and value?

One great way to address these concerns is by including social proof in your outbound prospecting efforts. 

By including social proof, such as testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers, you can build credibility with potential clients, instill confidence in your offering and make it more likely that they will become customers.


#6 Automate repetitive tasks using sales prospecting tools

Prospecting can be a tedious, time-consuming process. There’s a lot of work involved in researching potential clients’ contact information, reaching out to them and following up with those who don’t respond immediately.

To streamline your outbound prospecting efforts, consider using automated sales prospecting tools. These tools can help you to easily manage your outreach campaigns, tracking the status and progress of each lead and automatically sending out email follow-ups, among other things.


#7 Create a schedule for following up

Few prospects will respond to your outbound prospecting efforts right away. Instead, they’ll likely need some time to consider your pitch and research your company. As such, it’s crucial to create a schedule for following up with leads to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

When and how often should you follow up with prospects? Some sales professionals recommend following up as soon as possible, within the first 24 hours after making your initial contact. Ultimately, the best approach will depend on your sales process and the type of leads you’re targeting.

For example, if you’re selling a highly technical product or service, it may be best to wait a bit longer to follow up with leads. This will allow you more time to thoroughly research their needs and develop a tailored solution and response to potential questions. 

On the other hand, if you’re selling a more commoditized product or service, it may be best to reach out as soon as possible. This will help you stay top-of-mind and continue to build a relationship before your competition does.


#8 Track and measure your results

You’ve heard it before. What gets measured gets managed. Sure, it’s a cliche, but it’s true.

To get the best out of your outbound prospecting efforts, you need to track and measure your results so you can make improvements as needed. Some metrics you’ll want to track include:

  • Number of outbound emails/calls sent and response rate
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Sales funnel progression
  • Average deal size and time to close

By analyzing these key metrics, you can identify areas for improvement to better engage and convert prospects. For example, the data might encourage you to tweak your messaging or adjust your targeting criteria.


Final thoughts

Outbound prospecting is challenging. It requires persistence and creativity to find the right target contacts, craft engaging messages that stand out from the competition and convert leads who might not know much about your company.

To maximize your efforts, start by taking the time to refine your ICP with exegraphic data. That way, you can identify the businesses most likely to be interested in your products or services. Next, develop engaging messaging that resonates with your target contacts and compels them to respond. Ready to use these strategies to level up your outbound prospecting and start closing more deals? Contact us, and we’ll give a free, prioritized list of target accounts that have the same characteristics as your best customers.

7 steps to effective lead management

Lead management isn’t a totally new idea, especially in the demand gen world. But, as your business grows and scales, you’ll need to make sure everyone understands what it is so they can follow the process you’ve built. Empowering your team with visibility into your lead management process not only creates a smoother experience for your team and for your customers, but it also positions your team to give you extra support in refining the evolving workflow. Extra eyes will help you see your blindspots.


What is lead management?

Lead management is efficiently acquiring, nurturing and converting leads into customers. It’s the common thread running through every marketing program and tactic. After all, the shared goal is to make a sale.

As a marketer, you likely depend on a variety of channels to generate leads, from online ads to trade shows and everything in between. Chances are, the leads you collect will enter in different phases of the funnel depending on their “fit” and “readiness” to purchase. That’s ok. It’s normal. The important thing is that you’re set up to nurture the leads down the funnel, regardless of where they start.

There’s more than one way to nurture a lead down the funnel. In fact, most companies implement a process that’s tailored to their business and their personas. Customizing your lead management to meet your unique context and your customers needs will help you close more deals.


Why is lead management important?

There are several reasons. Let’s dive into them. 

  1. Increases sales efficiency: Lead management primes leads and increases the efficiency of the sales process. With lead management, you’re making sure your prospective buyer is getting the information they need to make a purchase: they need to trust you and have confidence in your solution. When that foundation is built, your sales team is better able to pitch them and make a sale.
  2. Optimizes each stage of the funnel: With a formal lead management process in place, you’re able to see where leads are getting stuck in your funnel—and you can fix it. You can also see where customers are converting quickly, and infuse more of that goodness into your process.
  3. Builds relationships: Lead management is also important because it helps businesses build better relationships with their future customers. When you have a pulse on your customers needs and wants, you can target them with copy and content that speaks directly to them, solves their challenges and earns their trust. Providing this value through each stage of the funnel (and beyond) is key.
  4. Keeps your team aligned: When any team within your organization is out of the loop, a lead can fall through the cracks—at any point in the conversion process. A formal lead management process ensures that all teams are on the same page about how a lead moves through the funnel and the strategies that are being deployed to maximize lead conversion.
  5. Produces better lead quality: Lead management can also help you get better lead quality. When you know where your best leads are coming from or what assets are fueling velocity through the funnel, you know where to invest more. (The opposite is also true.)


7 steps to effective lead management

Lead management is essential for any business looking to maximize lead conversion and ROI. Again, lead management comes in all different shapes and sizes—so make yours your own. However, if you’re just getting started (or looking to refresh yours), here are the 7 steps you should include.


1. Bring in the leads 

You can generate leads through a variety of channels: online ads, events, SEO, webinars, content syndication and more. The important thing to remember here is that you’re targeting the accounts that fit your ideal customer profile—beyond the superficial markers of industry, company size and geography. Leading demand gen teams are relying on exegraphic data—insights into how companies execute their mission—to bring in the highest quality leads possible.

With exegraphics, you’ll also gain a better understanding of your ideal customer and their current pain points. This will give you the insight into the subjects you touch on when you’re building content or designing assets.  

Your lead generation process should also include a way to track leads and measure the success of your campaigns—and areas that need to be adjusted.


2. Score and prioritize leads 

Companies score their leads so they can quickly identify and prioritize the most qualified leads for conversion. 

To score your lead (and to get visibility into how likely they are to convert), you’ll assign each lead a numerical value based on qualifying markers (ie. geography) and their activity (ie. interaction with your website). The value of each marker or activity should be weighed according to how much it really signals the lead’s likelihood to convert. Then, add them all up and assign the score to your lead.

However, here’s the thing: lead scoring isn’t a one-time process. You have to regularly review lead data and adjust scores as you learn more about what activities or profile data makes the lead more “ready.”


3. Assign leads to sales reps 

After scoring and prioritizing your leads, the next step in lead management is assigning the leads to the appropriate sales reps. This is an important step. If you don’t have a smooth process in place for lead hand-off, your leads will fall through the cracks.

Many teams rely on lead routing software to ensure that leads are assigned to the right sales reps according to specific criteria: lead location, lead industry and lead score.


4. Convert qualified leads 

Once you have assigned leads to the appropriate sales reps, the next step is to convert them. This is the process of turning leads into customers. To do that, it’s important that your sales team respond to leads as quickly as possible and with helpful information  about how you can help them solve their problem. 

At the end of the day, the key to successful lead conversion is to provide a great customer experience. This means providing the customer with all the information they need to make an informed decision about your product or service.


5. Nurture leads that are not quite sale ready 

Not all leads are ready to make a purchase right away. Some leads may need additional nurturing before they are prepared to make a purchase. You’ll need to nurture those ones.

You can nurture leads by providing them with additional information and resources to make an informed decision. It includes providing them additional content, such as blog posts or videos, that covers industry topics and information about your product offering. 

Nurturing leads is a great way to build relationships with potential customers and increase your chances of converting them into paying customers. This step is also an ongoing process.


6. Evaluate your lead management process 

Regularly evaluating your lead management processes allows you to identify opportunities to level up. 

Start with your data. What does it tell you? Evaluate the number of leads you’re generating, the number of leads converting, the average time it takes to convert a lead—and what channels and tactics are driving the highest conversion.

You should also evaluate the effectiveness of your lead scoring system. If you find that you’re passing along “qualified” leads that really aren’t ready for a chat with sales, you’re preventing sales from talking to leads that are ready. Or, if you’re not passing along leads that are ready, you’re leaving room for your competitors to swoop in.


7. Make necessary changes to make the process more efficient and effective 

You should be making changes to your lead management process as you identify areas that need to be fixed. However, be mindful that it often takes a bit of time to really identify the changes that need to be made. If you just implemented something new, you may need to wait a bit and collect some data before you iterate again. (Of course, this depends on what the issue is. Some changes you might need to make yesterday.) 


The bottom line

As a demand gen leader, lead management starts at the very top of your funnel. Above the funnel, even. You have to first understand your ICP and ensure that all your lead gen efforts are targeting the companies that fit your profile.

That first step can’t be overlooked. It will change your entire trajectory.

With Rev, you can bring MQLs into your funnel that have the same characteristics as your best customers. We make this possible through our AI-powered Sales Development Platform, giving you confidence that the leads you bring in will be primed and ready to engage. Contact us to learn more.

8 actually helpful ways for SDRs to navigate this sales environment

Right now, Sales teams continue to face one of the toughest sales environments in memory. We may not technically be in a recession, but for years now, companies have been tightening their belts against spending that’s anything less than a sure thing.

It’s no longer enough to have a kick-ass product or the best service on the planet. Your SDRs have to be able to cut through the competition of everyone else’s SDRs (not to mention prospects’ own busy schedules) just to have the chance to talk about your value prop.

In other words, SDR leaders and teams need to learn how to get to the part where they can actually do what they do best.

Here are eight actionable ways you can tee up your SDRs for ultimate success.


ICP part one: Revisit your ICP in a big, big way.

Without a doubt, your team has been selling according to your organization’s ICP. Great. Now, answer this: How often does the company revisit that ICP, and how thoroughly does the ICP understand your best customers?

If you want to identify your best prospects, it needs to be comprehensive. Like, way more comprehensive than it is right now.

Far too often, a company’s ICP fits on a PowerPoint slide. It’s made up of perhaps half a dozen bullet points, highlighting firmographics such as size, industry, location and revenue. These are all relevant characteristics—yet highly superficial ones.

To connect the traits that make your best customers your best, an ICP needs to dig beyond how those customers look on the surface to how they behave on the inside. Their interior operations, the way they approach fulfilling their mission: these are what make them your best customers.

In short: Your SDRs need to be able to focus their time interacting with companies that have the characteristics you care about most—the companies that look- and act- alike. 


ICP part two: Provide your team with a dynamic ICP.

SDRs also need to be able to adapt as your customer base evolves. The landscape, as you well know, is constantly shifting. Your best customers this quarter may not match your best customers two quarters from now.

An ICP that can re-evaluate your top customers will help your SDRs understand not only how companies behave, but how they change over time—and a truly dynamic ICP can predict which companies will benefit from your offering even before they realize they need it.

Rev’s AI-driven ICPs do just that: they use exegraphic data (our B2B version of the psychographic data used in B2C) to build more dynamic customer profiles. Yet even with more traditional ICPs, steps to improve their dynamism will take your sales team farther than any PowerPoint slide.


ICP part three: Share the insights from the ICP.

A truly dynamic ICP will provide you with a dynamite target list. That’ll set your SDRs up for success. But it’s not enough: they need to understand the ICP and what makes these targets truly top prospects.

This will require more legwork before your SDRs start winding up fresh batches of cadences. It’ll also prevent them from chasing down the wrong accounts, or striking up the wrong conversations with the right accounts.

When your SDRs know what traits make up your best customers, and why those traits make them the best, they can better customize their outreach. They’ll have big-picture insight into what makes prospects tick and how to speak to their pain points—before ever picking up the phone.


Nail the first 15 seconds of cold calls.

Once your SDRs do pick up the phone, they want to win at cold calling. They’re as prepared as they’ll ever be, with the backing of a quality ICP. Yet to win more consistently, you can help them hone those first 15 seconds.

James Buckley, sales guru at JB Sales, gives these immediately actionable tips. This script transforms  your SDRs’ cold-calling game by making the conversation inevitable: 

  • “Hi, is this Maria.” Let’s say you’re calling Maria. You start, naturally, by asking if you’ve reached the right person. Ditch the question mark with its upward inflection: ask the question like it’s a statement. Use downward inflection. James calls this “authoritative voice.” Maria can only say, This is Maria or No, it’s not Maria.
  • “Maria, thank you for taking the call. Do you have a moment before your next meeting.” Again, downward inflection. Now, Maria can only say Yes, No, or (more common) Who the heck is this?
  • “This is James.” “If they say Who is this? I’ll say This is James, but not where I’m from—they didn’t ask that,” he explains.
  • “The reason I’m calling you is…” If they say they have a moment, don’t bother worrying over your name or who you’re with. They don’t care who you are—they care what you can do for them. “I’m calling you because you’re a VP of Sales, and we help VPs of Sales and their teams accomplish X” gets right to the meat of it.
  • “Do you want to have this conversation now, or do we need to put something on the calendar?” Downward inflection once again—and Maria now has a simple choice between I have ten minutes or Let me get my calendar.

“I use this opener all the time,” James says. “It really gets the conversation going in the right way.”


Learn from Marketing.

Even if you have a healthy relationship between Sales and Marketing, where Marketing responds to your SDRs’ needs and creates useful sales collateral, that’s too often the extent of the collaboration.

Change that dynamic: actively partner with Marketing to understand the content they’re creating, how to best use it in your outreach and how Sales can improve their own content creation.

  • Marketing can teach SDRs how to best use the collateral they’ve created over time. Marketing materials are made deliberately, often at the request of Sales; their guidance in how a sales piece is built, and how it can be leveraged, can maximize its value.
  • How does the web copy fit into the sales messaging? Marketing shapes your company story, but SDRs are the ones telling the story. Learning how Marketing’s language can make sales messaging more effective (and consistent with all the materials a prospect sees) can leverage the work that went into that story.
  • Compare cadences. Marketing is likely crafting drip campaigns. Compare how their open rates compare to yours. If they’re seeing higher rates, find out what the difference in approach is and share that knowledge with your SDRs.


Get to the point.

Speaking of outreach: Keep your written messages on point.

An evaluation on LinkedIn shows that 90% of InMails are more than 400 characters long—but InMails with fewer than 400 characters achieved response rates 22% better than average.

Cut everything you can. Like in this section—itself 330 characters, including spaces. Boo-yah.


Uncover urgency.

Urgency drives sales. But you can’t reliably manufacture urgency; rather, your SDRs need to discover the urgency already there. 

Back to James Buckley’s wisdom: In order to uncover urgency, SDRs have to get prospects talking about the things that matter to them. Namely: what are their priorities?

“Instead of telling them you’re from this company and we’re the number one provider of X, which is how cold calls begin, you want to say, Here’s what I know about you guys already,” James says. “Normally when I talk to people like you, they’re worried about this, this and this. Which is your priority at the moment?”

Here’s the funny thing about choices: when you give prospects one, they make it. They’ll tell you which one is their priority. Or, if none of them are they’ll tell you that too.

Now your SDRs know what the prospect’s most urgent needs are—and can set about addressing them.


Disqualify bad prospects early.

Deals are taking more time and effort to close now—and your SDRs need to focus on the ones that show promise.

After all, by letting a bad prospect go, they’re not losing a deal; they’re clearing the way for a better prospect.

But letting go is hard to do. It’s on leadership to educate SDRs on when to disqualify a prospect:

  • Check the levels of engagement. And we don’t mean a prospect’s enthusiasm. Help your team set expectations around when they should anticipate setting up a demo, knowing who all is on the buying team, agreeing to a mutual action plan—basically, what are your team’s touch points for knowing the sales process is on track?
  • Set the right values. If you value a high pipeline coverage ratio, SDRs will be more loath to let a prospect go. If you expect perfect close rates, they’ll let too many go—including qualified leads that might require a bit of extra work. Vocalize and demonstrate what you value from the sales team, even to the point of micro-celebrating the times that reps let a big one go.
  • Provide more quality prospects in the pipeline. Providing hyper-clear definitions of what an ideal prospect looks like for your sales team in real time, and a healthy list of prospects that match that profile, means your SDRs don’t have to feel stuck milking bad prospects out of desperation to close a deal.

We started with the ICP, and we’re going to end the same way: A truly dynamic customer profile, such as Rev’s aiCP that can reconfigure itself with each new input, provides and prioritizes lists of best-fit target accounts. That way, your skilled sales team gets to focus on the prospects where they’re most likely to succeed.

Want to see a dynamic ICP in action? Contact us, and we’ll conduct a free ICP audit for you.

How (and why) RevOps teams use exegraphic data, with Intelligent Demand’s Nicole Davolt

RevOps teams are under enormous pressure to grow their companies, and to grow them efficiently. Even C-suites are feeling this pressure. When they do, they turn to Nicole Davolt, a RevOps strategist at Intelligent Demand.

“We align their tactics, their technology and their people into a strategic growth strategy and a program that allows them to acquire, retain and expand revenue with their best-fitting customers and prospects,” Nicole says. “But really, we just exist to help tame the complexity of modern B2B growth.”

An expert growth partner helps companies and RevOps teams align Sales and Marketing (and others within an organization) to deliver better overall customer experience, as well as improve the prioritization of operations within the sales pipeline.

To that end, we dove into conversation with Nicole about exegraphic data—how it functions, how it changes the way revenue teams can think about targeting accounts, and how it can improve precision, streamline operations, maximize resources and harmonize often competing teams within your organization. 


Exegraphics: The behavioral traits of companies

Before companies can improve the precision of their targeting with exegraphics, it helps to understand how exegraphics work.

“I like to think of them as psychographic traits for B2C, but now for B2B,” Nicole says. “Instead of those psychographic traits about an individual, exegraphics are traits about the business and how a business behaves.”

Whereas more traditional firmographics include traits such as industry, size, and revenue, exegraphics examine hundreds of other, more behavioral, traits like: Are companies early adopters of technology? Are they hiring a larger sales team? Are they expanding their marketing teams? How do they operate on the inside and on the outside?

“Exegraphics let us get a more complete picture and a more holistic view of an account,” Nicole says. “When you look at just firmographics, you might have tens or hundreds of thousands of accounts that fit that profile. When you’re conducting an account-based campaign, you need to narrow those down to who will fit your ICP best and who acts just like your best customers—the ones that you would want to clone out hundreds of times if you could.”

Whereas doing this “by hand” would be practically impossible, the AI-driven model behind exegraphics assesses hundreds of aspects to build out an image of what makes those customers the best—and identifies (and ranks) others that resemble them.

Nicole points out that the answer in identifying top prospects does not lie in plucking single exegraphic threads; it’s the composite pattern-matching that creates a more meaningful customer profile than humans could reasonably accomplish alone.

In short: “Exegraphics give us more confidence in building our ICP,” she says.


Prioritizing accounts to get to market faster

Building a quality ICP is an early step—not an end goal. For Nicole, the real power of exegraphics comes into play for prioritizing all those accounts that match your ICP.

“Clients understand generally what their ideal client looks like,” she says, “but they don’t know which ones to go after, how to go after them and who to pay special attention to.”

As an example, Intelligent Demand had a client with a target account list upward of 65,000 accounts—and they lacked the resources to tackle that entire list. So the agency assessed the client’s best customers with Rev’s AI-powered Sales Development Platform and compared them to the prospect list, in order to whittle it to something not only more manageable but more impactful.

Exegraphics trimmed that list to about 10,000 accounts—and then Nicole used them to help rank the remaining candidates.

Then, “Do we want to spread your budget evenly like peanut butter across all these accounts?” she asked. “Or are there certain accounts we want to pay more special attention to? Who do we prioritize for a specialized one-to-one outreach, one-to-few, and one-to-many? Let’s look at how closely they correlate to your best customers.”

Exegraphics (in combination with intent and campaign engagement data) identified the 200 accounts best matched to the ICP, with the highest likelihood to engage.

As Nicole puts it: “Exegraphics enabled us to get to market faster and be able to make smarter decisions at the beginning of the campaign, when we had limited amounts of data.”


Three data sets playing together: exegraphics, intent and campaign engagement

Nicole referenced intent and campaign engagement data above, and that they play well with exegraphic data to prioritize accounts. Here’s how she explains them as distinct approaches to understanding prospects:

  • Exegraphics are like the personality traits of an account: more fixed, and slower to change. “My personality traits don’t change drastically in a short amount of time,” she says. “If an account is likely to be an early adopter of technology or is in a high growth mode, they’re likely to be in that same mode six months to a year from now.”
  • Intent and campaign engagement data examines what an account is interested in. “What are they searching? Which kind of articles are they reading? What are they looking for? Are they in market for something that I have to sell right now?” These data sets are ever-changing.

When these data sets intersect, an ideal customer becomes an ideal customer right now (and thus a high priority for sales and marketing outreach). 


Maximizing limited resources

A common theme in RevOps teams that Nicole works with is this: Teams struggle with limited resources. How can they use this exegraphic data to maximize the resources that they do have?

Nicole provides these three insights into prioritizing a team’s resources in addition to prioritizing their prospects:

  • Get discovery out of the way. “Sales teams don’t have to get on a phone call to uncover the things that you can’t normally see,” she says. “We’re able to see them through exegraphics.” For instance, Intelligent Demand generally looks for clients with a certain level of marketing maturity—and exegraphics helps the Sales team assess the marketing maturity of an account directionally before even reaching out.
  • Determine your talk track. We all know that prospects have different personas that we talk to throughout the sales cycle, and many organizations have standard talk tracks for them. But how to know which ones to lead with? Exegraphics enable a team to step into conversations with high confidence that they’re using the most applicable talk track because they already understand certain behaviors (and thus certain pain points) within the organization.
  • Align Sales and Marketing. The process of using exegraphics to select accounts can actually bring Sales and Marketing teams together. “Historically, you have Marketing teams pick certain accounts for certain reasons, and Sales teams pick certain accounts for certain reasons,” Nicole says. Exegraphics help both teams hone those lists in tandem, without it being a matter of stepping on each other’s domains—instead, Sales and Marketing alignment becomes about identifying the accounts most likely to succeed with limited resources to target them. “It opens up the conversation and gives teams data points to be confident in the accounts they’re selecting, as well,” she says.


Final thoughts: Creating harmonious RevOps teams

Each step of Nicole’s exegraphic discussion comes back to prioritization:

  • Identifying what traits matter most to your ICP
  • Choosing the accounts most likely to purchase
  • Selecting other relevant data points
  • Maximizing limited resources

Exegraphic prioritization enables more than just a smoother, more efficient pipeline, though. It also creates more internal harmony within RevOps.

“When we’re aligned on a target account list, especially for an account-based campaign or an account-based play, there’s less handoff between Marketing and Sales,” Nicole says. “There’s more of What are we going to do at the same time, together? What activities are we going to do at each point in the customer life cycle to work together to get them to the next phase?”

While Marketing and Sales may each take the lead at various points, exegraphic data-driven foundation aligns them on a continuous, parallel path—for the good of your RevOps team as well as your customers.

Interested in hearing the full conversation with Nicole Davolt? Watch it here.