Grow and improve pipeline health in economic hard times

Revenue growth is easier during economic boons—just ask anyone from the .com bubble. It’s how companies maintain themselves during economic hard times that defines their sustainability. And more than just maintaining, downturns can actually be revenue growth opportunities for forward-thinking organizations.

 Of course, that’s tricky. Customers (and our own businesses too) no longer have much tolerance for luxury items. Companies get more exact with the ROI they need to see on their purchases. That’s why so many businesses often focus more on protecting their existing revenue base than on acquiring new logos—at the peril of declining growth. 

Expanding revenue during economic hard times requires extreme efficiency. Precision in targeting new prospects—knowing you are focusing your resources on the companies most likely to engage—is essential. (As is maintaining and expanding your current accounts. Read about that in this twin article.)

Moments like these are the time to re-evaluate your ICP so you’re equipping your revenue teams with the best targets for new business. 

 

Exegraphics change the ICP game.

You know how the B2C world developed psychographics to understand customers far more meaningfully than with demographics? The B2B world lacked that same sort of insight, so we at Rev developed exegraphics: in short, pieces of information or characteristics that convey how a company executes its mission.

Examined by the millions, these exegraphics build an AI-driven ICP to draw a clear picture of what makes your best customers your best, in order to improve your aim at new target accounts. 

(Read our in-depth explorations of how exegraphics and aiCPs work.)

These revolutionary tools facilitate B2B sales teams looking to expand in a downturn. Once you’re able to analyze the deep characteristics your best customers share, you can uncover a deep roster of new targets that have those same traits.  

Improve your targeting aim above the funnel.

Above the funnel is where exegraphics and aiCPs get to work. Traditional strategies function more like casting a wide net to see what you catch. With greater targeting focus, you’re using specialized bait to land the right fish. 

What the right fish is for your company depends on… well, on your company. But exegraphics and aiCPs equip your outbound teams to go after the best-fit targets, reducing the time spent on fruitless cold outreach.

These are such effective tools because they go beyond how a company appears (industry, head count, revenue, etc.) to understand how a company behaves.

Let’s say two manufacturing companies create equivalent amounts of output in the same lane. One employs a hundred laborers on the factory line. The other employs five developers to maintain an AI-driven factory. On the outside, they look alike—but if you produce, say, HR solutions, the first company is likely a much better fit. And if you produce AI solutions, the second company is your better prospect.

That’s an oversimplification, but it illustrates how you want to aim your outbound teams at prospects that operate much like your best customers to maximize leads they can convert into sales.

 

Expand into new markets with a SWAT-style strategy.

Tapping into new market segments—particularly if your company is already well-established in its current segments—opens up a world of new potential customers. It’s an aggressive strategy in times when many competitors are more conservatively protecting their existing revenue base.

It appears to be a risky strategy, too. What if you invest marketing resources in a market segment for 12 months only to fall flat?

First off, finding companies in a new segment that have the same “fit” and “ready” characteristics as your best customers minimizes risk and maximizes the potential for gains. It’s the same exegraphic reasoning as above: companies in very different market segments might have very similar internal operations that make them a great candidate for your product or service. 

Analyzing companies for shared characteristics uncovers a deep roster of new-segment targets that behave very similarly to your current best customers. And that primes your revenue team to test out these new best prospects.

Key word there is test. We recommend resisting the urge to over-rotate (and over-invest); instead, we advocate for a SWAT-team approach: lightly staffed with strong expertise, able to pivot and adapt on the fly. Think something like one business development rep, two AEs and light marketing support.

After all, if you’re using the power of exegraphics and aiCPs, you already have rigor in your process: you know you’re sending reps after prospects most likely to bite. You can develop a few good pieces of early messaging and simple collateral to test the market.

Then see what happens. Do you get engagement? Are the reps able to close deals? If not, what needs to happen differently? 

This approach accelerates the information-gathering period and helps you assess, quickly and definitively, whether a new market segment is actually viable. This approach manages to get you answers in 3-6 months, not the more typical 12-18 months needed to determine market fit.

 

Final thoughts: Tighten your strategy, not your belt.

In economic downturns, we often hear (and use) terms like “tightening the belt” or “battening the hatches.” But these ideas don’t have to be restrictive—tightening up can also mean optimizing and calibrating our revenue operations.

Our customers are scrutinizing everything right now: their people, their systems, their processes. We see this at Rev—a higher percentage of our own sales now involve companies’ CFOs, whereas before we could more often close a deal without having to articulate our business case as fully.

So why shouldn’t we scrutinize our own approaches and get much more surgical in the prospects we target? After all, that’s what we’re here to help other companies do, too. There’s less money flowing out there, and it’s flowing less easily, so it’s imperative to get more precise if you want to continue growing and expanding your revenue base—without waiting for times to get good again.

See how you can shore-up your GTM efforts to spark growth during an economic downturn. Contact us and we’ll set you up with a free target account list for the new market segment you’ve been considering.