B2B revenue generation: Definition, examples and 7 strategies to increase profits

Did you know that revenue generation isn’t just the responsibility of your sales team? In fact, all departments—including marketing, customer success, revenue operations and even finance—play a role in driving the growth of your business.

So, if you want to ensure that your B2B company is profitable, it’s essential to have a strong revenue generation strategy that empowers each department to contribute to the bottom line.

But what is revenue generation exactly? And how do you improve your revenue generation process without sacrificing the customer experience? Good questions! And we’re going to answer them in this blog post as we look at:

  • The meaning of revenue generation
  • Examples of revenue generation tasks for sales, marketing, customer success, finance and revenue operations teams
  • 7 profitable strategies your business can implement to start generating more revenue

Let’s begin!


What is revenue generation?

Revenue generation is the process of creating and capturing sales opportunities for a company. This process can involve various activities such as identifying market segments, setting pricing strategies and converting leads to customers.

Without an efficient revenue generation process, your business may fail to attract and retain new customers. In the B2B world, this process can be even more complex, as sales cycles tend to be longer and involve multiple decision-makers.


Which teams are responsible for revenue generation activities? 

Revenue generation isn’t a task reserved for one specific team within a company. Instead, it’s a collaborative effort between different departments, including marketing, sales, customer success, finance and revenue operations—with each team having specific responsibilities and tasks.



You probably already know that the sales team is responsible for generating revenue. Sales Development Reps (SDRs) do this directly through prospecting and closing deals. But they also play a crucial role in this process by:

  • Identifying and targeting the right leads based on an understanding of their pain points and how the company’s solutions can address them
  • Proactively reaching out to leads through cold calling, emailing, networking and other lead generation activities
  • Building and maintaining relationships with clients to increase the likelihood of repeat purchases
  • Conducting product demos with potential customers
  • Tracking and analyzing sales performance data to improve processes and strategies continually



Your marketing team’s role in revenue generation is just as crucial as the sales team’s. They generate demand for your product or service, increase the flow of high-quality leads and create brand awareness. Ultimately, your marketing team aims to guide potential customers through the initial stages of your sales funnel and convert them into qualified leads by:

  • Creating content such as blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and webinars to attract and educate potential buyers
  • Launching marketing campaigns, often in collaboration with the sales team, to drive leads and conversions
  • Conducting market and competitor research to inform go-to-market strategies
  • Building and maintaining relationships with key industry influencers and partners to increase brand visibility and credibility
  • Tracking and analyzing lead conversion rates, website traffic and other relevant metrics 


Customer success

The customer experience can make or break any company’s revenue generation efforts. The customer success team takes ownership of ensuring a positive customer journey that supports and contributes to revenue growth by:

  • Providing onboarding and training to ensure customers are fully using your product
  • Building strong relationships with clients to encourage loyalty and retention
  • Collecting customer feedback and making suggestions for product improvements
  • Recommending new products or services based on customer needs and interests
  • Working with the sales team to upsell or cross-sell additional products and services



The finance team often isn’t thought of as directly contributing to revenue generation. But they play a crucial role in helping your company make informed decisions about pricing, product offerings and investments. For example, finance contributes to revenue growth by:

  • Analyzing and forecasting financial performance so the company can set realistic revenue goals
  • Providing insights on pricing strategies and identifying new revenue streams
  • Conducting cost analyses to maximize profitability
  • Ensuring compliance with financial regulations and minimizing financial risk
  • Using financial data to drive decision-making and optimize revenue generation efforts


Revenue operations

Revenue operations (RevOps) is an emerging business function becoming increasingly crucial in data-driven B2B companies. If your business has a RevOps team, you know their main priority is to identify and eliminate any roadblocks to revenue generation. To achieve that goal, the RevOps team will perform tasks like:

  • Aligning the message and strategy of all go-to-market teams to ensure consistency and optimize revenue generation
  • Implementing sales technology, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, to improve accuracy and efficiency in revenue forecasting
  • Going beyond traditional lead scoring methods to understand the ideal customer profile (ICP) and determine the signals that indicate a lead is ready to buy
  • Optimizing pricing and packaging for maximum revenue and profitability
  • Analyzing data and presenting insights to inform decision-making for the whole revenue generation team


7 strategies to improve your B2B revenue generation process

Generating sustainable revenue sounds like a no-brainer for any business. But it can often be a challenge for B2B companies that sell complex or high-value products to other businesses.

So, you may need to experiment with different strategies and tactics to find what works best. Here are 7 revenue generation strategies that can help your business boost profitability.


Strategy 1: Use exegraphics to better understand your ICP

Your ideal customer profile (ICP) is a crucial component of any revenue generation process. Why? Because understanding who your ICP is helps you focus on the leads most likely to convert into customers and bring in revenue.

Unfortunately, many businesses have trouble accurately defining their ICP because they rely on superficial information like company size, annual revenue or industry. But does that type of information tell you whether a particular lead is actually a good fit for your product or if they’re ready to buy it anytime soon? Not really.

By using exegraphics—data and insights on the characteristics, behaviors and needs of your best customers—you can more accurately define and target your ICP. When studying a company’s exegraphics, you might find that your best customers tend to have a specific pain point in common when they buy from you, like a need for better data security due to new compliance regulations and a small IT department.

With that information, you can better target similar companies in your outreach efforts and tailor your messaging to address their specific pain points. The only problem is that finding this type of data can be tedious and time-consuming as it’s not readily available in one centralized location.

That’s where Rev comes in. Our AI-powered Sales Development Platform can quickly analyze your current customer data and gather insights into the characteristics and behaviors that your best customers tend to display when they’re ready to buy. This data helps you better understand your ideal customer profile and identify and target similar companies for your outreach efforts.


Strategy 2: Invest in demand generation marketing

Demand generation (aka demand gen) involves creating content that attracts the attention of your ideal customer, builds brand awareness, and drives demand for your product or service. Despite being a long-term investment, demand gen can significantly impact revenue generation.

Not only does demand generation bring in new leads, but it also helps with lead nurturing—turning those leads into paying customers. By creating valuable content targeted towards your ideal customer, your target audience will see your brand as a thought leader in the industry and be more likely to do business with you.

Demand generation activities can include content marketing to attract and educate your target audience, using search engine optimization (SEO) to improve visibility on search engines and running targeted advertising campaigns. Learn more by reading our demand generation marketing guide.


Strategy 3: Leverage the power of social proof

In his book Influence, Robert Cialdini discusses the power of social proof—the idea that people will mimic the actions of others to fit in or feel safe. In the B2B world, this translates to potential customers being more likely to buy from a company that has proven success in the form of customer reviews and case studies.

Think about it. As a potential customer, you are more likely to trust and believe in the capabilities of a company that has glowing reviews from other companies like yours or has a case study outlining how they successfully solved a problem for a past customer.

So, how can you leverage this to improve your B2B revenue generation strategy? First, ensure that you have a system for collecting and showcasing customer reviews, whether on your website or through third-party review sites.

You can also work with your customer success team to gather and publish case studies highlighting the successes of your past clients. These types of social proof can go a long way in building trust and credibility with potential customers, ultimately leading to more sales and revenue generation.


Strategy 4: Empower your customer success team to generate revenue

While the customer success team’s primary focus may be on retention and advocacy, they also can have a significant impact on revenue. But if you want to maximize their potential for revenue generation, it’s essential to provide them with the necessary data and resources.

Access to customer data such as account health, churn likelihood and renewal dates can help the customer success team prioritize accounts and proactively address potential risks. And by equipping them with that information, your customer success team will better understand how to upsell and cross-sell to current customers.

You can also encourage direct collaboration between customer success and sales. In a recent interview, the Chief Customer Officer of AppsFlyer shared just how much of an impact the customer success team can have on revenue generation.

By empowering their customer success managers to identify customer support qualified leads to pass to their sales team, AppsFlyer was able to generate over 300 million dollars in revenue from their existing customers in less than four years!


Strategy 5: Master psychological pricing strategies

When was the last time you noticed a price ending in “9” or “99”? Chances are, it was recently. Why? Because this tactic, known as charm pricing, is one of the most commonly used psychological pricing strategies.

Psychological pricing refers to any pricing strategy that uses psychological tricks or techniques to influence customer behavior and drive sales. Along with charm pricing, other examples of psychological pricing strategies include:

  • Prestige pricing: Setting a high price to convey luxury or exclusivity
  • Comparative pricing: Comparing your lower-priced products to higher-priced products
  • Bundle pricing: Offering a discounted price for purchasing multiple products at once

While these pricing tactics may seem subtle, they can actually be effective in driving sales and revenue growth. However, it’s important to use them ethically and make sure they align with your company’s values.


Strategy 6: Create the environment of a high-performing SDR team

Whether it’s funding a training program or providing the latest sales technology, investing in your SDR team can help better equip them to close more deals from high-fit accounts. It’s also important to continuously gather feedback from them to improve and fine-tune your messaging, value propositions and lead scoring criteria.

Another way to support your SDR team is by creating a warm lead handoff process between marketing and sales. This process ensures that the leads passed over to your SDRs have already shown interest in your product or solution or are showing signs of being fit and ready to engage.

It’s also crucial to audit your sales pipeline regularly to ensure that your SDRs spend their time on the right deals and target the best-fit accounts rather than wasting time on low-fit leads. For more tips like these, check out our post on 12 steps to build a high-performing SDR team.


Strategy 7: Prioritize sales and marketing alignment

It’s unfortunately common for sales and marketing teams to operate in silos, with little communication or collaboration between the two. As a result, quality leads fall through the cracks, marketing feels their efforts aren’t translating into sales, sales feels like they are constantly starting from scratch with few qualified leads and revenue growth suffers.

Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to get these teams on the same page. Because when sales and marketing teams align their efforts, they can create a streamlined approach to generate leads, nurture them through the sales funnel and close more deals

But how do you go about coordinating your sales and marketing teams? It begins with breaking down silos and fostering open communication and collaboration. You can achieve this through regular meetings, joint goal setting, creating shared metrics to track progress, and using the same tools and systems to track leads and sales data.

Sales and marketing alignment is also one of the core goals of a revenue operations team. So, a transition to RevOps at your organization (if you haven’t already) can also play a crucial role in hitting revenue targets by bringing together all the revenue generating teams and aligning their efforts.


Final thoughts

Driving consistent revenue growth can be a challenge for B2B companies. But by understanding each team’s role in the revenue generation process and aligning their efforts, you can ensure everyone knows how to contribute to achieving revenue targets.

It also helps to empower your teams with the tools and technology to make revenue generation activities more effective and efficient. For example, Rev’s Sales Development Platform helps you better understand your ICP and the signals that indicate when they’re ready to buy. This information lets you identify and target high-value leads and close deals faster.

Want to see how Rev can improve your revenue generation plan? Contact us and request your free ICP audit


What chatbots teach revenue teams about using AI

AI has reached a tipping point in accessibility and proficiency, and Sales and Marketing teams are suddenly engaging with AI in new ways—many for the first time.

They’re using ChatGPT, for instance, to write their B2B prospecting emails, personalization and all. It takes a human five minutes or thirty or an hour to do some prospect research on LinkedIn before they can even get started. AI? It can do it all almost instantaneously. Or can it?

Not all AI tools are created equal. They’re not all trained to do the same thing. A chatbot like ChatGPT might write a heck of an email, but the accuracy of that email, especially when it comes to personalization, may not be as dialed in. As fascinating (and remarkable) as ChatGPT is, it also can’t build you an accurate target account list.

There are, however, AI tools that Sales, Marketing and RevOps teams can (and should) use to run faster and generate quality revenue. The key is to make certain you’re using the right tools to produce accurate and powerful results.

With the lessons learned from AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard, here is our Rev primer for revenue teams that require up-to-date and spot-on results from the leading edge of AI.


AI sources what is available—and it needs quality data

AI can improve lead generation efficiency and speed. So revenue teams absolutely can implement it—just not indiscriminately.

Not all AI is up to the task for what revenue teams need. It can get the details wrong. It did so, infamously and publicly, when Google Bard provided incorrect information about the James Webb Space Telescope.

It’s true that generative AI’s ability to create smooth, coherent, plausible text is impressive. Afterall, that’s what it was trained to do: generate realistic-sounding answers, not necessarily accurate ones. The details can be off. In Sales and Marketing, those details matter.


Teaching a robot to love

Here’s an illustrative thought experiment: Pretend that (like a shocking amount of people) you tasked an AI chatbot with writing a love poem for your partner. Could you pass it off as your own?

If you and your partner just met, maybe you could. But if you know each other well, you can’t get away with cold-calling AI to write a love poem. Straight-up, it won’t sound like you.

But it might, if you adjust the parameters: Give the AI chatbot all the love poems you’ve written over the years, then ask it to write a poem in that style. You just might pull it off, because the AI has greater access to relevant data.


Data quantity matters too

This is part of why Google Bard dropped the ball on the James Webb Space Telescope data: it’s a very recent news phenomenon, so there simply isn’t much information for the AI chatbot to source its knowledge from. It wrote an answer without sufficient context. If the question had been about the Hubble, Bard’s odds of nailing the answer would have improved dramatically. But, again, its model is designed to pick the most likely words and phrases, not what’s true.

To move the needle on your GTM functions, your AI-driven systems need to be used for what they were trained to do and have access to enough data. Otherwise they will point you in the wrong direction, or just come off sounding… well, off


Revenue teams require up-to-date data

More data doesn’t just give your AI a better knowledge base to draw from; it improves the AI’s performance—more so than more processing elements. It’s a lot like how a bigger brain doesn’t make a person smarter so much as more experience does.


Historical bias causes revenue issues

Yet AI runs into the historical bias problem referenced above with the telescopes: history often overwhelms recent info in AI processing. This is a problem for revenue teams that rely on immediate, relevant data to make decisions both accurately and fast. The lack of data created about today or yesterday can’t stop you from taking action now.

That’s one thing that limits generative AI models like ChatGPT. Put to work for a Sales team, it would miss some timely events and milestones about your target accounts to draft accurate email copy. And if you asked ChatGPT to build you a target account list? Well, it might do a reasonable job of finding a few good targets given enough context about what you’re selling. But generating an accurate list of hundreds or thousands of companies is a fundamentally different task—and absolutely requires specific, up-to-date information. Data that’s even a few months behinds will leave you in the middle of another James Webb Space Telescope situation.


LLMs improve accuracy

So, if you’re looking to AI to build your target account list you need to look beyond the hype of generative AI and start looking at AI that’s using large language models (LLM) in ways that leverage up-to-date information that’s most relevant to B2B targeting. That’s how you’ll get outputs that have a high level of accuracy in the details.

LLMs are the deep-learning algorithms that identify relevant data and synthesize it into useful form. Despite the name, they’re not just used for language processing applications like chatbots—they’re used in many other cases, like building aiCPs, or AI-driven customer profiles, that help revenue teams identify the exegraphics behind their best customers and find other accounts that share those traits and fit their ideal customer profile.

Short version? AI that uses an LLM can make sense of data scraped from the web, including up-to-date information about what’s happening with millions of companies, then analyze it to understand how those companies are executing their mission. It can compare this to how your current best customers are running their business, in order to provide real-time insights into the accounts that you should be targeting. 


It’s a sorting problem for revenue teams

The headline-grabbing generative AI used by chatbots relies on, essentially, solving search problems. They are a natural extension of what Google does today, where you ask a question and expect even just one good result.

In B2B, targeting is a different search problem: you want AI not to find you just one result, but to find all the results and then stack rank them in terms of how good a fit they are for what you’re trying to sell. Oh, without missing any, and without diluting the results with poor-quality targets.

In short, revenue teams require AI capable of solving sorting problems in addition to search problems.

To solve those problems accurately requires the right data, normalized in a way that an automated process can digest it. And it has to be up to date. These are significant challenges for LLMs. And LLMs are neither cheap nor easy to create; a company is not going to rebuild LLMs every day to account for new data.

This is why not all AI is created equal, and revenue teams in particular have to be selective in what will create not only fast content, but the right content. The best-fitting AI tools can identify the right information and assess relevant context around the organizations you should be selling to.


Final thoughts: Presentation matters

Let’s face it: the accuracy of AI chatbots is kind of a novelty. It’s fun to see what responses we get, but we’re all too used to finding the right answers on Google to be wowed by, essentially, an impressive search function.

We’re much more moved by the ability of AI to respond like a human in real time—faster than any person could—and sometimes even better. The ability to synthesize information, to comb those billions of data sources and come up with answers that come across more eloquently than any of us ever sounded in a job interview (or a prospecting email), is why revenue teams are so intrigued by technology like ChatGPT.

Presentation matters. No one would let AI write prospecting emails if it talked like a robot. But in the end, substance matters more than presentation. AI saves revenue teams time and resources, no doubt. But relying on the best-fit AI, AI that produces accurate results on B2B prospects, will be the real differentiator for revenue teams in this new landscape.

Layering exegraphics and intent data to up your game (and your returns)

RevOps teams are justifiably driven to incorporate intent data in their prioritization strategies. Which makes perfect sense: in the world of demand gen and cold outreach, a prospect who has voluntarily expressed interest in a solution your company offers is way more likely to buy than someone who hasn’t. Intent data offers much better predictive capabilities than standard firmographic filters (like industry, headcount, location or revenue).

Intent data is powerful. There’s no doubt about it. However, it may not be giving you the full spread of information you need to maximize your conversions. For example, intent data can overemphasize “window shoppers,” lookie-loos who are only checking things out because they cost little to nothing.

Sure, a prospect downloaded a white paper or attended a webinar in exchange for a live email address, but those actions could be lightweight indicators of actual readiness. Typically, 66% or more of prospects on a normal, unfiltered intent list are such window shoppers—not the hot prospects you’re most likely to land a meeting with.

But when you pair intent data with exegraphics? Now, you’re unlocking the real potential of both data sets to optimize your sales pipeline.


How exegraphics differ from intent

Exegraphics and intent data offer essentially a macro- and a micro-view of a potential customer. Intent signals reflect individual actions that indicate some amount of willingness to engage with your company’s offerings. Exegraphics are demand signals: they reveal the inner workings of companies and how they execute their mission.

An exegraphic is essentially any characteristic you would want to know about a company—even if that information is not readily accessible. The B2C giants have been in on this concept for years with psychographics that extend well beyond demographics: the large data attractors (think Amazon or Google) can predict what you’ll want to buy, as an individual consumer, before you know it yourself. Exegraphics offer similar insights for the B2B world.

AI-driven exegraphics look at companies two ways: one is a focus on a company’s position in its industry and the value it offers to its market. The other focuses on the functions of people within the company, and how those functions are built, sized and prioritized. Rather than create static data points, exegraphics also account for trends and change over time.

Here’s one way to think of it: Intent data reflects small-sample-size data points where a prospect has engaged with your company in some lightweight way. Going after those prospects on that data point alone is like fishing based on where you see a ripple on the water. You know at least one fish is swimming there, and if it’s hungry, it might bite.

Exegraphic data, on the other hand, goes deeper than surface-level interactions to understand broader behaviors and patterns. In the fishing metaphor, you’d have a working knowledge of where schools of fish travel in the lake during different seasons and times of day. You’d know what they like to eat and when they’re most active. You’re not chasing ripples; you’re casting a lure where you know it’s most likely to land a hungry fish.


Combining forces to focus your sales strategy

Now you could argue that the best way to fish is both to understand the deeper behavioral patterns, and to look for the ripples that signal a live one. We agree.

Every prospect can potentially exhibit both intent signals and demand signals, as in this case: 

If you’ve already implemented an intent data provider’s system to capture the potential desires of individual prospects, great: keep using it. Alongside that, Rev can identify the exegraphics that your best customers share. We use millions of behavioral data points from thousands of companies to understand what characteristics underlie your best-fit prospects’ needs and create an aiCP (an AI-supported ideal customer profile) to build you a prospect pipeline from the companies with the top “Rev Scores.”

Layering your existing intent data atop the aiCP offers even clearer direction for your sales and marketing strategies, combining the fish’s behavior with the ripples atop the water.

This matrix describes four primary scenarios for combining exegraphics and intent data:

Next wave: high Rev Score + low intent score

These target companies demonstrate the right heavyweight behaviors to match your aiCP. They act like your current best customers on the inside, and for those reasons they are highly likely to have a need for your product or service—even if they don’t know it yet, or haven’t acted on it yet.

Your strategy: Nurture these next-wave prospects.

 These companies are ripe for a higher-volume nurture campaign. They may not be fully aware of a looming pain point, or that your company offers solutions for it. So, start creating those relationships. At the same time, you can monitor these prospects for intent signals—any way they are responding to your nurture campaign or seeking more information, which could bump them into the “hot prospects” category below.


Window shoppers: low Rev Score + high intent score

We mentioned window shoppers above. These prospects are often false positives. They demonstrate interest or curiosity, but the underlying exegraphics reveal they may not be a likely best fit because they don’t share many similarities with your best or ideal customers.

Your strategy: Delegate and deprioritize.

These prospects’ high-intent scores come at a low cost to them (often nothing more than offering an email address). The good thing is, interacting with them can remain a low-cost proposition for you, too. Don’t ignore them, but don’t expend time and resources on them, either. You can route them to automated marketing campaigns until they demonstrate a more serious interest.


Non-prospects: low Rev Score + low intent score

Odds are, your product isn’t useful to everyone out there. These companies have not shown significant interest in your product, and their exegraphics don’t demonstrate much likelihood that they ever will.

Your strategy: Simply ignore them.

Sometimes, you might want to think non-prospects are an untapped market. Most often, they’re not worth your time. The ROI on marketing to these companies would be minuscule, and odds are they’d be unsatisfied customers anyway. Unless these companies start to demonstrate some interest or radically evolve closer to your ideal customer, just don’t even bother.


Hot prospects: high Rev Score + high intent score

These are the golden-ticket prospects. The holy grails. The unicorns. Not only do they look and act like your ideal customers, but they’re also demonstrating a readiness to engage and buy. Do we really need to explain why you should call these companies right now?

Your strategy: Go for it! Route them to your sales team for immediate action.


Final thought: Exegraphics and intent data are more powerful together

Of course we believe that exegraphics are the most powerful tool for any RevOps leader. We know of no more comprehensive way to understand what makes your best customers tick, and to identify your true ideal customer profile.

Yet there is no denying that intent data augments the precision and strength of exegraphics. With exegraphics alone, absent intent data, your sales team knows they might have to spend time selling the idea before selling the product. But knowing which prospects function much like your existing success cases and which ones are already looking at the solutions your team offers?

Well, we can’t promise the trout will jump right in your boat. That’s no fun. But with exegraphics and intent data playing together, your sales team can focus its efforts on the greatest likelihoods of landing satisfied customers.

Ready for a free list of target accounts that have the exegraphics you care about most? Contact us.

Marketing qualified lead: What is it really?

Companies can’t survive without customers. And every customer is a “converted” lead. But, not all leads will convert. Some may not fit your ideal customer profile and others may not be ready to buy. That’s where marketing qualified leads, or MQLs, come into play. 

You might be asking, “What exactly is an MQL?” “How do you identify an MQL?” and “Why do MQLs matter?” 

This blog post covers all you need to know about MQLs—from definitions to strategies for converting leads into paying customers. You’ll also learn how MQLs compare to sales qualified leads, (SQLs) and how they work together in the sales funnel.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.


What is a marketing qualified lead (MQL)?

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a person or organization that has expressed interest in your company’s product or services. MQLs are leads your marketing team has identified as having the potential to become customers. 

In other words, MQLs are leads that have met specific criteria that indicate that the leads are more likely to move further down the sales funnel.

These criteria can be based on a variety of factors, including

  • Website interactions: How often does the lead view your website? Are they clicking on CTAs or downloading content? 
  • Paid advertising: Are they responding to your paid ads? Are they clicking through or engaging with them? 
  • Content engagement: Are they interacting with content such as emails, blog posts or e-books?
  • Social media engagement: Are they engaging with your social media accounts? Are they sharing posts and commenting? 

Because MQLs have already taken actions that signal they are likely to become customers, they are more valuable to your business. These marketing qualified leads are likely to become sales-qualified leads (SQLs). And with that confidence, you can prioritize them over other leads—saving you time, money and resources in closing pipeline. 


Marketing qualified lead (MQL) vs. sales qualified lead (SQL)

Now that you know what MQLs are, let’s look at how they differ from sales qualified leads (SQLs).

As the name implies, sales qualified leads are leads that the sales team has deemed worth pursuing. These leads have shown enough interest in your product or service to make it worthwhile to engage them further in the sales process. 

The main difference between MQLs and SQLs is which team sourced them. MQLs are identified by the marketing team, and SQLs are qualified by the sales team. 

While MQLs have the potential to convert into customers, they still need to enter the sales funnel. But, this is not the case with SQLs. SQLs are already in the sales funnel and are ready for sales to engage further.


How a lead becomes an MQL

MQLs have specific attributes that differentiate them from other leads, and much of it can be tracked and measured. 

Some examples of MQL common behavior include:

  1. Regularly visiting your website: MQLs will consistently visit your website, view content and explore different pages.
  2. Completion of web forms: MQLs are likely to fill out web forms, to get more information or request a product demo.
  3. Interacting with online ads: This may involve clicking on ads or engaging with sponsored content. Most MQLs will have interacted with at least one of your online ads.
  4. Downloading content from your website: MQLs will likely have downloaded content from your websites, such as e-books, white papers, case studies and other valuable information.
  5. Requesting more information or demos: MQLs have taken the initiative to request more information about your product or service and may even ask for a demonstration.
  6. Signing up for emails: MQLs will have signed up for emails and newsletters to receive ongoing updates about your product or service.
  7. Engaging with social media posts: MQLs tend to engage with posts and content by liking or commenting.
  8. Subscribing to newsletters: MQLs may also have subscribed to newsletters and other email campaigns to stay up-to-date on your product or service.
  9. Attending webinars and other events: This involves MQLs taking the extra step of attending webinars and other events to get more information about your product or service.

But in order for a lead to become an MQL, they don’t need to engage in ALL of the trackable activities. In fact, that’s why it’s important for sales and marketing teams to align on lead scoring and how to weight engagements. 

Lead scoring is a process that assigns values to leads based on their interactions with your company. This helps you see which leads are more likely to convert and should be given more attention.

To score a lead, assign a point value to each interaction with your website, ads, content and other digital assets. This helps to determine the worthiness of each lead.


High quality vs. low quality MQL

You might be wondering why we’re calling out high vs. low quality MQLs, especially when we just said that all MQLs had to meet a specific threshold in order to become “qualified.” The truth is, lead scoring optimizes for the lowest common denominator. So yes, high and low quality leads get bucketed—equally—as MQLs.

But they’re not equal, really.

Both hit minimum criteria. High quality MQLs, however, are more likely to engage. They have a higher closing and revenue potential and are further along in the buyer’s journey. Low quality MQLs showed just enough interest, but may require a bit more nurturing and time before they’ll be ready to move to the next stage.

Lead nurturing is essential, for both high and low quality MQLs. But right out of the gate, it’s even more important to identify low-fit from high-fit leads. The faster a high-fit lead can be identified, the faster you can book revenue.


How sales and marketing can increase their pool of high-fit leads

All revenue teams—sales and marketing, specifically—need to have a unified strategy in place to bring in high-fit leads. The strategy needs to start at the most fundamental level: the ICP. Understanding who your ICP really is at the deepest level, the exegraphic level, will help revenue teams target and engage with accounts that have the characteristics they care about most. 

After all, when you engage with the wrong account, every step after is wasted.

Don’t be that team.

At Rev, we help revenue teams understand their ICP, and we find and prioritize other high-fit accounts that look just like them. Curious to know what your ICP really looks like so your demand gen team can run a stronger campaign and your SDRs can be more efficient in their outreach? Contact us for your free ICP audit.

B2B demand generation marketing: Nearly everything you need to know

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

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

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

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

Here’s a preview of what we’ll cover:

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

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


What is demand generation marketing?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Why is demand generation important for B2B companies?

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

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

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

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

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

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


What is a demand generation funnel?

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

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

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


How to develop a B2B demand generation strategy

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

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


Step 1: Determine clear goals and metrics of success

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

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

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

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


Step 2: Use exegraphic data to update your ICP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOFU Content

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

MOFU Content

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

BOFU Content

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

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


Step 4: Test, analyze and optimize

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


Step 5: Measure success based on your goals

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

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

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How do you measure the success of demand generation strategies?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Demand gen FAQ

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


How often should I run B2B demand generation campaigns?

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


Who is responsible for demand generation?

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


Does demand gen work for startups?

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

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


What makes valuable content for demand generation campaigns?

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


How does thought leadership impact demand generation?

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

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


How is inbound marketing different from demand generation? 

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

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


Can demand generation increase pipeline growth?

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

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


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

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

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

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Final thoughts

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

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

Evolving through the phases of a mature demand gen engine

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

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

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

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

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


Phase 1: Generating leads

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

So square one is all about lead generation.

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

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

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


Phase 2: Building out your tactics

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

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

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

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


Phase 3: Getting technical

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

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

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

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


Phase 4: Becoming specific and specialized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Align sales and marketing through the entire evolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lead generation best practices you need to adopt in 2023

How do you acquire good B2B leads?

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

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

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

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

Let’s start with the basics.


What is B2B lead generation? 

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

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

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


What are the four steps of the lead generation process? 

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


1. Define your ideal customer

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

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

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

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

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


2. Determine which channels to invest in

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

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

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


3. Create a content strategy and launch attractive offers

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

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

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

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


4. Promote your content

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

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

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


13 lead generation best practices

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


2. Use data to drive your decisions

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

Does the lead really match your ICP?

Is the content misaligned with the stage of the funnel?

Are leads getting too cold before an SDR reaches out?

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


3. Personalize your approach

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

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

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


4. Be human

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

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

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

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

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


5. Keep it short and sweet

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

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


6. Use numbers

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

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


7. Promote your content 

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

You can promote your content on social media by

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

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


8. Make it easy to contact you

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

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


9. Be responsive

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

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


10. Stay in touch

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

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

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


11. Get creative

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


12. Be patient

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

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

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


13. Get help

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

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


Final thoughts

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

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

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

What is outbound lead generation?

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

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

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

Without much ado, let’s dive right in.


What is outbound lead generation?

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

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


Inbound vs. outbound

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

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

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

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

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


What are the benefits of outbound lead generation?

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

1. Increase brand awareness

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


2. Hyper-target lead

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


3. Speed

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


4. Automation

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


5. Reach new markets

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


Outbound lead generation strategies

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

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


Cold calling

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

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


Outbound email

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

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

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


Social selling

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

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


Multi-channel outreach

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

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

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


Who makes up the outbound team?

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

1. Sales development representatives

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


2. Account executives

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


3. Content marketers

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


Final thoughts

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

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

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

Inbound vs. outbound sales: What, when and how

We studied the best marketing and sales minds and distilled them to a simple conclusion:

“Every sales strategy can be categorized into two buckets; inbound or outbound, and neither is the better way to sell.”

In fact, both are great and often used together as part of a larger GTM strategy. So, to help you understand inbound and outbound, this post will cover everything from their differences to the pros and cons of each approach. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which sales strategy is right for your business (and when).


What is inbound sales?

Inbound is a sales and marketing strategy focused on attracting customers through helpful and exciting content that draws people toward your product or service. It’s all about providing value to prospects—no strings attached.

Think about the last time you Googled something like, “How to improve SDR pipeline.” You were likely looking for an article, infographic, report or video that would answer your question and give you the guidance you need to quickly get back on your way. (You definitely weren’t looking for a sales pitch.) The same principles are true for inbound sales. 

To support an inbound motion, businesses create content meant to deliver immediate value—agnostic of your product and without selling. The goal is simply to attract and build trust with prospects. The long-term play is to then rely on that genuine trust to build a relationship that eventually turns a prospect into a customer and an advocate.


Components of inbound selling

Inbound selling has four key components:

1. Attraction

Before any sale can happen, you need to discover and attract the right audience. Inbound sales relies on content and SEO strategies to draw people in.

2. Engagement

Once you have someone’s attention, you need to engage them further. You can use forms, live chat and email marketing to continue the conversation.

3. Nurture

Inbound sales aims to turn prospects into customers, nurture the relationship and build trust over time. Why not sell right away? Because most people aren’t ready to buy when they first learn about your company and what you can do for them.

4. Close

After you’ve provided value and built a relationship, you can close the sale. You can (and should) use call-to-actions, special offers and free trials to seal the deal.


Benefits of inbound sales

Inbound has become very popular over the last several years, and for good reason. It works—and the results are visible.

  1. Increased ROI: Inbound sales is a cost-effective way to sell. It relies on content and digital marketing, which are relatively cheap compared to other marketing, lead gen and nurturing strategies.
  2. Long-term results: With inbound sales, you’re not just focused on making a one-time sale. You’re also focused on building relationships and developing trust, which leads to repeat business and more referrals.
  3. Greater customer insight: Inbound sales gives you a better understanding of your customers and what they’re looking for. You can use this information to improve your product or service and build a stronger bond with your current (and future) customers.
  4. Increased brand awareness: With inbound, you have the potential to reach a broader audience base, which creates wider brand awareness and, most importantly, more leads.
  5. More qualified leads: With inbound sales, you’re attracting prospects who already show interest in what you offer. This means that you’re more likely to close the sale and less likely to waste time on unqualified leads.
  6. Increased customer loyalty: Inbound sales helps you build relationships with your customers, which leads to increased customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Drawbacks of inbound sales

We just listed the pros… but there are also cons. You’ll want to take both into consideration as you determine what’s best for your org.

  1. It takes time to see results: Inbound sales is a long-term strategy that can take months to pan out. This can be frustrating for businesses that need quick sales to stay afloat.
  2. It requires a lot of content: Inbound relies on content to attract and engage customers. This means you need to have a lot of high-quality content to start.
  3. It’s not suitable for all businesses: Inbound sales might not be the best option for businesses that sell low-cost items or those with a minimal target market.
  4. It can be difficult to measure results: Measuring the effects of inbound sales can sometimes be difficult. That’s because there are often many touchpoints between the first contact and the final sale. So, you’ll need to track your inbound efforts to see which strategies are working and which aren’t.
  5. You need to be patient: As we mentioned, inbound sales is a long-term strategy. This means that you need to be patient and prepared for some ups and downs along the way as you measure to see what’s working so you can refine your strategy as you scale.

What is outbound sales?

Outbound sales is the traditional sales strategy where businesses proactively reach out to prospects. It typically involves cold-calling and emailing contacts within your target accounts, and attending trade shows.

The goal of outbound is to find potential customers and turn them into actual customers before those prospects even know or think to look for you. Traditional outbound —which includes a manual process of determining which companies to target—can be taxing. And the stakes are high. Afterall, your competitors are likely out there searching for and pitching the same folks. So, it becomes a race for who can get to them first.


Components of outbound sales

There are four key components of outbound sales:

1. Identification

The first step in outbound is building your target account list. As we mentioned, this is often a time-consuming manual process that is often powered by guesswork. Instead, we recommended you build your target account list with a little help from AI.

2. Contact

Once you’ve identified potential targets, the next step is to contact them. This can be done through phone calls, emails or face-to-face meetings.

3. Qualification

The next step is to qualify the potential customer. This is where you determine whether or not they’re a good fit for your product or service. (And, if you use Rev to build your TAL, you’ll have insight into their readiness.)

4. Engagement

The next step is to engage with prospects to sell them your product or service. This can be done through a sales presentation, demo, free trial or other methods.

5. Closing

The final step is to close the sale and get the customer to commit to buying your product or service. This can be done through negotiation, discounts or other methods.


Benefits of outbound sales

There are several benefits of outbound sales, which include:

  1. Increased reach: One of the main benefits of outbound sales is that it allows you to reach more prospects; you’re not limited to just your current customer base or website visitors.
  2. Greater flexibility: Outbound sales allows you to be more flexible in your sales approach. With outbound, you can tailor your sales pitch to each customer.
  3. Improved control: Outbound sales gives you more control over the sales process. You control when and how you contact potential customers.
  4. Increased sales: While outbound sales takes more time and effort than inbound, it can lead to more sales. Outbound sales is often considered a “numbers game” because the more people you contact, the more likely you will make a sale.

Drawbacks of outbound sales

And of course, there are drawbacks too. They include:

  1. It’s time-consuming: Sales reps spend time cold calling, sending emails and researching potential leads. This can be very time-consuming and may not always result in a sale. (And, if they’re talking to prospects that don’t match your ICP, they’re wasting their time.)
  2. It can be expensive: Since outbound sales is often very time-consuming, it can also be quite expensive. Companies that engage in outbound sales typically have to pay their sales representatives a high salary and cover the cost of any lead generation tools or software they use.
  3. It can be disruptive: Many people do not appreciate receiving unsolicited phone calls or emails from sales representatives. This can be disruptive and even annoying, which may make it difficult to establish a good rapport with potential customers.
  4. It may not be effective: Despite the time and effort often put into outbound sales, it may not always result in sales. In many cases, potential customers are simply not interested in what is being sold, no matter how hard you try to sell it to them.
  5. It can damage a company’s reputation: If a company’s outbound sales tactics are too aggressive or intrusive, it can damage its reputation. This could lead to fewer people doing business with the company, which would ultimately hurt its bottom line.

When to use inbound vs. outbound

When should you use inbound and when should you use outbound? The answer isn’t always cut and dry, but here are some guiding principles to help you understand when each is most likely to be effective.

1. The type of product or service you’re selling.

If you’re selling a product or service that is high-priced or complex, then you may want to prioritize inbound sales. It allows you to build relationships with potential customers and educate them about your product before trying to sell it to them. In fact, when you invest in inbound for a high-priced product, you’re also creating brand awareness which creates air cover for your outbound teams. And that will help them open doors.

2. The type of customer you’re targeting.

If you’re targeting customers who are already interested in your product or service, then you may want to double down on inbound sales; you can target customers who are already signaling purchase intent. But, if you’re looking to target prospects who may have not yet heard of you—and you want to reach them before they’ve heard of your competitors—outbound is the way to go. Targeting companies that have the characteristics that most resemble your best customers will give you the competitive edge.

3. Your goals and objectives.

Finally, it’s essential to consider your goals and objectives when choosing which, when and how to implement inbound and outbound motions. If your goal is to generate leads and build relationships, then you may need to give your attention to building a stronger inbound motion. However, if your goal is to close deals and make sales, then outbound sales may need your attention. And, as you can tell, both are important parts of the equation—which is why many companies have both.


Final thoughts

There are several factors to consider when evaluating inbound and outbound sales. Ultimately, the best option for your business will depend on your specific goals and objectives.

With Rev, you can support your inbound strategy by tapping into our high-quality, AI-powered MQLs and fuel your outbound by building and prioritizing your target list with accounts that have the characteristics you care about most. 

Contact us, and we’ll show you how we use AI and exegraphics to help companies grow predictable pipeline. (We’ll even give you a free list of target accounts that most resemble your best customers.)

10 key demand generation metrics for B2B marketing

Do you think your company’s CEO cares about web traffic, impressions or leads as much as your marketing team? Probably not! Because what she really cares about is revenue. 

So, as a B2B marketer, you need to be able to show the impact your demand generation efforts are having on the bottom line. Otherwise, you’re just working in a silo and your marketing efforts will eventually get cut.

But how do you show the impact of demand generation on revenue? The answer is simple: by tracking and reporting the right metrics.

That’s why, in this blog post, we’ll show you 10 of the most important demand generation metrics so you know how to communicate the value of your demand gen campaigns. We’ll also show you how you can use exegraphic data to get even better results with your demand generation metrics by knowing which companies to target.

Let’s get started!


10 demand generation metrics for B2B marketing 

#1 Number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs)

The first important metric to track is the number of MQLs as it can show you how effective your demand generation process is at generating qualified leads and if there are any problems you need to fix ASAP.

If you’re generating demand from a lot of leads but they’re not qualified, it may be a sign that your demand generation campaign is targeting an outdated ideal customer profile (ICP) that relies too heavily on superficial information, like employee job titles and company size.

What can you do instead? Dig deeper to understand the characteristics that actually affect buying decisions at your target companies, such as how your ideal customers operate and execute their company mission. These characteristics are what we call exegraphics. 

For example, let’s imagine you’re a software company that sells a product that helps small businesses with inventory management. If you read through a target company’s job ads and website (or use Rev’s AI-powered platform to collect that information at scale) you might find that company is currently expanding its eCommerce operations but is struggling to keep track of what’s selling where.

You could use this insight to produce demand generation marketing content that’s tailored to their specific needs and pain points. And it’s that type of content that will help you move potential customers through your demand generation funnel and generate better MQLs!


#2 MQL to SQL conversion rate 

You need to monitor the number of marketing qualified leads that convert into sales qualified leads (SQLs). This metric is important because it tells you how efficient your demand generation funnel is at converting leads into customers.

If you’re not converting a high percentage of your MQLs into SQLs, it could be because your leads are getting stuck at the top of the funnel. And this is important for your marketing team to know because it can be improved with a few changes to your demand generation strategy.

Here are a few ways to improve your MQL to SQL conversion rate:

  • Make sure your MQL criteria are clear and aligned with your sales process
  • Work closely with your sales team to ensure a smooth handoff of MQLs
  • Create targeted content for each stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Use exegraphic data to score your leads and prioritize the ones most likely to convert


#3 MQL churn rate

How many MQLs you’re bringing in is only part of the equation. You also need to keep track of how many of these leads you’re able to retain and move through your funnel. This metric, known as MQL churn rate, can help you identify any bottlenecks in your demand generation funnel and make adjustments accordingly.

To improve your MQL churn rate: 

  • Optimize your lead scoring model to better identify and prioritize top-quality leads
  • Improve your lead nurturing strategy
  • Invest in better targeting and audience segmentation techniques
  • Analyze exegraphic data to identify characteristics associated with high-quality MQLs


#4 MQL and SQL to customer conversion rate 

Ultimately, the goal of demand generation is to increase the number of people interested in signing up for your product or service. 

While you won’t always be able to directly attribute this metric to your demand generation campaign, it can be helpful to understand whether your campaigns correlate with an increase in conversions.

Here are some ideas on how to use demand generation content to increase conversions:

  • Create valuable demand generation content such as ebooks, white papers or blog posts that position your company as an authority in your niche 
  • Use calls-to-action (CTAs) in your demand generation content that encourages people to sign up for your product or service
  • Offer incentives such as discounts or coupons for people who sign up after engaging with your demand gen content


#5 Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value is the total value a customer will bring to your company throughout their relationship with you. And this one’s essential for your demand generation campaigns because it can help you:

  • Set a target CPA (cost per acquisition) that you are willing to spend to acquire a new customer
  • Determine which channels are most effective at acquiring high-value customers
  • Prioritize accounts that have a higher CLV


#6 Cost per acquisition (CPA)

CPA is the total cost of acquiring a new customer. And if your demand generation campaigns are generating a lot of low-quality leads, then your CPA will be higher than it needs to be.

Of course, demand generation isn’t the only thing that affects CPA. Things like our sales process and product also play a role. However, there are a few demand gen activities you can do to improve your CPA:

  • Improve your lead scoring system so that you’re only targeting leads that are likely to convert into customers
  • Nurture your leads with targeted content so they are more likely to convert when they are contacted by sales 
  • Use exegraphic data to identify and prioritize accounts that are a good fit for your product and show signs of being ready to buy


#7 Content performance metrics

Your demand generation campaign can only be as successful as the content that supports it. That’s why it’s important to track a few key metrics related to your content, such as:

  • Views
  • Downloads
  • Shares
  • Engagement 

You shouldn’t obsess too much over those metrics though. On their own, these metrics are vanity metrics that don’t tell you the full story of how effective your content is at generating demand or leads. 

However, when looked at in conjunction with other demand generation metrics, content performance metrics can give you a good idea of which content pieces are resonating with your audience and driving them further down the demand generation funnel. As a result, you’ll know which content pieces to double down on and which ones need improvement.

If you want to improve the performance of your demand gen content, here are a few things you can try:

  • Revisit your ideal customer profile and ensure it’s still reflective of your best customers and not just static firmographic data
  • Develop a better understanding of what type of content each of your buyer personas needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Use exegraphic data to learn where key decision makers at your target companies are most likely to consume content (e.g. LinkedIn articles vs. Twitter posts)


#8 Close rate per channel

Your demand generation strategy will likely include multiple channels, such as paid advertising, organic search, social media and email marketing. It’s important to track the close rate for each channel so you can see which ones are performing well and invest more in those channels. 

For example, you might find that your paid search campaigns have a higher close rate than your organic search campaigns. Knowing this information, you may decide to invest more in paid search as opposed to social media or organic search.


#9 Marketing cycle length

Demand generation drives more qualified leads to the top of the sales funnel, which can help shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

Unfortunately, many companies get stuck in a long marketing cycle because they’re not generating enough demand. So, if you show that your demand generation campaigns contribute to shorter marketing cycles, stakeholders will take notice.

Some things that might indicate your demand generation campaigns have helped to shorten the marketing cycle include: 

  • More prospects moving from one stage of the marketing funnel to the next
  • Increased website traffic from targeted channels
  • Higher conversion rates from marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads


#10 Contribution to total revenue

This is the ultimate metric that ties everything else together. If your demand generation campaigns don’t contribute to the bottom line, you need to re-evaluate your strategy. Why? Because, at the end of the day, you’ll have a hard time justifying your demand generation spend if it’s not directly impacting revenue.

But how do you measure this one? Here are a few ways to track the contribution of demand generation to revenue:

  • Calculate the percentage of new customers that came from demand generation initiatives
  • Look at the total revenue generated from new customers in a certain time period and compare it to the amount you spent on demand generation during that same period
  • Use customer lifetime value (CLV) to see how much revenue each new customer generated throughout their relationship with your company


How exegraphic data can help you run more effective demand generation campaigns

Exegraphic data is critical—yet often a missing piece—for understanding your target market well enough to generate demand that leads to sales. But what exactly are exegraphics? Exegraphics are any behavioral characteristic of a company that could be valuable in determining whether or not they’re fit or ready to buy your product or service.

For example, let’s say your company sells marketing automation software. By tapping into exegraphics, you could see which companies resemble your best customers—which ones have the characteristics you care about the most. Maybe that’s marketing orgs that are heavily investing in marketing sophistication and executing with a small team.

Using that information, you could then generate demand by running a webinar on how lean marketing teams can use marketing automation software to improve the efficiency of their campaigns and get better results.


Final thoughts

By understanding and tracking these key demand generation metrics, you can show your stakeholders the value of demand generation and how it contributes to achieving key performance indicators across all areas of the business. 

To get even more ROI from your demand generation campaigns, you can use exegraphic data to make sure you’re targeting the right companies with exactly the type of content that can influence them to buy. 

How can you get started with exegraphics? Contact us and get a view into the exegraphics behind your best customers—so you can immediately adjust your strategy.