In the last 3 years, we went from “OH MY GOD” to “OMICRON” to “Doing more with less”.
I’m not gonna beat around the bush and talk about how every marketer is asked to become more efficient and drive more pipeline (or at least similar pipeline) with lower budgets. You already know that. Because you were likely asked to do the same thing too.
So, in this post I’ll talk about some of the obvious and non-obvious levers that I’m seeing other marketers pull to increase their pipeline.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
3 obvious levers to pull to increase pipeline
With finance teams enforcing stringent budgets, you’re likely asked to quickly cut spends and pause campaigns. When you do that, I hope some of the non-exhaustive list of items below act as a guiding light for you and your team.
1. Better low “Quantity” than low “Quality”!
You likely have a few experiments running at the moment. No, I’m not gonna ask you to pause all of them. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. Cause some of these might turn out to be growth levers for your next quarter.
But you might want to consider pausing the campaigns that have had enough time and budget poured into it, but still didn’t produce anything significant.
What does this boil down to?
- Pause any campaigns/keywords/audiences that have not driven at least a form-fill conversion. They are likely not doing you any good.
- Hopefully, by now you have a baseline number for what’s an acceptable cost per MQL, SQL, Opportunity, and Customer. With this in mind, dive into your CRM and filter by campaigns, keywords, or audiences. Evaluate where each prospect came from and pause campaigns/keywords/audiences that never turned into an SQL, Opportunity, or Closed Won. You might've generated 10 leads. But if the sales team disqualified 8 out of the 10, your cost per qualified lead might not look as attractive as it used to be.
This way, you eliminate campaigns that don’t drive any conversions and the ones that don’t drive any business value.
2. Revisit your lists
Most of us have multiple lists created. One for existing customers, for current MQLs, current SQLs, based on technographics and firmographics, and the list goes on and on.
It’s only human to have some of these lists mixed up leading to ads being served to your existing customers and prospects who’re likely to close in the next few days.
Take some time to revisit your lists so you aren’t wasting budgets on existing customers and prospects who are likely to close very soon.
Nuance to consider: For a product where the GTM motion is land and expand, if you’ve cracked how marketing and ad channels influence expansion revenue, definitely keep your existing customers on the list and run campaigns for them.
However, it might still be a good idea to revisit this list and ensure it is well-segmented and has just the customers who are likely to expand.
3. Optimize for the right goal
This is especially true if you’re running paid campaigns.
Ad platforms are pushing marketers to target broadly and optimize for the wrong metrics like clicks and website visits. Unless your TAM is extremely small and you’ve got your targeting nailed down, it might be best to optimize for conversions that are more closely aligned to your bottomline.
If you’ve previously had reasonable success with optimizing ad campaigns for clicks, reach, and other vanity metrics, by now your ad account should have enough data for more bottomline focussed metrics (Hopefully, you’ve already set up conversion tracking and have been feeding important business metrics back to your ad platforms).
Some campaigns are worth running for a bit, while you keep a closer eye on them. For example, you’re in a crowded market where your CPC for your category keywords is $50. If you run branded video campaigns on paid social channels that lead to $0.5 per view and it prompts them to search your brand, that click would’ve cost you $10. So, if your org drives 10 video ad views for $5, and one person searches for your brand and clicks, that’s $15 investment vs $50 from PPC.
Here are the 2 key things you want to keep in mind while you run these campaigns:
- Know that these campaigns will not lead to pipeline instantly.
- Previously prospects might’ve gone from not knowing you to turning into a pipeline, in say 100 days. But when even they’re under budget restrictions it’d be best to work with the assumption that they might not convert as quickly as they did before.
3 not-so-obvious levers to pull to increase pipeline
1. Watch out for pipeline bloating
Sure, the post might be titled ‘how to increase your pipeline’. But I think making sure there are no blockages in your pipeline can be helpful to drive revenue, especially if you’re under budget constraints.
So why aren’t people progressing and buying? Because your messaging isn’t connecting with them (side note: it’s possible that your team hasn’t followed up with them, but I’m going to assume you’ve got this sorted).
This would be a great place to rope your PMM in and tweak the messaging that resonates with your buyer’s pain. An even better solution would be to tie your solution to the pain they’re facing in the current industry climate. Ultimately, it boils down to getting your prospect to feel and say, “These folks get me. I need this product.”
Messaging tweaks are an omnichannel opportunity since you can make these changes in all the channels you’re spending your time and money on.
Not only would you be able to convert more of these prospects, but you’ll get them to buy from you instantly.
Which brings me to my next point…
2. Don’t sleep on your sales cycle and time to close
Imagine walking into a grocery store… You’re ready to buy that bag of crisps, diet soda, and some candy. You walk to the counter ready to buy. The cashier scans your stuff and closes the counter on you and says, “Thank you. One of our sales reps will get back to you shortly.”
Marketing costs are constantly on the rise and budgets are constantly shrinking. When you put so much time, effort, and energy into getting a potential customer excited about your product, why put the brakes on when they finally want to talk to your sales rep?
Take this hypothetical scenario as an example:
Keeping the number of qualified prospects, ACV, and conversion rates the same, just by decreasing time to close by 3X gives us 3.1X more revenue in the same period.
Take Aryan from Threado, a customer of RevenueHero, for example. They were previously getting 20% conversions for meetings and would spend 15 minutes before every single meeting to communicate details to the team. Today, the number of meetings they book from their homepage has increased by 200%.
How? Because they’re qualifying every prospect instantly after they submit the form, routing them to the right sales team and rep, and scheduling a meeting with them immediately.
The impact? Quicker sales cycles that result in booking meetings instantly and closing deals faster.
Psst… Come talk to us. RevenueHero can help you convert more of your high-intent website traffic into booked meetings.
3. Accelerate volume
Of course, you probably have a few campaigns that are driving your pipeline. What if, after you trim the excess fat you want to double down on this campaign?
The most popular tactic for increasing your demos from these campaigns would be to pour more money. But since you’re in a budget constraint, you can’t do that.
So what do you do?
Focus on increasing your CTRs, especially for the ones that are already driving your bottomline conversions.
Think of it from a funnel perspective — if you can increase CTRs to the keywords that are driving significant conversions, you’ll send more people for the same cost. Assuming your other conversion metrics don’t drop, you’ll see a good bump in your pipeline as well as a reduction in cost per conversions.
There’s a famous quote by Winston Churchill that I love and I think it’s applicable here:
“Never let a good crisis go to waste”
While budgets are getting cut and every spend is getting scrutinized, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is something you can do about it.
There are three mindset shifts that will help you adjust to the new reality and “do more with less”:
- It’s never too late (or too early) for marketers to think from a bottomline perspective the same way a CMO, CEO, or CFO might. The ability to connect marketing activities to business metrics gives marketing a seat at the table.
- Focus is likely your best friend. Trim wastage on campaigns that rarely lead to anything meaningful and revisit your definition of ICP and key segments.
- Generating bottomline doesn’t necessarily mean driving more top of the funnel. There just might be enough revenue already sitting in your pipeline waiting for you to come and grab it.
It’s often the little details that matter the most to get your prospect to cross the bridge and talk to your reps. Like qualifying and booking meetings instantly without having to play a game of email ping-pong to set up a call. Or reducing the age of opportunity with proper messaging or setting up workflows that instantly let your team know that a prospect filled out a form but didn’t book a meeting (which you can do with RevenueHero, btw).