The B2B buying journey is complex. It’s not uncommon for deals to take months to close, and, on average, six to ten decision-makers at a company need to agree and sign off before a buying decision is made.
Shortening your time to revenue (TTR) is the key to closing deals faster, staying profitable, and improving your sales processes.
Read on to learn more about this metric and how other B2B company leaders are shortening their time to revenue.
What is time to revenue?
Time to revenue (TTR) is a metric that tracks how long it takes for a company to convert a lead to a paying customer.
This means tracking their journey from the moment they first discover your product to when the deal is officially closed. Their first touchpoint could be via your website, an ad, a lead magnet, or a demo request.
“Through the time to revenue metric, companies can measure the speed at which they turn leads into revenue and gain insight into the conversion rate, CAC, and average closing time,” explains Padmaja Santhanam, Partner and Growth Manager at FirstPrinciples.
Because the B2B buying cycle is typically complex, failing to track this metric means that you could miss out on this valuable data altogether.
Why you should measure time to revenue?
Not only will tracking your time to revenue provide you with helpful data, but it will also help you to understand your business better. Here are some of the ways it can benefit you and your team.
It helps you understand your sales cycle
Tracking your time to revenue helps you know exactly where your buyer’s journey begins. This makes it easier to spot channels and stages you can take advantage of to capture your prospect’s mindshare before they are ready to buy.
“We know that 80% of a B2B buying journey happens before a prospect even speaks with Sales, but that's your true sales cycle,” explains Seth Steinman, Sr. Director of Growth at Electric IT.
“It's vital to understand the time between First Touch and Revenue because that's the lead time you need to make any Top of Funnel investments. For example, if your bookings goals double in January to $1 million, and you have a 6-month time to revenue, you better start increasing your marketing investments the PREVIOUS July.”
It helps you measure product-market fit
“Time to revenue is an important metric to track because it forces intellectual honesty on the startup team, especially around their product/market fit,” says Deniz Kuran, Head of Marketing at Idiomatic.
“Startups can often feel like they’re making progress through shipping features and having potential customers or investors tell them they’re interested, but if they aren’t gaining actual paying customers, this can be a mirage. There’s no faking cash in the bank from a customer.”
It helps you spot bottlenecks in the sales process
Measuring your time to revenue helps you identify potential problems in your sales process and pipeline generation strategies. This gives you a chance to address them before they become bigger, more challenging issues.
“The time to revenue metric tells you how long it's taking your team to close deals and convert leads into paying customers,” adds Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl. “This is a key metric for businesses because it can help you identify bottlenecks in your sales process and take steps to improve your conversion rate.”
7 ways to accelerate time to revenue
As Joe Jarvie, Senior Account Executive at UserGems, puts it, “time kills deals.”
The longer a deal takes — which is often the case for enterprise companies with high-ticket sales — the harder it will be to close.
And, while the clock ticks, valuable time and resources are being spent without having any positive effect on revenue. That’s what makes it so important to track and optimize your TTR.
But how do you get started? We asked B2B founders and experts for their best tips on how to boost time to revenue. Here’s what they shared:
1. Get the relevant data
The first step you should take to accelerate time to revenue is to understand your target customer’s buying behavior based on existing data.
B2B buyers prefer to be informed before engaging with sales reps and will do their own research across different channels. Hence, having an integrated tech stack with data enrichment tools that pull in data from different channels into cohesive information is essential.
Here’s how Seth Steinman of Electric IT tracks their buying cycle to shorten time to revenue:
- “The first step is getting the data, and we leverage multi-touch attribution through Bizible to understand First Touch all the way through Closed Won.
- Then, we try to shorten every part of the funnel. 6sense intent data allows us to understand which accounts are in an active buying cycle, are on our website, and are interacting with our emails.
- We then target those accounts with marketing dollars & sales activities (we also offer them gifts, since we know they're in-market & are aware of us).
- Once SDRs get prospects on the phone for a qualification call, we have a 'Direct to Demo' option for fast-moving, qualified accounts, essentially skipping a Discovery step (these leads have 2x shorter sales cycles).”
2. Build relationships with multiple stakeholders
“Making sure you are multithreaded to power and have your solution tied to a larger business objective of theirs boosts time to revenue,” says Joe Jarvie of UserGems.
Connecting with key decision makers, champions, and influencers in your target account helps to accelerate the sales process since they can see the product's value. This ensures your deal isn’t reliant on one executive who might resign mid-deal or who lacks the power to move the sales process forward.
3. Streamline your sales process
Streamlining your sales process makes it easy for everyone involved — buyers and salespeople alike — to know what’s expected of them at every stage.
For example, your sales rep knows which buyer to send a case study to based on the sales funnel stage they’re in. This can help the buyer convince other stakeholders of the product’s value, or it can be used as an incentive to move the deal forward.
“Making sure your sales reps know what to do at every stage involves project planning,” says Ryan Iacoviello, Senior Account Executive at UserGems. He shares these tips for a streamlined sales process that shortens time to revenue:
- “Set KPIs, build consensus/educate all the stakeholders, so they know what to expect post signature and proper handover between sales and customer success teams.
- Set a kick-off call where teams review the project plan.
- Take care of groundwork presale, such as list building, building content, etc.”
Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl, adds, “streamlining your sales process also involves automating some steps, such as sending follow-up emails or scheduling reminders.”
These seemingly small tasks that Will mentions can eat into your sales reps' time. According to Dooly's 2022 Sales Happiness Index, 41% of the sales workday is spent on non-selling activities, such as contact researching and updating the CRM. Tools exist that can automate these admin tasks so reps can focus on what matters - selling and accelerating deals.
For example, Meeting Assistant by UserGems is a FREE tool that allows your sales team to:
- Automatically add your prospects and their team members to a meeting invite
- Create new or update existing records of your contacts in SalesForce after meetings
- Get notified when any of your contacts change jobs so you can schedule a meeting and sell to them again.
4. Create buyer enablement content
While the sales process is the foundation of your buyer experience, buyer enablement helps you turn buyers into champions.
It involves equipping them with necessary information before questions arise.
Alex Kracov, CEO and co-founder of Dock, relies on buyer enablement to shorten their time to revenue.
“Sales reps need to guide buyers through the sales process using mutual action plans and support champions as they talk to internal stakeholders.
“One great way to assist buyers is to put together a digital sales room that includes all the information about your product in one place. It's an amazing asset for buyers to share with their boss when trying to get approval for a new product purchase.”
5. Invest in customer success
Time to revenue isn’t a metric you only have to think about once. You can help your customers find value in your product and retain them through ongoing data-driven customer success.
Plus, you have an opportunity to design an experience that builds loyalty and keeps customers from churning during the onboarding process.
“Improve the onboarding process so that once a customer signs up with your company, they feel like they're part of something bigger than themselves — that they've made an investment in themselves or their business by signing up with you,” says Will Yang.
6. Build a strong waitlist
For startups, building a strong waitlist before they launch is a great way to shorten time to revenue.
Or, if you have an existing company, but you’re launching a new product, speak to new and existing customers before it goes live.
“When interviewing potential customers, ask them if they’d be willing to pre-commit to purchase as soon as it’s launched for a discount,” advises Deniz Kuran of Idiomatic.
Getting their buy-in beforehand guarantees you’ll have customers who are ready to buy from you right off the bat. Plus, it will give you time to carry out pre-sale activities like building your prospecting list before you launch. This can be a nifty B2B prospecting strategy to get you going.
7. Track job changes of past customers, prospects, and champions
Tracking customer job changes helps you generate qualified pipeline that’s more likely to convert faster. Current and past customers, as well as champions, are some of the best warm leads you can leverage.
A UserGems internal survey has shown that past customers are 3x likely to buy from you because they’re pre-qualified leads who understand the value of your product.
Past clients moving to a new job also open up an opportunity to win a new account. Even if they are not key decision-makers, they can make an introduction or recommendation.
By tracking these warm leads and surfacing them in your CRM with relevant context, UserGems helps you:
- Protect and generate more revenue by capturing valuable but easily lost contacts across all your accounts
- Improve your ABM campaign execution by surfacing key decision-makers for multithreading
- Align sales and marketing to go after the same accounts, thereby accelerating time to revenue.
Improving B2B time to revenue
If you haven’t been tracking your time to revenue, you’re missing out on opportunities to shorten your sales cycle and make a good impression before your competitors do.
Start with reviewing your data, leverage data enrichment tools to have an overview of your customer’s journey, and get feedback from your customers on how to improve their buying experience.
Shorten your time to revenue by using UserGems to surface relevant buyers in your CRM who are 3x likely to buy from you. UserGems also helps you find key decision-makers in target accounts to close deals faster. Learn more by requesting a demo below 👇