Cobalt’s playbook for revenue alignment
Cobalt’s playbook for revenue alignment

Economic uncertainty has made it more crucial than ever for companies to focus on achieving efficient growth because it ensures that all available resources are being used sustainably and effectively. 

This is why it’s so important for revenue teams to work together to achieve shared goals. Not only does revenue alignment help companies do more with less, but it also gets all hands on deck to achieve revenue goals faster.

At the 2023 B2B Marketing Exchange, Clare Corriveau, Sr. Director of Demand Gen at Cobalt sat down with UserGem’s Director of Demand Gen, Isaac Ware, to talk about how her team has made revenue alignment a priority between marketing, sales, and customer success to drive efficient growth and boost pipeline. 

In fact, Cobalt’s former champions playbook has generated $1.79M in new business pipeline. Read on to learn about their strategy and the market trends that make revenue alignment essential for every B2B sales leader.

Market trends that make this a now-or-never playbook

The increase in focus on revenue alignment isn’t happening in a vacuum. Current market conditions have made it necessary for businesses to create playbooks to increase and sustain revenue growth. After all, a lack of alignment equates to unsuccessful lead generation, lower win rates, and poor customer retention. 

But what has changed to make revenue alignment a priority for sales and marketing departments? Here are three of the most impactful market trends affecting B2B SaaS companies today.

Buyers are more skeptical

As budgets get tighter but revenue goals remain the same or climb higher, every dollar spent is precious for B2B buyers. This means they only want to invest in the products that bring the most value to their business.

Consider how buying decisions are made from a marketer's perspective, not just your ideal customer profile (ICP). When researching technology vendors, you’ll first go to your network to gather information about the products they use, know, and love. In the same way, your customers rely on their own tight-knit communities and referrals to make buying decisions.

This makes it essential for you to track your champions, whether you’re a marketer, SDR, or customer success manager. Your champions already use and love your product, and when they change jobs, it opens an opportunity to win a new account.

You also get to bypass awareness steps when prospecting and talk to somebody who already knows and trusts your business, making it easy to convert them faster.

Larger buying committees

Buying committees are getting larger. Now more people than ever have a say in which product stays and which one is eliminated from the budget. This makes it more important for marketing efforts during outreach to be aligned with sales to ensure that the messaging is targeted at all known contacts in the buying committee.

This trend also makes it more necessary to have a champion in the buying group — a huge advantage since you’ll have an internal decision-maker ready to vouch for your product to accelerate and protect the deal. 

The more people you have on your side during a pitch, the more likely you are to move the account through the sales funnel. Not only can they back up your claims, but they can answer questions, discuss their personal experiences with your product based on their previous customer experience, and address any concerns their team may have.  This can speed up the buying process and boost your win rate, all without upping your budget or requiring any additional effort on your part.

But having a single point of contact at an account isn’t enough. Although many sales reps are familiar with multithreading, larger buying committees make this essential for your marketing efforts as well. Having multiple points of contact ensures you have a safety net if a lead changes jobs or their priorities shift.

Increased job changes

Your customers make the best referrals, and 20% of them change jobs every year. But don’t think of them as lost contacts. These former customers are actually champions who can help fast-track and protect deals.

When pitching former customers/champions who have moved to different target accounts, you don’t have to spend a lot of time convincing them of the value of your product, making the conversation easy and shortening the sales cycle.

In addition, job movements are a source of warm qualified leads for your sales team to target. And pipeline of warm leads is a dream for any sales team trying to overcome pipeline anxiety. 

For revenue teams with shared goals, this can help marketing generate quality leads that their team members are excited to reach out to.

Cobalt’s strategy for revenue alignment

tactics used by Cobalt to drive revenue alignment

 Like most companies in the B2B SaaS space, Cobalt has experienced the market trends we covered above. And have had to deal with skeptical buyers, big buying committees, and job hoppers. 

But, using revenue alignment, they were able to bring their teams together to keep their pipelines full of quality leads and meet their revenue goals. Take a look at their playbook to get inspiration for your own strategy.

1. Align sales and marketing

“In Cybersecurity, our buyers are highly skeptical and suspicious by nature,” says Clare Corriveau, Sr. Director of Demand Gen at Cobalt. “They're highly technical. Their job is to keep people out, so getting them in from a marketing perspective is really, really hard.”

This makes it crucial for their sales and marketing teams to go after the best buyers together instead of struggling to close deals alone. Here’s what they do to achieve sales and marketing alignment:

Working in pods

“For every region and segment, we have a CSM, AE, and BDR who work together to tackle the segment in that territory,” says Clare. “Then they have demand gen marketers that are aligned by segment. They meet weekly and have shared tactics they go to market with.”

Weekly meetings

“My team joins and kicks off the Monday BDR call. We share what happened last week and what’s coming this week and get feedback from them. They are an extension of our team and vice versa.” 

Shared numbers

“With a shared number, there's no reason not to work well together,” explains Clare. “With sales or BDRs, if you give them a reason to believe they're going to be more invested than you and UserGems has done that for us.”

With UserGems, the team at Cobalt can keep track of their champions, which is a more effective way of connecting with buyers in their industry and cultivating ready-to-buy prospects. “We focus our prospecting efforts in the best place possible, and BDRs are willing to work on it because they know the UserGems’ leads convert faster,” continues Clare. “They know that they will be calling or reaching out to somebody familiar with our brand. When we upload, they also focus on these leads because they know it converts faster and helps them meet their target.”

2. Align marketing and customer success

Cobalt’s focus is not just on attracting new business but also protecting its revenue by preventing churn in existing accounts. 

Hence, the customer success team is also kept aware of champion movements to help them stay on top of what’s happening in their accounts and work on maintaining relationships. In turn, marketing works closely with the CS team to provide value to the customer throughout the lifecycle, not just during purchase. 

If a champion leaves a customer account or a new executive joins an account, the CSM is also informed so they can build a relationship with the new executive and multithread with other stakeholders to prevent churn.

Having shared goals ensures that both teams are on the same page and that they aren’t stuck in their own silos.

How Cobalt runs the former champion playbook

Conversations with sales teams show that job changes often account for 75% of their pipeline (internal UserGems data). However, if marketing nurtures these leads but sales doesn’t focus on moving the deal forward, it creates misalignment and results in poor ROI.

Here’s how Cobalt’s revenue team runs their former champion playbook to get great results:

  • Cobalt tracks current and previous customers (churned accounts) that moved to new jobs. 
  • If the new company meets Cobalt’s ICP, UserGems alerts the BDR and sets off a sales sequence by Salesloft, depending on the customer type. 
  • The first email to a champion is the first in a series of emails geared toward booking a meeting. It’s advised that sales reps don’t make the demo request in the first email. Consider it an opportunity to make a connection with the new executive and position yourself as someone who can support them in their new role.

Here’s a sample email you can use:

Subject: Your experience with Cobalt

Hi [Name],

I heard that you just started a new role at DroneUp. Congratulations!

We’re excited about your next chapter and hope that Cobalt can continue helping you achieve your goals in this new role.

Congrats again!

P.S.: You might hear from our team in the future hoping to partner again, but if there’s anything I can assist with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.


Cobalt also prioritizes outreach to leads based on the following scale:

  1. Did they change jobs within the last 30 days? That gives them a higher lead score.
  2. Are they from a churned account or an existing customer account? Cobalt prioritizes the existing customer accounts versus churned accounts.
  3. Do they meet Cobalt’s ICP? If they changed jobs in the last 30 days, meet Cobalt’s ICP, and came from a current customer, those will be MQLs, and they get higher scores. 

Any other leads are moved to a suspect bucket. The suspect is a rainy-day kind of lead after you have followed up on all your MQLs.

Why this playbook packs a punch

The former champion playbook creates a win-win situation for everyone on the revenue team. 

For salespeople, it creates a smoother sales process and shorter sales cycle when trying to win an account. Marketing teams can see tangible ROI from their campaign due to coordinated efforts to nurture the same accounts. And the CS team is able to prevent churn and get upsell opportunities.

“UserGems has helped us put more emphasis on a place where they [sales] can focus their time and effort. And they are more than willing to do it because they see the benefit,” says Clare Corriveau, Senior Director of Demand Generation at Cobalt.

Among their many successes, Cobalt was able to close a $95K deal in three weeks — instead of their average enterprise deal length of 5-6 months and average deal size of around $50K — by tracking their customer job changes with UserGems. 

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