Trinity Nguyen, VP Marketing at UserGems, on the right, with financial growth charts and ascending arrows in the background, symbolizing business success and consistent pipeline generation.
Trinity Nguyen, VP Marketing at UserGems, on the right, with financial growth charts and ascending arrows in the background, symbolizing business success and consistent pipeline generation.

If 2023 were a game, it would be Mario Kart -- driving your cart while random s* flies at you randomly from all directions.

Fortunately, the UserGems cart remained intact with all four wheels and hood (though there are definitely lines on the paint). 

So, how did we make it through one of the most challenging years in SaaS and still achieve our best numbers yet? 

I spent some time reflecting on what went right last year, and a huge component was that we achieved pipeline consistency with signal-based programs.

When pipeline generation feels like Rainbow Road

Revenue teams couldn’t catch a break in 2023. 

In conversations with revenue leaders last year, something that kept coming up was keeping the ship steady. Or, in Mario Kart terms, keep the car from driving off Rainbow Road.

On the macro level, increased interest rates immediately impacted public and private companies. The industry experienced a snowball effect, and suddenly, we were all playing the revenue game in hard mode – headcounts were cut, budgets got slashed, and CFOs got involved in every purchase decision.

On the operator level, targets stayed about the same, but budgets went down, demand dried up, and hitting your number got 10x harder. 

Why did “traditional” outbound stop working?

Part of the reason teams have pipeline anxiety is because the old way of doing outbound is becoming less effective. 

Remember when outbound was a numbers game? For the last decade, the playbook for outbound was simple: more activities generate more pipeline (and automate the heck out of it). 

The typical advice of sales leaders used to be “trust the process” because if you could make enough calls and send enough emails, eventually you’d hit quota. That’s even the mindset behind most sales automation tools now.

But now that kind of outbound is over because everyone does it. We’re seeing the flipside of what happens when everything is automated. I don’t need to convince anyone; just open your inbox to see what I mean. 🫣

That led many people to argue that “outbound is dead.” But guess what? Outbound was our biggest source of pipeline last year. It turns out that outbound isn’t dead – you just have to unlock smarter outbound.

Signal-based programs are changing the game

At any given time, only 5% of your TAM is in market and ready to buy. So, how do you identify those accounts to go after them? Buying signals. 

And I’m not talking about intent signals, which usually trigger reactive outreach and primarily work on the account level. 

I’m talking about contact-level people signals, where a person has some kind of life-changing event or behavior or relationship that you can leverage to make your case. These signals are proactive – they indicate buying intent even before a prospect starts searching around. 


How UserGems signals saved my pipeline

When I look at our pipeline sources and channels, the numbers fluctuate from quarter to quarter. It’s not unusual because the effectiveness of channels is constantly changing. But there’s one channel that stays consistent throughout the quarters and the years – the UserGems signals. 

  1. 17% of our sales accepted pipeline came from the champion tracking signal - surfacing Previous Customers, Users, and Prospects when they start a new job at our ICP accounts.
  1. 8% of our sales accepted pipeline came from the new hires and promotions signal - identifying new-in-role decision-makers when they are most likely to convert to an opportunity.

Together, these two signals contributed to 25% of UserGems pipeline in 2023. As someone who feels the effects of pipeline anxiety every day, finding consistent sources of pipeline is like finding the holy grail. 

How does it work? 

We use our product to track relevant buying signals and prioritize accounts so that we can focus efforts on our most likely buyers. Signals can help you cut through the noise because signals make outbound and targeting more relevant. Know WHO to reach out to, WHEN, and WHY.

On top of that, we automate the program from beginning to end – HOW to action signals to achieve outcomes. Actioning signals looks like creating the new contact in CRM, alerting the SDR/AE/CSM, and adding the contact into the correct sequence/playbook so no signal is left behind.

Our signal programs are a huge advantage for us for a few reasons. First, because we’re a small team with limited resources. Second, our signals indicate a compelling reason to reach out, such as a prospect starting a new job.

And finally, because these programs are always on for marketing and SDRS – it’s like generating pipeline on autopilot

Steal our consistent pipeline playbook

The secret sauce to a consistent pipeline isn’t a secret at all. I want everyone to know about it! 

The signals are only part of the equation for pipeline consistency. Where the rubber really meets the road is determining HOW your team will act on those signals to turn them into the outcome that you want. This is a missing piece of the puzzle for many teams. 

You need BOTH to have a successful Signal-based GTM -- where each signal is treated like an end-to-end pipeline program.

Here’s how we operationalize our signals:

Step 1: Identify signals that can move the needle the most -- these are different for one company and another

Step 2: Prioritize 2-3 each quarter. (If you run an SDR team, you know the team can only focus on 3-4 plays at any given time.)

Step 3: Prescribe (as precisely as possible) how your team will act when they get the leads from these signals: which cadence to use, what to say, where to get notified, etc.

Step 4: Measure, iterate, and re-prioritize next quarter.

Step 5: Repeat the process by adding a new signal to your GTM.

Taking this approach will help you build the foundations of a Signal-based GTM that's set up for consistent, sustainable pipeline generation.

Signal-based GTM is here to stay

We’re entering a new era of outbound where the old tricks don’t work like they used to. It’s time to think about smarter outbound before your pipeline runs dry.

Yes, I’m a fan girl, and we drink our champagne. But UserGems signals have never failed my pipeline – they’ve been like a loyal partner I can always rely on.

Want to learn more about using signal-based GTM to keep your pipeline full? Book a demo.

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