Between tightening budgets, harder-to-convince C-suites, and slower buying processes, pipeline generation is becoming even more challenging.
Fortunately, taking a relationship-building approach to driving leads can help multiply your sales opportunities.
Just make sure:
- Your sales and marketing teams are aligned on the target audience’s pain points and the pipeline generation playbook you’ll use
- You’re using the right tools to find folks to reach out to, including previous customers that you could be maintaining relationships with
Want to jumpstart your pipeline generation?
Leverage UserGems to track past customers who have changed jobs and new executives joining target accounts. This way, you can focus on adding and nurturing the right people in your sales funnel. Request a demo here.
What is pipeline generation?
Pipeline generation, also known as lead generation, is the process of building and maintaining a sales pipeline of potential leads interested in buying your product or service.
The goal is simple: to nurture these interested folks so that they decide to buy from you and ultimately, drive revenue.
Why is pipeline generation important in sales?
Pipeline generation offers sales and revenue predictability while improving the sales team’s performance.
Aim to create a quality-focused lead generation strategy to drive the following benefits:
- Beat pipeline anxiety. Effective pipeline generation reduces the pressure that comes with consistently finding high-quality leads by filling your funnel with prospects who are the most likely to buy from you. In turn, this increases sales reps’ productivity because they can prioritize closing deals with warmer, higher-quality leads.
- Accelerate revenue growth. With ready-to-buy accounts in your pipeline, you can focus on nurturing leads and closing deals to grow your bottom line steadily.
- Better sales forecasting. With sales-qualified leads in your pipeline, you can better predict when each account is likely to convert, helping you to forecast sales each quarter accurately.
- Improve sales and marketing alignment. An automated lead generation workflow reduces the work on sales reps’ plates, freeing up time for them to coordinate with the marketing team on the target personas, their pain points, and the ever-changing buyer’s journey, as well as goals, strategies, and more.
3 common pipeline generation challenges
Building a lead generation process that brings in potential customers on autopilot is easier said than done. But the better you understand the roadblocks you’re facing, the easier it will be to navigate them.
The three most common challenges B2B teams face when it comes to pipeline generation include ever-changing buyer behaviors, siloed sales and marketing departments, and lack of automation. The good news is that by tackling them effectively, you can easily build an automated pipeline that maximizes conversion rates.
1. Poor understanding of the changing buying behavior
B2B buyers are increasingly becoming more risk-averse as they focus more on a purchase’s potential ROI. Buying committees are also growing, slowing down purchase decision-making further.
On the other hand, a solid understanding of how buyers are making their purchase decisions today helps you:
- Optimize your sales process
- And, close deals faster
Dig into the latest research on how people make their buying decisions so you can adapt your sales strategy accordingly.
2. Poor sales and marketing alignment
A lack of marketing and sales alignment leads to poor quality pipeline generation.
This happens when inbound marketing campaigns fail to reach target buyers that are aligned with your ideal customer profile (ICP). In turn, this increases the sales team’s workload as they have to dedicate more time to lead qualification.
On the contrary, effective collaboration between sales and marketing teams helps you optimize all your sales and marketing efforts to drive qualified leads.
For example, when both teams work together to determine an ICP, develop campaigns, and execute strategies, guiding leads to a purchasing decision is smoother and more consistent.
Strong sales and marketing alignment is also a must-have if you’re using an account-based marketing strategy to generate leads.
3. Lack of pipeline generation tools
Without the right toolkit, pipeline generation efforts tend to be slow as everything is handled manually. There’s also more room for human error as your reps struggle to work through massive piles of data.
Naturally, this negatively affects sales reps’ productivity and can cause burnout, impacting your conversion rates as well.
Thankfully, there are a variety of different tools you can use to generate pipeline based on your budget, goals, and target audience.
To start building a high-converting, automated sales pipeline, you need:
- Intent data tools like ZoomInfo and Dealfront to find out who is in the market and looking for the solution that you offer
- Lead tracking software like UserGems and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to automatically find and add targeted accounts to your CRM
- And, outreach tools like Salesloft and Outreach to automate lead nurturing and follow-up messages
3 high-converting pipeline generation strategies to try
High-quality pipeline generation depends on an in-depth understanding of the target buyer and how they’re buying. From there, your job is to make it easy for interested folks to convince their team to invest in your software.
Give these three proven strategies a try to start developing a solid pipeline generation strategy that works for you and your team.
1. Leverage sales multithreading
Sales multithreading involves building relationships with multiple folks within a single target account instead of engaging with only one contact per account at a time.
Since this approach lets you build trust with different folks in a target account’s buying committee, you can:
- Continue nurturing the lead even as your original point of contact leaves the company
- Quickly close deals as you convince multiple stakeholders to make a purchase decision in your favor
Data from part 3 of our Hidden Gems series also confirms multithreading:
- Improves win rate by 5 times
- Increases deal sizes by 57%
Bonus points for multithreading old customers (or Gems as we call them here) into open deals as that can:
- Increase your win rate by an additional 63%
- Grow deal size by an additional 66%
To get started, gather contact details for all contacts in a target account’s buying group. Then connect with and nurture them on social media.
You can also run LinkedIn ads to invite decision-makers to join sales calls as we do as part of our sales multithreading playbook. Here’s what ours looks like:
The approach has helped us to get:
- 31% higher win rates
- 25% bigger deal sizes
- 67% more prospects involved in the deal
- 17% shorter sales cycles
2. Target ready-to-buy leads
Our internal data shows new executives spend 70% of their budget within the first 100 days at a new job — making them warm leads worth targeting.
Begin with tracking new executive positions that get filled at your target accounts.
You can do this manually or automate the process. However, manually tracking leads is time-consuming and increases the risk of human error. It’s also dependent on a sales rep’s willingness to action those leads.
By using a tool like UserGems for account tracking, you can reduce manual work and automatically get real-time alerts when new executives join target accounts.
You can also use intent data software to confirm if the new executive is in the market for the solution you offer.
Next, run ABM campaigns to win these warm leads. To do so, select a handful of accounts you want to target. Then, combine cross-team efforts to capture the specific accounts’ interests.
Workramp took this same approach to building a healthy sales pipeline. They used UserGem’s account tracking to automatically get a list of new in-role prospects at their target accounts.
The result? They increased their BDR-generated pipeline by 15% by simply using new in-role outreach.
The Director of Revenue Operations at Workramp, Mike Pawell says:
“Just being able to have a clean report that comes at the beginning of the month from UserGems, clearly people that are brand new in role, we know it’s coming from our top tier accounts and matches these titles makes it a lot easier for us.”
3. Bring in alumni customers
51% of risk-averse B2B buyers consider their past experience with using a tool to make a purchase decision.
This means including old Gems in new deals helps you better convince leads to buy from you.
In fact, data from part 1 of our Hidden Gems series confirms that including alumni customers in new deals leads to:
- 114% higher win rates
- 54% bigger deal sizes
- And, 12% shorter sales cycles
As with account tracking, you can manually track customer job changes to grow your pipeline with this strategy. Or, you can automate the process with UserGems alerts that notify relevant salespeople every time a Gem changes their job.
Smartling leveraged this strategy to auto-generate qualified leads with UserGems. As a result, they’ve been able to:
- Reduce their SDRs manual tasks by 97%
- Generate $1.8M in direct pipeline from tracking champions
Grace Feeney, the Global Manager of Sales Development at Smartling explains, “For our SDRs, it’s already such an easier win. The success rate is much higher.
“We had a huge deal close within one month from a UserGems lead. We had another huge deal with a massive logo — from a UserGems meeting that happened in April and it closed in May. Our deal cycles are normally 3 months. We’ve had another huge deal close within 6 weeks.”
Accelerate your pipeline generation efforts
Efficient pipeline generation boils down to building strong relationships with:
- Alumni customers
- Different members of a buying committee
- And, new executives at target accounts
However, lead generation strategies that thrive on relationship building can be hard to scale without automation through the right tools.
With UserGems, you can not only track buyer job changes to track past customers but also new, in-role prospects that match your ICP.
And UserGems lets you set up outreach sequences to automate pipeline generation even further — both with its in-built automation and by integrating with your sales engagement tools.
The best part? Companies like Cobalt, Mimecast, and Lattice trust UserGems to generate warm leads. Book a demo today to learn how the tool can help you drive high-quality leads every month.