Just as certain dishes are easy to put together while others take overnight preparation, different pipeline generation ideas require a different amount of time and effort to deliver results.
Some are grab-and-go snacks that instantly nourish sales reps with results. Others take some work but are just as satisfying as a carefully prepared dinner. The last category requires more intense prep work and special ingredients — ones that you won’t find in your pantry. But it delivers the satisfaction of a seven-course meal.
In this guide, we’ll share a complete buffet of B2B pipeline generation strategies so you can pick the ones that suit your appetite and available prep time. Let's explore this in more detail.
Bite-sized pipeline generation tactics
Bite-sized or quick-to-execute pipeline generation tactics instantly nourish sales reps. Like putting together a quick taco, your sales team doesn’t need to invest much effort in these sales pipeline strategies to enjoy their benefits.
Here are some of the quickest and easiest pipeline generation strategies sales reps can take advantage of.
1. Ask for referrals
“Your current clients are a great source of referrals — ask them if they know anyone else who might be interested in your services,” advises Oberon Copeland, Founder and CEO of Very Informed.
To add to that, you can also ask your network to connect you with prospects who might be interested in your product. UserGems’ Senior Account Development Representative, Zac Walter, suggests:
Jake Stutzman, a Senior ADR at UserGems, also commends referrals as a useful bite-sized pipeline generation idea but notes that it’s even more beneficial to ask for referrals from people working at your target account.
In Stutzman’s words, “Going straight into asking for a referral when talking to someone who you know isn’t a decision maker instead of pitching them is a quick and effective pipeline generation idea to try.”
2. Reach out to alumni customers
A handful of sales experts from both Gong and UserGems recommend tracking job changes. In fact, UserGems’ Senior ADR, Kenny Powell, calls this tactic “easily the greatest play in the game.”
Gong’s Sr. Commercial AE, Brian LaManna, uses it as well. “[I] make a quick calling list of my UserGems. [And have] warm conversations if they pick up.”
The same is true for Anthony Banayote, Strategic Inside Sales Rep at Gong, who explains the idea in detail:
“Quickest way to find a win is by using UserGems to go through my accounts and find champions or people who were using Gong at their last company and reach out to them when they start a new role at a new company.”
3. Track intent data
Intent data identify prospects who are ready to buy a product like yours. Use sales intelligence tools to gather this information and reach out to high-quality leads that are likely to convert fast.
“If you have some type of intent software, you can see the domains of the people on your website and use the insider data to find out who is looking for a tool like yours, and then reach out to your ICP buyer personas,” writes UserGems’ Sr. ADR, Leah Zissimopulos Fraser.
Courtney Rives, another Sr. Account Development Rep at UserGems, suggests keeping tabs on your customers’ job changes too.
Put simply, track alumni customers for warm outreach and referrals at new target accounts for a truly appetizing snack.
To add, UserGems’ also identifies ICP-relevant prospects who have taken on new roles, giving you a list of warm leads who are looking to invest in new tools and have the budget to do so.
4. Incentivize prospects to talk to you
“Incentivize qualified buyers to meet with Sales,” recommends Joe Kevens, Director of Demand Generation at PartnerStack and the Founder of B2B SaaS Reviews. “While this tactic can be divisive, many companies have used it because it doesn’t take much work but helps move the pipeline generation needle almost instantly.
“It’s divisive because some think those taking the meeting are just in it for the gift card, and therefore creates pipeline that won’t convert to revenue,” Kevens point out. “Anyone considering this tactic should know that there are examples of it working and failing, so if you try it, keep a close eye on your conversions to see if it works for you.”
It’s also important to keep in mind that incentivizing as a pipeline generation strategy works best when you target prospects relevant to your ICP. All the better if you’re using intent data to target these folks, as it will ensure you’re only incentivizing people who are already searching for a solution like yours.
5. Maintain unified messaging
Elliott Garcia, Regie.ai’s senior sales rep shares “unifying messaging” as a bite-sized tactic to grow your pipeline.
The idea behind this strategy’s effectiveness is simple: when prospects see the same message defining your product on the channels they use, they’re more likely to remember it. This, in turn, improves the odds of them replying to your outreach message.
Full-plate pipeline generation ideas for hungry SDRs
Unlike bite-sized snacks, these sales pipeline generation ideas take some prep time and effort. But they satisfy reps’ hunger for far longer than a snack can.
Here are some of the best full-plate pipeline generation tactics experts use.
6. Research prospects
Researching prospects can be time-consuming but well worth it as it helps you personalize your outreach message. As Account Executive at Vertebrae, James Parry, puts it, “Slow down to speed up. [What’s more,] show them you know them [by being] personal in your messaging.”
On top of researching the account you’re targeting, Stephen Desch, Sr. Account Development Rep at UserGems, recommends researching the prospect.
Gong’s Brian LaManna offers more practical tips on this. “[Look] to see if they have written content, been on a podcast, or featured in any capacity. Engaging in that content, soaking it in, and write them a tailored message comparing something they said to your product/service.”
7. Personalize your messages
“The more personalized your message is perceived to be by your buyer, the more likely they are to be persuaded by it,” observes PartnerStack’s Joe Kevens.
As mentioned earlier, researching prospects will help with this full-plate pipeline generation tactic.
“See if anything is going on their LinkedIn or with their company. If so, make the email very specific to their role/company,” recommends Collin Brady, Sr. Account Development Rep at UserGems.
Kevens shares another way to personalize your outreach: “To make your buyers feel like they’re getting a personalized message from you, it requires you to take more effort than a quick win like incentivizing them with a gift card for a meeting but is often worth the investment.”
Whatever your approach to personalizing sales messages, Taylor Vo, UserGems’ Account Executive, recommends pausing to review your message before sending it.
“Before hitting ‘send’ on a follow-up email or sales voicemail, take a minute to ask yourself if there’s value included in this ‘bump?’ I’ve been guilty of this. The easy path to take is to send a ‘thoughts?’/ ‘circling back’ email and include a generic blurb about what you do.”
8. Send gifts
Like Joe Kevens from PartnerStack, Gong’s Anthony Banayote recommends gifting to reach out to and build relationships with prospects.
“Use a gift-sending platform like Sendoso or even just sending someone something in the mail. This is where SDR/AEs can be a red X in a sea of white O,” advises Banayote.
But to craft a healthier, more gratifying meal, it’s important to be strategic in your approach. Banayote explains, “Don’t just blindly send someone a Starbucks gift card [—] especially execs [because] they make their own money to buy their own coffee.”
“Dig into your prospect and find out who their favorite sports team is, what college they went to, do they follow thought leaders like Adam Grant, Brene Brown, Mark Cuban, etc. You can send a book to that person with a handwritten note to really break through the noise,” suggests Banayote.
“Another great one, especially during the holidays season, is sending a $50 gift card to the exec you’re trying to get a hold of and saying something like, ‘With the spirit of the giving season upon us, I thought one of your top employees deserves a little treat. Please spread some joy to someone on your team making an impact.
“Making it more about them and less about you is the goal. I once sent a cocktail kit to a CRO of a Fortune 500 company to get his attention, and he emailed me on a Saturday morning, saying, 'Way to break through the noise, let’s meet.'"
“Get creative and fun with it. Good [SDRs] can crush the phones. Great SDRs wear the Batman belt of being able to be versatile with their outreach,” concludes Banayote.
9. Target closed lost opportunities
Closed lost prospects may not have converted into a sale for any number of reasons. For example, they could have had unexpected budget constraints or the point of contact left the company. Zac Walter from UserGems recommends you follow up with those accounts.
“Search your CRM for closed lost opportunities and prospects who said ‘reach out to me in 6 months.’ Re-engage them with a message similar to ‘When we spoke x months ago, you said you didn’t want to move forward because of Y. We listened and made some changes, not sure if (solving Z challenge) is still a priority for you, does it make sense to chat?’”
10. Identify the warmest paths into an account
“Understand and map out the whole buying committee of any account you’re trying to break into,” Courtney Rives from UserGems advises.
When you take the time to do that, you can easily identify the warmest path into an account — like if you have any shared contacts who’d be willing to facilitate an introduction.
To carve the warmest paths, Rives recommends asking yourself the following questions: “‘Who in this group is familiar with my product? Who is recently hired/promoted and thinking of how to tackle the challenge they were hired to solve? Who is actively posting their point of view through platforms like LinkedIn?’"
“Once you know the lowest hanging fruit to go after, you have the best luck of bringing them into your funnel,” shares Rives.
11. Invest in educating your sales team
Regie.ai’s Elliott Garcia recommends investing in sales reps. Have one-on-one conversations with them to:
- Keep them accountable
- Assist in breaking their goals into small, achievable ones
- Offer support with handling prospects that are stuck in the pipeline
- Identify their strengths and weaknesses and co-create an action plan with them to optimize performance
Everything but the kitchen sink pipeline generation strategies
Everything but the kitchen sink pipeline generation strategies are ones that require a lot more time and effort, but they offer full nourishment and satisfy taste buds to the max (read: they deliver the most ROI).
Experts recommend these robust pipeline generation strategies for generating the biggest and best results.
12. Invest in relationship building
This strategy is a long-term investment but is a full-course meal that keeps your pipeline feeling full for a long time.
Gong’s Brian LaManna suggests you build relationships by going the extra mile — doing something that other sales reps don’t.
For example, LaManna shares, “If they have written a book, then go order their book. Read a few chapters. Write a 5-star review for the book. Email them with a photo of it, a link to the review, and share a few thoughts on similarities between it and your product."
“If they have job openings, tap your network and see if there is someone you can refer actively looking. Start with adding value to them before asking for anything in return. Double win because you could help someone land a job!”
Here at UserGems, Courtney Rives takes a similar approach to relationship-building. “I listen to the podcasts my ICP is likely listening to. If I hear a podcast interview that seems relevant to the problem I help solve, I’ll send a personalized sequence to that interviewee entirely based on what was said in their episode. Tying relevancy to their own words is powerful.”
13. Get active on LinkedIn
This one’s a hat tip to James Parry from Vertebrae.
Although this B2B pipeline generation tactic takes work, it delivers the sweetness that only a well-made dessert delivers. In fact, UserGems’ Leah Zissimopulos Fraser has only started working on gathering the ingredients for this strategy but shares the results are coming in fast.
“Honestly, I’m just now experimenting with this, but I think having a strong presence on LinkedIn (assuming your ICPs live there, too) is golden. I’ve only been doing it for 2-3 months, but I think it will pay dividends as it’s already bringing in demo requests.”
Start with creating or optimizing your LinkedIn profile — complete with a cover image featuring your company’s tool.
From there, engage with your target accounts and share valuable content relevant to your ICP to drive conversations.
14. Study your call recordings
Review call recordings with your team to walk them through real-life outreach calls to train them on what makes a good sales call.
At the same time, encourage sales reps to listen to their call recordings on their own to identify what they’ve been doing well and what needs work.
Gong’s Anthony Banayote suggests the same. “If you get a new book of business or maybe you’re in a slump, go through your old messaging. This can work in two ways and take a little bit of time.”
Banayote continues, “Let’s say you’re not getting any results and are on a dry spell. Go through past messaging or calls where you were booking like crazy and see what you were doing. Have you made changes? Understand that we are in the midst of a recession, budgets are tight, layoffs are happening, and you can’t use the same messaging you had success with 3-6 months ago. You will come across as tone-deaf.
“To be able to frame your solution or product as the life-saving medicine the company you’re targeting needs, you have to understand their problem. If you can use a solution like Gong, you can through past calls, messaging, and conversations with accounts in your book.”
Banayote shares how this approach has helped him too. “I did this the other day for a new account I got. The company met with us about a year ago but delayed moving forward due to 2 mergers taking place. We had not spoken to them since then. I called up the main point of contact and used her exact words when we spoke, and she said things are finally settling down; Gong is still on their radar and wants to meet soon.
“Anytime I get a new account, I always go back into Gong to see if there have been past conversations that can help me with my outreach. From there, I create a detailed account plan, and the first people I reach out to, are the past contacts we've engaged with.”
15. Host product-led webinars
“Using webinars and events to showcase your innovation is one strategy that I believe requires effort but yields results,” David Reid, the Sales Director at VEM Tooling writes.
“My perspective is that of a marketing leader who understands sales well enough to know that brand stories alone will not win deals, and webinars can provide some of your best communication and lead generation. That is why I place a high value on incorporating webinars into our pipeline development strategy.”
The most efficient way to craft this elaborate meal is to pair up with the chefs from the marketing team. When sales and marketing teams are aligned, they can better identify prospect-relevant topics to cover, create a marketing campaign around the webinar series, and ask customers to co-host webinars with you to educate interested leads about using your tool.
16. Learn time management and how to be consistent
“A long-term pipeline strategy is consistent outreach through your designated sequences and proper time management,” notes Zac Walter from UserGems.
It’s why slicing your pipeline generation tactics into processes that are further broken down by individual steps to take is important for maintaining consistency. In fact, it’s only when you get your ingredients right that you can nail down your recipe for the long term.
To this end, learn strategies to manage time and ways to be consistent. As Walter puts it, “While it may not be a fancy, shiny strategy, your foundation needs to be consistent. Consistency beats any quick win tips and tricks.”
17. Grow your pool of reviews
Social proof is a crucial lever to pull for driving sales based on trust signals. After all, you wouldn’t eat at a restaurant you’ve never heard of, right?
Your target buyers are the same. They’re likely to trust you when they see others like them put their trust in you. It’s why Joe Kevens of PartnerStack recommends “Building up your review site presence to [create] social proof that sells.
“I swear by reviews as a strategy because if done right, they can provide impactful results across the funnel day in and day out, for the long-term, because buyers turn to reviews often,” Kevens adds.
“At PartnerStack, we’ve employed reviews as a pipeline generation strategy, and it’s delivered +$6.5 million in SaaS subscription revenue from accounts that have had some form of G2 buyer intent and +$5 million in open pipeline from accounts that have had some form of G2 buyer intent because 20% of buyers go to review sites right before they come to us, as I’ve outlined in this article.”
The cherry on top of pipeline generation
To recap, effective pipeline generation ideas follow a few golden principles, such as:
- Connecting with ICP-relevant prospects on social media
- Gaining their trust using social proof
- Building relationships
- And, personalizing all your interactions with leads
Most of all, tap into your network of current and ex-customers for referrals. UserGems makes this process easy for you by auto-tracking customer job changes.
In doing so, it notifies you when a past customer changes their job and also when an ICP-relevant prospect takes on a new role. This way, you can add warm leads to your pipeline such as people who (hopefully) loved your tool in a previous role and those in new positions who are open to trying new tools.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for UserGems for free and get a list of former customers to target today.