The Latest from the ABM Experts
December 3, 2019
The Sigstr Guide to Pipeline Acceleration
Written by Justin Keller
We’re calling it now: pipeline acceleration is about to become the obsession of B2B marketers everywhere. With more B2B marketers responsible for their company’s revenue (70% according to our pals at 6Sense), the focus is quickly shifting from the top of the funnel to actively driving the entire funnel. Pipeline acceleration is also the easiest place to develop sales and marketing collaboration that unites revenue teams because everyone has a stake in it. The key to unlocking this partnership and speeding deals along is intelligently delivering the right content to the right audiences at the right time.
Delivering the right content at the right time is pretty basic marketing theory, but extraordinarily difficult to do in practice. Deploying the right content across a variety of mediums to the correct recipient right when they need to see it is tough, but doing it at scale across all of your salespeople and all of their active opportunities is nearly impossible. This is an area where Sigstr really shines! It allows marketing teams to automate and orchestrate content delivery with pinpoint delivery with pinpoint accuracy without your customer-facing teams having to lift a finger.
It’s so powerful that when we (the Sigstr team using Sigstr) started doing this ourselves, our sales velocity increased 15% (an average sales cycle of 45 days to 40 days). That’s like giving our team an extra two weeks to run deals per quarter! If you’ve ever been in an EOQ pinch, you know how valuable that time can be.
Everyone’s sales process and associated sales stages look different, so we’re going to break up the revenue journey into three chunks and give you a few ideas for Sigstr campaigns. Reminder: stage-based targeting is built right into Sigstr, so setting these campaigns up is a snap.
Pro-tip: If you’re using an ABM advertising tool like Terminus, 6sense, Demandbase or Rollworks, you can accomplish similar advertising tactics across the open web for an ever better surround-sound experience!
This is where it all starts; keeping your most important audiences consistently and passively informed about whatever it is you’re trying to promote at the time. Just like with any advertising channel, the more relevant the content is to the recipient, the better it will perform. Here are a few ways Sigstr banners can help drive more activity and engagement at the top of the funnel.
Type: Default Campaign Banner
“Default Campaign Banner” is actually a new feature inside of Sigstr. Think of it as a general, evergreen banner that will automatically show in case you don’t have a targeted campaign running. This is also how you should think about your awareness campaigns – promoting something with broad appeal.
Type: Industry Specific
If your CRM hygiene is in good enough shape, you can launch a Sigstr campaign that is specific to a certain industry, persona, or geographical location. Simply organize a list in your MAP or build a campaign in your CRM and match it with a banner that promotes a specific message just to that audience.
Type: Account Specific
Speed: Buckle up!
This type of campaign has become the gold standard for our customers running all-star ABM campaigns with Sigstr. In the world of ABM, there are only a few ways of starting a conversation: personal email or phone call, or getting them to come to you through targeted account-specific content. Some of the world’s best account-based marketers love Sigstr campaigns because it checks both of those boxes at once. From our own account we have found that these banners achieve 5x more engagement versus a regular default campaign.
Whether you label this as a demo, appointment or meeting, this pipeline milestone is important because have successfully scheduled time with a future customer to talk about their needs and see how your solution or service can help. This is when Sigstr can really start to aide your pipeline acceleration at scale.
Type: Anticipation Campaign
This campaign is two-fold. First, including a time-sensitive campaign in your sales teams’ communications with a future customer lets them know that their time is important to you. Or, at least important enough to have the right message in your sales teams’ email signatures. Secondly, you can link this to a destination that helps build anticipation and trust. For example, after the email recipient clicks on the banner, they can be sent to a fun brand page, your “about us” page, or a special page letting them know what to expect.
Type: Info Collection Campaign
A degree of difficulty higher than the “Anticipation Campaign” is the “Getting To Know You” campaign. Depending on when and how deep your discovery process is in sales, you can link this stage-specific banner to a form or survey that will allow you to collect more information about them. The expert move here is to link them to a questionnaire that will allow you to get to know the recipients better as people. This allows you to have more personal things to talk about and get a head start on a super thoughtful direct mail campaign later.
Value Presentation or Proposal
Alright, now things are getting serious! Your discovery and needs analysis went well and it’s shaping up to be a perfect fit for both sides. Now it’s time to play defense. Your team needs to back up the proposal you’re about to give them with proof that there’s some serious ROI behind it. That means customer stories, social proof, or perhaps content about your company’s values.
Type: Case Study
A great case study is a powerful mid-to-bottom of funnel piece of content– especially if it’s relevant and recent. Automatically delivering a case study to a prospect who’s deep in evaluation mode can instill confidence in their decision. Sigstr’s ability to target on multiple dimensions (e.g. sales stage and industry) means that you can run multiple case study campaigns at once, ensuring the most relevant one gets in front of your opportunity. No longer will the salesperson go over to your content team, asking what the best case study to send to their prospect is!
Speed: Medium-Fast (and extra insightful!)
One case study is great, but there’s nothing better than an overwhelming amount of positive feedback about your company. Especially when it’s directly from your customers. Sending mid-funnel prospects to your G2 reviews and profile is a great way to impress them and, if you’re a G2 customer, gives you the opportunity to show off your company’s profile you worked so hard to build. Pro-tip: now you can always be promoting your G2 profile with our new integration.
Type: Value Prop
Savvy buyers will be weighing your solution against your competitors. This is the perfect time to promote differentiation or prove how you’re different. It can even be (and, we can’t stress this enough, factual) “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” content about your competitive set and where you fit in. Making sure your customer is evaluating your product or service based on your strongest criteria can help short circuit competitive conversations that can grind sales velocity to a halt.
Technical or Cross-Departmental Evaluation
We realize this may not be relevant to EVERY company, but as far as software is concerned, there’s a good chance a prospect’s IT department will enter the sales process. And we don’t blame them! It’s their job to make sure everything is safe, secure, and won’t create any technical or security liabilities. Or, maybe a separate team within your prospect’s organization is now evaluating your product or serve. Either way, there’s a Sigstr banner for it!
Type: Departmental Targeting
Just like you were targeting personas in your awareness campaigns, you can automate your targeting with specific individuals based on their job title. At Sigstr, we do this by targeting just people with “IT,” “information,” or “security,” in their title and pairing them with a campaign about how robust our security is (SOC2, Type 2 btw) at the “Technical Evaluation” sales stage in our CRM.
Type: Departmental Targeting
If your product or solution doesn’t necessarily need buy-in or approval from another department, but it will impact them (just like when Sigstr gets rolled out to an entire company) there’s an opportunity to get everyone excited about what’s coming. For example, you can use a Sigstr banner to direct non-buying committee individuals to a landing page that gets them excited about what’s coming. This is a great way to gain influencers and champions within a company.
Closed/Won or Closed/Lost
You did it! You got to the end of the sales cycle. Whether you won or lost the account, the relationship isn’t over. Remember: the best marketers are obsessed with the entire customer journey! If you didn’t win the account, you can automate your way to re-opening an opportunity. If you won the account, it’s time to get them prepped for success with you!
Once the ink on the contract is dry, the race is on to start delivering value to your new client. While on-boarding is being coordinated and rollout plans are being formalized, you can start to prep everyone at your new customer with what to expect by targeting them with a campaign that directs them to a new-client resource center. This will reduce the friction of on-boarding and stem any errant questions that might slow down their on-boarding.
Type: Leave a Review
Right after a successful implementation, your product or service will be top of mind the customer. Especially if it’s starting to deliver value right away. This is the most critical time to ask for honest feedback on a review site like G2 or Capterra. At Sigstr, we listen for an “Implementation Complete” signal in our CRM and automatically target our admins and champions with banners asking them to leave us a review. This helps keep a steady stream of positive reviews flowing in and makes our mid-funnel G2 campaign work even better!
You won’t win every deal – that’s just life. But that doesn’t mean it’s over. You can set a timer in Sigstr for a campaign to start running after a given period of time (maybe next quarter or a sufficient amount of time before their next contract cycle). So when your sales team does reach back out, the prospect is delighted with a message like the banner below. At Sigstr, we point these campaigns to our product release content stream so they can see all of our new features and product functionality since the last time we spoke.
The most important part with all of this is that you’re delivering the right content at the right time. There are endless ways of hacking together methods of content deployment so that your team is able to effectively do it. But with this approach, there are two main reasons why it’s superior:
- It’s responsive, not prescriptive. You can’t force someone onto YOUR buyer’s journey. They’re going to take their own every time. By delivering content based on discrete sales stages, you’re delivering the content when they need it, not when you want to send it.
- It’s pre-orchestrated. You don’t have to put your sales team through endless enablement sessions and force them to read every single word your content team has written. Your sales team can do what they do best, listen and respond, while confidently knowing their rockstar marketing team has their back.
Now what are you waiting for? Go turn on stage-based campaigns in your Sigstr account! And if you want to get even more advanced and learn how you can orchestrate this across your entire tech stack, start a chat in the bottom right and we can set up some time.