Recently, our marketing team ran an opportunity and pipeline analysis report to see how much our organization has improved over the last year. We knew we were creating more opportunities and more pipeline, we just didn’t know how MUCH more.
To our surprise, and delight, the report revealed that between Q3 of 2015 and Q3 of 2016 we’ve increased our number of sales opportunities by 360% and pipeline by 504%.
We’ve made a few big changes that contributed to the huge growth over the last year and now we’re sharing them with you.
Grew our Content Team 3x (and Hired a Media Manager!)
First, we made content a priority on our marketing team. We began Q3 with one designated content marketer, and by the end of the quarter, we had four on staff.
The value of content is undeniable. It’s one of the best ways to educate your audience and draw leads into your funnel. Based on the 2015 State of Pipeline Marketing Report, 24% of marketers reported not having an attribution model, while 55% were only using a single-touch model. So, there was much to write about and many to educate regarding the multi-touch attribution world and its benefits. We believe that as knowledge and understanding of attribution models and reporting on revenue continues to grow, so too will our customer base.
We’ve expanded our production to include webinars, ebooks, data-based reports, infographics and scorecards, while also publishing four or more blogs posts per week.
As a result of our increased content development, our organic search presence has also grown. Now, when individuals search for things like “B2B marketing attribution” Bizible is at the top of the list. We get to directly influence marketers who are searching for information on our industry, whether or not they’ve heard of our company before.
Additionally, since we now had tons of content to work with, we hired a media manager to leverage it the best way possible throughout our channels. That means that as a whole, our marketing team grew from three total members, to seven. We’re now able to create content specifically for LinkedIn, SEO, and/or our personas and use that content as sponsored posts on social. This helps us not only drive traffic, but drive qualified, high-value traffic that converts to opportunities.
Doubled the Size of our Sales Team
As one would expect, we also doubled the size of our sales team from 2015 to 2016. The team uses content as a qualifier for which contacts to reach out to by phone and email. With the large output of content, comes the large influx of website visitors and conversions.
Simply put, we hired more sales team members, to keep pace with our increased lead volumes. As leads get qualified, we want to make sure they are hearing from our sales team at strategic conversion points and not getting forgotten within the funnel.
Shifted our Strategy from Demand Generation to Account-Based Marketing
One of the biggest projects we’ve undertaken to increase opportunities and pipeline is switching from Demand Generation to Account-Based Marketing. From the beginning we’ve been an organization that believes focusing on leads is not enough. Marketers need to be accountable to bottom-of-the-funnel metrics.
A natural progression of that belief, has been implementing an ABM strategy within our sales and marketing teams. Instead of blasting content across all channels to any and everyone, and then following up with each person who interacts, we now put more energy and resources into pursuing contacts at companies that we know are more likely to close. The strategy moves from inbound to outbound.
We started by creating a target account list of companies that fit our profile of an ideal customer and then implemented a grading process that lets our teams know which accounts to prioritize. We then began mapping leads to accounts, so we could make sure we were following up with companies, not individuals. All of our LinkedIn paid advertising goes to specific buckets of contacts that are segmented by things like job title, skills, company size and so on.
From 2015 to 2016, our organization has transitioned to be 100% account-based. With this all-in strategy, we’ve ensured that none of our efforts go to waste. All of our time and money is now spent on nurturing contacts who are likely to convert to opportunities and customers.
We’ve done a lot the last year to improve our efficiency and grow our business. Using our own attribution software, we’ve been able to track and report on the success of those efforts with metrics that impact the bottom line: 5x growth in pipeline and over 3x growth in opportunities created.
Our marketing team has transitioned from being a cost center, to being a profit center.