Grow Pipeline in a Shaky Economy

Yulia Mihlin

During periods of uncertainty, GTM teams must align solutions with buyers’ specific needs and priorities, quickly and at scale. In other words, to grow pipeline in a shaky economy, you need to work faster and smarter.

Pipeline growth hinges on your ability to convey real value to the right accounts. This is true in any economy, but during periods of uncertainty, GTM teams are under pressure to work even more efficiently. That means sellers must not only align solutions with buyers’ specific needs and priorities, but they must do so quickly and at scale. In other words, to grow pipeline in a shaky economy, you need to work faster and smarter.

To learn how today’s revenue leaders are getting the job done, I teamed up in a recent webinar with Stephanie Byrd (Marketing Director, Schneider Electric), Nancy Harlan (Vice President, Global Account Based Marketing, UiPath) and Drew O’Brien (VP of Sales Strategy, Databook). Together, we zeroed in on the most effective strategies for driving progress within the four elements of pipeline growth that typically remain under our control:

Here are some of our most insightful takeaways:

Targeting and Messaging

Account-based marketing (ABM) is an excellent practice for building pipeline—but it only works if you find the right companies, the right buyers within those companies, and the right messages to connect with those buyers. This is how our panelists recommend you get started.

  • Research, research, research. You need a complete picture of every single account, from its strategic priorities to its key buyers, to ensure your solutions can effectively deliver what their businesses need. When efficiency is paramount, tools like Databook can rapidly unearth valuable insights from investor reports, analyst transcripts, and P&L statements, saving you hours—if not weeks—on research time.
  • Speak to value drivers. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know the specific levers that trigger value outcomes for each account, and you’ll know which value drivers matter most right now. Craft messages that unequivocally show how your offerings will move those levers. The more personal and relevant you can get, the better.

“I like Databook, for example, because it gives you a quick snapshot and the ability to dive deeper when you want to. I think that's the most important thing. Sometimes you just need a little bit, and sometimes you want to read the entire earnings transcript from quarter two and figure out exactly the context that they're putting that into. But that's really going to help you with any unknown industry or account.”
Stephanie Byrd, Marketing Director, Schneider Electric

“When I came to UiPath, I selected Databook because of their ability to map the customer's strategic initiatives that are identified in their tool to the UiPath solution set. So we have a very easy way of seeing what our value prop can be… and we can help our sellers really articulate what the right message is.”
Nancy Harlan, Vice President, Global Account Based Marketing, UiPath

Outreach Quality

All of our panelists agreed that the most effective outreach efforts are rooted in a deep understanding of your customer. What does that mean for sellers?

  • Invest in your business and financial acumen. The top 1% of sellers know: You can’t sell to a customer without being an expert in their business. Who do they sell to? How do they make money? What is their greatest pain and urgency right now—and can you back that up with evidence from their financials? Can you read and understand things like 10-Ks and P&L statements? When you can converse about business insight confidently, executives know a meeting with you won’t waste their time.
  • Communicate with buyers in their language. On a high level, this means speaking about the priorities that matter most to buyers. They don’t care about products—they care about the use cases that impact operational metrics and objectives. On a more tactical level, tailor your outreach emails to be clear, concise, and human, using words and phrases that buyers themselves use. Avoid anything that looks like an obvious template or gimmick.
  • Keep messaging fresh. Don’t forget that data is constantly changing. Our panelists often track buyers as they proceed through various stages of outreach, and they are constantly updating and honing their messages based on the effectiveness of each touch. Quality is a continuous process, especially in ABM.

“Regardless of any commercial conversations you might have with the customer, everything always starts with a business conversation first. Why should they even consider investing capital in your solutions in the first place? And I think the why is often what's missing from the messaging that I've seen and that I get on a daily basis from sellers. But the why is the most important.”
Drew O’Brien, VP of Sales Strategy, Databook

“[Having] the business discussion first is the right approach. And no, it's not super easy. There are some Master Classes as part of the Databook portfolio that have been mind-blowing to certain salespeople in our organization, [giving them] exposure to what a P&L is and what gross margins are, and just challenging them. You know, going to a salesperson saying, ‘Hey, you work with this food and beverage company, for example, who do they sell to?’ They should know who their customer is selling to. They should understand that customer's business first.”
Stephanie Byrd, Marketing Director, Schneider Electric

Speed to Market and Efficiency

Our expert panel agreed that speed and scale are more vital than ever to growing pipeline. How are they addressing this need?

  • Use technology that’s built for sellers. The sales tech stack can get extremely complex if you’re not careful, so our panelists highly recommend a streamlined approach. Invest in technology that’s specifically built to enable sellers to do their jobs better, faster, and more effectively. And look for platforms that accelerate onboarding, too, so new sellers and BDRs can ramp up and become productive quickly. (Hint: Our panelists think Databook excels here.)
  • Don’t overthink things. The key to maintaining pipeline momentum is to keep the flow going, even if you make mistakes along the way. Leverage technology that helps you scale your efforts through automation and insights, so you can maximize your growth potential without analysis paralysis.

“When I'm thinking about a RevTech kind of strategy or, or how I might assemble together something that would make sense, particularly for salespeople, the first question I always have to ask myself is, does this help a seller? Or would they say it helps them find and/or close deals?”
Drew O’Brien, VP of Sales Strategy, Databook

“This year we're going through a renewal with Databook, and I'm pleased to share that the sales leadership wants to leverage this platform to really drive onboarding, not just for how I'm using it in the ABM world, but onboarding our sellers quickly and getting them into market. So that helps us be much more efficient.”
Nancy Harlan, Vice President, Global Account Based Marketing, UiPath

GTM Consistency and Unified Focus

The go-to-market team includes everyone from BDRs to sellers to marketers and beyond. That’s why our panel says effective ABM and pipeline growth demand total team alignment.

  • Offer proactive and functional messaging tools. Make sure everyone on the team has access to the messaging, strategies, and frameworks behind your value propositions. Our panelists use things like shared thought leadership frameworks, cheat sheets for sellers, and even executive POV documents generated by Databook. The less you struggle to keep everyone on the same page, the more efficient the account planning process will be.
  • Keep their eyes on a mutual prize. To help multiple organizations focus on a single goal, consider aligning their incentives as well. One of our panelists successfully applies this strategy to keep sales and marketing in sync on GTM efforts.

“When we first kicked off the ABM program here, we actually took the Databook Point of View reports, we packaged them up, and we actually gave them to the sellers and the customer success managers in advance of asking them to start working with us, right? So we wanted to provide value first to them and introduce them to the ABM concept and to the ABM team.”
Nancy Harlan, Vice President, Global Account Based Marketing, UiPath

Want more insight from our webinar participants? Click below to hear the full discussion. And for even more Strategic Relationship Management insight to fuel your ABM efforts in any economy, join the Strategic Sales Network for the latest and greatest resources.

About the Author
  • Yulia Mihlin

    Yulia is a self-driven marketing leader with 17 years of experience in building revenue-generating marketing programs from the ground up in Fortune 500 companies and startups. Her areas of expertise include account-based marketing, demand generation, product marketing, digital marketing, and sales enablement. She is experienced in partnering closely with sales, executives, and marketing peers to develop and execute integrated account-based marketing motions that accelerate business growth.

You might also like...

How to Build an Effective Prospecting Plan

Every sale starts with finding new potential customers. With the right prospecting plan and goals, this doesn’t need to be so difficult.

Read more: How to Build an Effective Prospecting Plan


Navigating the CFO’s Mindset: What Every Seller Should Know

Here are some of the key principles sellers should note when engaging financial decision-makers in large enterprises.

Read more: Navigating the CFO’s Mindset: What Every Seller Should Know