Illuminating data: how to light up revenue in the dark funnel

Posted June 28, 2022

Maggie valentine headshot

By Maggie Valentine

Senior Product Marketing Manager at Outreach

We know that buyers conduct research at all stages of their buying journey.

They look at product pages and dig through case studies, social media, and marketing content.

When buyers think they’ve learned enough and it’s time to make a buying decision, they return to the website of the product or service that best matches their needs.

If sellers can capture these buying signals at earlier stages in the journey, they can reach out to buyers who are getting closer to making a decision with the right messaging at the right time.

We recently hosted a webinar with Outreach CRO Anna Baird and Global Innovation Evangelist Mary Shea, along with 6sense CMO Latané Conant to take a closer look at how understanding today’s buyers — and the data collected about them — can help sellers win more deals.

Read on to learn more about:

  • How buyer preferences and behaviors have changed
  • Why there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales
  • What sellers are missing out on without the right data
  • How to empower sellers to turn insights into revenue

How have buyer preferences and behaviors changed?

Millennials and Gen X lead the pack

It’s a new buyer’s game. Literally. A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Outreach, Generational Shifts Fundamentally Change B2B Buyer and Seller Dynamics, reveals that millennials made up nearly half of the surveyed B2B buyer demographic (49%), with Gen X closely behind at 42%.


Buying committees continue to grow

More individuals are now involved in buying decisions — up to 24 people — and not just the higher-ups. For seasoned sales reps, this means that the people actually using your product or service now have more influence than you’ve been trained to sell to, and you need to connect the dots for more people.

Things have changed, and today’s buyers expect that it should be easy to get info on your product or service, that what they find will be relevant, that they can see reviews, etc. The consumerization of the B2B buyer means that they are less patient, not afraid to do some digging, and have a few trusted places they go to help make decisions.

So how can sales and marketing teams cater to these buyers?

For starters, content needs to be relevant and easy for people to find the information they need. Today’s buyers are collaborative and do everything online — so help them do the research the way they like.

Social marketing reigns supreme in how buyers are conducting their own research, meaning the insights we’re able to grab from buyers behavior online is even more valuable today.
Mary Shea
Global Innovation Evangelist, Outreach

Digital channels are more important than ever

Channel engagement preferences are changing, too. People are more comfortable with digital engagement than ever before. Buyers are also responding to:

  • Social marketing
  • Engaging websites
  • Linkedin (to reinforce seller credibility)
  • Webinars
Social Marketing Stats

Buyers also need you to collaborate with them on the business case, so they can sell to executives and help the buying committee through the process — “Sell with me, not to me.”

Sellers are taking note, but what is getting in the way of closing more deals?

Why is there a disconnect between sales and marketing?

The metrics sales and marketing use to measure success are often different. And, working in separate silos, sales and marketing typically don’t have a cohesive channel to pick up signals and execute on them immediately.

They need to work together so sellers can take advantage of signals to interact with buyers with the consistent messaging carefully prepared by marketing.

Sales and marketing should leverage insights and mutual resources to focus on the most winnable opportunities, put in work where needed to win, and align on success metrics, such as:

  • Predictable pipeline
  • Improved conversion
  • Shorter cycle time

One way to synchronize the efforts between sales and marketing teams is to maximize the data.

But first, your teams need the right data.

What are sellers missing out on without access to the right data?

A lot of research happens anonymously, in what 6sense calls the “Dark Funnel,” or the anonymized buyer intent data left behind from buyers in the research phase. For sellers to reach more buyers, understanding these actions would help serve up relevant content or messaging to the buyer — at precisely the right time.

Dark Funnel data can help create “revenue moments” or optimized instances to connect with the buyer. When sellers have the correct data, they can act as concierges through the buying process and help guide the buyer with relevant context and solutions to make the connection in those key moments.

The customer and data should tell you what stage they are at.

Buyers interact digitally before accepting meetings with sellers, leaving a treasure trove of data behind. If you’re not capturing it, you can’t deliver the experience the buyers want. The moment sellers have to influence buying decisions is getting smaller and smaller.

You need to make the data work for you! Insights make data actionable so you can know what to say and when to say it relevant to the buying stage.
Latané Conant
Chief Market Officer, 6sense

What if you could capture that rich data, turn it into insights, and better interact with buyers?

I think we’re on to something.

How to empower sellers to turn insights into revenue

The customer journey isn’t linear, it's circular, and this is a thing for sales and marketing to keep in mind. There is a lot of talk about personalization, but without relevance, it’s merely a parlor trick. Sure, if you know some demographics about your buyer, it’s helpful, but do you really understand the dynamics of your accounts?

Sellers should ask questions like:

  • What is my buyer’s role?
  • Who else is on the buying team?
  • What is the timing of this deal?

These questions can help you understand if you’re a good fit for a particular buyer, and why you’re the best option to help them do their job better.

Intelligence improves your odds for winning — meeting buyers where they are in their journey changes outcomes.
Latané Conant
Chief Market Officer, 6sense

To leverage the data, you need a sales execution platform that can pull all the data nuggets together in one place. A seller with the Outreach and 6sense integration has everything in front of them, and AI can let you know if you’ve done enough so you can spend your time on the most winnable deals, connect to the most winnable contacts, and eliminate the guesswork.

Outreach and 6sense can empower reps with all-in-one platform functionality. Sellers can get amazing insights without ever leaving Outreach and avoid missed opportunities by pulling leads from the Dark Funnel.

If you want to win more deals, it’s time to stop guessing and start knowing.

Improve your sales strategy with intent data

Learn how capturing intent signals earlier in the buyer journey can help your team reach buyers with the exact right messaging at the right time. Listen on-demand to the full webinar: “How to Turn Buyer Insights Into Revenue” webinar where revenue leaders from 6sense and Outreach share their insights about everything here and more.


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