May 16, 2023

How To Build a High-Quality Sales Pipeline for Your B2B SaaS Product Step by Step

Hannah Peritore

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The disconnect between sales and marketing

There is a misalignment between marketing and sales at most B2B companies.

Rather than taking a holistic approach to drive high-quality sales opportunities, oftentimes, there ends up being a lot of in-fighting over which department is responsible for incoming leads.

Why? Because, while both departments are incentivized to bring in leads, there is a significant disconnect between the kinds of leads sales and marketing prioritize.

Sales wants leads that close. Not marketing, though. Marketing goals are often based around lead volume, CPL, CAC, etc.

So what ends up happening a lot of the time is marketing fills the sales pipeline with low-intent buyers… because that’s exactly what they’ve been incentivized to do.

Getting sales and marketing on the same page is paramount to building a high-velocity pipeline.

How self-reported attribution can align sales and marketing teams

We believe the foundation for the sales-marketing misalignment is the flaws in software-based attribution, AKA last-touch attribution.

To put it bluntly, we marketers have gotten pretty good at gaming attribution and making the numbers fall in our favor because that’s how we get paid. Sales on the other hand don’t get their dinero until the deals close.

So how can companies stop pitting marketing and sales against each other?

Well, first, by realizing typical attribution models aren’t an accurate way of tracking the modern B2B buyer.

Buyers today are moving farther and farther away from a sales-led buying journey and toward a self-education research process.

They’re hitting up their network, chatting with colleagues, querying forums, etcetera. 

And none of that back-and-forth research and recommendation process is traceable by attribution software.

All companies end up seeing of the buyer’s journey now is hits on their brand campaign when a buyer has already done all the research—the last touch before they make a purchase.

But… what actually created the demand? Attribution software can’t tell you.

That’s okay, though, because there’s another way to track the buying journey: self-reported attribution.

The best part is, it’s easy to implement. All you need to do is add ‘How did you hear about us?’ to your lead submission form or sign-up process, and bing, bang, boom you’re collecting data.

The trick is, you have to make it a required, open-text field. It can’t be a drop down, because you don’t want to bias the answers.

There’s always some pushback about these parameters adding friction to the process, but the truth is that leads exiting the form because of a question like this were probably trash anyway.

And, while you may get some junk answers, many will show which marketing effort stuck in their head and converted them—and that kind of data is worth its weight in gold.

How to maximize pipeline efficiency with the PIPE Framework 

Now that we’ve covered the foundational problem of sorting out the source of your pipeline, we can talk about the bigger strategy: focusing on the intent of the buyer when they convert.

A lot of times, this is referred to as ‘the tipping point.’

But buyers don’t get to the tipping point overnight after seeing a single advertisement… except in our dreams, anyway.

So you can’t expect that conveying a single message one way is going to resonate.

It’s important to take the buyer’s journey into consideration and tailor your marketing efforts to address their specific needs and pain points at each stage of the buying process.

Chris Walker, CEO of Refine Labs, has constructed a strategy for B2B companies to build more efficient pipelines, aptly called the PIPE Framework.

Chris recommends focusing your marketing efforts on four key stages in the buying journey: Perception, Interest, Purchase, and Expansion.


This stage is all about creating brand awareness and generating interest among potential customers. 

The content and ads for this stage should be exclusively educational and provide prospects valuable information and insights… while expecting nothing in return.

In other words, the goal here is to help your prospects begin their buying journey through educational content that does not try to sell them anything.

Prospects remember the sources they got the most helpful information from, so while these ads don’t drive immediate sales, they do create demand you can then capture in the next stages.


Next up, is strengthening the relationship you started building in the perception phase.

This might involve offering free trials, consultations, or demos, or providing additional educational content that focuses on pain points.

Each ad you run in this stage should deliver one key message about how your product or service solves one specific problem.

It’s likely your product solves multiple problems, but you need to write separate ads addressing those. There’s a saying, If you try to be everything to everyone, you become nothing. Don’t let your ads become a muddled nothing.


Finally, it’s time to convert prospects into paying customers!

The messaging at this stage should focus on offering discounts, incentives, or other promotions to encourage prospects to reach the tipping point and convert.

At this point, your buyer should be very well educated on your product and the problems it solves, so they just need a little push to buy.


The system doesn’t end at the sale. Once you convert a buyer, your goal should be to create a long-term relationship and encourage repeat business.

You can do this by providing excellent customer service, offering additional products or services that meet the customer's needs, and continuing to provide valuable content and insights.

By focusing on buyer intent at each one of these stages, your marketing team can create engaging ads that resonate with buyers and drive high-quality leads to your sales team.

And you’ll know it’s working not by the volume of leads in your pipeline, but by your sales team closing deals at greater than 25%.

The big takeaway?

All leads are not created equal. To drive quality, rather than quantity, leads, there has to be better alignment between sales and marketing.

By moving away from measuring individual department contributions and focusing on achieving the most effective pipeline velocity, you’ll drive the best business outcomes.

This allows you to really focus on where the best pipeline is coming from and prioritize achieving the highest possible pipeline velocity long term.

If you find yourself in need of a marketing partner to help you refine your pipeline, shoot us a message. We’d love to help!

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