Marketers tasked with growing revenue tend to see funneling more leads into the sales pipeline as the only solution.
Improving win rate, decreasing sales cycle length, or increasing average contract value are just as effective at boosting the bottom line.
Growth performance is often appraised using these metrics. However, because they’re measured in isolation, they don’t provide a complete picture. They can’t tell you where to focus efforts to ensure the largest impact on revenue.
Website sales velocity is a far more comprehensive metric. It combines four data points that, together, represent the multifaceted nature of sales performance. It’s the ideal “North Star” for growth, highlighting shortcomings in sales and marketing and delivering real insights into what can be done to increase revenue faster.
In this article, we’ll explain what’s wrong with traditional metrics, and why focusing on website sales velocity is the antidote. We’ll also provide actionable tips on how you can use better messaging to improve the scale and speed at which your website converts, so you can grow quicker.
Research from McKinsey shows that e-commerce is categorically the most effective sales channel, according to B2B businesses. This data highlights that website sales should be the primary revenue driver for most businesses, and especially SaaS.
But traditional sales metrics are limited. Their output only measures one element of performance. This is true of many common growth KPIs:
These metrics share an inability to provide more than one insight at once. They represent facets of a sale as detached, independent data-points. They’re all useful, but rarely lead directly to lightbulb moments that significantly influence revenue.
A more effective growth metric would tell you more about the marketing and sales cycle as a complete entity. It should act as an indicator of relative performance over time, measure performance at each stage of the sales cycle, and provide valuable information about where improvements can be made.
Website sales velocity is just that, which is why it should be every marketing team’s “North Star.”
Website sales velocity measures how quickly your website generates leads and revenue. Unlike other metrics which measure performance in one area of marketing or sales in isolation, website sales velocity combines data from four distinct metrics:
By accounting for factors that reflect each of the four main aspects of a sale, website sales velocity provides comprehensive insights into overall performance. It’s a direct representation of how effective your marketing and sales process is.
The formula used to calculate website sales velocity is:
(Number of qualified opportunities * win rate of closed deals * average contract value / average sales cycle length) / measurement period
Here’s a hypothetical calculation:
(20 qualified opportunities * win rate of 25% * average contract value of $5,000 / average sales cycle length of 25 days) / (90 day measurement period) = website sales velocity of 11
Most CRM systems already measure each of the components of website sales velocity, meaning you should already have all the data you need to calculate it.
When calculated regularly, website sales velocity delivers comprehensive insights into website sales performance trends. Improving performance in any one of the four driving factors will have a positive influence on sales.
This data can inform changes to marketing and sales strategies, using the four inputs outlined above as levers for improvement.
For example, cutting the sales cycle length by 50% will have the same effect on sales velocity as doubling the amount of pipeline you create. Increasing your win rate can be just as effective at growing revenue as securing more valuable contracts on average.
You can play with the formula and see which lever will provide the most compelling return.
To get even deeper insights, calculate website sales velocity segmented by lead source to see which generate revenue most effectively and which need improvement. If you have five primary lead sources and one lags behind in terms of website sales velocity, you know where to focus your efforts.
Strategies that revolve around messaging provide the best potential for improving website sales velocity.
Messaging is central at every stage of the buying journey, from the initial touchpoint that generates awareness to the final landing page that closes the deal. That makes it effective at influencing sales velocity from the start of the sales process to the end.
Unlike other levers, such as increasing ad spend, it has incredibly low cost barriers. It can be deployed repeatedly in response to changes in your website sales velocity without requiring marketing budget increases.
It can also be implemented on short timescales. This enables agility in marketing, providing the opportunity to make improvements, test, and repeat. As a result, messaging’s impact can be more rapidly and reliably measured.
Because of these capabilities, messaging is suited to influencing each of the four components of website sales velocity to generate revenue growth.
Messaging is endlessly adaptable and there are countless ways you can use it to influence sales velocity. But focusing on those that most directly impact each of the four inputs to the formula is the best way to see results. The following four tips showcase how you can get the most out of your messaging and drive more sales at a higher velocity.
Many marketers focus on capturing existing demand when trying to grow their pipeline, but creating demand is a more effective alternative approach.
There are sections of the market that don’t yet know they need what you’re selling. They can’t be targeted through traditional marketing channels, because they’re not in a buying cycle. But their latent demand can be activated through demand creation marketing.
Omnisend, a SaaS business selling an email and SMS marketing automation product, use podcast marketing to create demand. They host their own show, Cart Insiders, which covers topics relevant to marketers in a free and easily digestible format.
Their messaging strategy is indirect. Instead of opening with a sales proposition, they position themselves as experts to attract a relevant audience and build brand affinity. When these listeners enter a buying cycle for an email marketing automation platform in the future, Omnisend will have a head-start on competitors as a preferred brand.
This is a long-term approach to growing pipeline organically, and there are countless other forms of demand creation marketing to explore. Online communities, influencer marketing, and dark social shares are all underutilized channels. Engage with them, leading with appropriate messaging, and you can build a source of pipeline that delivers consistently.
Messaging is hugely influential in conversion rate optimization (CRO) from early touchpoints with a customer—where it can be leveraged to increase CTR (by up to 842%, according to one case study)—all the way to the final moments before conversion.
The copy across your website is responsible for building affinity and driving conversions. For the latter use case, there are a wealth of messaging-centric CRO techniques you can use to improve your win rate.
Granular messaging optimization, for example, has been proven to be efficient. Hubspot’s analysis of 330,000 CTAs found that personalized CTA copy, tailored dynamically to user segments, converted 202% better than static CTAs.
Effectively optimized messaging can only be reached through meticulous message testing. But the payoff is worth it. In one Wynter case study, we used message testing to create better homepage copy that resonated with Appcues’ audience of product managers and marketers.
The optimized copy was benefit-driven, clearer in its explanation of the product, and incorporated more social proof. As a result, Appcues’ conversion rate increased by 73%.
Higher average contract value can be achieved by focusing on larger opportunities, but that often comes at the cost of capturing smaller, more easily won leads. Instead, increasing the revenue generated from existing closed won deals can be a key driver of website sales velocity.
Cross-selling and up-selling are two proven methods of doing that. One study by Reply showed that 20% of SaaS businesses get more than 20% of their revenue from up-sells and cross-sells.
You can see examples of both strategies used by plenty of major SaaS players, and messaging often takes center stage. Taskworld, for instance, uses a banner to indicate their Premium tier as the “Most Popular” option, up-selling users who might otherwise choose the free version.
Freshdesk takes an alternative approach, with a whole section of their checkout page dedicated to cross-selling related products. The copy in this section is feature-driven, presenting users with choices that can “enhance” their experience with the product.
Execution is critical with cross-selling and upselling messaging. Tactless messaging increases the risk of coming off as predatory or cheap, instead of thoughtful and helpful.
Urgency in messaging is a powerful tool, more potent the nearer it’s applied to the point of purchase. It can be generated by using specific words and phrases like “now,” “last chance,” and “limited time,” as well as by more sophisticated approaches like live deal countdown timers.
It’s one of the most effective ways to leverage messaging, pushing users who are close to making a buying decision to convert more quickly.
CXL tested five different forms of urgency in messaging, showcasing the potential impact of different approaches.
One study focused on the use of urgency words in ad headlines resulted in a CTR increase of over 3%.
Another involved A/B testing a landing page with and without a countdown timer, the former boosting conversion rate by almost 3x, from ~3.5% to 10%.
Overusing these techniques can negate their impact, appearing manipulative and damaging brand perception. But, applied at just the right points in the sales cycle, they can contribute to closing deals more quickly and minimizing drop-off.
Website sales velocity offers something that not many growth metrics can—insights that lead directly to meaningful revenue improvements. Committing to regularly measuring it long term can significantly change the way you pursue growth.
You no longer have to extrapolate meaning from ambiguous singular metrics. Instead, you can clearly see where you should focus your efforts to grow revenue.
Finally, with an understanding of how messaging is central to each of the four components of website sales velocity, you know exactly how to do it.