August 18, 2022

How to increase website sales velocity with better messaging

Website sales velocity is a reliable “North Star” metric for growing revenue. Learn what it really means and how you can influence it with better messaging here.

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. 

How traditional growth metrics slow down growth

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. 

Screenshot of McKinsey & Company research result on the most effective channel for a plurality of B2Bs
E-commerce is the most impactful sales channel in the US

But traditional sales metrics are limited. Their output only measures one element of performance. This is true of many common growth KPIs:

  • New opportunity volume: The volume of qualified traffic entering the sales cycle only indicates the effectiveness of marketing acquisition.
  • Conversion rate: The rate at which your website converts unknown opportunities to known leads only shows how well it signals your value proposition. 
  • Customer acquisition cost: The average cost incurred to acquire one new customer through your website only relates to the cost-effectiveness of marketing and sales.
  • Monthly/annual recurring revenue: MRR and ARR are both vague metrics that only provide a top-level view of revenue trends.

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.”

Why you should be paying more attention to website sales velocity, the most important growth metric

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:

  1. Number of qualified opportunities: The number of qualified leads entering your sales pipeline for nurturing. More leads means increased sales velocity. This one’s simple to track—just count how many leads became qualified and entered the pipeline during the measurement period.
  1. Win rate of closed deals: The conversion rate of all prospects entering the pipeline. Win rate is an accurate indicator of how successfully you convert leads to sales and directly impacts website sales velocity. It’s calculated by dividing the number of closed won deals by the total number of qualified opportunities in the measurement period.
  1. Average contract value of closed deals: The average value of all closed won deals.  You can think of this as the marginal revenue generated from one conversion—how much a single additional sale is worth. A higher average contract value improves sales velocity, all other things being equal. You can calculate average contract value by dividing total revenue from all closed deals by the number of closed deals in the measurement period.
  1. Average sales cycle length: The average amount of time it takes for a lead who enters your pipeline to result in a closed deal. This is the only factor in the formula that you want to decrease, as a shorter cycle length increases sales velocity. Figure it out by dividing the total number of days it’s taken to nurture all closed deals by the number of qualified opportunities in the measurement period.

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.

How to calculate website sales velocity

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. 

Using website sales velocity to guide revenue growth

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.

The most effective way to increase website sales velocity

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. 

Four ways you can leverage messaging to increase website sales velocity and drive revenue

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.

Grow your pipeline using demand-creation marketing 

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. 

Screenshot of Omnisend’s Cart Insiders podcast
Omnisend’s Cart Insiders podcast is a strong example of demand-creation marketing

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.

Use CRO techniques to optimize messaging and improve win rate 

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. 

Screenshot of Appcues’s new homepage
Appcues’s new homepage messaging connects better with their audience

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%. 

Refocus on cross-sell and up-sell opportunities to increase average contract value

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.

Screenshot of Taskworld Pricing Page
The “Most Popular” banner nudges customers to try TaskWorld’s Premium plan

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.

Screenshot of FreshDesk Product Add-ons Page
FreshDesk offers add-ons to cross-sell to purchasing customers

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. 

Shorten the sales cycle length by using messaging to create a sense of urgency

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%.

Screenshot of CXL using urgency words in Ad Headlines
Heightened headline urgency increased CTR rates by 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%.

Screenshot of CXL Landing Page using countdown timer‍
Using a countdown timer raised conversion rates significantly

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.

Use targeted messaging to speed up website sales

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.

Know exactly what your buyers want and improve your messaging

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