Driving Inbound SAO’s in 3 Steps

Author's avatar Metrics & Chill Podcast UPDATED Feb 20, 2024 PUBLISHED Sep 7, 2022 4 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    The metric: Sales Accepted Opportunities (SAOs)

    MJ Peters, VP of Marketing at CoLab, shares the 3 levers she pulls to drive inbound SAOs.

    Driving Inbound SAOs

    We got to chat with the brilliant MJ Peters (VP of Marketing at CoLab), to hear about the 3 main levers she pulls to drive inbound SAOs. Namely:

    1. Eyeballs
    2. Messaging
    3. First Sales Call

    We’ll go through a summary of each of these levers below, and pull out some insights on how she’s using them to grow CoLab’s SAOs and revenue.

    How They Improved It

    Lever 1: Eyeballs

    MJ works to get as many of the right eyes as possible to look at the brand and messaging. This means creating content for 2 categories:

    1. Demand capture (e.g. SEO & paid search)
    2. Demand creation (e.g. paid ads on social)

    For demand capture content, she makes sure Product Marketing and Demand Gen work in sync, so the messaging is consistent. The ad should offer a hook or summary, but the site should expound upon it.

    When she’s running social ads, she’s looking at engagement & CTR as a leading metric of how it’s performing. As it runs, she’ll look at profiles of who comments or likes, and adjust the audience over time to make sure it’s reaching only the most relevant job titles. For demand capture content (typically paid search or SEO), there’s less flexibility over the messaging, because the prospect is looking for a specific thing.

    So her goal is to respond from a positioning perspective to meet prospects where they’re already at.

    Lever 2: Messaging on the website

    Once she gets eyeballs on the website, she makes sure what they’re reading resonates with them and leads them to convert. At this point, she’s used content on outside platforms to catch prospects with a hook and generate demand to learn more. And now that those prospects are on the website, she has a better opportunity to elaborate on the key value points she shared off-platform.

    To help her craft the best messaging, MJ has 1:1 calls with customers and listens to sales recordings on Gong. First, she identifies the use case they came to CoLab for. Then she sifts through dozens of pains/talking points and distills the top 3 or 4 that come up the most. These will become the 3-4 talking points on that specific use case page.

    For example, one use case may be using CoLab to lower costs, by designing costs out of their products. So MJ will identify the top 3-4 pain talking points around that, and use them on that use case page.

    Ultimately, this allows her to have the best chance at saying things that resonate with customers and drive the highest conversion. And as we mentioned earlier, she carefully maps this messaging in the “get eyeballs” stage, so demand gen is more effective and the prospect experiences more consistency.

    Lever 3: The first sales call

    On the first call, MJ makes sure what the prospect hears, lines up with the marketing messaging they saw.

    In other words:

    Find the promised value that drove the prospect. Then give them a taste of that value, right away, in the first call.

    To help her do this, MJ uses different demo booking forms on each use case page. So when a prospect books a demo, she can dig into the CRM to let the rep know what use case the prospect is interested in, and what pages they visited.

    Consider the traditional experience:

    The prospect reads a use case page about how your product will help them reduce time and save money. They come excited to learn how you’ll help them do that. But on the first call, they get peppered with 25 discovery questions.

    This is a poor, unhelpful experience.

    Instead, marketing can dig into the deal in HubSpot and see that the Contact booked a demo on your Solutions page around “saving time”. They can relay that context to the rep, so the rep highlights exactly how the product saves time.

    By being involved in the first call, MJ’s team is better aligned with sales and delivers a more relevant experience for the customer. She feels many companies invest heavily in the first 2 levers, but ignore this one, which results in a leaking funnel at this stage.


    MJ only recently started the role, and has spent most of the time heavily investing in refining their messaging on all these levers. But it’s already starting to pay off.

    In all her time in marketing, she’s never seen messaging have as big of an impact as it has at CoLab. She’s also seen the quality of SQLs and SAOs in the pipeline become much higher, specifically in terms of firmographic fit and qualitative motivation for reaching out.

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    Jeremiah Rizzo

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