If you’ve noticed a disconnect between your sales and marketing initiatives, or searched for ways to make every marketing dollar more effective, you’re not alone. Traditional marketing campaigns can generate a huge volume of low-quality leads, making it far too easy for high-quality leads to get lost in the shuffle.
Even worse, sales teams and marketing teams end up working toward completely different metrics, even competing against each other, when they should be working toward the same goal: generate more sales.
The high intent revenue opportunity (HIRO) pipeline addresses this disconnect through standardized criteria that identifies highly qualified leads in order to sell more effectively. We’ll cover the basics in the paragraphs below, as well as link to a few resources with more information on this pivotal marketing and sales methodology.
Read on to learn how to use the HIRO framework to improve sales revenue by marketing more effectively.
HIRO Pipeline vs. Marketing Qualified Leads
In many companies, marketing and sales teams work as separate units, and their productivity is measured by completely different metrics. This can lead to inflated ad spend, marketing campaigns that seem effective (due to their high click-through rates) but don’t actually lead to more sales, and a lack of clarity for both departments overall.
In this very typical scenario, the marketing team is generating a high volume of low-intent, low-quality marketing qualified leads (MQL), and every lead is treated the exact same way: funneled through a multi-step process designed to keep your product top-of-mind — if and when they decide to buy.
The problem with this method is that, inevitably, a few high-quality leads that are ready to buy immediately are mixed in and pushed though the same multi-step process as the multitude of low-quality leads. This can be frustrating for potential customers who already made the decision to buy, but now have to jump through multiple hoops to do so. It can even result in a loss of sales.
The HIRO pipeline framework was developed by Chris Walker and the team at Refine Labs to address this disconnect and help sales teams sell more effectively.
What is HIRO Pipeline?
The HIRO framework was designed to give B2B marketing professionals a standardized benchmark for qualifying pipeline sources. A pipeline source is defined as HIRO at whatever stage it reaches a consistent close rate of at least 25%. However, this tool for tracking conversion rates and customer acquisition can be applied to advertising as well as marketing strategies.
This framework helps you identify which lead sources are bringing in high-quality leads and which ones aren’t, and at what stage they become high-intent revenue opportunities.
Using the HIRO framework allows you to fine-tune your ad spend to prioritize the lead sources that mean the most to your bottom line. It can also help identify additional means of demand generation, create more customized sales processes, and ultimately make every marketing dollar more effective.
Marketing for HIRO Pipeline:
While the finer points of marketing for HIRO pipeline can be complex, the overall strategy is fairly simple.
- Realize that most of your market isn’t ready to buy. Create demand by educating them on what makes your company and product stand out.
- Once a lead decides to buy, convert that into a meeting. Don’t make them jump through hoops or wade through a multiple-step sales sequence — if they meet your Ideal Client Profile allow them to instantly book a meeting with your sales team.
- Track win rates for each opportunity/deal stage. When a stage has a 25% win rate to closed won, that pipeline source is considered HIRO. Optimize your marketing efforts toward this opportunity/deal stage.
The Undeniable Power of Self-Attribution
Another vital component of HIRO pipeline is self-attribution. Put simply, when a lead expresses an intent to buy by booking a meeting, give them the opportunity to self-identify how they heard about your product or service.
While it isn’t going to be as precise as other, more traditional forms of attribution measurement, self-attribution data is invaluable when it comes to measuring the reach of dark social (that is, shares or recommendations from friend-to-friend or colleague-to-colleague that are hard to track using traditional tracking methods), and it gives key insight into which demand generation efforts are most effective.
Once you’ve identified different demand generation streams, you can compare HIRO pipeline stages (stages with a win rate of 25% or more). This will give you a much clearer picture of the actual value of your marketing efforts.
To Recap HIRO Pipeline:
- Create demand by educating leads about your product and company.
- Capture demand through a scheduling link or form when a lead declares intent to buy.
- Convert demand into a closed won deal through a highly efficient sales process.
- Expand and retain current accounts through account management and customer service efforts.
As you implement this method, over time you’ll be able to refocus your marketing spend and make every marketing dollar work more effectively.
Benefits of Using the HIRO Pipeline Framework:
- Unify sales and marketing efforts by connecting them with a pipeline metric tied to win rate.
- Allow marketers to operate in dark social – sharing social content and recommendations without requiring direct response lead generation activities.
- Improve buyer experience by engaging with the buyer as soon as they’ve expressed intent to buy from you.
- Scale better and faster than traditional MQL methods, meaning fewer leads are required to make a sale.
- Be challenged to look at outbound sales differently, and more easily see new and better opportunities to create demand.
- Make your sales and marketing campaigns more efficient and cost-effective over time.
The HIRO pipeline framework helps companies identify their most profitable lead sources, enabling them to better prioritize ad spend, streamline sales and marketing efforts, and find new ways to create demand for products and services.
The four core actions of HIRO pipeline are: creating demand, capturing demand, converting demand, and retaining/expanding accounts with current customers. The HIRO pipeline method is an efficient and profitable alternative to traditional MQL generation methods.
Paired with powerful sales tools, sales automation, a robust customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other sales solutions, the HIRO framework will help drive growth and give your team what they need to strategically apply their efforts and maximize their sales skills.
Additional HIRO Pipeline Resources:
Want to learn more about HIRO pipeline? Here are a few resources we found helpful: