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Choosing the Right Revenue Motions for B2B Growth

In business-to-business (B2B) operations, the term “revenue motion” refers to the strategic method of entering and expanding within client accounts. This term evolves from the more traditional “sales motion” to reflect the shift towards more customer-centric, account-based marketing, and product-led marketing strategies. Revenue motions essentially describe how customers within accounts can best identify, try, and purchase a product or solution. It is the translation of within-account targeting into a growth thesis.

Revenue motions are not just a tactical approach but serve as a blueprint for all customer-facing aspects of a business. As such, they require close collaboration between marketing, sales, and service departments. By understanding how accounts and contacts try, buy, and use the product, these departments can work in concert, using the account as the focus for their strategies.

Driving Growth with Revenue Motions

B2B organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of revenue motions. According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. Moreover, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads, underlining the value of a well-planned revenue motion.

Three Primary Types of Revenue Motions

There are three primary archetypes of revenue motions: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Middle-Out. Each archetype has its own set of advantages and constraints that revenue leaders must evaluate prior to selection. Revenue leaders can determine which model to choose by considering three key factors: the adoption method, value transfer, and price.

  • Adoption method describes how potential customers find, try, and purchase a given solution
  • Value transfer describes who seeks to benefit from the implementation and utilization of a given solution
  • Price describes the affordability of the solution for a given set of stakeholders

revenue motions - archetypes

1. Top-Down Revenue Motion

In a Top-Down motion, sales teams build and leverage relationships with high-level stakeholders to drive product choice and rely on those stakeholders to drive implementation across the organization.

  • Adoption Method: This motion relies heavily on senior leaders to drive standardization throughout the organization. This strategy requires direct access to key decision-makers, with marketing playing a secondary role.
  • Value Transfer: The value is realized by the company as a whole, with individual contributors possibly feeling detached from the product or solution.
  • Price: These solutions command significantly higher prices and realized revenue than bottom-up or middle-out motions, often exceeding $1,000,000 annually.

2. Bottom-Up Revenue Motion

A Bottom-Up motion is geared towards end users, only elevating to more senior levels once a critical mass of users has adopted the product.

  • Adoption Method: In this scenario, marketing plays a lead role in helping potential customers find, understand, and adopt the product.
  • Value Transfer: The product does most of the selling, relying on low barriers to entry, quick time-to-value, and broad appeal.
  • Price: In a Bottom-Up revenue motion, adoption is the primary objective, with revenue coming later. Thus, prices tend to be significantly lower compared to other motions.

3. Middle-Out Revenue Motion

A Middle-Out motion strikes a balance between the Top-Down and Bottom-Up methodologies, targeting both end users and C-suite level stakeholders, with a sweet spot typically at the manager or director level.

  • Adoption Method: A Middle-Out motion is sometimes termed “land and expand,” starting with one business unit at a customer organization and sequentially moving to new buying centers until standardization becomes a viable option.
  • Value Transfer: The value transfer is applicable to both individual users and their management teams.
  • Price: Pricing for Middle-Out motions can vary greatly due to the nature of the products and focus of the revenue motion (e.g., land and expand).

Foundational Framework
Choosing, Building, and Enabling Routes-to-Market for High Performance

The Importance of Understanding Revenue Motions

The modern B2B landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. As such, it’s critical for organizations to adopt a more customer-centric approach to their go-to-market strategies. Understanding and employing the right revenue motion for your organization can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your marketing, sales, and service departments, leading to higher customer satisfaction, increased lead conversion, and ultimately, a healthier bottom line.

We’ve just skimmed the surface of this vast subject. To delve deeper into the intricate details of B2B revenue motions, including best practices, pitfalls, and proven strategies, download our whitepaper, “A Roadmap for Modern B2B Go-to-Market—Part 1: Growth Design.” This comprehensive guide will equip you with all the knowledge you need to craft a revenue motion strategy that fits your business like a glove. Happy reading!

A Roadmap for Modern B2B Go-to-Market—Part 1: Growth Design

Learn what it takes to find and maintain predictable revenue growth in our essential 49-page guide.