Time is precious and always in high demand, so naturally, time to revenue (TTR) is a crucial KPI for any sales team. Along with providing insights into efficiency and earnings, TTR sheds light on lead prioritization, cost reduction techniques, profit forecasting, and more.
Becoming more efficient with TTR requires more than closing deals — sales and marketing departments must work together to streamline the entire pipeline for efficiency.
The good news is there are several proven techniques to minimize TTR while simultaneously maximizing revenue from each new client.
These techniques will be discussed in subsequent paragraphs, but first, what is Time to Revenue, and how do you calculate it?
Understanding Time to Revenue
Time to Revenue (TTR) refers to the estimated period between the time a product or service is launched and when a business starts generating revenue or earning profits. TTR varies from one business to the other and can be influenced by a series of factors such as target audience, industry type, product quality, and so on.
To calculate Time to Revenue, you must determine at what Volume of Sales Break-Even will occur, as well as how long it will take to reach that Volume of Sales. In simpler terms, you must know the number of sales per period.
Once you have your Break-Even and Sales per Period figured out, it becomes easier to estimate your TTR. Thus, your TTR is your “Break Even divided by Sales per Period plus 1.” For example, if you have an estimated 30 units of Sales per Period, the Time to Profit would be 20 periods (300 units / 30 units per period) + 1 = 11 periods.
Now that we’ve briefly explored what TTR means and how to calculate it, let’s delve into proven techniques to minimize TTR and maximize revenue. Let’s go!
1. Clearly define your pipeline stages
One of the simplest yet surprisingly effective ways to reduce TTR is to clarify each deal stage. Without precise criteria for what each pipeline stage looks like, moving leads through the qualification process becomes a guessing game. This confusion creates multiple inefficiencies as reps shift leads back and forth across the pipeline, reducing confidence in sales projections.
Meanwhile, creating specific stage definitions makes it easier to determine where each lead belongs. That means any sales rep or marketer can look at a lead’s position on the pipeline and know exactly what strategy is required.
Remember, pipeline definitions should emphasize explicit and distinct language over vague qualifiers like “engaged,” excited,” or “interested.” Also, be sure to give special attention to exit criteria so reps can use them as a checklist before moving leads further along the pipeline.
2. Improve lead nurturing
Closing deals may be the goal, but to reduce TTR you must pay as much attention to the buyer’s journey as much as the buyer’s destination. Sales reps cannot rush their leads into signing a contract, but they can improve lead nurturing techniques to provide them with the most relevant information. On this front, sales teams can take a page from inbound marketing campaigns:
- Always follow-up: Automated nurture campaigns can effectively reach and engage large numbers of prospects at scale, but you can still boost the likelihood of closing a deal with a follow-up call or email within 24 hours.
- Deliver targeted content: After identifying unique audience segments in your market, sales reps should create a list of white papers, blog posts, videos, and other relevant content that reflects the segment’s goals. Each item can act as the focus of a single nurture email, engaging leads and sustaining interest in your brand over time.
- Build nurture tracks around content: Lead nurturing is more effective when the journey reflects a consistent topic. For example, if a lead downloads an industry report on architectural design, your follow-ups could feature design-related blog posts using a design-centric call-to-action.
3. Refine lead qualification
The first employees to interact with leads aren’t sales reps; they’re marketers. Each marketing department reaches out to potential customers and qualifies leads before handing them to sales — unfortunately, 50% of prospects turn out to be poor fits. By improving this qualification process, sales teams will improve their efficiency and TTR by only connecting with qualified leads interested in your product.
Marketing and sales teams should collaborate on a shared qualification model to position leads in the funnel accurately. For example, suppose marketers are using the BANT model, they should be evaluating whether prospects have the authority and purchasing power to close a deal, increasing the odds they will do so at the purchasing stage.
4. Watch out for revenue leakage
While a failed deal is an overt way of losing revenue, there are less obvious threats to your pipeline. Delayed earnings, incomplete data, and gaps in the sales process all contribute to overlooked revenue leakage. While these losses seem minor on the surface, they scale up with business growth — for example, a company earning $400 million per year with 5% leakage still misses out on $20 million in annual profits.
The good news is revenue leakage is almost always an issue of visibility — once sales associates are aware of pipeline inefficiencies, they can take action. The challenge is identifying these inefficiencies at scale. Thankfully, the following techniques can make that process far easier:
- Visualize leaks in the pipeline: When you visualize pipeline health in terms of projected revenue, it’s far easier to identify and plug leaks as they occur. The best way to do this is to opt for a tool that gives you unfettered visibility and gives you timely prompts whenever there are shifts in your pipeline.
- Automate outreach campaigns: If you’re still trying to do outreach manually, you’re most likely enabling revenue leakage. Instead, invest in a solution that automates outreach without jeopardizing personalization. A good example is Revenue Grid’s Sales Sequences which delivers a personal touch that makes prospect engagement more efficient. It also supports multi-channel automated outreach campaigns that will systematically engage leads and clients.
- Optimize data collection: Use robust data-collection processes to create leads and accounts while saving relevant new data automatically. Again, invest in technology that makes it easy to automatically collect and sync data across all touch points to gain Revenue Intelligence.
5. Get Revenue Intelligence
Technology is a massive part of day-to-day sales operations because it simplifies pipeline management. With an AI-powered sales platform like Revenue Grid, reps can analyze CRM records, surface actionable insights, and predict which leads are most likely to close deals with a high degree of accuracy.
However, when it comes to reducing TTR, the most significant benefits come from guided selling features — the automated processes that recommend the next steps and help reps prioritize their time. Revenue Intelligence also gives you valuable insights to make your revenue process more connected, efficient, and predictable. It is less of a product feature and more of an underlying system to enhance productivity.
For example, a good Revenue Intelligence solution, like Revenue Grid, can assess the best prospects and sales opportunities at risk based on historical and real-time data. With that data, your sales team can take immediate action to close deals faster and reduce churn.
Shortening TTR is not a standalone task. It’s a strategy of optimizing your pipeline to focus on valuable leads and engage them more effectively. When you consider the entire buyer’s journey, it will be far easier to resolve inefficiencies, identify valuable leads, and achieve all of your sales goals.
About the Author
Vlad Voskresensky is the co-founder and CEO of Revenue Grid, a leading AI Revenue Intelligence Platform that helps sales teams by providing risk assessment, impact analysis, and step-by-step guidance toward actions that bring the best results. Vlad has been driving product vision and leading the company for more than a decade, with 20+ years of expertise in connecting enterprise and personal environments.