Marketing can’t make up the pipeline deficit with -20% ACV discounts. Only your AE’s can!

Marketing can’t make up the pipeline deficit with -20% ACV discounts. Only your AE’s can!

I responded to a LinkedIn thread that showcased that ACV per deal is down 20% in 2023. The CEO posting had called out marketing to ramp up their demand generation efforts to make up the difference.  To me, that’s spreadsheet fantasy math… not reality.

Here are the three topics this week:

1. Marketing can’t make up -20% of ACVs – it’s on the AE’s.

2. Authenticity in the age of AI.

3. Case Study – Tier 1 Opportunities for AE’s = Combining 6Sense Buying Intent “6QA’s” with Pipeline Signals “Customers on the Move.”

Marketing can’t make up the pipeline deficit with -20% ACV discounts. Only your AE’s can!

Most marketing teams can barely create 20% of the total pipeline coverage required to necessitate global quota attainment for the sales force. How will you get them to ramp up an additional 20%? Impossible for most.

If you think of the 3 levers of deal control:

  • Volumes
  • Velocity
  • Probability / Conversion

Volume is NOT in the cards for marketing to ramp by 20%. But unlocking 5% more from every AE is completely viable… and best practice for those focusing on sales enablement.

Here is the math:

To date, you have 20 AE’s who are pretty laissez-faire about their prospecting efforts. For the last 10 years, they have been “high on the hog,” living on SDR-qualified leads and channel opportunities.

Marketing is responsible for even 25% of the pipeline = $2,500,000 of the $20,000,000 total sales quota.  If they were to magically 🪄acquire 20% more, that’s $1,000,0000 extra.

20 AE’s @ $1,000,000 quota each = $20,000,000 quota.

20 AE’s find 5% more opportunities in 2023 (only focus on volume, not even velocity & conversion).

5% of $1,000,000 = $50,000 per AE


20 AE’s

= $1,000,000 extra in revenue.

What is more probable?  

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle.

Authenticity in the age of AI.

Sales & Marketing have done a blissful job of spoiling every medium we can access. We can be the best polluters of these oceans, while the best of us can emerge like a lighthouse.

There is no way you should be cutting & pasting summaries of topics from ChatGPT and sending these to CIOs, CISOs, and CFOs now. You think you’re a genius summarizing Zero-based Budgeting for a CFO, only to realize this 30-year vet learned more about this topic in 3rd year accounting school than your most bottomless AI rabbit hole.

Amar and I believe a few key things will emerge in the Age of Authenticity with AI:

  1. Your “voice” will be key. Scaling that voice will be a huge part of the sales toolkit. Here is me “training” my AI voice right now.
  1. I see a massive opportunity for Crystal Knows and DISK profiling to be integrated into video platforms like Zoom and MSFT Teams so that we sellers can have real-time feedback on the personalities we’re speaking to in real-time. Google Glasses meets DISK profiling.
  1. The Google, YouTube, and LinkedIn algorithms will become self-aware of AI and find ways to prioritize content created “live in the wild.” Make content outside in real situations, and the algorithms will reward you.
  1. Mass adoption of AI tools will be EXACTLY like Social Selling globally. 20% of your sellers will yield 80% of the impact. This 20% of sellers will have integrated AI as beautifully symbiotic supporting tools… not robot clones of themselves. Like Social Selling, these tools will accelerate sellers 110% – 250% of their plan. You will have these rock stars. Embrace and learn from them.

AI will be your Task Rabbit, not your life raft. Don’t lose sight of the fact that selling is about people coming together to solve a problem and exchanging the promise of future success for money. That’s it.  It’s people.

Case Study – Tier 1 Opportunities for AE’s = Combining 6Sense Buying Intent “6QA’s” with Pipeline Signals “Customers on the Move.“

Time for some best practices from our customer base.

Many of you reading have Buying Intent tools from marketing. These tools (like 6Sense) are used to inform your team that a buyer is:

  • On your website
  • Googling keywords
  • Downloading assets
  • Clicking on paid media ads

All demonstrate that someone(s) within an account is interested in learning more about a specific product or service (or at least optionality to solving a problem).

Think of Buying Intent as a puzzle piece.

Our best customers recognize NOT to rush out and slam these Buying Intent Signals at sales. These are MQLs… at best, at best.


These same accounts are leaving other digital breadcrumbs. Executives are leaving their customer base and joining these same accounts. These “past advocates”, “champions”, and “fans” are 3-5x more likely to engage past solutions they’ve used. This is called “Customers on the Move”. New ELT executives are also taking roles in these accounts and are within the “Window of Change”.


Any account that has:

Buying Intent + “Customer on the Move” = Tier 1 opportunities.

ROUTE THESE TO SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES. Make sure these Tier 1 opportunities are treated like gold.

These are your highest, highest converting opportunities!

FREE RESOURCE – Self-Generated Quota Gap & Activity Tracker.

Are your AE’s struggling to meet sales quota?

They could have a QUOTA GAP.

Do they know what percentage of their sales quota THEY NEED TO SELF-SOURCE? (not driven inbound from marketing or the channel)?

For many companies, this is shocking. This could be 50%, 75%, or even 90% of every AE’s sales quota.

Download it here.

Ensure your sales team has a clear understanding of where they need to focus their efforts.

Self-Generated Quota Gap & Activity Tracker
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Free Resource:
Self-Generated Quota Gap & Activity Tracker

Do your Account Executives (AE’s) need more leads than Marketing can provide?

Do your Account Executives have a sales quota that’s larger than your current Inbound Marketing lead flow?

Each AE needs to understand their “Self-Generated Quota Gap” – the percentage of quota THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR not covered from inbound sources. They have to create this sales pipeline themselves.

Download Free Resources

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