Time to Revenue: How 4 Startups Shorten It

Time to Revenue bridges the gap between the customer’s first touchpoint with your brand and the moment it starts generating revenue.

It’s a critical and elusive KPI.

For starters, how do you measure it when you have zero clue on the end-to-end customer journey? More importantly, how do you shorten it and accelerate revenue?   

That’s what we’ll be learning in today’s post.

What is Time to Revenue?

Time to Revenue (TTR) is the estimated time frame between when a business launches and when it starts generating revenue. This KPI plays a significant role in sales forecasting, lead prioritization, budgeting, and more.

The best way to measure it is to use a revenue attribution tool that connects all revenue-related data in one place. This means your leads from LinkedIn ads, closed won deals in HubSpot, and other data that drives revenue. 

How to Shorten Time to Revenue

1. Onboard clients personally

In product-led growth (PLG), the product is treated as the main vehicle of acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referral (AARRR). 

Users would go through a personalized onboarding process and navigate through the product freely, without any interaction with sales.

Sounds amazing for introverted sales reps and customers, right?

Not quite, as the users who onboard themselves could prolong time to revenue, as Joe Aicher discovers. The director of RevOps solutions at Breadcrumbs shares:

“During that early period, we were more than happy to allow new users to experience the platform themselves. We figured the best of the best would choose to upgrade.” 

Alas, we found out that most users struggled to connect the dots. They couldn’t comprehend the value of lead scoring, let alone how our tool could become such an integral part of their business. 

Note: Your product maturity informs your go-to-market strategy. If you sell a highly complex product and/or you sell to enterprises, opt for a sales-assisted or sales-led model.

In the end, we took the initiative to structure a guided onboarding process.

“It helped to move users through setup and implementation to actual value realization quicker,” reveals Joe. “The trade-off of that initial investment has paid dividends when looking to turn trial users into paying customers.”

2. Let marketing qualify leads ahead of sales

41% of marketing, sales, and customer success professionals saw a drastic change in their conversion rates after aligning their departments. 

Time To Revenue Graph Shows That 41% Of Marketing, Sales, And Customer Success Professionals Saw A Drastic Change In Their Conversion Rates After Aligning Their Departments. 

Nathan Hughes, a marketing director at Diggity Marketing, values a tight-knit relationship between marketing and sales—so much so that the former team should take charge of lead qualification before handing it off to sales. 

He shares with Breadcrumbs:

“Marketing should be the first to contact and qualify leads. By streamlining this screening process, sales teams interact with qualified leads who are already interested in the product, increasing their efficiency and Time To Revenue.”

Here’s how you can use a contact scoring tool like Breadcrumbs in your lead handoff:

  1. Connect your CRM platform (e.g., HubSpot)
  2. Determine the scoring threshold for a sales-qualified lead (SQL), along with their attributes and actions (e.g., marketing specialist from a $5M ARR startup who opens every email in welcome email sequence and signs up for a freemium account within 7 days) 
  3. Set the scoring model live

Breadcrumbs will send all scoring information back to your CRM platform. Marketers can continue to nurture the marketing-qualified lead (MQL) and hand them over to sales when they reach or exceed the sales-ready threshold.


Set the CRM platform as a central source of truth where marketing, sales, and customer success can access. That way:

You can also identify upsell opportunities and catch at-risk customers on our contact scoring tool. Book a 30-minute demo with Breadcrumbs today. 

3. Make it easy to say yes

The average buying journey involves six to 10 decision-makers. And add to that, each decision maker has four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently.

It’s no wonder customers are frustrated during the buying process with all these hoops and complex dynamics.

TeamBuilding makes it easy for clients to say yes by rewarding them and eliminating as much friction as possible. Here’s how you can replicate its well-thought-out revenue strategy.

(i) Incentivize quicker decision making

Irresistible perks get an instant yes. 

At TeamBuilding, customers who book holiday parties before November 1 get first dibs on time slots and senior event hosts.

Consider incentives to encourage customers to say yes. Perks like staggered discounts and exclusive freebies can speed up sales by tenfold.   

(ii) Offer to do the legwork

Support customers during the buying journey

CXL, a digital marketing institute, provides an email template, student reviews, and success stories for customers who want to be reimbursed for their learning.

Source: CXL

Likewise, TeamBuilding sends an information document to the point-of-contact, which they can easily share with other decision-makers. 

(iii) Eliminate decision paralysis

Customers who are spoilt for choice delay buying at best and leave at worst. 

The folks at TeamBuilding recommend the top three choices instead of its 30+ options for first-time clients, removing the time and fatigue involved.

Source: TeamBuilding 

The average Time to Revenue for TeamBuilding hovers from three to 10 days*, with the standard being non-recurring purchases in the $1000 to $5000 range. 

Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding, shares what he and his team have achieved with Breadcrumbs:

“I’d estimate that the above tactics and others have helped reduce Time to Revenue by 20-30%. Perhaps more importantly, these same efforts increase our close rate—which means we have more revenue overall.”

*TeamBuilding is an event company, so its TTR is a relatively short period of time, unlike B2B SaaS startups with high-ticket items.

4. Add a sales-assisted layer

The sales-assisted model sits between the sales-led and product-led growth (PLG) strategies. 

On average, SaaS companies take about 84 days to close a deal. If it’s a complex product, we wouldn’t be surprised if it takes longer. Adding a sales-assisted layer helps, as it involves a sales person walking through a high-value lead one-on-one. 

Source: The Better Story [The demo, which plays an enormous role in sales-assisted, identifies the prospect’s pain. Treat it as a sales conversation.]

Aleksandra Korczynska, CMO of GetResponse, advocates for the sales-assisted model:

“It could take months or even years from the lead capture to signing the contract and then getting the money into your account.”

Aleksandra Korczynska, CMO of GetResponse, on why companies should implement a sales-assisted model in their go-to-market (GTM) strategy to minimize friction in the buying process and shorten the Time to Revenue.

Instead of the lead questioning the product’s value and canceling the free trial or the freemium account, the salesperson can personally address their objections and pitch how the product solves their problems from the get-go.

5. Diversify your customer base

A diverse customer base provides an extra financial security layer.

During the early days of COVID-19, a flock of companies closed their shutters. This created a ripple effect—businesses that worked with these collapsed companies saw significant damage to their revenue.

In situations like these where the market is put to the test, Aleksandra explains, ICP diversification might be a solution.

“Even if you’re targeting just enterprise companies, you can choose different ICPs,” adds the CMO of GetResponse. 

Illustration Of Breadcrumbs Icp Worksheet


Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Worksheet

Learn how to create an Ideal Customer Profile and build a successful sales strategy with this Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Worksheet.

For example, a metal manufacturing company that previously sold to consumer electronic companies might pivot to telemedicine and healthcare. It’s worth a shot as these industries might need them for biotechnology and biosensor technology.

One way to find an untapped market opportunity is to analyze your existing customer data using a tool like Breadcrumbs Reveal

Grab your free account here and complete the following steps:

1. Connect your customer data 

2. Choose the segment of contacts that define success (e.g., $1M MRR)

3. Reveal the results

Breadcrumbs will uncover your most valuable data, including the industries that are responsible for the bulk of your revenue. 


Grab your free Reveal account.

Reduce Time to Revenue with Breadcrumbs Today

Without measuring Time to Revenue, it’s impossible to understand the complete customer journey. The lack of revenue-generating insights will impact all aspects of your business, from marketing to sales and everything in between.

Start measuring this elusive KPI with a revenue attribution tool. And while you’re at it, book a 30-minute demo with Breadcrumbs today. Our contact scoring tool helps you close more deals and identify the attributes and actions that drive revenue.

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