How B2B companies can generate more revenue and pipeline in 2024

Can you guess accurately the top sources of B2B sales pipeline and revenue? Well, you don't need to guess anymore. Recent research by Pavilion and Ebsta gives an accurate view of the top sources of B2B revenue impact.

Let's analyze real data on where pipeline and revenue is actually created and go through some practical best practices to align your go-to-market initiatives with growth drivers.

Top channels for B2B companies to drive pipeline and revenue

Recent research by Pavilion and Ebsta based on $52Bn in B2B revenue have major implications to B2B marketers and go-to-market teams.

top sources of b2b revenue

Here's a table that breaks down of where B2B pipeline and revenue comes from.


% of B2B Sales Pipeline

% of Sales Revenue

Organic inbound



Paid ads



Partner referral



Outbound sales






As you see, the lion's share of B2B sales pipeline (42%) comes from outbound efforts. Not far behind are organic inbound methods accounting for 31% of the pipeline. Paid ads, while just being 13% of the pipeline, still rake-in 10% of the revenue. Partner referrals, though only forming 10% of the pipeline, are highly effective yielding a whopping 31% of the sales revenue. And while events only make up a small portion of the pie, their contribution should not be dismissed.

Top sources of B2B revenue in 2024

  1. Partner referrals

  2. Organic inbound

  3. Outbound sales

  4. Paid ads

  5. Events


1. Partner referrals

It may surprise many people that partner referrals is the top source of B2B revenue.

Partner referrals in B2B sales come when one business refers clients or customers to another company's products or services, often through a formal partnership arrangement.

B2B referrals can come in many forms:

  • Customer referrals: This is when existing customers are satisfied with your product or service and refer other businesses to you. Customer referrals are often the most effective because they are based on real-world satisfaction and success with your offering.

  • Strategic business partnerships: These partnerships are between complementary businesses that agree to refer clients to each other. For instance, a software company might partner with a consulting firm to offer a more comprehensive package of services.

  • Affiliate programs: Businesses may establish affiliate programs where affiliates are rewarded, typically with a commission, for referring new clients or customers. These programs track referrals using affiliate links and are a more formalized system of referrals.

  • Non-competitive business partnerships: Companies in non-competing sectors that serve the same market might exchange referrals. For example, two software companies may have a referral arrangement where they cross-sell non-competitive solutions together.

The natural implication for B2B marketers and go-to-market leaders is that they should emphasize referrals in their revenue driving initatives. While referrals are more difficult to measure as lead generation initiatives, the clear impact on revenue can not be underestimated.

2. Organic inbound

The second most important source of B2B revenue (and also major contributor to B2B pipeline) is organic inbound.

Organic inbound in B2B sales refers to attracting business customers naturally through content marketing, SEO, and social media, without the use of paid advertising.

Organic inbound is a less intrusive approach to marketing. Instead of pushing your brand out there, it allows you to construct a customer journey that draws consumers in naturally. Deploying SEO strategies, high-quality content generation, and social media presence, organic inbound slowly but surely attracts potential clients to your product or service.

Why does it matter in terms of revenue growth? Consider the following:

  • The audience generated through organic inbound is self-targeted. They've found you organically which means they're already interested in what you have to offer.

  • Structuring your SEO to answer common queries elevates your online presence, leading potential leads to your site with apparent ease.

  • Organic inbound leads tend to stay longer and convert more effectively, paving the way for consistent revenue generation and cost-effective client acquisition.

So, is organic inbound worth it? You bet. It's a reliable source of B2B pipeline and revenue that gives you the credibility and the base needed for sustainable growth.

3.Outbound sales

Most B2B companies have a strong emphasis in outbound sales. It's then no wonder that outbount brings the lions' share of new pipeline.

Outbound sales in B2B refer to the proactive approach businesses take to initiate customer engagement and sales through direct outreach efforts like cold calling, emailing, or networking.

Outbound sales is important for growing pipeline, but it is only the third largest contributor to B2B revenue. So, it has the biggest drop from pipeline to revenue of all channels.

Confronted with this reality, your go-to-market (GTM) teams must carefully reconsider their actions. Here are some pivotal insights:

  • Recognize the imbalance. Outbound sales efforts are clearly generating pipeline volume. However, it's not enough to merely fill the pipeline. The conversion of these leads into income is fundamental.

  • Reflect on your outbound strategy. Assess if it aligns with your buyer's journey or if it misses the mark. Buyers should feel their needs are understood and being met.

  • Refine and experiment. Don't be afraid to tweak your approach. Benchmark against industry best practices, test new methods, and measure the results.

In other words, the productivity of your GTM efforts isn't measured solely by how full your sales pipeline is. The true measure of success is actual revenue. Better alignment between your outbound sales strategy and your B2B customer's journey can achieve this objective.

4. Paid ads

Many B2B companies put considerable efforts into lead generation through paid advertising.

Paid ads for B2B companies typically means advertising on Google or LinkedIn. While a large portion of paid ads is used in direct response lead generation, an increasing amount of B2B companies utilize account based marketing techniques to reach their ideal buying audience.

With 13% of your sales pipeline and 10% of sales revenue attributed to this channel, it’s evident that paid advertising holds its ground in generating both interest and conversion. But what does this mean for your go-to-market (GTM) strategy?

  • Efficiency over volume: Your paid ads are converting well, nearly matching their pipeline percentage with revenue generated. This tells you that your investment is on target, finding and engaging the right audience rather than just casting a wide, unproductive net.

  • Strategic investment required: The close ratio of pipeline to revenue percentages signals that your paid ad strategy is working. But there's room to grow. Evaluate which platforms yield the best ROI and consider reallocating your budget accordingly.

  • Data-driven decisions: Dive deeper into the metrics. Which ads are converting and why? Use this data to refine your messaging, targeting, and choice of platforms.

  • Alignment with sales: Ensure your sales team is aligned with the leads coming from paid advertisements. They need to be adept at converting these well-targeted leads into actual sales efficiently.

In essence, paid ads should not be an afterthought. They’re delivering tangible value in both attracting potential clients and converting them into revenue. Your GTM teams must lean into the data, refine strategies, and ensure sales alignment to capitalize on this channel fully. This isn't just spending money; it's investing in growth.

5. Events

In last place in the leaderboard of sources of B2B pipeline and revenue is events.

In the past, B2B companies have invested a significant part of their go-to-market budget to participating in different kinds of events, such as tradeshows or industry networking events.

Arguably, the role of events should be re-considered based on pipeline and revenue impact.

  • Re-evaluate your event investment: With such a low return, it's time to dissect what's not clicking. Are events not aligning with your audience’s preferences or are there gaps in how leads from events are nurtured and converted?

  • Quality over quantity: Perhaps the focus needs to shift. Instead of broad-reaching events, the key could be in more targeted, industry-specific gatherings that promise higher-quality leads.

  • Integration is key: Events must be a cog in a larger machine. Ensure they're well-integrated into your sales and marketing strategies. Post-event engagement is crucial to convert those initial leads into sales.

This doesn't mean you write off events altogether. Instead, you refine your approach, focusing on what genuinely works and ensuring every dollar spent on events works harder for you.

Final recommendations for B2B go-to-market teams

While the top 5 sources of B2B revenue give us an benchmark, it's important to remember that all companies are unique. Your B2B sales and marketing strategies need not just to exist but to dynamically respond to what your own metrics are telling you.

Your go-to-market strategy should not just be a set plan but an evolving conversation with your target market. Listen to what the numbers are revealing and adjust your plays accordingly. Efficiency, strategic investments, and informed decisions are your roadmap to maximizing the ROI from each channel.

Lari Numminen

Lari is a 2-time B2B SaaS Company CMO and marketing enthusiast. He has written extensively on topics such as business process management and the role of artificial intelligence in the workplace.

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