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The ROI of the dark funnel: what your hidden data is really worth
Nov 13th, 2023

The ROI of the dark funnel: what your hidden data is really worth

👋 This blog post is based on four business impact reports created on behalf of Common Room customers. In other words, the results are from a limited data sample and are not a guarantee of specific outcomes.

We talk about the dark funnel a lot at Common Room.

More importantly, we talk about what companies miss when they don’t have visibility into it. But what’s that visibility really worth in terms of dollars and cents?

No organization wants to pour resources into something unless there’s a clear return on investment. That's why we turned to our customers to calculate the ROI of the dark funnel.

Keep reading to learn how the dark funnel impacts:

  • Sales pipeline
  • Deals won
  • Time to close

The data behind the dark funnel

Before we dive into our findings, it’s worth pointing out that no two companies are exactly alike.

How much ROI the dark funnel delivers depends on how much traction your industry and organization have across digital channels and what you do with the insights you uncover.

Companies that have more signals to work with across a wider range of channels—and that inform their go-to-market strategies based on what they find—will naturally see better results.

More data points means more ways to resolve buyer identities, uncover purchase intent, and take action with context.

Image of the dark funnel

To help our customers understand how dark-funnel activity impacts their bottom-line business metrics, we sometimes create business impact reports (you can see an example here).

We do this by combining the digital interaction data uncovered in Common Room with companies’ CRM data using our bidirectional integrations with Salesforce and HubSpot (we can also pull in product data via our integrations with Snowflake, Census, Hightouch, and other data sources).

The goal is to show how activity across social, community, open-source, and other channels (think data sources such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Slack, Reddit, and GitHub) influences sales pipeline, closed-won rates, and deal speed.

The numbers in this blog post are based on an average of four such reports, each detailing business impact over the course of a year.

We won’t name names, but we can tell you that each report was created for a customer in the B2B SaaS space (one has a traditional sales-led motion and three have a product-led sales motion, either in the form of a free trial or a freemium plan).

Each company connects with its customers across different channels, but there’s overlap between social (such as LinkedIn and Twitter) and community (such as Slack and Discord) data sources.

Here are the results.

Image of identity resolution and enrichment

The dark funnel helps you surface more opportunities

💰 An average of approximately 28% of open pipeline (or roughly $103.5M) was first seen in the dark funnel.

On average, more than a quarter of open pipeline (totalling more than $100 million) was discovered in dark-funnel channels before a deal was ever created in a CRM. Meanwhile, nearly half of open pipeline (approximately $170 million) was seen in dark-funnel channels before or during the lifecycle of a deal.

Generating sales pipeline is priority No. 1 for many companies, and data shows that the dark funnel helps organizations surface opportunities before sales teams are even aware of intent.

By centralizing, deanonymizing, and enriching dark-funnel data using Common Room, organizations are able to identify sales opportunities they may have otherwise missed. This gives sales reps a larger pool of prospects to go after—and sooner.

🎤 “Common Room gives our go-to-market team members daily feeds of users showing intent across multiple channels—all in one place. Over 50% of our meetings come from Common Room.

—Tim Hughes, Vice President of Sales at Temporal

The dark funnel helps you close more deals

💵 An average of approximately 26% of closed deals (or roughly $5M) were first seen in the dark funnel.

On average, more than a quarter of closed-won deals (worth approximately $5 million) were discovered in the dark funnel before anywhere else. At the same time, 49.6% of closed-won deals (approximately $11 million) engaged in dark-funnel channels before or during a deal’s lifecycle.

Pipeline is the starting point, but revenue comes from deals won. Data from the dark funnel helps companies get the insights they need—who’s ready to buy and the best way to reach them—to close more deals.

Dark-funnel insights from Common Room help with lead and account scoring, as well as opportunity qualification. With access to firmographic data for every person and organization sending out buying signals, sellers are able to prioritize high-intent, high-fit leads.

🎤 "Common Room has made it easier for our SDRs and AEs to book more and better meetings. It’s our favorite sales tool here. One of our AEs called it 'my closest friend.'"

—Tyler Hayden, Director of Sales Development at Pulumi

The dark funnel helps you speed up sales cycles

⏰ Deals that were first seen in the dark funnel closed approximately 54% faster (60.6 days versus 131 days) than other deals on average*.

*This metric is based on three business impact reports instead of four, as we didn’t have access to time to close data for one report.

On average, deals that originated in the dark funnel closed significantly faster (53.7%) than other types of deals, closing in 60.6 days instead of 131.

The dark funnel doesn’t just serve up more and better-quality deals, it makes it easier to close them quickly. With visibility into dark-funnel activity, internal teams can help speed up sales cycles by providing helpful context and answering questions throughout the buyer journey.

Since sales reps are able to separate the biggest and best opportunities from the rest using Common Room, they can also better prioritize their time. And with insight into buyer behavior across channels, sellers are able to reach out in the right place, at the right time, and with the right messaging.

🎤 “We're able to show how our programs have engaged over half of our closed pipeline while also speeding up deal time to close by 40%."

—Allie Beazell, Marketing Chief of Staff and Director of Developer Marketing at Census

This is only a small sampling based on four Common Room customers, but it illustrates the value of dark-funnel insights.

Gaining visibility into—and taking action on—the dark funnel helps you create more, better, and faster-moving deals.

It’s time to find out what your dark funnel is worth.

Turn the dark funnel into real revenue with Common Room

Ready to see how Common Room helps you transform hidden signals into revenue opportunities?