Growing Beyond Net New: 3 Ways to Squeeze More Pipeline from your Existing Data
November 16, 2022
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that holding a grow-at-all-cost mindset is no longer an option. More and more companies are growing their CSM/AM teams and planning for more revenue to come through expansion vs. net new logos.
New leads are expensive, so we’ve put together a list of tactical ways you can get more pipeline out of the contacts and opportunities you’ve already spent the time and money creating:
Tactic 1: Driving pipeline through former customers
Driven sales reps have found workarounds to track former customers because they are easier to sell to, but the standard process for doing so has not been scalable historically. You can hack together lists from SalesNavigator data. But this manual process means it’s hard for leadership to have visibility into the ROI or ops teams to have visibility into what’s working or not so they can create replicable practices for the rest of the team—and with a manual process you’re likely missing large swaths of potential contacts anyway.
We’ve written previously on the importance of operationalizing how you sell to former customers, but here will provide some tips on how you can effectively build pipeline from data that already exists. The key here is to focus on people who have some base level of awareness about your solution.
Tactic 2: Closed-lost opportunities
There is a psychological principle called the “mere-exposure effect” that states that people are more likely to develop an affinity for something simply because they are familiar with it through repeated exposure.
What does this mean for closed-lost opportunities? To paraphrase Peter Kazanjy, these leads who have a familiarity with your product represent a goldmine of potential customers, because often, “no” just means “maybe later.”
If you've done the first part of the sales cycle well, closed-lost prospects are educated on how your product solves their problem. Your job now is to stay top-of-mind so when their business problems become more poignant, priorities start to change, or they move to another company with a similar need, you’re the first person they think of. Reactivating closed-lost opportunities can be hard—here is some advice on how to approach operationalizing the channel.
More about staying top of mind from this scene in Focus.
Always record the real reason for “do nothing”
Assuming you have your ICP and personas dialed in, a lot of the people you speak with (both inbound or outbound) will have problems that you can solve —even if they don’t quite realize it. Budget issues, lack of buy-in, or an existing incumbent vendor are difficult obstacles to overcome, but having meetings or deals stall out from the dreaded "do nothing" can feel like an especially puzzling black box.
So what's the best way to nurture these people?
Your company’s closed-lost codes might be bad, or simply not show you the whole picture—always make sure you have real lost reasons noted in the CRM and for yourself. These reasons may not be immediately apparent or even directly based on something the prospect told you, but rather something you observed over the course of meeting with them. Instead of “Do nothing” include reasons like - Shift in Priorities, Chose Status Quo, Lack of Authority, Re-evaluate in (3, 6, 9 months), Couldn’t Secure Budget, or Lack of Stakeholder Alignment. This gives you more visibility into what type of future reach out you should pursue.
Create a process to regularly audit your pipeline to determine which closed-lost opportunities that stalled out are worth reaching back out to.
Think deeply about what would need to change to have a legitimate shot to win their business. You might consider things like: Who are the 2-3 key contacts you will need to win over? What are their stated objections, and how do those connect to the problem space your product solves for? What blind spots or gaps do they have in their understanding of their problem that you can help fill?
Once you have an understanding of what it would take to win them over, periodically add value to them outside of your solution.
Coordinate with your marketing team to source new pieces of content (like webinars, blogs, events, or podcast episodes) that both your company puts out or generally available content that will help the prospect do their job more effectively.
If you see they are for a role they are hiring for, send them a handful of profiles of people you think might be a good fit.
Introduce them to a new community or event that they'd likely care about, and engage with them intelligently in community-driven spaces like Linkedin by commenting on their posts.
All of these activities keep you and your company top-of-mind so you can leverage familiarity to build affinity.
Use natural business cycles
Getting people to buy often ties to a compelling event. Once you understand the real reason the opportunity didn’t close, there are several key times you can use to initiate a conversation:
Seasonality: The end of the quarter is always a busy time for planning, and most times are starting to get intensive around annual planning for next year around October. Check in right before planning kicks off and see how you might provide value by taking key initiatives off their plate, so your offering can be made a priority in planning meetings.
Personnel: Is the prospect opening a new headcount on a job board for a specific role you’d want to engage, or did you see a new hire post on LinkedIn in your target role? You might consider reaching out, as they may not have the same objections a previous contact had.
Features: If the prospect was closed-lost over missing functionality, product release events are a great reason to re-engage those accounts. For every major product release, deeply think about if this would be enough to move them over the edge.
Budget: Marketing team’s love TEI impact reports, but the best cases for budget usually come from other customers. Make sure AEs are sharing internal champion decks that they have successfully used to secure budget. Create versions of this document that removes sensitive information to enable your budding champions to try again – this time with new framing, different ties to key initiatives, or will a different value prop (offsetting future hiring vs efficiency for example).
Set up a long, spaced out manual cadence that makes sure you are doing something to stay top of mind every 45-60 days. If you don’t do this, you face the risk of missing out on being top of mind as priorities change or events occur in the business that make your solution relevant.
Not everyone has a freemium or free trial product. If you do, here are a few ways to think about re-engaging abandoned free trial users:
Treat them like closed-lost deals
People abandon free trials for many of the same reasons that deals become closed-lost:
Never installed / logged-in
High usage, but lack of decision-making power
Not currently a priority (many users think a problem is a priority, sign up and realize they jumped the gun)
High usage, hard time driving ROI
Lack of necessary features
By treating abandoned trials similar to how you treat closed-lost deals, you can use some of the same tactics above—personalized outreach to your “do nothing” segment, and tactical outreach time-pegged to natural business cycles—with the added benefit of knowing they’ve had real-world experience with your product.
Use data to score opportunities
When evaluating abandoned free trials, it’s important to look at a few factors:
Role: Are they an individual contributor, or a director-level leader? This will impact whether you reach out asking for an intro to a decision-maker, or whether you’re going directly to them.
Usage: Look both at how much they used the product, what features they used, how long their sessions were, and more. Perhaps they missed key functionality specific to their role or job-to-be-done that you can surface with helpful Help Center resources or documentation as you re-engage them. If they logged in once and then never again, it might be worth exploring why.
Product fit: Just as important as knowing who to reach back out to is who to not reach back out to. Instead of blindly re-engaging all previous trial users, use your data to identify whether they were actually in your ISP in the first place, or were more of a low-intent window shopper.
Build sustainable growth by operationalizing
Whether you’re going after former customers or re-engaging closed-lost prospects and abandoned free trial users, it’s important to go at it with a formalized process so you can see the full picture of what your leads really need to turn them into customers.
Luckily, you can build a former customer process all within Salesforce with Champify, which uses rich data sources to help you identify which warm prospects to prioritize so you can close deals more efficiently. Sales reps that use Champify see 4x higher response rates, 2x higher close rates, and 30 percent faster deal cycles.