Have you ever had a favorite customer? You know, the one who remembers your kids, asks about your weekend, and is simply a joy to engage in conversation? He’s your go-to for quotes and case studies. For context, let’s call him Alex.
Then the worst thing happens: You reach out one day and hear, “Alex is no longer with the company…”
Blame the Great Resignation, the Quiet Quit, or just the 200,000+ US workers laid off so far this year, but today’s employees rarely stay put for long.
Pew Research reports that 2.5% of workers, roughly four million people, switched jobs each month from January to March 2022. This figure equates to an annual turnover of 30% of workers, practically 50 million people.
Although losing a key decision-maker on an account may raise concerns, there’s a flip side to this dilemma. These former customers, aka “alumni,” are now warm leads, opening the door to new revenue streams.
With the right tech tools in place, you can automate revenue plays custom-tailored to reengage these valuable contacts.
Revenue plays expedited by a connected tech stack
In the classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, businessman Steven Covey’s first recommended habit is “be proactive.” That’s the best strategy with alumni customers. Don’t wait until you see a LinkedIn post about a job change to learn that one of your customers has left the organization. And although your company could task employees with manually monitoring and updating contact information in your CRM solution, the time and effort involved isn’t efficient or scalable.
Sales intelligence platforms like UserGems, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Champify can easily track customer job changes. Once discovered, lead-to-account matching and routing tools can then help update your CRM solution and automate former customer plays. However, unless these tools are fully integrated into your revenue tech stack, speed and efficiency will be lacking. A connected tech stack brings siloed integrations into one seamless process.
In years past, the purpose of your tech stack was primarily to support what your company needs. Today’s tech stack must be about what your customer needs. A stellar digital buying journey requires that you use technology to orchestrate a process where relevant messaging is sent across platforms to the right contacts at the right time.
Thoughtfully approaching your alumni customers
Alumni customers generally fall into one of three categories:
- Your customer leaves to go to another company, but has the same job title.
- Your customer leaves to go to another company and has a different job title.
- Your prospect leaves in the middle of a deal to go to another company.
Your initial conversation with alumni customers at their new role should be entirely about them—not about you. Put yourself in their shoes. Starting with a new company is a whirlwind of onboarding, training, learning the company culture, gelling with new coworkers, and getting your bearings. So be helpful and interested. You’re more likely to achieve your goals by helping your alumni customer achieve theirs.
Send a congratulatory gift. This gesture is the “wow” that builds the customer relationship. Use platforms like Sendoso to send a single item or launch an entire send campaign, saving your team from packing boxes, writing notes, mailing items, managing inventory, or maintaining a swag closet. And with a connected tech stack, your CRM solution can track gifts, helping you evaluate ROI.
Send a follow-up congrats email and wait 14 business days. View your alumni customer like a bank account and make deposits in that relationship. If you don’t make deposits, you can’t ask for a withdrawal.
On day 15, send alumni customers a prospecting email. Ask what kinds of things they plan to roll out in their new job. Ask for a meeting where you can catch up with them. At this meeting, you’ll perform a light discovery to determine if there’s a potential opportunity. Aim for a second meeting that includes other team members.
Staying connected with your best evangelists
When your customer changes jobs, you may have lost one of your biggest advocates, like your friend Alex. But all is not lost.
Alumni customer plays have the power to maintain valuable relationships and bring in new revenue. A connected tech stack will help you coordinate these plays at scale and facilitate a personalized buying experience. And although your goal is to sell, you do that by showing genuine interest and taking care of people. So go ahead and send Alex his favorite ice cream, gift card, or tickets to a concert. You know what he likes.
Alumni customers can be some of your best evangelists, so don’t ignore this source of hot leads.
Kim Peterson is the Content Marketing Specialist at LeanData, where she digs deep into all aspects of the SaaS sales process and shares her findings through multiple content channels. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.