The most common mistake with treating job-change leads

Optimizing engagement with job-change leads in a complex, high-growth business is crucial for maximizing ROI. Key considerations include personalized outreach, lead routing, historical data utilization, and messaging strategies.
Shyam HN
Sep 24, 2023
8 mins

[Heads up: Long post ahead! 😉]

Re-engaging customers and prospects when they move to a new job to explore new synergies is a no-brainer. If you're not already doing that, you're leaving a lot of money on the table. To get this going, you can get started with a part-time resource, an excel file and LinkedIn. But this approach becomes non-scaleable when i) you want to monitor hundreds and thousands of contacts (way too many job changing events), and ii) you have a sales/business development 'organization' which means there are different segments, territories, accounts etc. serviced by different people on the team. That's where we come in to help our customers like Narvar who've created new opportunities worth $500K+ in the first three months, and influence over $3M in open pipeline.

The focus of this blog post is to talk about how to treat job-change leads to drive maximum ROI when you have a fast-growing business and a reasonably complex GTM model (with multiple sub-teams, regions, segments etc.).

Why does it matter?

As a business, you're quite likely in the high-growth phase and activating as many channels as you can to drive high-quality pipeline - through inbound, outbound, partners, product signals, customer signals etc. However, the single biggest mistake that we've seen many marketing / growth teams make is not sufficiently thinking through the whole journey of buyer experience that is required to maximize the impact of leads generated from these programs.

A lot of thought goes into the part before a lead is generated (narrowed-down targeting, messaging, budget, channels etc.) but once a lead is generated the onus is shifted over to BDR/sales teams to do their thing. Sure, you do trainings but much of it does not stick, and there is a massive drop in context/ strategy during this handoff resulting in sub-optimal conversion lead conversions and worse, a poor customer experience. Especially when the strategy behind re-engaging ex-champions is with the intention of building on their positive sentiment with your team and product, such blunders can be severely detrimental.

We spend a lot of time with our customers understanding their business and making sure that we co-develop an end-to-end strategy that not just focuses on getting a certain volume of leads but also engaging them in the most impactful manner to drive maximum ROI in the form of meetings, opportunities and eventually revenue.

What are some of the key considerations?

When it comes to maximizing the impact of your job-change leads, here are a few things to consider:

  1. High-touch Sales vs Autonomous Marketing campaign?

    This should vary based on multiple properties of the lead generated - both tied to their previous engagement as well as their current role. If they were active buyers in their past and/or if they are in a key deciding position in their new role, it's usually a good idea to make the reach outs high-touch and personalized. On the other side of the spectrum, if you have a user-led growth motion or your product can support a good buyer experience through digital experiences alone, it might be a good idea to lean towards the autonomous marketing campaign approach. There are some really good tools that support this.
  2. Who should reach out to them/ who should you route these leads to?

    This is a very tricky question and is largely subject to the size and tenure of your team. For smaller companies it might make sense for a pod-like arrangement where the CSM/ previous owner makes an intro to the new contact owner (BDR or Seller). In some of these companies, the congratulatory email (the first one) can even be orchestrated to go from the CEO like a marketing campaign before it gets passed to the team. However, for most of our customers who have larger organizations and where people change roles quite often, we recommend the following - i) notify the CSM/ previous owner the moment you detect someone has left the job so that they can plan contingency for any drop in customer health, ii) new lead should be routed to the new owner, iii) based on the positivity / depth of the previous relationship, the BDR/Seller can make any of the available options - request previous owner for intro if they're still with the company, or name drop the previous owner in their subject line to draw attention (like "Annie from Alpha says hi!👋🏻"), or not mention them at all. This step will be a semi-automated one in the sales engagement tool so that BDR/Sellers can do it the way they deem best.
  3. How do you enable your BDR/Sellers with historical information to improve the reach out?

    There are two levels of information here viz., i) the high-level context (Bradon used to previously work at our customer Nike) and ii) the in-depth context. The latter is more layered but super powerful to drive high conversion. We support our customers today on this by giving their team more data points like previous buying role, previous AE/CSM, last known NPS etc. but this is just the beginning. In addition to this, most of them have an internal step in the sales engagement flow where the sellers are expected to go through CRM records and talk to colleagues who might give a better sense of the past relationship. A significant stride is being made in solving this problem of taking as many data points the company has from multiple places like support ticketing, product analytics, marketing tools etc. and helping sellers with the most effective messaging/ strategy in their reach out. Watch this space for more!🙂
  4. What should go into the messaging?

    This is not a binary decision IMO, although choices have to be made. Let me explain. Most of our customers have a multi-touch sequence of steps as part of their reach out strategy, so as with any best-in-class ones you try at least 2-3 different strategies and angles across this flow. The most basic version goes "Hey Tina, we loved working with you at Theta. I see you are now at Gamma. Can we connect?". I think this is quite unimpressive (not that it won't work but it just feels lazy). Having said that, it does work especially when you combine it with some name dropping and if the prospect is already having a project in mind for you. But in the majority cases where things are not that straightforward, you need a more deliberate approach. A few of our customers use the product updates angle for their admins and power-users versus the business impact/customer story lead-in angle for their ex-buyers. But like I said, all good reach out flows cover both these (or any other angle) that might be applicable.
  5. What do the top 1% do beyond all this?

    Now, this is a bonus. There are quite a few things that can really amplify your success with job-change leads but I'll share the two I've loved the most across our customers (and we're continuously learning, so we'll keep sharing more) The first one is quite common - 'gifting'. With Brilliant, Alyce, Sendoso, etc. many growth teams have already invested into this strategy but the brilliance is seamlessly integrating this investment into the reach out strategy for job-change leads. It makes the appreciation note you send sound less like 'I need your new money' and more personal, as it should be.😄 The second one is tying the CTA to high-value event like an invite-only roundtable (for decision makers and execs) or something like a hackathon (if you're focusing on the users and admins) instead of a typical "Can you talk with my AE for 30 mins?". This creates a miniature customer conference of your happy champions and a way to get their undivided attention for a few hours along with a perfect networking opportunity. We've worked with teams at Modern Sales Pro, Voray etc. previously who help organize these intimate business events.

This sounds quite straightforward. What's the big deal then? There is just one catch because of which many companies don't make use of most of these strategies. As you can see, most of the answers sounded like the classic consultant response "Depends" (no offense to my brilliant consultant friends 😛). But I don't use Depends in the form of 'there is no right answer' but more like, it varies across different scenarios but there's always the best answer for each of those cases. But trying to set up and manage all those scenarios can be mind boggling!

We've recognized this implicit complexity and considering the criticality of solving this piece of puzzle effectively for our customers to see value from the Boomerang product, we worked on helping them orchestrate these plays with relatively low efforts. I'll give you a sneak peek of that in the next section.

How do we help our customers orchestrate this?

There are two parts to how we work with our customers on this - firstly, understanding their business and collaborating to develop the best set of engagement plays (not too many, not too few), and secondly, how the product supports the set up and ongoing management of these plays.

  • Coming up with the engagement plays:

    This is largely tied to the GTM strategies of our customers, so they typically take the lead on it. We have a few standard ones like what needs to be done when i) someone leaves a customer account, or ii) an ex-buyer/user moves into another customer account. Our customers add the more non-obvious ones based on their business and strategy. These are usually on any of the following dimensions or a combination of these - i) seniority (think exec engagement), ii) verticals, iii) competitive displacement focus, iv) regions, v) segments etc. For example, one of our customers has a strong focus on the healthcare and retail verticals this year, so they wanted to have a more personalized approach to engaging execs who've moved into these verticals. Similarly, others have different approaches based on some of their other marketing investments like, if the lead is in the UK they want to offer them free tickets to the most reputed industry event they're sponsoring. Again, to reiterate, our customers are in the right place to determine the best strategies for them so this is more of a guided experience to help prioritize between multiple options.
  • Driving the engagement plays with Boomerang product:

    We have developed a section for our admins to create different lead segments and manage the respective engagement plays. They can define each of these lead segments very granularly based on their business strategies using different filter conditions and then configure actions against each of these. These actions are personalized for each of these segments and occur across multiple tools like CRM, MAT, SEP, Gifting tools etc. On an ongoing basis, our admins can make changes to these filter conditions, create new lead segments, reprioritize/ pause them based on the changes in their business.

The ability to blend your engagement strategy for job-change leads with other key marketing investments you're making goes a long way to significantly increase conversion. It's our endeavor to help our customers to do this very effectively (and learn from these, and productize as much of them) so that we can extend the same best practices to our next set of customers as well.

If you have some additional approaches that you've tried and found to be successful when it comes to engaging your leads, especially the job-change ones, please let me know at shyam@getboomerang.ai. I look forward to hearing about them!

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