Image showing that majority of previous champions don't come back on their own
Image showing that majority of previous champions don't come back on their own

This article is part of the Hidden Gems series, where we publish findings from our data science team on the impact of buyer job changes on B2B revenue.

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours; if they don’t, they never were.”

Richard Bach

Great saying. But apologies, Richard, that’s terrible advice for B2B sales. 

Hold on. Here's why.

We’ve been fortunate to work with some best-in-class SaaS brand. And one question we often hear is:

We have strong NPS scores. Our customers love us. They’ll always bring us to their next company. Why do we need to know when they change jobs?

The assumption here is these customers will come back on their own anyway. So why allocate budget and resources to tracking job changers. As it would amount to moving pipeline from one bucket to another instead of creating net new pipeline. 

Now, that’s a sensible assumption. But the proof is in the pudding. 

So, our data science team set out to answer the following question:

“For SaaS brands with high NPS scores, do past champions/customers come back?”

Our methodology?

  1. We compiled a list of companies that were clear category leaders and had strong NPS scores.
  2. Next, we analyzed their data to identify key contacts who had started new jobs more than three months ago. But weren’t in their Salesforce yet.

The goal? Find champions who had changed jobs over three months ago - but hadn’t come back

The results?

Even for these best-of-breed companies, 91% of their Gems didn’t come back on their own - even after 90+ days of starting their new jobs.

91% of previous champions don't come back on their own.

As we shared in part 1 of the Hidden Gems series, deals with Gems mean 114% higher win rates, 54% bigger deal sizes, and 12% shorter sales cycles. Imagine the material impact 91% more Gems would have on your pipeline and revenue?

“Maybe these Gems didn’t come back because they aren’t buying (yet), so they won’t convert anyway”

I knew you would ask that. So, we surfaced the Gems that didn’t come back on their own to study participants and observed how they performed. 

We had one attribution requirement — these Gems must be the Primary contact on the New Opportunity. 

The results?

These “forgotten Gems” generated 5% of the overall Closed Won revenue that quarter.

So yea, Richard Bach’s advice is terrible for B2B sales. Your champions don’t always come back on their own. And a little nudge from you could have significant impact on your numbers. 

Let’s close out with a favorite anecdote of mine.

As a product marketer, I was a huge fan of Chorus. I used it extensively for persona development, messaging and competitive research. I told everyone that cared to listen about Chorus.

Then I joined a new company that didn't have a call recording tool. At the same time, I started noticing Gong all over LinkedIn. 

The company and employees' content was educational and entertaining, which overtime built my trust and brand affinity for Gong. You know where this is going... when a Gong rep reached out, there wasn't even an evaluation. I've been a raving fan for Gong ever since.

If a Chorus rep had reached out, would I have selected them? I don't know but their chances would have been a lot higher than what happened.

As a buyer, I like to keep my options open. There's no downside to look around. And, unless you're the undisputed leader in your category, the grass always looks greener on the other side.

This is why it baffles me when companies say, “I know the value of repeat champions. But we don't need to reach out when they change their jobs. Our customers love us. They always come back on their own!”

Really? It's a big gamble to assume your champions will buy again without a little extra push. And if you're not tracking your champions…

  1. How would you know about the ones that don't come back?
  2. Why would you leave your best buyers open to competitors?
  3. Why would you leave your pipeline to chance whenever the buyers decide to come knocking on your door?

Pause for a second and imagine the size of this pool of lost opportunities. Or “forgotten Gems” as I prefer to call them. 

Want to know how to get more Gems into your pipeline?👇🏻

Want to get more pipeline with less work?