Pipeline generation: 4 ways to automate repeat business for your sales pipeline

Want to automate pipeline generation? Use these four playbooks to turn job movements and relationships into ARR.
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In a world of pipeline anxiety, slashed budgets, and increased churn, these four playbooks guarantee you:

  • A full sales pipeline
  • Repeat business
  • And closed wons

In fact:

These are the same playbooks Cobalt used in building a pipeline that hit 12X ROI in closed-won revenue. In less than 12 months.

Let's dive right in.

Playbook #1: Treat customer job changes as an always-on campaign to generate warm leads

Ideally, your customer-job changes are triggered automatically once they happen. And your sales team can reach out to say congrats. The goal here is to reach out the same way you’d call on a good friend to celebrate a new job - with a congratulatory gift or message.

With this, you stay top of mind as they settle into the new role and start looking to buy again. Your previous customers are 3X more likely to buy again at their next company.

PSA: It’s worth noting that this channel is all about maintaining an authentic relationship, so tact is important. Don’t appear too opportunistic by going for the “second sale.” 

Quote on customer job changes by Scott Barker

How can you implement this?

  • Identify key contacts. These include primary contacts, influencers in Customer accounts, and Closed Lost accounts.
  • Update their new roles monthly.
  • If they’ve changed roles, identify their new contact information and create a new record in CRM or pipeline generation software.
  • Add them to an email sequence to congratulate them on their new role. No sales ask.
  • Follow up after a few weeks to check in if there’s a business need. And continue with regular nurturing/prospecting.
Quote on how job changes solves pipeline anxiety by Mikey Pawell

Playbook #2: Power your ABM campaigns/accounts with the warmest prospects

If you’re running an account-based program, you want to make sure both your marketing and sales teams are aligned…and are going after the right companies together. But how do you ensure that your Sales Development team is reaching out to the right people at those companies?

With intent data software, you only know which companies are in the market for your solution. But a pipeline generation strategy that includes the job-change trigger, combined with any relationship information you have with these prospects, can tell you who within those companies you should reach out to maximize your winning chances.

UserGems pipeline generation software data tells us new executives spend 70% of their budget within the first 100 days. And if they previously bought your product – or even if they only evaluated it – you have a major leg up against your competitors.

How can you implement this?

  • Set up a recurring cadence, e.g. monthly, to refresh target accounts for any new contacts. 
  • Cross-reference these new contacts and existing ones with your customer contacts from Use Case 1 to identify any previous customers.
  • Add the contacts to respective sequences and combine them with high-touch, personalized gifts or experiences to stand out.
Quote by Rachel Johnson on improving ABM campaigns with warm customer job changes

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Playbook #3: Use customer job changes to accelerate deals in your sales pipeline

B2B buying decisions almost never happen in a silo. Gartner says on average, “the buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6 to 10 decision-makers.”

In an analysis of 500 closed won and closed lost opportunities through machine learning models to predict a deal’s likelihood of winning. The data point with the clearest correlation to winning a deal…the number of contacts you engage in an opportunity. 

Deals with one contact (i.e. single-threaded deal) had a 5% chance of closed-won. But increase the number of contacts within an opp to five people, and your chances of a closed-won goes up by 6X - from 5% to 30%.

Internal UserGems data on how sales multithreading improves the chance of winning a deal

Yet, less than 10% of sales deals are multi-threaded. And even when reps multi-thread, it’s only at the decision-making level alone. Today’s buying process is democratized:

  • Executives look to their teams for product recommendations. 
  • Some job candidates ask for certain tools or software before accepting an offer. 
  • Feedback from end-users can go a long way in accelerating your buying process. 

So when you monitor your customers’ job movements, don’t just focus on the executive level but also pay attention to your end-users (admin users, power users, etc.). Often, these are frontline managers and individual contributors. By sales multithreading, you build relationships with key decision-makers in the buying committee.

How can you implement this?

  • In addition to your key contacts from Use Case 1, sync your product database to your CRM to track their job changes. 
  • Use their usage data to segment users into power users vs regular users, high or low NPS scores, etc.
  • Set up an alert for sales reps when these friendly contacts join accounts with an open opportunity.
  • After your sales rep reaches out to congratulate, ask for their feedback about the product before bringing them into the sales conversation.

PSA: Your chances of winning while achieving a shorter sales cycle are better when you multi-thread both top-down and bottom-up.

Seth Steinman quote on tracking job change data

Playbook #4: Turn customer relationships into referrals

In some deals, you might come across a target buyer that used to work at a customer account. But back then, they didn’t know or never used your product. In such situations, a referral can be the difference between a stalled deal and a closed won. 

A short email or call from their ex-colleagues can help you establish trust with the buyer faster than good copywriting. And get the wheels of the deal moving forward. 

Scott Barker adds, “We now live in such a hyper-connected world that everyone is just one or two connections away from the relationship you need to generate more pipeline or accelerate a deal.”

Don’t forget to also proactively ask your best customers for referrals. Being introduced through already established connections comes with some pre-built trust that allows you to jump ahead in the deal cycle.

How can you implement this?

  • Identify your highest NPS customers.
  • Include a referral ask and/or program as part of the monthly/quarterly business review.
  • Define a handoff process from Customer Success to the Sales Development team to follow up on these referrals.
Clare Corriveau, Cobalt quote on referrals

Grab this pipeline growth cheat sheet to grow your warm leads.

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