In the ever-evolving landscape of B2B marketing, standing out from the crowd has become increasingly challenging. With rising customer acquisition costs, tighter budgets, and higher targets, marketing teams are scrambling to adapt their strategies to generate more pipeline with fewer resources. One effective strategy that has stood the test of time is champion tracking. This playbook, widely used by sales teams, involves keeping a close eye on previous users, past buyers, and internal influencers who change jobs. Champion tracking presents a unique opportunity to connect with warm leads, enhance customer relationships, and ultimately drive revenue growth. In this guide, we will explore why champion tracking matters in today's B2B environment and provide actionable steps to integrate it into your pipeline generation strategy.

Why Champion Tracking Matters for B2B

Champion tracking is a powerful technique that enables marketers to leverage the influence and connections of previous users, past buyers, and internal influencers who have changed jobs. These warm leads not only make it easier to connect with new target accounts but also provide valuable insights that can help generate pipeline. Let's delve into the reasons why champion tracking should be an integral part of your marketing strategy:

1. Tighter Budgets

In today's market conditions, organizations face tighter budgets and higher targets, necessitating strategies that maximize the return on investment. Champion tracking offers an opportunity to unlock the lifetime value of your champions. When a champion changes jobs, you can win their new company's account, expanding your customer's lifetime value and maximizing your marketing budget.

2. Sales and Marketing Alignment

Champion tracking facilitates seamless alignment between sales and marketing teams. By identifying and tracking champions, both teams can work together to target the best buyers. This alignment results in a coordinated go-to-market strategy, enhancing outreach campaigns and increasing conversion rates.

3. Influence of Buying Committees

In B2B sales, buying committees are growing larger. It is not uncommon to see 6-12 people influencing buying decisions within their companies. Having a champion within the buying group increases the chances of closing a deal by 114%. Champions serve as internal advocates, making a strong case for the value of your product or service.

4. Shorter Sales Cycles

Selling to previous customers eliminates the need for cold outreach. Champions, being former users or buyers of your product, are already familiar with how it works and the results it can deliver. This familiarity leads to 12% shorter sales cycles, enabling you to reach your quota faster and drive revenue growth.

5. Always-On Campaigns

Champion tracking ensures you maintain an always-on campaign, alleviating pipeline anxiety. With approximately 20% of people changing jobs every year, tracking champions provides a steady stream of warm, qualified leads for your pipeline generation campaigns. By automating the process of tracking job movements and enrolling champions in your campaigns, you can generate a continuous source of qualified pipeline with minimal effort from your team.

6. Churn Prevention

Champion tracking plays a crucial role in preventing churn. When a champion leaves an account, there is a risk of losing business. By tracking champions and nurturing relationships with multiple advocates within an account, you can mitigate churn risk and ensure continuity. Additionally, tracking where champions have moved to allows you to pitch your product or service to them in their new roles, increasing the likelihood of retaining them as customers.

7. Bigger Deal Sizes

Deals with previous champions have been shown to have a 54% bigger deal size. These champions already know and trust your product, making them more inclined to make larger investments. By leveraging champion tracking, you can tap into this potential for increased deal sizes and drive revenue growth.

Questions to Ask Before Implementing Champion Tracking

Before diving into champion tracking, it is essential to consider a few key questions to ensure a successful implementation. These questions will help you understand your current processes, align teams, and determine the best approach for your organization. Let's explore these questions:

1. What's Your Current Process?

To effectively implement champion tracking, it is crucial to understand your organization's current processes and identify the business case for adopting this strategy. Assess your current approach to customer success and identify areas where champion tracking can add value. Consider investing in tools that enable tracking job changes, such as UserGems or SMARTe.

2. Who Are Your Champions?

Defining your champions is a crucial step in streamlining the champion-tracking process. Champions typically fall into two categories: decision-makers and end-users. Decision-makers are former users who have the authority to make purchasing decisions in their new roles. End-users, on the other hand, may not have purchasing power but can provide valuable insights and introductions to decision-makers within their new companies.

3. Build or Buy?

Decide whether to build an internal champion tracking solution or invest in a third-party tool. If you're just starting out or need to prove the value and ROI of tracking job changes, consider a manual approach. This may involve going through your CRM to identify contacts who have changed jobs, monitoring job postings at target accounts, and leveraging existing relationships to connect with new stakeholders. However, for a more scalable and automated solution, third-party tools like SMARTe can streamline the process and integrate with your CRM.

4. Aligning Cross-Functional Teams

Successful champion tracking requires alignment between sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Establish service-level agreements and transparent dashboards to track key metrics, such as outbound touchpoints, speed of response, content creation, and more. By sharing data and learnings, teams can pivot strategies as needed and collaborate effectively to drive revenue growth.

Tactical Plays to Protect and Expand Revenue

Now that we understand the importance of champion tracking and have answered key implementation questions, let's explore some tactical plays that can help protect and expand revenue using the insights gained from champion tracking.

Preventing Churn When a Stakeholder Leaves

One of the primary challenges in customer success is when a stakeholder leaves their role, potentially putting revenue at risk. To proactively address this situation, set up a trigger workflow using a champion tracking tool. This workflow should include the following steps:

  1. Send an email to other stakeholders within the account to identify potential new stakeholders who can fill the void left by the departing stakeholder.
  1. Schedule an immediate meeting to discuss potential changes in goals and prioritizations and ensure a smooth transition.
  1. Send a congratulatory note to the departed stakeholder on their new role, maintaining positive rapport and leaving the door open for future opportunities.

Leveraging Returning Champions for Expansion Opportunities

Champion tracking not only helps prevent churn but also presents opportunities for expansion when a previous champion joins a new company that is also a customer. To capitalize on this opportunity, set up a workflow that includes the following steps:

  1. Conduct research to gather insights about the returning champion's role, communication preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. Collaborate with their previous CSM and other relevant team members to gather as much context as possible.
  1. Reach out to the returning champion via email or LinkedIn, congratulating them on their new role and re-establishing the relationship.
  1. Schedule an introductory call to reconnect and gather information about their new company, team responsibilities, and pain points. This call provides an opportunity to identify expansion opportunities aligned with your product or service.
  1. Explore potential expansion opportunities by involving your sales team in the introductory call. If pain points align with your offering, work together to present a compelling case for expansion.

Capitalizing on New End Users

Champion tracking can also provide valuable insights when new end users join a company. These end users can contribute to product adoption and potentially open doors for expansion opportunities. Consider the following steps to leverage new end users:

  1. Welcome new end users and determine if their roles involve interaction with your product. Offer to provide training or onboarding to ensure they are familiar with your product and its implementation within their new company.
  1. Identify potential emerging use cases that these new end users may be familiar with but have not yet been implemented. Engage with them to understand their needs and explore ways to expand your product's impact within their organization.

Power in Numbers: Identifying Accounts with Momentum

Champion tracking not only focuses on individual stakeholders but can also identify accounts with a groundswell of end users joining. This influx of end users can indicate growing momentum and present opportunities for expansion. Consider the following steps to leverage this information:

  1. Welcome the new end users and assess their roles and potential interaction with your product.
  1. Offer training or onboarding sessions to ensure these end users are well-versed in your product's capabilities and can drive adoption within their organization.
  1. Identify any emerging use cases that these end users may be familiar with but have not yet been implemented. Collaborate with them to explore opportunities for expansion and increased product adoption.

Conclusion

Champion tracking is a powerful strategy that allows marketers to leverage the influence and connections of previous users, past buyers, and internal influencers who have changed jobs. By implementing champion tracking, organizations can protect revenue by proactively addressing churn risks and seize opportunities for expansion and upselling. With the right tools and aligned cross-functional teams, champion tracking becomes a valuable asset in driving revenue growth and building stronger customer relationships. Embrace champion tracking, and unlock the full potential of your B2B marketing efforts.

To know how SMARTe can help you track past champions, book a demo here.

Nitesh Sharma

Nitesh is SMARTe’s Head of Growth Marketing. He writes on topics within B2B marketing and sales, providing readers with real life, actionable tactics.

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