Powering the Pipeline Pt. IV – The Follow-Up Bump

 JP Werlin- Co-founder and CEO of PipelineDeals

By JP Werlin – Try PipelineDeals Free For 14 Days

Could a more proactive, personalized follow-up program double your conversions? It worked for us. Powering the Pipeline is a special multi-part series to help businesses sell better. 


Automation is great. We’ve put a lot of effort into the automated emails we send to our free trial customers, and they’re reasonably effective. But there’s no substitute for personalized follow-up by a real person, and we’ve got the numbers to prove it.

After noticing that customers who had called us during their free trial were more likely to become paid customers, we decided to see how far we could take that advantage. A member of our team made it his mission to proactively reach out to as many trial customers as possible with phone calls and personalized email. John’s goal was to chat with each customer over the phone and, if possible, set up a personalized tour of our product.

Here’s what we learned.

Personalized Follow-Up Yields More Sales and More Loyal Customers

 Increase the personalization of your sales touches. 

At first, we were just trying to increase the number of touches that we had with potential customers, but we immediately noticed a bump in our conversions. Our trial-to-paid conversion rate for customers who have received personal email follow-ups, outbound phone calls, or outbound personalized tours from an account executive is now 135% higher than for other accounts.

We’re working on refining this process further and instituting a process similar to our lead scoring process to strategically prioritize follow-ups, but our evidence shows that any personalized follow-up will increase trial-to-paid conversion. Moreover, these people also have a lower churn rate (i.e., rate of leaving once they become a customer) than other customers. This is great for SaaS businesses like us who rely on recurring revenue.

Quality Follow-Up Matters More Than Quantity

A lot of sales and marketing sites will tell you that five or more follow-ups will significantly increase sales, but we’ve been in business seven years and we don’t think there’s a magic number. Method of engagement is the best predictor of success.

The stronger the touchpoint, the more likely the customer will be to purchase your product. We use the Activity Scoreboard feature in PipelineDeals to analyze our efforts and identify the exact activities that are leading to the best ROI. The most effective form of follow-up will differ by industry, but in our experience the hierarchy goes like this: 1) Personalized Tours, 2) Phone Calls, 3) Personalized Emails. And again, any type of personalized follow-up is more effective than automated emails alone.

To sum up:

  • Potential buyers who receive personalized outbound follow-up are more than twice as likely to become paying customers.

  • Buyers who have been personally onboarded by an account executive are less likely to leave once they become customers.

  • In general, the higher the degree of salesperson care in the follow-up, the higher the likelihood of engagement.

Have you had similar experiences in your follow-up efforts? What have you learned from tracking and analyzing your follow-up activities in PipelineDeals? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.


 JP Werlin

JP Werlin is the Co-Founder of @PipelineDeals. He is a seasoned entrepreneur who enjoys building and leading teams of great people. JP is passionate about creating lasting brands that provide value and create mutually beneficial relationships between people. You can follow him on Twitter via @jpwerlin.