9 april 2021

Winback: Activating sleeping customers using HubSpot Automation Software

Heb je vragen?

Neem contact op met Peter. 


The problem

A few months ago we determined, together with one of our valued customers (who prefer to stay anonymous), that we wanted to further develop their marketing automation efforts using the HubSpot suite. We particularly saw a big opportunity in winning back their existing customers that hadn’t purchased from them in a while. And just like that, the “Winback” project was born.

The approach

Step one consisted of determining what subset of existing customers we wanted to target with our automation efforts. To this end, we carried out an RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) analysis and found that in particular the Recency-part of the analysis led to interesting results. Why is that, you ask? It is because the majority of their existing customers hadn’t bought from them since a year or longer. Therefore we decided to focus on this subsegment of customers in order to get the most bang for our buck.


Now how do you identify customers that haven’t done business with your company in over a year? There are two options:


  1. You make use of the company-level property Last order date and filter this by “more than 365 days ago”. This will only work if you already register all your sales in HubSpot OR if your sales CRM in which the orders are registered is automatically synced to HubSpot – unfortunately this wasn’t the case for this particular client

  2. You make periodic (preferably automated) exports of your sales CRM and use formulas or other rules to segment these customers into one of two buckets: have made a purchase in the last year / have not made a purchase in the last year. This information then gets imported straight back into HubSpot using a custom property on company-level. We went this route.

So once you’ve figured out which companies you wish to send these winback mails to, it’s time to start thinking about the content of the emails you will send out. Here we like to make use of basic software in order to chart out these flows – in the illustration below we have used the free tool diagrams.net:



As you can see, we like to incorporate certain tried-and-true psychological techniques (such as framing, limited access or social proof) in each of these mails in order to nudge the recipient to carry out a desired action; which in this case is making another purchase.


The next step was to migrate these flows into actual HubSpot workflows. This was fairly simple, since these workflows are actually super basic and don’t contain any “tricky” actions such as if/then branches. The only thing to keep in mind was to clone the workflow for every language and region that we wanted to include – which led to a total of 6 workflows.


In the meantime, the client went to work on the email content, of course keeping in mind the psychological principles we had mapped out in the flow for each mail. The main trigger we incorporated in each of these mails was a discount code, hoping that the recipients of these mails would be susceptible to pricing (which is backed by research; discounts make your customers feel good).



Making seven mails for six regions adds up to 42 mails; quite a time- and effort-consuming task. Since we didn’t want to wait for each of these emails to be completely finished, we decided to activate the automation flow once the first mails were done and add the rest later. To structure this process, we created a sheet in which the progress of everything was monitored; the status of the emails, whether these emails had been added to the workflow, the timings of when each mail would be sent out, etc. This really helped with overseeing the whole project and making sure mails were completed on time.



Once all of this was done and the mails started getting sent out, it was time to put some reporting in place. Finally we’d see if our hard work, sweat and tears had paid off, whether some of the customers that hadn’t interacted with the client for a long while had seen the light and come back. In short, it was time to pick the fruits of our labour.


And it has paid off. Up until this point, a massive amount of revenue has been generated from these previously inactive customers (unfortunately we cannot disclose the exact amount, but it’s safe to say that it has exceeded all of our expectations). And since the automation is now in place, it will only continue to passively generate extra deals and income for this client.


For us, next steps include analyzing the workflows on a per-mail basis to find out whether some mails are under- or overperforming and drawing learnings from these findings. Other areas of potential automation have also been identified, such as re-activating customers that haven’t made a purchase since less than a year ago and re-engaging leads that never turned into a customer in the first place.

So there you have it – marketing automation done right. Have we piqued your interest? Comment below, drop us a line or schedule a meeting! We hope to hear from you soon

sparren over dit topic

Verder praten over ondernemen en business groei? 

altijd direct onze latest

Samen zijn we sterker. Join onze community en blijf op de hoogte van insights, trends en nieuws.

inspiratie van het huis

meer sterke verhalen

Gradient Digital Advertising

Vacature: Stagiair Digitale Marketing

Het team is hierbij op zoek naar gerichte versterking. Een gretige digital advertising specialist die we om een boodschap kunnen sturen. Die…

Gradient #1 Agency Emerce 2021

Gradient is het beste Digitale Marketingbureau van 2021! Gradient is nummer 1 in de Emerce top 100 Beste-bedrijven-ebusiness-2021. En dit met een…

Omgaan met verandering

Omgaan met verandering in tijden van onzekerheid. Hoe doe je dat? Joost sprak erover in een round table sessie met ondernemers, gehost…
Marketing Automation

Wat is marketing automation?

Marketing Automation is inmiddels een belangrijke groeidrijver achter succesvolle MKB businesses. Maar wat is het precies? Wanneer heb je het (niet) nodig?…