We all know it’s cheaper to retain than acquire. An Advocacy process can help build an authentic relationship with your customer so you can enjoy a reduced customer acquisition cost. Here’s how to advocate with your CEO as to why building an Advocacy program is advantageous.

Advocacy is on fire!  Why? Because harnessing passion from advocates is an authentic way to drive customer intimacy and revenue growth.  Research from the Demand Gen Report shared that as much as 84% of buyers seek input from their peers during purchasing decisions, and 57% do so within the first three months of the buying process.  Neglect the “word-of-mouth” of your (potential) advocates and risk getting cut out of the conversation before things get started.

 

The financial evidence that advocacy programs drive revenue efficiently is overwhelming.  In fact, if you are managing Customer Support, Renewals, and/or Upsell you have experienced first-hand how Advocates can help reduce calls, affirm decisions to renew, or accelerate purchase product extensions.  Advocates can impact the entire Customer Lifecycle Management process, and is one of the best forms of marketing you can invest in. 

 

 

 

Advocacy Is The Secret to Revenue Growth

 

Successful relationships generate references and referrals both inside the account and to other accounts to grow revenue. Why?  Because customers who achieve their desired outcomes are likely to be:

 

  • a reference (they will tell other customers about their success)
  • a referral (they will proactively introduce you to their peers)

     

Activating an advocacy process allows you to create this at scale, to go beyond incremental toward transformative growth.

 

Building Momentum Internally

 

There are 5 functions that often benefit most from implementing an Advocacy program:

 

  1. Marketing – increase Leads in the top of the funnel, both for new Logo and upsell/cross-sell.
  2. Sales – case studies and references for mid/late stage funnel
  3. Customer Success – find patterns that are triggering great experiences, to improve NPS
  4. Product – solicit feedback and capture requirements to improve product
  5. Finance – small % changes in CAC and retention costs can drive big EBITDA benefits

     

Where to Begin?

 

So how do you get started in building your Advocacy process?  Start by identifying who your advocates and why.  Many times your advocates are hidden in recurring revenue, but other times you can find them online through social media search or through online reviews (examples:  B2C reviews in eCommerce sites like Walmart.com and B2B reviews in sites like TrustRadius.com.) Usually they aren’t hiding for us.  It’s our job to take time to acknowledge and appreciate them.

 

So why doesn’t everyone have Advocacy programs implemented already?  Sometimes it is a symptom of a larger customer experience problem.  But don’t let that stop you.  While we can’t always fix product and service issues overnight, we can impact front office areas where “experience gears” are slipping.

 

But if there aren’t enough satisfied customers who are willing to be advocates, then take a step back and revisit designing a better customer experience process.  Sometimes this is the right action to help improve quality, so our advocacy content improves first.

 

Next Steps

 

When you are ready to go deeper, take a look at a more comprehensive set of GTM tools to drive impact, starting with building out your Advocate marketing as a first step.  Incorporate stories into references and case studies – and when advocates are ready, referral programs.   If you would like to see examples, you can download the Advocate Marketing Toolkit here.

 

Knowing Your Advocates is Strategic

 

To see where you and your organization are in the journey toward best practices, take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic for Customer Success. 

 

Self-Assessment Questions

 

  1. You have a defined process to have customers refer us from one buying center to another.
  2. You leverage successful customers into case studies that help us win new logo business.
  3. Your case studies resonate with customers and prospects.
  4. You have a process to identify and proactively act on internal referrals.
  5. You have a process to obtain, curate, and distribute customer references.
  6. Your reference database is clearly labeled by company size, industry, and use case.
  7. You effectively manage your reference database, so you do not over-utilize the same references.
  8. You have a defined process to have customers refer us to new logo customers.
  9. Your new logo team has a process in place to convert referrals into opportunities.
  10. You have a program in place to engage buyer and influencer personas when they are in career transition.

     

 

Additional Content

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Piening

Marrying business and technology strategy to help you make your number.

Mark is an experienced global marketing and technology executive that has led cross-functional teams in both entrepreneurial and Fortune 500 companies. As a Principal at SBI, Mark’s job is to help CxO teams and their investors “Make their Number”.

Mark is a consultant and speaker on topics related to leadership, sales and marketing strategy, alliances and channels, social media and multi-channel commerce, open source software, network effects in technology and people, and marrying business and technology strategy.

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