When asking yourself, "How can we improve our sales and marketing results?" you might look within. Really, it's about the customer.
86% of B2B buyers say what your current customers think of you is the most influential factor in their purchase decision.
The question is: How do you capture your customers' experiences and put them where your prospects are doing their research?
Easy. A customer advocacy strategy.
What is customer advocacy?
Customer advocacy is a sales and marketing strategy that focuses on leveraging the positive experiences and opinions of current customers to attract new ones.
It comes in many forms:
- Reviews (first- and third-party)
- Case studies
- Referral programs
- Customer-generated content
- Social media mentions and shares
- 1:1 reference calls
Basically, it's word-of-mouth marketing but amplified through technology and intentional, strategic efforts.
I've already written extensively about launching a customer advocacy program. If you're new to this, start there.
5 pillars of customer marketing and advocacy:
Pillar 1: Identify the right advocates for each component of your strategy.
Your product has dozens of features, use cases, and benefits. And you presumably have multiple ICPs.
If all you're doing is broadcasting your customers' successes without consideration for who actually relates to them, you'll be hard-pressed to convert leads to customers.
So, figuring out which customers are the best fit for certain types of outreach and targeted messaging is an important first step.
- Level of engagement (highly engaged customers make for the best advocates)
- Customer type (firmographics, tech stack, industry)
- User role (i.e., of the advocate from your customer's company)
- Buying group role (you wouldn't show a technical buyer a case study about ROI, but you would for an exec or budget holder)
- Use cases (product tier, most-used features, goals, outcomes)
- Positive sentiment and satisfaction (usually indicated through NPS scores or CSAT surveys)
- Contribution preferences (some customers like giving referrals, others prefer case studies or speaking opportunities)
The same way you'd build a buyer persona to represent an ICP, create profiles for your advocates. That way, you can take a targeted approach that plays to their strengths, individually.
Plus, this ensures the messages you're amplifying through customer advocacy align with the messages the prospect in question actually cares about.
Pillar 2: Empower advocates with tools and resources.
I can't stress this enough. Make helping you as frictionless as possible.
There are several reasons you might have trouble scaling your customer advocacy program. The vast majority boil down to a lack of resources and structure for those involved.
With a platform like Deeto, you can:
- Invite customers to onboard themselves (which takes them ~6 minutes)
- Keep all your content and customer profiles in one place
- Manage your references and the referrals they provide with an automation suite (ugh, manual tracking)
- Set up a rewards system for different types of contributions
Plus, generative AI takes your customers' inputs and spins them into compelling case studies with minimal work for your team.
Pillar 3: Use word-of-mouth as a sales enablement tool.
Today, practically everyone knows why you need social proof. But most customer marketing programs stop at placing reviews and testimonials on targeted pages (or asking for them on third-party sites).
What most companies seem to miss is the fact you can use your current customer base throughout the sales cycle.
- Sales reps can use relevant reviews, testimonials, and case studies in their cold outreach.
- After seeing a demo, prospects will want more insight as to how others use (and benefit from) what you've shown them.
- A reference call with a similar customer could be the final push for a "Yes" from a decision-stage exec.
Personalization is the key, here.
Different members of a buying group have different concerns. And they'll want to see different types of social proof, depending on where they are in the decision-making process.
Deeto's smart matching function makes this easy. Using their profiles, it automatically matches up prospects with best-fit customers and content for their use case, industry, and role.
Pillar 4: Incorporate advocacy and social proof into your marketing strategy.
You probably don't realize the extent to which you can actually weave customer advocacy into your other marketing initiatives. The possibilities are endless.
- Replacing clickbait headlines with social proof can 4x your CTR.
- Including customer-generated content in your ads makes them more authentic.
- Putting reviews on your site can boost web conversions by 270%.
- Adding client/customer logos to your homepage can increase sales by 400%.
- B2B referrals provide 30% more revenue-generating leads than other marketing channels.
Of course, you want to add social proof to your email/ad campaigns, landing pages, product/service pages, and blog posts. But today's companies can take it a step further with personalized UGC.
Use customer marketing software that displays dynamic content based on who's visiting the page, which page they're on, and their history. That way, each person sees content that's most relevant to them.
Pillar 5: Nurture your active customer base.
You have to make your program compelling enough for advocates to keep sharing content and leads.
If you're accurately pairing advocates with prospects, you're halfway there (why would they waste their time on a low-impact program?).
But you can build on that.
- Reward customers for helping you, whether that's through monetary rewards or a simple affirmative "thank you."
- Allow them to track the impact of their contributions (e.g., they should know if a testimonial helped you convert someone).
- Give highly engaged customers opportunities to beta test features.
- Incorporate a feedback mechanism, and use it to improve both your product/service and their experience as advocates.
In addition to increasing engagement within the program, this is what drives long-term retention and, by extension, healthier cash flow. And that's how it all comes full circle.
You can't do it all on your own, though. Well...you can. You just need software. ;)