Success Story: Blackbaud Launches Customer Advocacy Program and Gets 77 Referrals in 10 Days

michaelbeahmHow much can you ask customer advocates to do for you before you drive them crazy?

This was the question that kept Michael Beahm, Customer Advocate Marketing Manager for Blackbaud, awake at night.

As a leading provider of nonprofit software and services, Blackbaud understands the power of advocacy.

“We had a successful customer reference program, but wanted to mobilize advocates to do other things – such as talk to the press, provide referrals and share content on social media,” says Michael. “We also wanted to build excitement for our annual conference for nonprofits, BBCON.”

Previously, Michael drove advocacy though Blackbaud’s LinkedIn group. Since the program was limited to LinkedIn, it didn’t have a large reach. Michael also had to email customers first to ask them to participate in the LinkedIn group.

“With email, we could only make one ask at a time,” Michael explains. “We also had to limit our requests, because we didn’t want to overwhelm our advocates.”

Blackbaud needed a program that would let Michael and his colleagues engage customers across multiple channels and motivate them to do different types of advocacy at scale. Michael was on the look out for a solution that could mobilize his advocates effectively and efficiently while still making his advocate program ‘human’.

During his search, he spoke with a few executives and found Influitive and began working with one of Influitive’s Advocacy Coaches to build a formal customer advocacy program. It only took three weeks to get Blackbaud Champions up and running.

Michael started with a soft launch, inviting Blackbaud’s customers and LinkedIn advocates into the program. Within 10 days of the launch, Blackbaud:blackbaudchamptions

  • Engaged 150 advocates.
  • Received 77 high-value customer referrals. That’s more referrals in 10 days than Blackbaud had received in the past four months!
  • Motivated advocates to complete 2,200 challenges, including completing 500 surveys and posting 25 reviews on third-party websites.
  • Spread content across social media. Advocates took part in 500 social challenges, where they shared Blackbaud’s content with up to three social networks at a time, including LinkedIn . This resulted in up to 1,500 social shares.

Michael was surprised by the fast results.

“We were expecting only a small uptake when we launched Blackbaud Champions. However, we quickly saw that when you ask advocates to do one thing, they’ll do much more,” says Michael. “Influitive is a bad-ass platform.”

One reason why Blackbaud’s advocacy program works so well is because Michael understands advocacy and engages his customers at the best time – while they’re happy.

If you take action while your customers are feeling the love, you’ll see fast results.

[Update as of December 8th, 2014]

Since launching the Blackbaud Champions, Michael has exceed his pipeline target by 30% and closed a deal to cover the cost of his program.

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