Here’s something B2B tech brands should know: 60 percent of B2B technology buyers turn to product reviews from peers before making purchasing decisions.
This is why finding vocal advocates who will publicly talk about their experience with your product is vital in today’s democratized buying space—especially in the IT world.
But how can brands mobilize IT professional advocates?
Dell KACE has cracked the code. They’ve created an exclusive advocate marketing program, called KACE Konnect, to engage their customers. They’ve tailored the program to their customers’ challenges and interests, and used game mechanics and rewards to encourage customers to share their love for Dell KACE with others. As a result, they’ve generated valuable acts of customer advocacy—like online reviews, in-depth customer feedback and social media shares of their content. (To learn more about how an advocate marketing program works, read this.)
To illustrate what makes the program so enticing, we talked with Sarah Murray, an instructional technology engineer at the University of North Alabama, and a proud member of KACE Konnect.
Here’s what drives Sarah to participate in the program, and why she enjoys being a part of Dell KACE’s advocate marketing program.
The perks of being in an advocate marketing program
1. It’s entertaining. “The program is fun,” says Sarah. KACE Konnect offers its users enjoyable and educational challenges to advocates in exchange for points. There’s also a leaderboard and rewards for high-scorers—which makes connecting with the brand entertaining. “It’s a great brain break in the middle of the day,” explains Sarah. “I log in almost every day and complete daily challenges—like tweeting a message or posting an article on LinkedIn.”
2. It helps forge new relationships. It’s a highly targeted community of Dell KACE users, which means it’s a great place to meet IT people just like her. “I’ve connected with a few other users. It’s a great networking tool.” Sarah likes participating in the online Dell KACE community and finds the community threads about the product helpful because the group is exclusively users.
3. It brings her closer to the KACE brand. Sarah also enjoys challenges that help the company get to know her better. “There’s a part of me that feels like they’re developing the product based on my feedback because they know who I am,” she says. “It also makes them [the Dell product team] seem more reachable. The rewards I redeemed came with a personal note from Alyssa [the KACE Konnect program admin]. Also, this past fall I ran into a Dell KACE trainer I knew at a conference, who told me ‘the moderator for KACE Konnect was talking about you.’ I feel like they know me.”
4. It’s valuable. Sarah completes many Dell KACE Konnect challenges so she can exchange points for a valuable reward: one-on-one time with Dell KACE technicians. For her, being able to ask Dell KACE product experts her specific questions can save her a lot of time fixing problems in her day-to-day work. “I could use this time to write a script or fix a script I’ve been struggling with,” she explains.
While she is aware the program is a sales and marketing tool, she feels that “it’s not done in an annoying way, like a cold call.”
Tips for engaging IT advocates
IT advocates like Sarah can be valuable to your organization because they are experts in their field. So, if an IT professional recommends a software or technology product, you know that they’ve used it and like it.
But you need to understand what makes them tick to get them advocating on your behalf. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t put them in the spotlight. Studies have shown that 67 percent of IT professionals fall into the introverted personality category. So, make sure to honour their need for discretion and privacy.
- Reward them for their advocacy. Remember, your advocates are putting their personal reputations on the line to help you out. Show them your appreciation by recognizing them appropriately. Rewards need to be targeted to their interests. (One of Sarah’s favourite prizes was a heat-changing Star Wars mug)
- Help them advance their knowledge. IT professionals need to stay on top of all the latest technologies available. Look for ways to help them learn about the newest trends, and provide feedback on how to better use your IT products. They’ll be appreciative.
In our Engaging IT Advocates eBook, marketing and sales professionals will learn:
- The art and science behind engaging IT professionals
- Insights into the IT professional personality type
- Strategies for delivering value to IT professionals
- Incentives that will motivate IT professionals to advocate for your brand