4 Roles Sales Reps Should Play In Your Referral Marketing Program

referral marketing programSales teams love when marketing fills their pipeline with customer referrals. Referral leads convert roughly 30% better than leads generated from other marketing channels and take a shorter time to close. Plus, reps are thankful when they don’t have to ask for the referral themselves!

However, this doesn’t mean that your sales reps don’t have an integral role. A successful referral program requires marketers, customers and salespeople to all play a special part.

Marketing is responsible for engaging customers and motivating them to refer. The sales team has to make sure that the show goes on once the contact information is submitted.

Here’s how to integrate your sales team into your referral process to give customers an Oscar-worthy experience.  

actor1. Sales takes the lead

You could sit back and let your customers submit referrals they think will be a good match for your brand…or you could get your sales reps to pinpoint ideal prospects in your customers’ networks. By doing this, they’ll reach out to valuable targets instead of potential tire kickers.

Get your sales reps to be proactive and comb through your customers’ LinkedIn connections to identify business professionals they’d like to chat with. Then, ask the customer if they’d be willing to make an introduction for the rep. Just make it clear that customers can say no if they don’t feel comfortable.

This makes it easier on the customer (who doesn’t have to think about who to refer) and the sales rep (who doesn’t have to chase down a bad lead).

script2. Sales helps write the script

You may think your salesperson will be the star of the referral process. But when they first reach out to a prospect, their best bet is to put the customer who submitted the referral center stage.

First, you need to ensure all the background information your customer shares about their referral reaches your sales team. This can be achieved by integrating your customer relationship management (CRM) software with your referral marketing program.

Once sales reps get the prospect details, they can use your customers’ insights to craft a strong opening communication. They may even want to schedule a quick call with your customer to help plan out the strategy, or let the customer make an email intro for them.

Next, encourage your sales reps to include your customers on the first outreach effort. For instance, they could use the customer’s name in the subject heading and body of the introduction email (ex: “Jane Smith thought we should talk”).

The content of the email should focus on the customer and their successes, so they feel like the star of the show. Involving the customer will also allow them to respond quickly to any questions that pop-up. (See an example email here.)

director3. Sales directs the feedback loop

There’s nothing worse than missing the end of a movie.

Likewise, if your customers don’t find out if their referral lead became a closed deal, they won’t refer again.

Once the referral has ended up in the sales rep’s hands, they’re responsible for updating the customer on the status of the referral, and sending customers notifications when the prospect reaches important milestones (like having a call, booking a demo, or becoming an active opportunity).

The bonus of keeping customers involved in the story? They may be able to act as a reference later in the process to push the deal through to the final act.

critic4. Sales is your best critic

Even if your sales and marketing teams work very closely together, important information can slip through the cracks because of poor communication. Not only does this impact the success of your referral marketing program, but it can also impact your customer’s experience.

It’s a good idea to set up some channels for communication between sales and marketing so both teams are always in the loop. Host regular meetings and send frequent updates critiquing your referral process, celebrating successes, requesting ongoing feedback and brainstorming new ways to improve and grow the program from B-list to blockbuster hit.

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5 Responses to 4 Roles Sales Reps Should Play In Your Referral Marketing Program

  1. […] a workflow so your sales team knows exactly how to follow-up and involve your customer […]

  2. […] make referrals even easier on your customers by asking them to introduce you to someone specific. Ask your sales team to peruse your advocates’ social networks for potential matches. Then, ask your advocates if they’re willing to put in a good word for you. […]

  3. […] twelve targeted accounts,” Danielle said. Once that customer had agreed to broker an intro, the outbound sales rep sent an email to the target account, cc-ing the customer—and the customer encouraged the target […]

  4. […] 4. This one may be a bit of a chore, but you must make sure your reps keep customers in the loop on the status of their referral. If your team doesn’t do it, customers won’t refer again. Just […]

  5. […] program workflow for your sales team that trains them to request referrals the right way. This will make it easier for sales to get comfortable with the process and make it a part of their daily […]

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