Why create a versatile product that can help a variety of businesses, only to sell within one market? Many companies commoditize ideas or processes that could be used for diverse uses – sometimes unforeseen even by developers! Yet McKinsey reports that for every successful market entry, about four fail.
It doesn’t need to be so difficult to break into new verticals. Let customer advocacy be your compass and your advocates can be your trail blazers. After all, if a couple of companies in a certain industry love what you’re doing for them, there is a huge opportunity to grow your business into the rest of that industry as well.
With just one or two happy customers, B2B marketers and salespeople can target specific verticals throughout the entire buying cycle. What was once a gruelling chore can be made far easier with just one or two evangelists who want to help out your company.
How customer advocacy helps sales and marketing break into new verticals
1. Lead generation
These customers already work in the industry you want to break into. They have a large network and know the right people to talk to, often on a personal level.
At the same time, your advocates want to boost their own credibility within their industry, so they’ll refer you to businesses that are ready to hear your message.
Your advocates get to be seen as cutting-edge, and you’ll get credible referrals.
2. Social proof
Conferences are idea incubators. As your advocates network with prospects they will happily share their knowledge, including knowledge about you. This is an organic method of lead-generation, and a reaffirmation that you’re an important player within their market.
After all, the only way to be relevant in industry-specific media is to have actual advocates within the industry talking about you.
These advocates also spread buzz online. As new companies learn about you through social media and industry-specific communities, they help to spread the message. You are the next big thing in their industry, and knowing you means being ahead of the curve!
3. Closing the deal
Now your prospects are always hearing about you. They see you as a key strategic player in their industry because your advocates have generated credible buzz about your product. Your target market knows what you do, they’re intrigued, and they want to know more.
This is where case studies and customer references come in. Your trailblazing advocates have been where your leads are, and they’re all too happy to share what your company has helped them achieve. They have invaluable insight specific to their industry, and chances are they know your prospects already.
Your advocates have helped you break into a new vertical. Leads have turned into customers, who generate valuable ideas about your product. Because they are now end users, they buy into your vision for the future and they can also improve it. Through their feedback, you can refine your ability to address specific challenges in diverse markets.
As your newer customers use your product (and possibly become case studies themselves), you win even more advocates. With the right methods of motivating and mobilizing them, they will go on to blaze trails that benefit both themselves and your business.
Have you ever leveraged key customer advocates to break into a new vertical? Share your story in the comments section below!