Dear Rachel,

How do I involve sales in my referral program? If marketing is responsible for running the program, I’m not sure how to get my sales team bought-in.

-Hoping For Referral Smooth Sale-ing

Dear Smooth Sale-ing,

Your sales team will be overjoyed to get more high-quality referral leads!

But if you want them to get on-board the referral program love boat, you can’t make them do a lot of extra work. (But you didn’t hear that from me…)

You need to make the process as easy as possible on your reps. Hey, don’t look at me like that. All good relationships involve sacrifice!

Step 1. Give them a workflow/process/schedule for following up on referrals so there isn’t any confusion on how they should proceed.

Step 2. Create synergy between your referral program and your sales team by integrating the process with your Customer Relationship Management software. This way, reps get the info they need to reach out AND they don’t have to learn any new tools—which will make them happy. Work with your demand gen and sales ops teams on a way to score leads so reps know which ones to tackle first. Reps don’t have time to check separate systems for referral info.

Step 3. Keep the lines of communication open between the customer who submitted the referral and your sales team. Collect as much info about the referred prospect as possible so your reps have lots of possible talking points for their introduction. A name and number aren’t enough!

If possible, connect the rep with the referring customer so they can come up with a plan to reach out to the prospect together. They can even copy the customer on the first email, or let them take the lead and make the intro. They should also make the advocate’s success the focus of their first outreach to the prospect. Create a few email templates so your reps can fill in the blanks with the right details.

Step 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 think of how angry you get when someone says “I’ll call you!”…and then you never hear from them again. Crack the whip on this one, or find a way to incentivize reps to do it.

Step 5. This can’t be a one-sided relationship. Schedule regular touch points with sales to get their feedback so you can make your programand your relationship stronger.

If you make the first move with your sales team, they’ll be eager to work with you and create a wonderful referral experience for your customers. Then, everyone will reap the rewards of this mutually-beneficial relationship. (Read: major pipeline and fast-closing deals.)

If you want to know more about creating a smooth referral process, peruse some more resources here.

ask rachel: the referral relationship coachRachel-Headshot-icon





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