Success Story: How Demandbase Uses Advocate Marketing To Make Customers Look Like Rockstars

Truman Tang

One of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – in today’s hyper competitive business market is keeping customers happy. The more loyal your customers, the more you can drive advocacy, increase referrals, lock down renewals and upsells, and ultimately boost revenue.

In fact, a Gartner Group study found that companies that prioritize the customer experience earn 60% higher profits than their competitors.

Farkhanda Zhublawar, Senior Customer Success Manager for Demandbase

As a Senior Customer Success Manager for Demandbase, Farkhanda Zhublawar understands the importance of a world-class customer experience.

She spends her days helping customers get the most out of Demandbase – a B2B targeting and personalization platform – so clients see phenomenal business results and continue to partner with Demandbase.

Demandbase gives B2B marketers real-time data about which companies are visiting their websites so they can better attract, engage and convert accounts. At the end of the day, Farkhanda’s success is intimately tied to her customers’.

“We like to share wins with each of our customers through quarterly business reviews, in which we analyze their use case(s) and successes with our technology,” she explains. “I engage with them throughout our partnership to understand what matters to them and their executives so they can see ROI from Demandbase’s solutions quickly.  My ultimate goal for each client is to see them recognized for their hard work.  They are already heroes, I just want to highlight that.”

Some customers find it more challenging than others to tell their success stories, however. When this is the case, Farkhanda asks the customer to participate in building a case study through Demandbase’s advocate marketing program, DemandFans:

Demandbase advocate marketing program case study challenge

“A case study is like a little report card – it’s a way for me to help my customers show their peers, managers, board members and the general public the value they’ve derived from our partnership,” Farkhanda says.

It’s also a great way to help her customers further their own careers and build their personal brands. “There’s no better way to say, ‘Hey, I’m awesome and I know my stuff!’ than to showcase it with a piece of marketing collateral created by a third party,” she adds.

While case studies are often traditionally thought of as sales enablement tools, Farkhanda says she uses them a bit differently as a customer success professional: “I use it as ‘proof’ to show that a certain marketing strategy I’m recommending is tried and true, and grounded in proof.”

This approach helps her build stronger relationships with the rest of her customers and also encourages knowledge sharing between the marketers who use Demandbase.

3 steps to improving customer relationships through advocate marketing:

When marketers first get started with advocate marketing, they tend to focus on collecting referrals and testimonials that will help them shorten the sales cycle. Creating challenges that serve your customers’ needs, however, can also help you turn around accounts that are at risk of churning and retain more customers.

Farkhanda recommends that you take the following steps to improve customer relationships through advocate marketing:

1. Engage them

You must find out what matters the most to your customers and use this to engage them. For example, do they want to network with a peer in their industry, learn how to get the most from their investment in your product, or simply look good to their boss?

2. Give customers a voice in your company

Advocate marketing is a two-way street. Sometimes the best way to keep them engaged is to give them a voice in your company. “Listen to your customers,” says Farkhanda. “Some of the best ideas on how we could enhance Demandbase came from our customers.”

3. Go the extra mile

Farkhanda recommends giving your advocate marketing program a personal touch. “One of our customers loves Breaking Bad, so we sent him a T-shirt from the show,” she says. “Now, whenever he gets a compliment on his T-shirt, he thinks of us.”

Farkhanda says people work with others whom they genuinely like and believes that advocate marketing can improve your “likeability.” Engaging customers through challenges such as case study opportunities can “make your customer relationships not only more rewarding but also a win-win.”

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