Is it time for your business to invest in referral marketing software?
A recent Heinz Marketing study, What You Should Know About B2B Referrals (But Probably Don’t): Benchmarking B2B Referral Program Adoption and Results, found that companies with a set of referral marketing tools in place experienced greater lead volume, lower marketing costs and better sales forecasts than those without them. They were also 3X more likely to accelerate the creation and conversion of referrals.
If you’re ready to consistently fill your pipeline with high-quality leads, we’ve put together a helpful list of questions to ask yourself before buying referral marketing software.
1. Is your soft-touch approach, via phone calls and emails, getting you the results you want?
Perhaps you’re already getting some referrals by sending customers ad-hoc referral requests over the phone or via email. However, a coordinated effort and clear guidelines on how and when to approach customers for referrals will be more effective.
The right referral tools will allow you to find and mobilize your customers when they’re at their happiest moment—and therefore likely to respond positively to a referral request.
2. Do you find it hard to track and measure referrals through your sales funnel?
A good referral marketing software solution will be able to track referrals as they progress through the sales funnel and attribute referrals to the right source—which is much better than fiddling with spreadsheets.
The best referral marketing solutions should integrate with your CRM software (like Salesforce) to help sales reps easily track referrals and follow up with customers in a coordinated way. This will also help marketing attribute referral generation to the right source.
3. Is your sales team asking for better referral tools?
Reps have lots of tools that are supposed to help them reach their goals. According to the benchmark research, 56% of sales reps deem customer referrals as “very important” to their success. If your reps don’t have a way to manage and track referrals, it will be harder for them to hit their targets.
The right referral marketing software can scale the process of requesting, tracking and rewarding referrals so reps spend more time closing new deals and less time hunting for referrals.
4. Are you hesitant to keep asking the same customers for more referrals?
It’s tough (and risky) to approach the same customers for referrals over and over again. They’re likely to get burnt out and feel annoyed, or (worse) used.
While referral marketing software manage referrals once they’re submitted, you’ll need a formal referral program strategy in place to consistently find, inspire and nurture a variety of customers to continually submit new referrals. (More on this later!)
5. Is your marketing team ready to own your referral program?
If you plan on using referral marketing software and implementing a formal referral strategy, the marketing team should take ownership of the program. The research report shows that when marketing manages the referral process, companies are 3X more likely to reach their revenue targets.
The reason? Marketing has the best data and resources to manage customer outreach and communication, create a seamless customer experience and liaise with customer success and sales to find and track customer referrals.
Referral marketing software needs a solid strategy to succeed
If you’ve answered yes to most or all of the questions above, then it’s time to start looking for a referral marketing software solution that can help you achieve your sales targets.
However, tools need a formal strategy to be effective. According to the research, 68% of reps with formal referral marketing strategy rated referral marketing tools as effective or highly effective, compared to only 40% for those without a formal strategy.
Almost all referral marketing software has these elements:
- A front-end referral submission interface for users
- A back-end tracking system
- Automatic reward fulfillment when a deal closes.
But these tools don’t solve one huge problem: finding and nurturing customers that will happily submit high-quality referrals again and again.
Integrating your referral marketing software into an advocate marketing program will allow your customers ways to submit referrals and advocate for your brand in other valuable ways that can support your sales and marketing goals.
An advocate marketing program is an exclusive online hub where your customers can learn more about your products, interact with your brand in fun and valuable ways, and be offered opportunities to show their love for your products or services. Some examples of these acts of advocacy include:
- Writing reviews
- Acting as a reference
- Participating in a case study
- Submitting referrals
Each time a customer logs into the program, and is delighted by the resources you’ve provided them, they’ll see your advocacy requests and be reminded to return the favor. The result is a continuously higher volume of quality referrals from customers who voluntarily choose to advocate on your company’s behalf.