A core use case for many customer advocacy programs is reference management. These programs can help marketers easily build a pool of advocates willing to share their experiences or nurture new customers to be future reference champions. With automation intact, they can also help sales teams select the advocates who are most relevant to their prospects’ industry, seniority, and use cases.
A few months ago we chatted with Storey Sheriff, Advocate Marketing Manager at Greenway Health, who is an expert in reference management. A 2020 BAMMIE finalist for Advocate Marketer of the Year, Storey rejoined Greenway Health in February 2018 to manage and overhaul its reference and referral program. She launched Greenway Champions in January 2019, which is open to all Greenway Health customers.
In this Influitive Customer Spotlight recap, Storey shares her reference process, how to gain and retain internal buy-in, and where a virtual event can fit into the program.
Walk us through the process of getting Greenway Champions up and running.
When I rejoined Greenway, my goal was to really standardize and scale our reference and referrals program. The tool we had been using served as a database of customers who had provided references and still required a lot of manual work to keep it updated. At the same time, the US government announced new regulations for the healthcare software industry, which challenged us to rethink how we could incentivize customers for being references or providing referrals. Alongside our legal team, we worked through those new requirements and researched tools that would help us achieve compliance. Once we came across Influitive, we immediately knew it would meet those compliance needs and would be the perfect tool for our new program. From there, I built out the Greenway Champions program and launched it in January 2019. We started with a one-month pilot that included our top reference participants and then expanded it to all customers in February.
Tell us about your reference program and process.
Our sales team starts by requesting a reference directly from Salesforce (using Influitive’s Reference tool). Upon receiving the request, I’ll set up a challenge that is targeted to applicable customers based on which of the solutions the reference covers. If everything lines up well, these requests are typically accepted very quickly. Since its launch, the Greenway Champions program has fulfilled over 755 reference requests, taking an average of 4.7 days to complete.
For scenarios where we don’t have someone in the program that matches the criteria provided, I’ll look into our larger customer base and make the reference request by email. At that point, I’ll also extend an invitation to Greenway Champions so that they can earn points for their participation.
How do you track the stages of references, so you can reward the customers at each step?
The stages are really 1:1, so I’ll receive the request from sales, create the challenge and then publish it to the right customers. Once I get a customer volunteer, I’ll pass that information back to sales and they will set up the call.
We ultimately leave it up to our customers to tell us once the reference call is completed. I award points based on the amount of time a customer spends on an activity so in the last stage of the reference challenge they volunteered for, customers confirm the date and length of their reference call.
How do you ensure you’re asking the best customers for acts of advocacy like references?
Since Greenway Champions is open to all customers, we rely a lot on Influitive targeting capabilities. I’ve added custom fields that help me identify the best people for any given activity. I’ll always check the list of targeted customers before publishing a challenge. In cases where I need more information, I’ll reach out to the customer’s sales rep or customer success manager to confirm that the user is a good fit.
How do you get internal buy-in for the reference program inside Greenway Champions?
When I launched the program, I had multiple meetings with the sales team to make sure that they understood the new process and the importance of using Greenway Champions to secure references. It’s always important to highlight how the tool benefits them and why they should follow the process that you’re implementing. I met with each individual district sales team on their weekly calls, where I’d walk them through how to use the Salesforce request tool and answer their detailed questions. I’ve given refresher training sessions to the entire sales team, presented at our last two sales and marketing conferences and created a training video for new sales reps who have joined Greenway post-launch. I also try to meet with every new sales training class so that I can establish a relationship with them and build good habits around following our reference process.
Have you run any virtual events to support recruitment or engagement within Greenway Champions?
We held a Greenway Champions virtual event in October 2020 for all of our current customers, program members, and those who were curious about the program. We had a few goals in mind for this event. For those new to Greenway or considering joining our program, we wanted to introduce the program to them, share the key benefits of joining including the rewards you could earn. For our less active program members, we used this event to re-energize them, remind them what’s available to them in the program and what has been added since they last logged in. Our most active members received tips and tricks for maximizing their Greenway Champions experience.
Our event had three parts: a program walkthrough and open Q&A, a panel discussion with our product management team to showcase how customers can impact product development, and a fireside chat with three of our most active members. It received a lot of positive feedback from customers and internal stakeholders.
Is Greenway Champions the only community for customers?
We have a Salesforce community called My Greenway, where the customers can track their support tickets, log cases, and find training information. We’re working on adding single sign-on between the two programs so customers can seamlessly move between them.
Listen to the full webinar recording to hear more of Storey’s insights and to get a closer look at how Greenway Health operates their advocate community. Be sure to register for our upcoming customer webinar events, which happen monthly.