The SaaS Vendor’s Guide To Customer Engagement, Retention & Advocacy
Want to lead customers down the path to retention and advocacy? After onboarding, most SaaS customers…
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Today’s marketers are missing a major opportunity right under their nose. And it’s costing them royally.

With decreasing budgets, and increasing demands on marketers, it’s no surprise we’re more focused than ever on getting new customers through the door.

But there’s a more efficient way to increase revenue, while creating happier customers at the same time.

The answer lies in upselling and cross-selling.

After all, acquisition of new customers is much more costly than selling to your current customers—some studies say up to 25x more.

Here at Policy Medical, we’ve invested in educating our customers about complementary product offerings to bolster their success, while also substantially increasing our revenue.

Plus, we’ve found that creating a “stickier” experience with customers creates a host of other long-term benefits—like greater brand affinity, better customer retention rates, improved net promoter score (NPS), and stronger referrals.

In this blog, I’ll share our story, and give you my best tips for mining your customer community to unlock unprecedented revenue growth.

Why we use our advocate community to approach customers

At PolicyMedical, we have a portfolio of SaaS solutions for the healthcare industry. We have a strong foothold in the market with our flagship solution, PolicyManager®. However, over the years, we’ve added other complementary solutions and modular add-ons to our portfolio.

The marketing and sales teams are responsible for increasing awareness and traction for the newer offerings.

Tracy and her top notch Marketing team

We look at cross selling and upselling as a greenfield opportunity. It’s a win-win for both our customers and us. It presents an opportunity for marketing to drive revenue growth, while nurturing existing customer relationships at the same time.

From a traditional marketing perspective, you could send a flood of emails to try to get your customers’ attention. But let’s face it, people are already overwhelmed with their overflowing inboxes—what’s going to make your email stand out?

We found a better way to engage, educate, and mobilize our customers. By leveraging our advocate community, powered by Influitive’s AdvocateHub, we’ve been able to cut through the noise and create genuine value for our customers with complementary product offerings.

How we leveraged our advocate community to uncover valuable cross-sell opportunities

We launched our customer advocacy program with Influitive late 2017, and we use it to regularly engage our customer base. Through the All-Star Lounge, our exclusive advocate community, we continually educate our customers on our entire portfolio of SaaS-based solutions, and allow them to opt in to learn more about those that interest them.

Here are the 2 major ways that we educate our advocates about new offerings:

1. Content: webinars, news articles, and press releases

Content is a major pillar of our strategy to engage and educate our customers through our advocate community. We publish news articles and content that relates to our product offerings to share content that they may not have seen otherwise.

Since the US healthcare market is highly regulated, we typically create challenges in our Hub highlighting new regulations. Then we ask our customers if they are aware of the solutions that can help them streamline policy and regulatory updates.

Customers enjoy the opportunity to learn more about our solutions, engage with their peers, and hear how others are solving similar business issues in a friendly, self-service environment.

We also encourage customers to watch on-demand product education or feature-centric webinars.

2. Product: free trials and beta testing

Another way we start conversations about complementary products is by inviting our customers to participate in free trials.

This allows them to try out the product or feature they’re interested in, so they can see the benefits firsthand. We find that once they try out our products and see how much they can improve their workflows, an upsell conversation flows really naturally and easily from there.

Who wouldn’t say yes to this beta invitation?

We also invite top advocates to participate in beta programs where they can test out new features and products before they’re officially released on the market. Our advocates enjoy this sense of exclusive access, and they also love knowing that their feedback is being used by our team of engineers to shape product direction.

After the beta, testers feel a sense of buy-in and attachment to the product—this makes them want to use it themselves. After all, their own needs and opinions helped shape the final product.

These are the 2 major ways we sparked the initial interest in upsells. Once you’ve opened up this conversation, now you’re ready to ask for hand raisers.

Highly quality upsell and cross-sell leads await!

How to get customers to volunteer to chat about an upsell

After a webinar, content piece, or free trial, we ask interested customers to raise their hand. Then we ask if they are interested in engaging with us further to discuss their business challenges, see a product demo or speak to one of our team members.

We also ask our customers questions to obtain their feedback on the solution.

Some of the questions that we ask are:

  • Do you currently have a solution like product X?
  • Are you responsible for solving this business problem within your organization?
  • If no, would you be willing to introduce us to the individual who is responsible?
  • Would you be interested in learning more? If so, would you like a PolicyMedical team member to contact you?
  • If yes, please let us know the best date and time to connect with you?

Challenges like these keep customers engaged and informed

Being able to engage with our customers and identify their interest level has enabled us to generate leads for all our products through our AdvocateHub—without seeming pushy or sales-y. These leads are shared with our sales and client success team for follow up and have generated significant pipeline opportunities, bolstering our bottom line.

Why advocates are the future of PolicyMedical’s revenue growth

Our AdvocateHub provides us with a centralized online destination to educate and nurture customer relationships while enabling us to achieve cross-selling and upselling goals. This strategy has resulted in leads and referrals directly impacting our bottom line and enabling us to generate awareness faster and more effectively than a flood of emails and cold calls.

Our advocates couldn’t be happier about the value our community adds.

“I LOVE IT. Lots of information. Even the challenges I completed I have saved to review and share with other colleagues – I enjoy it! Glad you guys have something like this. It’s helping us also identify other ways to use your software that we initially did not scope for.”

— Abigail Fallen, Senior Program Manager, New Jersey Healthcare Provider

Using the AdvocateHub has allowed us to make educational moments with our customers entertaining. And who doesn’t like to be entertained?

Since using the AdvocateHub we have been able to drive pipeline opportunities for all our complementary and add-on solutions. We went from zero awareness for one of our solutions to five pipeline opportunities.

It’s still early days to report on successes, however in the short time we’ve been running these programs, we have experienced:

  • 140+ challenge completions tied to upselling and cross selling
  • 10 hand raises from customers for deeper engagement with our sales team
  • 100% increase in marketing-generated upsell and cross-sell opportunities

As PolicyMedical looks ahead to the future of our business, one thing’s for sure: customers are central to the engine that powers our revenue growth.

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Related: Advocacy Marketing Dictionary – Net Promoter Scores (NPS)