If your customers are savvy marketers, how do you break through the clutter and get them to share your content, send you referrals and sing your praises?
We spent the lazy, hazy days of summer hosting our Summer Ad-Vacation Video Series to show you how you can take a vacation while advocates run your desk.
In the second video, we interviewed Bo Bandy, Senior Marketing Manager at ReadyTalk, along with one of her top advocates, Suzanne McKee, Director of Marketing at ePlantSource.They share ways you can engage busy marketers and get them to advocate for you.
How NOT to ask for customer referrals
ReadyTalk is an audio and web conferencing technology platform that powers online events – from large webinars to 1:1 sales demos. One of ReadyTalk’s key customer segments is marketers who are hosting webinars to raise brand awareness or generate leads.
Prior to launching ReadyTalk’s advocate marketing program, Bo had a hard time getting customer referrals and references.
“We sent out email campaigns to collect referrals, but they were a flop,” said Bo. “In many cases, the customer didn’t know the person in marketing who was asking for a referral. The campaigns weren’t personal and didn’t work.”
Bo also managed ReadyTalk’s customer reference program by asking account managers for customers who fit certain profiles. “I think they were sick of seeing my face,” she explained. “It put a lot of pressure on them to try to remember their entire customer roster and think about who would be a good fit.”
Meanwhile, ReadyTalk had lots of advocates who were willing to provide references and referrals, but didn’t know the best way to do so.
“Prior to ReadyTalk, I had never participated in an advocate marketing program,” Suzanne admitted. “I had a great experience with ReadyTalk and wanted to share my experiences with others. However, I didn’t know if it would come up in my conversations.”
Want to engage marketers? Educate them!
ReadyTalk launched an advocate marketing program called Summit Club. The program makes it easy for ReadyTalk to generate referrals, collect references and raise brand awareness.
“We think of advocate marketing as giving our customers a formal channel where they can express their love of ReadyTalk,” said Bo. “It puts a framework around things our happy customers are already doing and recognizes them for helping us.”
As one of ReadyTalk’s top advocates, Suzanne reads and comments on the company’s blog posts. She has also provided a customer reference.
“I had a great experience talking to one of ReadyTalk’s leads,” says Suzanne. “I spent about 40 minutes on the phone with him and I am pretty sure he signed on. It felt really good to stand behind a service and help another person find a better way to do things.”
Suzanne is also motivated by education. She regularly visits Summit Club to check out ReadyTalk’s educational content and network with other marketers.
“Summit Club gives me an opportunity to expand my marketing knowledge,” Suzanne explained. “Plus, as a start-up company, we find advocate marketing very compelling, so I’m learning a lot by participating in a successful advocate program.”
The boost in advocate engagement has helped Bo streamline ReadyTalk’s customer referral process and get more high-quality leads.
“We’ve had some great customer referrals that translated to closed business,” says Bo. “Our reference process is also much better and faster. Before, I’d need three days to get a couple of references. Now, I only need a few hours.”
Check out the rest of the videos in the Summer Ad-Vacation Series to learn how to get employees, sales professionals, IT professionals and product managers to advocate for you.