Three People Doing Customer-centric Marketing Right At SiriusDecisions Summit 2016 Thumbnail

The struggle to generate quality leads and hit quarterly growth goals is real for B2B marketers.cats on treadmill gif

Even with the proliferation of data-collecting, relationship-managing marketing automation tools, figuring out which channels will deliver the right message to the right prospect at the right time is tough. Plus, potential customers are pretty good at tuning out all that marketing noise. 

Thankfully, there’s one thing that has the emotional weight to capture the attention of your prospects and drive demand: word of mouth from your vocal customer advocates. Bob Peterson, Research Director for SiriusDecisions, says: “We at SiriusDecisions are convinced that customer advocacy will become an important asset to drive improved demand gen performance.”

Advocates are the vocal evangelists who talk positively about your product to their peers via social media, in-person events, review websites and more. They sound like a great resource, right? There’s just one problem: most marketing teams don’t know how to systematically find and mobilize their advocates to help drive demand.

siriusdecisions_summit_2015Luckily, some of the top B2B marketers who are successfully leveraging their advocates to influence their pipeline will be speaking at this year’s SiriusDecisions Summit in Nashville, May 24 to 27. (Learn more about the speakers here.By attending their sessions, you’ll learn how these marketers are building engaging advocate communities that transform the customer experienceand generate revenue as a result.

Here are some of their insights on how to harness the power of your advocates to grow your brand intelligently and organically.

1. Put all your eggs (advocates) in one basket

KimEllis_001_squareKim Ellis, Director of Customer Advocacy, BMC
Tuesday, May 24 – 4:45 PM
Location: Governor’s Ballroom B

Conventional wisdom suggests that marketers should diversify the channels they use so they can reach the maximum number of people possible, but Kim Ellis, BMC’s Director of Customer Advocacy, thinks differently. BMC’s customers had to go to many different places to find items of interest, an experience many found confusing and frustrating.

So Kim developed a centralized advocate community online, called Customer Connect, to house exclusive customer content, including members-only webinars, beta programs, contests and other tools.

“Our advocates went from having too many places to find information to a central location where they felt heard,” says Kim. “They went from total confusion to being part of the BMC family.”

This exclusive program helped strengthen the relationship between BMC and its best customers. Today, Customer Connect has influenced over $100M in revenue through references, and saved $750,000 in software license fees due to customer feedback.

2. Find your internal advocates

amy bills blackbaud headshotAmy Bills, Director of Customer Marketing, Blackbaud
Tuesday, May 24 – 3:45 PM
Location: Governor’s Ballroom B

In recent years, Blackbaud shifted from a one-time payment model to subscription-based services. This opened them up to risk: dissatisfied customers could easily switch to a competitor. To prevent this, Blackbaud decided to invest in delighting customers and turning them into loyal brand advocates by building an advocate community.

But an advocacy program couldn’t get off the ground without internal buy-in. Amy Bills, Director of Customer Marketing, educated everyone inside the company about their proposed advocate community and showed each department how they would benefit from the program. She then sought the most passionate sales reps to help invite advocates to the community.  

It was a lot of work to win people over, but the results spoke for themselves: the program generated $530,000 in customer referral pipeline in 2015exceeding their program goal. Plus, references from advocates influenced 125 opportunities and led to $8.7 million in closed business.

3. Make advocates celebrities in your customer community

meghan gill mongodb headshotMeghan Gill, Director of Demand Generation & Community, MongoDB
Tuesday, May 24 – 2:45 PM
Location: Governor’s Ballroom B

Community managers are critical to growing a sustainable user community. However, they can easily become overwhelmed by the size of the community and the amount of activity within it.

Meghan Gill, Director of Demand Generation and Community at MongoDB, understood this from the get-go. “For a large community, you need to nurture your advocates to become leaders. Community managers can’t be everywhere. We need leaders to step up and educate new members, sharing their experience and expertise,” said Meghan in an interview with Opensource.

To uncover these ‘organically grown’ champions, Meghan says you’ll need to encourage and reward their contributions to your community. Feature them as experts and help them grow their professional network if you want to make them loyal brand advocates.

influitive boatGet a spot on the S.S. Advocacy at SiriusDecisions Summit 2016!

Let’s talk about advocacy and the customer experience as we sail amidst lush gardens, majestic waterfalls and breathtaking architecture on the Gaylord Opryland Delta Riverboat tour!

Meet with us at SiriusDecisions!