Successful Referral Programs Offer Escalating Incentives to Drive Customer Engagement

Originally published on Loyalty360 by Jim Tierney

Customer referral programs are seeing considerable growth due to changes in buyer behavior, which has created an urgency for companies to reach and influence buyers in a different way.

That is a central theme in Amplifinity’s paper, “The State of Business Customer Referral Programs – Annual Report.

“The most successful programs have variable or escalating incentives which ensure customer advocates are being rewarded appropriately for their efforts and encourage repeat referrals during the year,” AmplifinityCMO Trisha Winter told Loyalty360.

Marketing, sales, and customer success all interact with customers and should be trained and managed toward driving advocate recruitment and asking for referrals from customers, the report notes.

“Marketing also needs to provide customers with the tools they need to make referrals to their network,” the paper says. “This additionally keeps customers engaged and informed during the referral process through to reward fulfillment. While the programs analyzed had varying levels of maturity in running their referral programs, the objective they are all working toward is to run customer referrals as an always-on channel for customer acquisition. To do this, referral selling becomes a part of normal operations for the company.”

Six methods customers refer to are email, lead forms, print cards, social media, shareable URL, and verbal.

In 2016, the average number of customers enrolled in a business customer referral program was 5,850.

Customer programs continue to organically grow as a company grows its customer base. The largest customer referral program in 2016 had 115,230 customers enrolled. But, enrollment doesn’t mean that all were actively making referral shares in 2016. Customers may refer at a point in time, but if they aren’t being regularly asked to refer as a part of engagement with employees, they may become inactive. Additionally, customers may leave the company where they use the product, in a sense this is advocate churn and is a natural part of any program over time.

Of the 5,850 average customers enrolled, an average of 2,106 made referrals in customer programs. This means that 36 percent of customer advocates made referrals in a given year.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

Referrals need to focus on 1:1 interactions.

When it comes to choosing referral methods, companies should survey their customers to better understand how they prefer to connect with their network.

Engage advocates to increase referral activity.

Automate your referral channel.

“The increase in the lead to deal conversion rate by 17 percent proves that referral selling is an integral part of a successful referral channel,” Winter explained. “Marketing can drive some activity, but sales is in a perfect position to recruit customers to become advocates and ask for referrals. And when sales and marketing work together, conversion rates improve!”

The report’s data supports the concept that marketers already know, Winter notes.

“Personalization improves conversion,” she added. “The same goes for referrals. Social media, which is typically used as a one-to-many referral method was the most used, but the least successful. Referral programs need to enable one-to-one referrals with methods like verbal; which had the highest success rate. Some purists believe that a referral from a customer does not need to be rewarded. If referral collection is ad hoc, I don’t disagree. But if the goal is to get a consistent flow of leads from customers and get repeat referrals through the year, those customers need to be rewarded for their time and effort in making the recommendation and influencing the deal. In fact, I’d argue that relative to the average CPL/CPA that most companies aren’t rewarding their customers enough. When you can enable and incentivize customers to market and sell your product to their professional network, and do it at scale, it’s easy to see how lead quality ad conversion to purchase would skyrocket.”

New Data Report on the State of Customer Referrals Hits the Market

A first of its kind report, this new annual customer referral program data report sets industry benchmarks for everything from referral behavior to referral methods to rewards and conversion rates with and without sales involvement.

referral software, customer referrals, referral conversion, referral program software

Amplifinity, a leader in referral program software, today announced the publication of a new data report on customer referral programs, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs – Annual Report.

The State of Business Customer Referral Programs – Annual Report is the first report of its kind to provide detailed insight into the success of customer referral programs. The data is aggregated from business customer referral programs run on the Amplifinity platform. A sister report on partner referral programs will be released in the coming weeks.

This first annual report sets an industry benchmark for customer referral behavior, how customers are making referrals and the corresponding conversion rates. Reward types, amount, and success were also analyzed as well as the impact of sales involvement in driving referral activity.

An interesting data point for the market is the average referral conversion rate from lead to deal of 13%. This is over 3X the industry referral average and 20x over the conversion of marketing leads which is 0.63% according to a study done by Salesforce’s Implisit.

But this didn’t shock Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity, “I’m not surprised that customer referrals taking place on the Amplifinity platform resulted in a higher conversion rate than industry averages. Companies that have figured out that referrals are the best way to cut through the noise and reach target buyers come to Amplifinity to enable customers and partners to drive referrals as a channel versus an ad hoc campaign.”

Lisa Nakano, Service Director for Customer Engagement Strategies at SiriusDecisions commented, “Customer engagement is no longer just about fixing broken experiences or sending surveys. When leaders begin to think about customers as their most important resource and source of competitive advantage, they realize that old approaches won’t get them where they need to go. A more modern approach is to move customers beyond just saying they are likely to recommend you to acting on that sentiment via actual referral behavior.”

Lisa Nakano and Trisha Winter will discuss the data on a live webinar June 22nd at 10:00am ET.

Another promising data point was the impact of referral selling on the success of referrals, as it showed an increase from the overall average referral conversion rate of customer programs run on the Amplifinity platform to a 30% success rate.

“It was great to see the data confirming what the referral market has been alluding to for years, that the success of referrals is very dependent on the referral being one-to-one versus one-to-many,” says Winter. “Sales is in a key position to ask for those one-to-one referrals through methods like verbal referrals. This explains why verbal referral was the most successful referral method. This concept also can be linked to why social media was the most used referral method but the least successful according to the data.”

As the first annual report, Winter believes it will be used widely to help companies improve their referral approach. “I’m glad that Amplifinity can provide this benchmarking data. It will be interesting to see how other companies running referral programs align and respond to it.”

To get more insight, download the full analysis, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs – Annual Report.

referral program, customer referral program, referral software

Originally publish on PR Web.

Playworks Launches a Referral Program with Amplifinity Referral Software

Amplifinity, a leader in referral program software, today announced the launch of a Playworks customer referral program.

Playworks, a widely recognized non-profit organization dedicated to bringing out the best in every kid through play, has an ambitious goal to ensure that 3.5 million students in 7,000 schools experience safe and healthy play every day by 2020. Playworks, which partners with schools to improve student outcomes at recess and throughout the school day, was looking for a dynamic new initiative to increase awareness and expand the reach of their programs to more schools.

Through the Playworks referral program, Playworks can extend their deep partnership with school customers by offering them the ability to refer from a personalized homepage, real-time referral status updates and email notification when a referral status changes. On the marketing side, Playworks can now engage customer referral partners in a more meaningful way with access to individual data, detailed analytics, and insightful reports to optimize the program.

“We’re happy that we can now offer our partners an easy way to make referrals to help create a movement of educators who start with recess to help students become more successful in the classroom and more responsible on and off the playground,” says Tonya Antonucci, CMO of Playworks. “Having the ability to offer rewards for partner advocacy of Playworks lets us communicate how much we appreciate these efforts.”

The Playworks referral program is now live and available for principal, teachers, and district partners who wish to help other children benefit from Playworks’ services and free tools. To help new schools get involved, Playworks is offering a special reward to both new partners and their advocates.

“Playworks was already experiencing the benefits of referrals from one school to another,” commented Larry Angeli, CEO of Amplifinity. “They just needed a way to increase the referrals they were already seeing and turn it into a scalable channel. That’s where Amplifinity came in.”

When Playworks started the process of deciding how to go about running a referral program they came up against challenges similar to many of Amplifinity’s business customers.

“We didn’t have the resources to build a referral program ourselves,” noted Tonya. “The ability to integrate into Salesforce was crucial to customer engagement, and we needed a referral program that was able to easily do it for us.”

Amplifinity’s partnership with Salesforce and automated referral program was able to take the burden off Playworks, which will enable them to focus on making the referral program a success.

“From Amplifinity’s deep connection to Salesforce, to easy referral tools for advocates, to the ability to customize emails that communicate our brand messaging, we were really excited about Amplifinity and felt like it was a good match, which made us say yes,” said Tonya. “Our hope is that Amplifinity’s referral program software will help build a movement so that one day, every elementary school in the country will reap the benefits of a safe and healthy recess throughout the school day, either as Playworks partners or with the free tools we provide.”

The Amplifinity, Playworks partnership is part of Amplifinity’s Pledge 1% commitment. As of now, Amplifinity has donated a referral program and $5 dollars from every demo given at a Salesforce event, totaling $4,105 to Playworks.

About Amplifinity
Amplifinity referral marketing software generates revenue growth for sales-driven companies. Amplifinity turns customer, partner and employee advocacy into high-quality leads by integrating referrals into marketing and sales processes. Enterprise companies trust Amplifinity to enable high-quality acquisition while providing an engaging experience for their advocates. http://www.amplifinity.com

About Playworks
Playworks is changing school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. Playworks provide services for elementary schools and youth-serving organizations around the country to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Today, Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. Playworks currently serves more than 1,300 schools across the United States and reaches more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services. http://www.playworks.org/

About Pledge 1%
Pledge 1% is an effort spearheaded by Atlassian, Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, Rally for Impact, Salesforce.org and Tides to accelerate their shared vision of integrating philanthropy into businesses around the world. Pledge 1% encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product and employee time for their communities, thereby leveraging a small portion of future success to have a huge impact on tomorrow. Pledge 1% offers companies turnkey tools and best practices, making it accessible for any company to incorporate philanthropy into their business model. To learn more or to take the pledge, please visit http://www.pledge1percent.org/.

Amplifinity Partners with Playworks in Pledge 1%

Amplifinity, a leader in referral program software, announced today the details of their partnership with Playworks – a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating safe and healthy play in schools. As part of Amplifinity’s Pledge 1% commitment, Amplifinity has donated a portion of its referral marketing software to Playworks to help them grow their customer base and increase their impact across the United States.

The inspiration for the Amplifinity, Playworks partnership was forged by Amplifinity’s belief in the life-changing influence Playworks can have on a child and the incredible growth Playworks has achieved thus far. By harnessing ties with teachers, principals, and parents, Playworks grew from only two schools in Berkeley, California to 1,300 schools in 23 cities across the United States.

“Playworks has had an extremely positive impact on healthy play in schools,” commented Larry Angeli, CEO of Amplifinity. “Their numerous success stories are a powerful testament to the success of their mission. They just needed a way to break through the noise – the same problem our business customers face.”

Tonya Antonucci, CMO of Playworks stated, “Capturing even a small amount of time from principals or teachers was a challenge. We realized that many of our new customers come from word-of-mouth. Partnering with Amplifinity to increase advocacy just made sense.”

The Playworks referral program will launch February 23, 2017 and will give teachers and principals the opportunity to help others implement safe and healthy play in schools. Teachers and principals who refer another school will be rewarded for their support of Playworks with a discount off their school’s next purchase of Playworks training services. Furthermore, teachers and principals can help their referral make safe play a reality in their school with other offers from Playworks.

“Playworks has a very important mission,” said Larry Angeli. “By donating a referral program to Playworks we can help them expand their reach to new communities and school districts across the country to defeat bullying in schools and give all kids a safe environment to learn and play.”

In addition to donating a referral program, Amplifinity also donated $5 for every demo given at Salesforce events in 2016, totaling $4,105 to go toward other Playworks initiatives.

“We have a goal that by 2020 3.5 million children will experience safe and healthy play every day in elementary schools,” noted Tonya Antonucci. “I believe that Amplifiity’s donation of the referral program, along with the generous monetary donation will help us meet that goal.”

About Amplifinity
Amplifinity referral marketing software generates revenue growth for sales-driven companies. Amplifinity turns customer, partner and employee advocacy into high-quality leads by integrating referrals into marketing and sales processes. Enterprise companies trust Amplifinity to enable high-quality acquisition while providing an engaging experience for their advocates. http://www.amplifinity.com

About Playworks
Playworks is changing school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. Playworks provide services for elementary schools and youth-serving organizations around the country to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Today, Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. Playworks currently serves more than 1,300 schools across the United States and reaches more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services. http://www.playworks.org/

About Pledge 1%
Pledge 1% is an effort spearheaded by Atlassian, Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, Rally for Impact, Salesforce.org and Tides to accelerate their shared vision of integrating philanthropy into businesses around the world. Pledge 1% encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product and employee time for their communities, thereby leveraging a small portion of future success to have a huge impact on tomorrow. Pledge 1% offers companies turnkey tools and best practices, making it accessible for any company to incorporate philanthropy into their business model. To learn more or to take the pledge, please visit http://www.pledge1percent.org.

How Amplifinity’s referral tracking platform drives business growth

When a business wants to generate high-quality leads, one of the strategies that it turns to is referral marketing. And it’s not hard to see why. Referral marketing is known for having four times higher conversion than typical marketing channels, according to eMarketer. One of the leaders in the referral marketing space is Ann Arbor-based Amplifinity.

Amplifinity has built a successful software-as-a-service platform that is available in three flavors: Amplifinity Base, Amplifinity Pro and Amplifinity Enterprise. Amplifinity also maintains an app for the Salesforce AppExchange called the Amplifinity Connector – a referral app that integrates into Salesforce in 30 minutes to facilitate an exchange of data from Amplifinity to Salesforce and drive referrals in Salesforce. This increases sales team productivity and revenue from referrals.

Amplifinity’s flagship software is an automation engine that controls referral programs for businesses of all sizes. And Amplifinity’s platforms enable businesses to engage with existing customers and partners and incentivizes them to make a trusted introduction to a brand for a high-valued interaction. Some of Amplifinity’s customers include ADP , DIRECTV, ADT , TSYS and RingCentral.

Amplifinity offers 100% referral attribution with trackable referral sharing options for customers and partners such as email, social media, personalized URLs, offline referrals and verbal referrals. And the Amplifinity platform enables marketers to generate authentic campaign creative, reward options and much more. Amplifinity also provides marketers with the data to gain insight into an advocate’s activity and how promotions are performing to learn how customers and partners are engaging across business networks. Plus Amplifinity’s analytics give businesses measurable ROI to create program accountability.

Recently, Amplifinity committed themselves to the Salesforce 1% pledge in which they promise to donate a combination of 1% of their time, revenue, and product. Amplifinity is also donating $5 from every demo it receives at conferences to Playworks – a non-profit that focuses on the importance of play in a child’s development and learning. Amplifinity employees are also volunteering their time at Food Gatherers, an Ann Arbor-based non-profit that distributes food to people in need.

Amplifinity has raised over $15 million in funding since it was founded in 2010. Some of Amplifinity’s investors include Draper Triangle, Early Stage Partners, RSVP Ventures and West Capital Advisors. To learn more about the company, I spoke with Amplifinity CEO, Larry Angeli:

Amit Chowdhry: What events took place that led to the founding of Amplifinity? And what was the decision behind the name “Amplifinity?”

Larry Angeli: Early in his career at IBM IBM -1.17%, Amplifinity’s founder Richard Beedon learned the power of referrals. In his sales territory, he built a network of businesses and individuals that gladly provided him with leads based on the combination of IBM’s strong products and the quality of his relationships with them. That network enabled him to be the leading salesperson in his region. Many years later, that success became the seed for the idea to start Amplifinity.

Our customers often talk about the idea of amplifying the goodwill that exists in their customer base as a way to generate new revenue. We believed amplifying word of mouth marketing to infinity across all networks was a great way to capture the essence of our mission as a business, hence the name “Amplifinity.”

Amit Chowdhry: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being based out of Michigan?

Larry Angeli: Michigan is terrific place to locate a technology company. And the state has been a big supporter through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In addition our location in the Ann Arbor area is a not only a hot area for startups, but also a magnet for technology talent coming from the University of Michiganand the broader Detroit metro area. Locating in a college town provides a great quality of life for our employees.

Amit Chowdhry: Is there a specific Amplifinity customer case study that stands out?

Larry Angeli: ADP recognized the value of referrals in generating organic growth. It was incredibly powerful for targeting SMB where referrals are a natural part of networking  between businesses and the trusted advisors that support them in their growth. ADP needed a better way to harness and grow referrals from these groups. With Amplifinity they provided robust referral tracking and data transparency for their customer and partner advocates all within an ADP-branded experience. Referrals are now their top source of lead generation.

Amit Chowdhry: There are several competitors in the referral marketing space. How is Amplifinity distinguished from its competitors?

Larry Angeli: Amplifinity is the only referral software provider that has built a platform that satisfies the unique needs of companies that generate leads for a sales team. This includes: 1.) A deep integration with Salesforce that truly enables sales and customer support teams to be a part of the referral program 2.) Handling of tax compliance, CAN SPAM compliance, advanced reward structures and fulfillment that are critical for companies running referrals as an always-on channel for demand generation 3.) Automated nurturing communications to keep advocates engaged and making referrals 4.) Data and analytics that are unmatched in helping companies to understand their brand advocates and show the ROI of their referral programs.

Originally published at Forbes.com

Amplifinity Introduces Streamlined Version of Referral Marketing Platform

Originally published on Demand Gen Report

Demand gen report Amplifinity

Referral marketing software provider Amplifinity has launched a streamlined version of its platform, called Amplifinity Base. The company says that the new product will help marketers launch referral programs more quickly — in seven days, to be exact.

As part of its seven-day launch program, Amplifinity pairs each customer with a Success Manager that provides education, training and best practices that help the company quickly incorporate referral marketing campaigns into their business initiatives.

“We saw the need for a streamlined, feature-rich referral platform for companies just getting started with referral marketing,” said Larry Angeli, CEO of Amplifinity. “Amplifinity Base Edition delivers on this need by providing customer with a fast and easy way to get to market. By having the ability to launch in just seven days, our customers can gain value and drive revenue growth from referral marketing faster.”

Features of Amplifinity Base include:

  • Responsive templates with default content: So they don’t have to start from scratch, marketers have access to a library of responsive templates prefilled with copy they can edit to make the program authentic to their brand.
  • Program design wizard: Marketers are guided through the entire process of selecting a template, adding creative elements and editing copy.
  • Updated dashboards: Easy access to real-time analytics on program and email performance means marketers can continue to optimize their campaigns.
  • Standard integrations: The platform is pre-configured to integrate with systems such as lead sharing and routing, email preference management, reward fulfillment and system of record reconciliation. It also integrates easily with Salesforce.