#Growthhacking: 5 Ways to Boost Your Lead Generation

How many of you have stuck to your New Year’s Resolutions? Many of us start the year with lofty goals for lead generation, but by the time Q2 ends, we become disillusioned with how much work is left to go. Maybe we don’t see the progress that we wanted, and we consider giving up entirely.

But all hope isn’t lost! Even if you didn’t see the lead gen growth that you wanted in the first or second quarters, there’s still plenty of time to meet and even exceed your goals.

Referrals are a great source of lead generation. In fact, they produce a higher quality of lead, with more of a focus on building connections as opposed to just cold calling. But even referral channels aren’t foolproof — you need to do them correctly if you want to see results. Here are five ways that you can supercharge your lead generation.

Know where you stand

How can you fix your lead generation if you don’t know what’s broken? It’s helpful to compare yourself against industry benchmarks to see how you stack up. As referenced in some of our annual benchmark reports, the kind of performance you can expect from referral partners is not the same kind of performance you can expect from customers. Make sure that you are comparing “like for like” when optimizing your program is key.. Once you do that, you can see where your programs exceed expectations and where there’s room for improvement.

Rethink where your leads are coming from

The quality of the lead is often determined by the source of the lead. This is why referrals are such a good option, but it goes even further than that. For example, a message on social media is an easy way to give a referral, but it isn’t always the most effective — only one percent of social media leads from customers convert, and nearly none from referral partners do. For example, social media is a great way to drive awareness through referral partners, but social generated leads tend to convert at a lower rate as compared to lead suggestion tools. Furthermore,verbal referrals are consistently the most successful. By empowering the right referrals sources with the right tools, you can greatly improve lead generation.

Engage your sales team

Sales involvement in a referral program is the secret ingredient to successful lead generation. In customer referral programs, lead quality increases 17 percent with sales involvement, and in partner referral programs it increases by 10 percent. Developing a formal sales engagement plan, then, might be beneficial to increasing the number of leads generated. Focus on making it easy for your sales team to get involved. This will help them actually get excited about providing referrals, which will increase leadgen!

Rethink your Incentives

Incentives encourage action. But there’s a big difference between an incentive that’s good, and one that either doesn’t produce the right results or isn’t cost effective enough to sustain itself. Calculating the right incentives is often the deciding factor in the success of your program.But when done correctly, great incentives will encourage repeat referrals, and can get more people generating leads than ever before.

Automate

All of these tips are great, but they often aren’t realistic for busy business owners. Who has time to be constantly tracking metrics, encouraging verbal referrals, engaging sales teams and handing out incentives? That’s why more people are turning to automated referral channels managed at scale. These are easy to adjust as needed, and they stay running without constant supervision! Best of all, they’re easy for partners and customers alike to use — ensuring that businesses see more lead generation, and more revenue growth.

Referral Partners: Your Secret Weapon Against Churn

In today’s world, customers have more choice than ever. This has completely changed the way that they approach shopping and brand loyalty. Because they know that they have choices, many will walk away without a second thought if they think they can get a better deal elsewhere. This is called “churn,” or turnover.

Many businesses are taking steps to either minimize or mitigate the damages that churn does to their bottom line. But many aren’t taking advantage of one of the most powerful weapons against churn that there is: referral partners.

Referral partners can completely change the way that you approach lead generation and customer relations in general. Here are just some of the ways that referral partner leads can help you decrease churn and improve your revenue growth.

Leads from Referral Partners Are More Qualified.

It’s just a fact that referral partner leads are one of the highest quality partner leads. This is especially true when referral partner programs facilitate one-on-one interactions, like verbal referrals. By doing this, businesses can ensure that the leads that they bring on are ready to buy and understand what they can do for them.

What does this sort of method do for churn? For one thing, it makes sure that you aren’t just bringing in a bunch of leads for the sake of it. Methods like cold calling have a high turnover rate because they bring in leads that would never even consider using your product or service, or maybe they aren’t even in the market for it. Referral partners only reach out to people who have a vested interest in what you do.

Perhaps even more impressively, verbal referrals put a face to your brand. This makes the relationship feel far more personal, and makes them more loyal. This can be the difference between losing a client and keeping them.

The Sales Cycle Goes Faster.

There are multiple statistics that prove that referral partners speed up the sales cycle. This means that leads are coming in faster, and because we’ve already proven that referral partner leads are more qualified, that means more of them are turning into deals faster.

This does wonders for the churn rate. Because even though referral partner leads are less likely to leave when given a verbal referral, some still will. By shortening the sales cycle and bringing more leads in faster, those leads that do leave will get replaced more quickly. This helps businesses ensure that they’re bringing in more leads than they’re losing.

In addition, because the sales cycle is shortened, sales people will have more time to spend on new leads. This improves morale and only continues to positively affect your bottom line.

Referral Partners Improve Customer Experience.

This is one of the more unexpected perks of a referral partner model. But a referral partner model can improve the customer experience by putting the company in charge of their journey. This allows them to meet client needs and expectations early, giving them an exceptional experience overall.

Customers are loyal to businesses that give them a positive experience. A referral partner model can help your business achieve this, especially if you have referral partners who give verbal referrals.

This works because it makes the experience personalized. Suddenly, prospects aren’t just numbers or pixels on a screen. They’re treated as people and their problems are treated as important. This really makes a difference for their overall experience.

Automation Makes Referral Partner Channels Easier to Manage.

Now, all of this probably sounds difficult. As a business owner, you probably don’t have the time or the budget to keep track of things like verbal referrals, or sales cycles. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t leverage the power of referral partners to work for you.

Software like Amplifinity makes it easier than ever for your business to run, track and scale referral partner programs for increased revenue growth. By keeping all of these things running smoothly through automation, you can make sure that customers have a good experience, reducing churn and improving your bottom line.

Why a Referral Channel Isn’t the Same as Brand Advocacy

If you’ve just started to research a referral channel, you might be asking yourself, “Do I really need to automate a referral program? Our business already has fans that promote it on social media.” And while social media promotion from fans of the business are important to a business’s growth, this isn’t a referral channel. This is brand advocacy.

Now, brand advocacy is a great tool! This is organic, unexpected promotion, and it can be great for bringing in new leads. But it comes with its own set of challenges, and isn’t always the most sustainable way to bring in leads and grow revenue.

And that’s where a referral channel comes in.

Here are some of the key ways that a referral channel differs from brand advocacy, and why businesses should consider including an automated referral program into their lead generation strategy.

A Referral Channel is a Long-term Commitment.

While brand advocacy can encompass a fan who only tweets about your brand once, a referral partner or customer is someone who regularly interacts with your brand to give referrals.

That said, some referral partners are more active than others, and this is okay! Unlike other channel methods, a referral channel can be a great way to nurture your long tail partners and get the most out of their limited interaction.

How do you keep referral partners and customers active? Communication is a big part of it. Involving sales and special promotions are other ways to ensure maximum participation. Also, calculating the right incentives is an important part of keeping those in your referral channel engaged.

All of this can be very time-consuming, which is why automating your referral program is such a good option for so many businesses.

A Referral Channel is Scalable.

While brand advocacy is hard to grow past a small number of customers, a referral channel isn’t.

Referral channels can be scaled based on the needs of your business and referral partners. By keeping an eye on the right metrics, you can make sure that your business is growing at the rate that it needs to.

Scalability is another thing that automated referral channels can help with. By scaling your channel appropriately, you can make sure that your referral channel benefits your business, your partners, and your customers. This level of control simply doesn’t exist in brand advocacy.

A Referral Channel is “Always On.”

When managed right, a referral channel is a consistent source of leadgen and revenue. This is very different from brand advocacy, which can stop and start. A referral channel is managed by your business, which means you can keep track of how often referral partners and customers are generating leads and act accordingly.

Referral leads are, on average, more likely to convert to deals than other leads. This means that a referral channel can always be generating revenue for you on a consistent, trackable basis.
This is the main reason that businesses turn to a referral channel over other forms of lead generation, such as brand advocacy. And with software like Amplifinity, tracking the success of a referral channel is easier than ever.

Why You Should Consider A Referral Channel Strategy

We know marketers are always being pushed to find new ways to drive revenue growth and generate sales opportunities for their companies. One strategy you might not have considered, but should, is a referral channel strategy for your business. Read on for five reasons why creating a referral channel strategy can be a great option.

Referral marketing breaks through the noise

In today’s world, there is a ton of marketing noise. As people are shopping for products and services they are bombarded by advertising and information. One very effective way to break through that noise is getting a warm introduction to a prospective buyer from a trusted advisor. How can you do this effectively and at scale? Through a referral channel.

Scale with little overhead

Don’t have the budget for big marketing campaigns? That’s ok. Referral partner programs are a low cost way to scale your company’s partner output without adding additional resources to manage partner relationships. By utilizing a referral strategy with your existing partner channel, you can take low performing partners and turn them into high performing referral partners with little to no cost. In addition, a referral partner can have fewer barriers to success resulting in more people joining your partner program.

Leverage the partners traditionally on the sidelines

As mentioned above, referral programs are a great way to leverage existing partners that don’t fit the traditional reseller mold. By turning these partners into referral partners (versus reseller partners) you can drive value from an otherwise inactive group within your partner program.

Drive conversions

If you’re still on the fence about a referral channel strategy, consider this fact: referral leads from partners tend to convert at a very high rate of 31 percent lead-to-deal conversion versus an average lead.

Get demonstrable ROI

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a referral program can directly produce revenue for your company. Not only that, with proper tracking and automation through the use of referral software – like the kind offered by Amplifinity – you can easily demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of your referral program efforts.

If you would like to learn more about referral program best practices, and see how Amplifinity can help take your program to the next level visit www.amplifinity.com today!

How the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce Can Improve Your Referral Program ROI

What are you missing out on if you don’t automate your referral program with software like Amplifinity? The answer is simple, the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce. The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce is one of the key integrations we offer, and it can vastly improve the performance of your existing referral programs.

Workflow integration

Without the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce you are missing out on a tighter integration with your existing deal flow. What does that mean? Well, the last thing you want when looking for a way to automate your program is to have to re-engineer your entire sales workflow to fit your software purchase. What you need is to find a tool that both automates the process and fits into your existing sales workflow. Whether it’s having a solution for managing and tracking offline referrals, as Amplifinity does with our verbal referral functionality, or making sure you can easily map referral tracking to the important steps in the sales process – having a platform that works with the way your sales team works is paramount to your program’s success.

Verbal referrals

By incorporating verbal referral functionality into your referral program workflow, you can eliminate a pain point for advocates who make verbal referrals, but don’t get the credit due to a lack of attribution in the existing CRM or system of record. By allowing for verbal referrals through Amplifinity’s software, your advocates aren’t tied to lead forms through your dedicated system. Instead, they are empowered to leverage those close connections through the power of conversation. Chances are your advocates will thank you and be more willing to refer leads in the future.

Reward calculation

Don’t miss out on Amplifinity’s reward features by choosing a different software for your program. Finding the right reward structure to drive a high level of customer and partner engagement is essential to the success of your program. The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce allows you to easily reward based on the size of the deal by allowing you to calculate rewards in Amplifinity with the help of revenue fields in Salesforce, or by allowing you to simply set the reward in Salesforce and have Amplifinity pick the reward up at deal completion.

Program recruitment and retention

Don’t miss out on another great feature – the one click invitation. With Amplifinity, we make it easy for you to invite contacts to the program with just one click. In addition, our platform allows your advocates, once they join, to follow their referral lead through the entire process within their portal – leading to more transparent lead tracking, and happier partners and customers. If your partners and customers are happy, they are more likely to stay and engage with your program.

Troubleshooting

Through the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce all Salesforce users can have access to Amplifinity’s Customer and Partner referral profiles within Salesforce. This makes troubleshooting any issues that might arise within your program easy for your customer service representatives, partner managers or sales representatives. It also makes it easy to quickly check the status of referrals when interacting with a partner or customer.

Sales Team Performance

The last, and frankly the most important, benefit of the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce is the positive impact it will have on your sales team. Our data shows that having a sales team that is completely bought into your referral program is one of the leading factors of referral program success. The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce not only enables your sales team to continue to work referral leads using the same process they use for all leads, but it also allows the sales team to take advantage of the tools available through the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce to increase their number of leads, by being able to invite contacts and own the referrals they produce.

If you want to learn more about managing referral programs with Amplifinity, check out our resources page here.

Tips For Getting Your Sales Team Excited About Referrals

Your sales department is key to the success of your referral program, so it’s important to get them involved early and often. Here are some tips you can use to get your sales team excited about, and asking for, referrals.

Promote your referral program

To start, you need to promote your referral program to sales the same way that you are promoting the referral program to your partners and customers. Why? Because the more they know about the program, the more likely they are to be actively engaged in it. You can promote your program a few different ways:

  • Create an email blast – You can send email blasts to your sales team educating them on the program, and emphasizing the value of referrals.
  • Brand your program – By giving your program an internal brand, with a specific look and feel, you make it easily recognizable to the sales team.
  • Invest in promotional materials – Hang up flyers and banners in the office. Include details about the referral program to create awareness and understanding. You can even put flyers in common areas, like the company kitchen or bathrooms, that teach sales how to start asking for referrals. If you have the budget, you can also get t-shirts or mugs for the sales team. Make referrals an exciting initiative for the entire company!
  • Create a program owner – In all your promo materials, emails and flyers you should clearly identify who owns the program, along with contact information, so that anyone with questions, comments or concerns knows who to go to.

Structure your referral program to incentivize sales

By structuring your program in a way that enables advocate ownership, your sales team can override the normal lead routing rules. This makes it so any referrals that come from the advocates owned by a specific salesperson go to that salesperson instead of the regular routing rules. We find this type of referral functionality motivates sales to invite and nurture customers to become engaged advocates while working their referrals. This also helps motivate sales to meet quotas and get their commission.

Make it easy for sales to take part in the referral program

You can promote and incentivize your sales team all you want, but if it isn’t easy to see advocate and referral data, and recruit and nurture customers, sales won’t put the effort in. Your referral program shouldn’t add unnecessary work for your sales team. That’s why having the referral program data and functionality integrated into the sales CRM is critical. Functionality and data you should have includes:

  • The ability to invite customers to the program.
  • Seeing referring advocate information to reach out and qualify the referral and get a facilitated introduction.
  • Seeing advocate referral metrics in order to nurture them to refer multiple times.
  • The ability to input trackable verbal referrals for both registered and unregistered advocates.
  • See lead source as a referral.

For more referral program management tips and tricks, check out the resources section of www.amplifinity.com.