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.

The types of employee training vital to a referral program

Fishing can be a simple process, and almost everyone knows the concept behind it. But while you may know the basics of fishing, unless you’re an avid fisher you won’t understand the details that will take you from a beginner to an experienced pro (like a referral program). For instance, what tackle or lure will attract the fish you’re trying to catch? What time of day and at what location are certain types of fish more likely to bite? Should you introduce any special bait into the mix? To determine these sort of things you will need someone’s help. You need training.

Similar to fishing, a referral program can be easy to use when you’re given the proper guidance on how to bait your own hook. But unless the referral program you’re considering offers professional training on the finer details of the program that will engage different internal roles to promote, manage, and use the program, you won’t find it easy to reel in referrals.

What referral program training should include

When businesses research different referral programs, they often over-look the in-depth training that the referral host provides. But training is an essential tool to ensure your team members value the entirety of the program and its mechanics. After all, these are the team members promoting and facilitating the success of the referral program on a daily basis.  Comprehensive training ensures that each person that interacts with the program understands their role and feels comfortable working within the referral program to capture any new referrals and manage pre-existing ones.

As one of the many specialists at Amplifinity who provides advanced training to clients, I’ve seen how training assists and supports the following roles generally assigned to a referral program.

There are three consistent roles that a referral program host should train client’s employees on.

1. Brand Admin: This is usually someone either in a marketing or executive management role who takes ownership of the referral program and has full access to monitor its success. This individual is provided with advanced training that includes, but not limited to the following tasks:

  • Creating and managing the dashboard and widgets
  • Editing or publishing creative content
  • Adding new users to the referral program
  • Adding new advocates or searching for pre-existing accounts
  • Building and exporting reports
  • And much more

2. Content Admin: This individual usually is in command of the digital or content marketing or creative spotlight.  Prior to the referral program launch, they are the ones who need to integrate your content, CSS and Html into a testing environment. They also receive extensive training to ensure the content they are incorporating is not only successfully implemented into the system but are also appropriately aligned within the requirements of the referral program.

3. Sales Associate: This employee is usually the one who will assimilate themselves into the referral process as they provide daily support to maintain customer satisfaction. For that reason alone, training is essential for these individuals to feel comfortable with completing the following tasks within the referral program and their CRM:

  • Reviewing pertinent data within dashboards/widget shortcuts
  • Qualifying a referral lead,
  • Inviting clients and partners to participate in the program,
  • Reviewing advocate profiles and corresponding referral data
  • To alleviate the pressure of learning a new referral program, make sure to get basic training to these team members to ensure they feel equipped when assisting their customers.

Recently, I was asked to provide training for a new employee who was promoted to a management position and required Brand Admin access. Even though I had previously provided training for this client, the new manager requested a one-on-one training from me.

At the beginning of the training the manager had some uncertainties about using a few of the program’s features (as most of us do when learning something new). But, once I began demonstrating the various facets of how to optimize the platform’s user friendly features it quickly became clear to me that the manager’s feelings were no longer unsure.  Instead they were now excited to begin using the program’s tools on a more frequent basis. By the end of the training the manager sincerely expressed how grateful she was to receive one-on-one training.

If a referral program host doesn’t offer training for each designated role, than you might have trouble fully promoting the functionality of your referral program, not only to your team members but to your customers. Even if training is offered upon receiving your referral program, but not supported down the road, it will leave your future employees left to struggle instead of embracing the technology, while in-turn, making your referral program inefficient.

Find out how other companies have succeeded and gained continuously supports by exploring  the Success Stories page to discover what aspects of referral training and program functionality drove victory home for these companies.

Why you should break lead assignment rules for a referral program and certain laws for fun

Let’s be honest, you take a little pleasure in breaking the rules, mostly because there are so many rules that ought to be broken, like laws such as:

  • If you have a mustache it is illegal to kiss a women (Nevada)
  • It’s illegal to sing off-key (North Carolina)
  • If you harass Bigfoot you can be arrested or fined (Washington)

Personally, if I see Bigfoot I plan on getting a selfie with him, and I take great pleasure in singing off-key. But one of most important rules I highly suggest you break is your lead assignment rules for you referral program.

Don’t get me wrong, lead assignment rules are important for your sales team. But for every rule there’s always an exception and your referral program is that exception. And while lead assignment rules might not be the most fun to break, I can tell you it’s certainly much more rewarding than breaking any of the laws above.

3 Reasons why rules were meant to be broken . . . for your referral program

There are 3 marvelous benefits to breaking your leads assignment rules for your referral program.

  1. Motivate sales to recruit advocates– When you opt to break lead assignment rules in your referral program you add increased motivations for salespeople to recruit advocates. This is done through advocate ownership, or in other words any referrals a salesperson’s advocate makes aren’t distributed by the lead assignment rules you’re traditionally using but given directly to the salesperson who owns the advocate. The salesperson then gets the credit and benefits of closing the referrals sale, motivating them to increase their recruitment and nurturing of advocates.
  2. Prompt sales to take better care of the referrals – Along with motivating salespeople to recruit advocates, breaking lead assignment rules also prompts sales to take better care of referrals because they get attributed the sale of the referrals. This can include qualifying referrals by contacting the advocate who referred them before contacting the referral so as to learn everything they need about the referral from one of the people who knows them best.
  3. Increase an advocate’s willingness to refer – Half the battle of obtaining new prospects is getting them to trust you brand. But by breaking lead assignment rules your advocate’s willingness to refer is drastically increased because of the understanding that their referral will be interacting with the same salesperson they already trust and not someone new.

These 3 benefits galvanize your advocates and salespeople to accelerate the success of your referral program and increase your amount of successful referrals. Your sales team plays a large role in making your referral program a success. By providing them with the tools to leverage your program you increase your ROI substantially. But don’t take my word for it. Try out this free ROI calculator and discover how including your salespeople as an interracial part of referral program increases you revenue growth.

 

launching a referral program

Originally published the Salesforce blog

Questions? Tweet me @TrishaWinter

Why referral widgets fail to create long-term customer relationships

The referral-centric approach vs. the advocate-centric approach

Marketers and sales teams alike are focusing on finding new ways to break through the marketing noise. To accomplish this, business have discovered the importance of a relationship-focused sales approach that expands on customers good interactions by using an advocate-centric referral program as a primary strategy. But like any business practice there is more than one way to go about collecting referrals and recruiting advocates. The referral-centric approach (referral widgets) and the advocate-centric approach are two methods that prioritize different types of referral interactions.

The referral-centric approach emphasizes ease of use by having the program built around referral widgets to get a one-time referral from an essentially anonymous advocate. This approach is usually considered a fair option for an ecommerce company that wants to sell their products but doesn’t care who is buying them and are not interested in generating repeat referrals or sales from a customer.

The advocate-centric approach emphasizes the advocate experience and data from your advocate as the primary importance with a fully built referral program to support it. This approach is optimal for generating repeat referrals, building long term relationships, and increasing customer engagement and ROI.

In essence, a referral-centric approach vs. an advocate-centric approach is equivalent to the comparison between a one-night stand and a monogamous relationship. Both are a form of interaction but with different intentions and very different results.

With a one-night stand you gather hardly any information because you aren’t interested in having contact with the person again. Once you achieve your desired interaction you don’t try to continue building the relationship.

However, when you are trying to have a monogamous relationship, you get their contact information, learn their name, get to know their interests, and try to understand the person you’re interacting with in order to build a successful long-term relationship that continues to benefit both parties.

When trying to decide what approach blends with your business model consider the pros and cons of both methods.

The pros and cons of the referral and advocate-centric approaches

Referral-centric approach (referral widget)

Pros

  • Referral widgets can be placed on existing sites
  • Low barrier for advocates to register

Cons

  • No registration other than email address so no advocate data
  • No way to accumulate rewards
  • No way to encourage repeat referrals from advocates
  • Requires web developer to place the widget on sites
  • Requires IT to perform security reviews
  • Ad blockers block referral widgets

Advocate-centric approach (Full referral program)

Pros

  • Full profile of advocate data and program activity
  • Can utilize reward structures that encourage repeat referrals
  • Minimal IT needed
  • Holistic view of all referral activity available for advocates

Cons

  • Registration (1st time only) is an extra step (only if not using SSO)
  • Goes to a different page to make a referral

Unfortunately, while both approaches have their pros, the discrepancies of any relationship building capabilities in the referral-centric approach removes much of a referral program’s ability to positively influence the holistic experience of customers. In addition, it creates a barrier to implement a relationship-focused sales approach which is what the referral methodology is based on and what generates referral program’s unparalleled results.

Discover how an advocate-centric approach can impact your ROI. Calculate what your advocate-centric referral program ROI can be with an ROI Calculator.

ROI Calculator

 

Digital humanism takes on its most exceptional form in referral tracking programs

From digital machinism to digital humanism with referral tracking programs

Marketing best practices are constantly evolving. But not long ago, technology did what we always swore it would do – it took over . . . marketing communications that is. More specifically, an extreme form of automated communication became a highly adopted manner of outreach to prospects for B2Bs. In fact, it was so heavily adopted that personalization and human relationships were almost completely discounted (as opposed to referral tracking programs). This included prospecting in the form of automated calls and emails that aren’t personalized.

Gartner views this as digital machinism and in the blog, Embracing Digital Humanism, they define it as, “A view that sees the minimization of human involvement through automation as the central focus of technology.”

While digital machinism is beneficial to some extent, unsurprisingly, many potential customers felt a disconnect when businesses implemented a fully automated form of communication. And with the large amount of genericized marketing noise assaulting them they soon started to block it all out with spam filters and Adblock. Recently, there has even been the development of the Jolly Roger Telephone – an automated system that that screens both human and robot telemarketers to prevent them from reaching you and wastes their time by keeping them on the phone.

But while, “We must recognize the profound impact digital technology is having in the work, the way we shop, the way we interact, the way we live,” said Brian Prentice, Research Vice President at Gartner. “Businesses should seek to understand how our shared humanity can define the systems they create and control.” This is where digital humanism comes in.

Digital humanism is defined as technology that’s main focus is on people. Digital humanism adds amazing power to technology by enabling people to play a greater role in its success while consistently increasing the benefits it can deliver by emphasizing human connections and relationship building. Referral tracking software is the epitome of digital humanism, taking relationship building and customer engagement to the next level.

Grow your ROI by giving power to the people with referral program software

The best practices for marketing have come back around to personalization and a relationship focused sales approach but still emphasizes the power of automation for B2Bs.

Powerful relationships are at a referral program’s core. Referral tracking software harnesses the persuasive power of your customer, partner and employee’s peer relationships and incentivizes them to warmly introduction your brand through trackable social sharing, email, personalized URL, or offline referrals. Within referral tracking software, companies that have advanced automation gain additional value by being able to empower these relationships with intelligent insight, including:

  • Referral tracking
  • Advocate referral data
  • Advocate nurture emails
  • Automatic transfers of referral data to your CRM
  • Advocate’s personalized portal to view their referral data and status

Automation takes on a human aspect in referral tracking programs by functioning as a mechanism for further personalization, insight into customers, engagement by advocates and optimized management of the referral program to enable ease of use for admins.

Adoption of technology that harvests and nurtures relationships is key to current and future success.  Through the avenue of referral tracking programs within digital humanism, businesses are able to take advantage of the fact that:

  • Customers are 400% more likely to buy a product recommended by someone they know. (Nielsen)

Driving more companies like DIRECTV and ADP to adopt referral tracking programs with:

  • Leads generated from referrals convert 4X better than marketing leads. (emarketer)
  • The LTV of customers is 16% higher than that of non-referred customers. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Referred customers churning 18% less than non-referred customers. (Harvard Business Review)
  • A conversion rate of 35% from referral to purchase. (Amplifinity)

Discover if a referral tracking program is the right channel for you to start embracing digital humanism and capture unparalleled ROI by taking the quiz, Are referrals a fit?

 

ROI Calculator

Questions? Email me at JEdmondson@amplifinity.com

How B2C referral strategies enhance B2B referral programs

Why B2B businesses should incorporate B2C referral strategies

It has been widely recognized that referral software is highly beneficial for stimulating strong revenue growth. But a successful referral program doesn’t just happen. It needs to have a dynamic promotional strategy.

Most of us will remember hearing versions of George Berkeley’s philosophical question even if we didn’t know it was him who originally conceived the notion: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? In 1710, the original question appeared in his work, Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, and unintentionally and unexpectedly it applies to referral strategies today.

Berkeley’s conclusion was that, “The object of sense exist only when they are perceived; the tree therefore are in the garden . . . no longer than while there is somebody by to perceive them.”

In context, even if you have the best referral program, without the right promotional strategy that allows constant and increased perception it essentially doesn’t exist. After all, if advocates don’t know about your program there will be little to no participation, and soon enough your program really will cease to exist.

But understandably, it may be difficult for B2B business to kick off the right promotional strategy for their referral program. This is based off the idea that multi-channel advertisements and promotional strategies that drive immediate action are not as much a natural part of many B2B’s overall business model. The majority of always on advertisements, special offers, and promotions having largely been a B2C game because of their shorter or immediate sales cycle.

So instead of thinking along the lines of regular B2B promotions for your referral program, try taking a page from a B2C business. DIRECTV is one such business that has rocked the promotion of their referral program which has resulted in the utmost success.

DIRECTV’s referral strategies

DIRECTV has created an extremely successful promotional campaign for their referral program. This success stems from the fact that their referral program promotion campaign came as a natural extension of their current promotional strategies. DIRECTV employed an entertaining and engaging promotional strategy that aligns with standard practices for a B2C. But that doesn’t exclude it from being extraordinarily beneficial for B2B referral promotions.

Through the use of multiple channels and an always on approach, DIRECTV created awareness of their referral program with the majority of their customers knowing the benefits of referring their friends and how to do so. By taking a similar approach to referral promotions a B2B referral program can garner the same kind of success that DIRECTV has been able to accomplish. The channels DIRECTV used to build awareness are:

Video – DIRECTV created a variety of short commercials that were built around humor and entertainment but communicated how to refer your friends and the benefits clearly. These commercials engaged customers and their entertainment value improved how viral their videos became. For B2B businesses these videos can be posted on social media, the homepage, the account page, and on any online communities.

DIRECTV Refer a Friend IMAGE 1

DIRECTV Refer a Friend IMAGE 2

Special Offers – DIRECTV continues to create renewed special offers that reengage their customer base and continue to motivate referrals from their advocates. For a B2B, these special offers can be sent in the mail, by email, posted on social media, or posted on an online community. This will not only drive continued engagement by advocates, but help recruit new advocates by offering an incentive that is too good to pass up.

Referral Rewards

Website and Account Promotion – Together with DIRECTV’s other offers, homepage and account referral promotions help to increases their referral program awareness. This strategy can be applied to B2B business to ensure that each interaction with your brand encourages engagement in the referral program.

DIRECTV is Amplifinity's customer

Regular Email  – Regular email are advantageous by reminding customers of a way to reduce their bills when they receive it. For B2B businesses, email is already a part of the promotional strategy. Try to include referral promotions in the footer of regular subscription emails along with creating dedicated promotional referral emails.

Learn more about what it takes to develop a winning referral promotional strategy by downloading the free e-book, 8 steps to Initiating the Right Launch Sequence for your Referral program.

launching a referral program

Photo Credit: DIRECTV

Originally published on Customer Think

Questions? Email me at JEdmondson@amplifinity.com