Four Ways Amplifinity Can Improve Your Existing Referral Program

So you have an existing referral program, but are you getting the most value from those referrals using your current system? Chances are, you aren’t. That’s why referral automation software like Amplifinity exists. Not only does the software provide a number of workflow benefits, but it can improve your work life and your bottom line – making everyone happy. Don’t believe me? Here are four ways Amplifinity can improve your existing referral program.

A User Experience That Promotes Activity

Do you want to keep your referral sources engaged and active? Amplifinity not only provides a simplified sign up process, but better sharing tools (i.e. social posts, personal URLs and suggest a lead functionality), more account and activity visibility for those making referrals, and the ability to personalize the experience for your advocate or partner. What does this all mean for you? A better overall experience for your referral sources making them happier, more productive and more likely to remain active in making referrals.

Automated Tracking

One of the most common reasons we see referral programs fail is because referrals are being tracked manually. If you are doing this with your existing program, you know how difficult it can be to keep up with the current status of a referral and making sure the right people get paid when the lead closes. Using a software like Amplifinity gives you an automated system that is tracking every status of a referral to close, then to reward and then to payment – vastly improving your program’s success. Automating the entire process will also make your life better, as you no longer need to track every step in your spreadsheet. This will also make your referral sources happier, as automation will eliminate some of the inevitable oversights that happen in a manual process.

Better Reward Payment Configurations Options

As the person in charge of your company’s referral program, you know that finding the “sweet spot” for the reward amount is essential to getting the most out of your partners and customers. You also know that reward payment failures or delays are the quickest ways to lose an active member of your program. Having a software that allows you to configure a reward amount that makes sense for your referral source, and the ability to personalize the reward if needed, is key. A software like Amplifinity can also give you the tools needed to easily troubleshoot any issue that arises, as well as the confidence that a payment will make it to your partner or advocate as intended.

Tighter Integration With Your Existing Sales Deal Flow

The last thing you want to do when trying to automate your program is to re-engineer your entire sales workflow to fit your software purchase. Instead, you should find a tool that both automates the referral process and fits into your existing sales workflow. Whether it’s having a solution for the automation of offline referrals, as Amplifinity offers with verbal referrals, 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 driving success.

If you’d like to learn more about Amplifinity and how our software can help you scale and grow your referral program, visit www.amplifinity.com and request a demo today.

How Verbal Referrals Can Increase Advocate Referrals

We all know that customers, like ourselves, want things to be easy. The more barriers you have in your sales cycle or on your lead forms, the less likely you are to convert all of those leads into opportunities. As marketers, it’s important for us to make every step of the customer journey  easy – starting at the first point of contact, all the way through to the end. According to a survey from McKinsey, making the customer journey as easy as possible increased revenue growth by 10-15%. The survey also found that an easy and effortless customer journey resulted in happier customers, as positive customer experience ratings increased by 20 percent.

Look at companies, like Amazon for example, who have perfected the easy customer journey. By giving users the option to enable 1-click purchase, Amazon removed the barriers that might otherwise stall an online purchase. How can you replicate a similar ease of use for your referral marketing program? You can start by automating and tracking verbal referrals within your system.

Verbal referrals, also referred to as offline referrals, can be difficult. When you have a customer or partner who is ready to pass you a warm introduction to someone excited about your product or service, the last thing you want to do is ask them to stop and fill out a form online or apply to join your program. Instead, you want to be able to receive that referral lead and, in the easiest way possible, be able to enter the referral into your program workflow and make sure it is tracked back to the partner or customer for proper credit. If you are currently trying to track these types of referrals manually, it’s likely the most difficult part of managing a referral marketing program.

By incorporating verbal referral functionality into your referral 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, 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 advocate will thank you, and be more willing to refer leads in the future.

Listen, people are busy and time is money. We all know this. That’s why it’s more important than ever to track verbal referrals. By allowing proper attribution for verbal referrals, you are allowing the advocate to keep leads engaged and collect those verbal referrals when a lead might not have time to fill out a form. Simply put. a verbal referral reduces the amount of effort an advocate has to put forth in the referral process.

And if you’re still not convinced, listen up. By offering verbal referral functionality as part of your program, you give customers the option to simplify their referral process which, in turn, increases engagement with the referral program. If you incentivize the enrollment process, advocates making verbal referrals are automatically sent an invite to your program if they aren’t already registered. Because the advocate has already made at least one referral, they are more inclined to register to be part of your program. When that verbal referral turns from a lead to a customer, your advocate will be notified and can see their reward which will encourage future referral engagement with your program.

In summary, having the functionality within your program to track and reward verbal referrals is essential to the success of your program – so remove those barriers and increase your advocate engagement! If you’d like to learn more about how you can increase your referral ROI, check out the Amplifinity ROI calculator.

How FinTech lenders can disrupt the banking disruptors with referral marketing

Why are FinTech companies turning to a scalable referral marketing program? It’s no secret that business in general is changing fast for the financial industry and FinTech (financial technology) is no exception.  While FinTech companies (like Lending Club, CommonBond and Kabbage) originally focused on stealing small and medium sized businesses (SMB) away from big bank lending, the amount of underwriting big banks require for each loan does not give SMB loans the appealing return on equity (ROE) it once did. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many have decided to step back from smaller SMB loans.

So what does this mean?

It means that while FinTech lenders are out running some of the traditional financial institutions they now need a newer and better way to disrupt the alternative lending world. That’s right. They need to disrupt the disruptor.

After all, even though some of the competition is being reduced in the big bank world, it doesn’t mean that the large number of FinTech lenders have stopped growing or getting any less determined.

But how do you disrupt the disruptors?

FinTech lenders need a highly charged customer acquisition channel. But even though many of the big banks may not be FinTech lenders’ biggest competition any more they have had years to establish SEO keywords and PPC. Which means that it will be very hard if not nearly impossible to surpass them in organic search or PPC. In fact many of the traditional channels have such a high volume of traffic already and have been mined so thoroughly that it is very difficult to make a real mark with them.

Instead, when trying to create a powerful channel for customer acquisition focus on 3 keys in order to break through the noise of your competitors.

  1. Establish a proprietary channel
  2. Ensure your channel is data-rich
  3. Confirm that your channel integrates with your current technology

One such channel that covers these 3 bases and empowers customer acquisitions is referral marketing.  Automated referral marketing software gives FinTech lenders the ability to optimize customer acquisition along with taking on other challenges in addition to finding new lenders and borrowers. This includes conquering 2 main obstacles that face FinTech lenders.

  1. Become more efficient through automation, to scale the business and increase revenue
  2. Delivering a superior customer experience

Automated referral marketing programs do this by incentivizing Advocates to make a trusted introduction to their peers and have therefore been proven to:

  • Convert leads 4X better than traditional marketing (emarketer)
  • Decrease churn by 18% compared to non-referred customers (Harvard Business Review)
  • Increase LTV by 16% compared to non-referred customers (Harvard Business Review)
  • Have a conversion rate of 36% from referral to new customer for a financial service company (Amplifinity Financial Service case study)

And for FinTech lenders, there is more than one way to take advantage of referral marketing programs. Along with the traditional customer referral marketing program, a partner referral marketing program can prove to be very advantageous for FinTech lenders. Since as previously stated, many big banks no longer find it worthwhile to pursue SMB loans and small personal loans, they are primed to become a partner. A scalable automated partner referral marketing program enables FinTech lenders to take advantage and leverage financial institutions to refer lenders and borrowers that don’t meet their qualification but would fit securely into a FinTech marketplace lender’s preferred demographic.

But what would motivate bigger financial institutions to refer? Bigger banks and finance companies have long been trying to improve customer engagement and experience. Referring leads to a FinTech lender would appeal to a financial institutions since it would provide them with a way to give customers and prospects a more full service offering that improves their image and meets a wider group of customer and prospect needs. In addition, FinTech marketplace lenders can provide referrals back to partners and offer an incentive if a bank or financial institution’s referral becomes new business.

With the right channel, a FinTech marketplace lender can be a disruptor among the disruptors. Discover what your ROI could be from both a customer and partner referral marketing program with the ROI calculator today!

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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

How RingCentral overcame common referral marketing challenges

Everyone knows the metaphor of the caterpillar turning into the butterfly. A transformation from an existence only slightly more spectacular than a worm to defying gravity in a beautiful array of color. But becoming a butterfly doesn’t just happen. It takes work and labor by the caterpillar to surround itself in the cocoon and then break through all its hard work to escape the confines it created and fly. However, we rarely talk about the struggle the caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly only the marvelous fact that the transformation happened.

A similar occurrence happens in the business world. Sometimes it appears as if businesses are just naturally blessed with successful lead generation initiatives like referral marketing. But the truth is that most businesses just don’t talk about the challenges they faced. For obvious reasons, they prefer to talk about their success. However, a business that overcame their referral program challenges are a trove of information since many referral marketing programs can face similar roadblocks to growth including:

  • Friendly fraud – When Salespeople and customer Advocates find a way to game the system and take advantage of it.
  • Breakage – The referral program isn’t able to successfully attribute the Advocate back to the lead causing dissatisfaction among users and poorly effecting the success of the program.

One business that has done a marvelous job overcoming referral marketing challenges and understand the value of sharing this information is RingCentral .

How RingCentral overcame referral marketing challenges

RingCentral has had 3 different referral marketing programs. They launched their first referral marketing program between 2010 and 2011 as a homegrown referral program. They understood the value of referrals and while it was one of their top performing channels it had some challenges.

What worked:

  • eCommerce made it easy to generate leads
  • Great customer loyalty
  • Small customers making small referrals resulted in good conversions

What didn’t work:

  • Small leads made for low revenue contribution
  • Difficult to resolve attribution which caused a high number of customer complaints to Sales
  • Strained communication between Sales, Marketing and the Advocates

This lead to the realization that they needed a more robust platform.

The second referral marketing program was a combination of Marketo and Crowd Factory, and while it was an improvement they still found some functionality lacking.

What worked:

  • Automated fulfillment removed manual hassle
  • Improved ways to refer with social media and email
  • Sales integrated into the process

What didn’t work:

  • A complex system with too many points of failure and no visibility to troubleshoot
  • So many layers to the program that there was no way to know if something failed unless a customer complained which hurt the success of the program
  • No visibility for customers into their referral status
  • No way to easily get Advocate data/reporting
  • Significant resources needed to manage the program’s operation and keep it up and running
  • Lacked clear communication back to Sales

From these challenges, RingCentral understood that they needed a purpose built referral program software that specialized in referral marketing instead of general customer advocacy.  After looking at different referral platforms they settled on Amplifinity for its targeted solution.

Why this referral program continues to excel:

  • Sales can enter verbal referrals
  • Sales can check the status of referrals in their own platform
  • No breakage
  • Easily update creative with no IT needed
  • Easy reporting showing direct ROI
  • Advocate homepage with real time transparency into their referral status
  • Operational resources reallocated from maintenance to program improvement and growth
  • Customers and reps like it
  • Easy to use
  • Easily add and change promotions
  • Can dive deep into the data of the program
  • Thorough validation of Advocates’ email
  • Eliminates the possibility of Friendly Fraud

By going through three variations of programs, RingCentral learned what features are necessary for a referral marketing program to optimize resources and deliver the most ROI to a business.

Bottom line – RingCentral used their previous referral challenges to understand what they needed in a referral program and take full advantage of the amazing lead generation referral marketing provides.

 

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