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 incentivizing referral programs improves customer and partner engagement

Should you incentivize a referral program?

As referral programs have grown in adoption and become a more widely implemented B2B marketing strategy there has been much discussion over the best practices of getting advocates to refer. More specifically, whether it is a best practice to incentivize referrals.

The argument against incentivizing referral programs stems from conjecture that a brand is essentially buying a customers’ or partners’ opinion by incentivizing a B2B referral program because it isn’t a natural extension of a B2B relationship. The rationale behind this being that B2B customers or partners should feel strongly enough to want to refer without a referral incentive. And while I agree that B2Bs and the subscription service industry needs to build an authentic relationship with their customers and partners, I believe that critics of referral rewards are missing the point.

Notions of referral incentive naysayers disproved

To try and understand why referral incentive naysayers disagree with rewarding advocates lets breakdown some of the most common arguments against incentivizing referral programs.

1. Motivating referrals with a monetary reward may make the referral appear less trustworthy.

Referrals are the most trustworthy form of lead generation available. But like most people, advocates are busy and referring takes time out of their day. No matter how loyal advocates are to a brand an advocate expects to be rewarded for their loyalty. If a business is under the impression that a customer or partner is obligated to be loyal to their brand then they need to re-evaluate their understanding of customer and partner expectations. Incentivizing referral programs doesn’t take away from the relationship an advocate has with their referral but it does give them more reason to nurture that referral to make a purchase. And the fact that a brand rewards the loyalty of their customers can often times make them more appealing to a referral because they know they will be well taken care of when they become a customer. The sales force comparison company Software Advice conducted an online survey with B2B companies and found that, “39% of respondents say monetary or material incentives such as discounts, free swag or gift cards greatly increase their chances of referring a brand.”

2. Programs providing incentives tend not to be very sustainable.

While this once might have been true, with the development of referral incentive programs the hassle of reward management has been removed. By implementing an automated and scalable incentive referral program, referrals are automatically tracked and attributed to the advocate and the reward fulfilled. But as a referral naysayer might point out, “What about the grueling task of staying tax compliant?” With quality referral software now enabling automated tax compliance and W-8/W-9 collection, businesses don’t have to worry about keeping their program tax compliant. Instead they can re-direct their focus to growing the referral program.

3. Unlike organic referrals, incentivized referrals aren’t free, causing many to question the cost-effectiveness.

I partially agree with this statement, organic referrals are unlike incentivized referral in the sense that a referral incentive program can create a consistent channel for personalized lead generation while organic referrals are ad hoc. Gartner Research has even found that referral marketing is a channel that offers a high volume of excellent, low-cost leads. And unlike other lead generation channels, a quality referral program is hardly cost prohibitive. Comparing two WordSteam studies, one from 2012 and one from 2016, the average conversion rate of paid search ads has decreased by almost 50% in the last four years while display has fallen by 68%. In that same time period the average conversion rate of referrals has shot up to 35% (Amplifinity). And when taking the reward into consideration the amount of a reward will always be less than the cost to acquire a customer using any other marketing method.

4. Many times the reward is given regardless of how long the new referred customers stay with the company. This incentive structure creates the potential for fraud in which advocates get rewarded for referring low-quality customers.

It is true that homegrown referral programs have had trouble dealing with fraud, but quality referral software eliminated the possibility of reward fraud and abuse. Through the use of referral software, rewards are typically never triggered until a referral has become a customer. Another anti-fraud mechanism is retention periods; which can be built into the reward fulfillment process.

Maximize referral results with special incentive structures

Escalating rewards – Escalating rewards create a structure that communicates the increasing value of referring multiple times. As an advocate’s number of successful referrals increases so does the value of the incentive offered. For instance, ADP’s customer referral program gives customer advocates $100 off their bill for each for the first three successful referral and on the fourth they receive free payroll for a year. This increases the number of referrals made and the referral program ROI.

Multi-stage rewards –For brands that have subscription products, they may want to have a retention period before they pay out a reward to ensure the new customer stays. If so, advocates can get frustrated waiting for their referral incentive to be fulfilled. And with retention periods comes the danger of advocates becoming disengaged while they wait for their reward. To combat this, multi-stage rewards spreads out the fulfillment of an incentive to keep advocates engaged.

For instance, if a referral program offers a $100 referral incentive but has a three month retention period, multi-stage rewarding can have the advocates receive $25 upon their referral signing up for the subscription and $75 after three months. And since the advocate feels appreciated for their referral they will be much more inclined to refer again within those three months which increases referral ROI.

Double-sided rewards – Double-sided rewards incentivize both the advocate and the person they are referring. Sometimes advocates feel hesitant to impose an ask on their network. Double-sided rewards show that a business understands the hesitation advocates are feeling by giving them a discount or incentive to pass on. This way the advocate doesn’t feel like they might be annoying or burdening a referral by reaching out to them. Instead they are excited to share a great deal.

Revenue sharing – Revenue sharing is common in partner programs. Revenue sharing ensures that partners are incentivized by the size of the deal by giving them a percentage of the revenue from the successful referral. This way a business can directly acknowledge the contribution a partner made and instill greater loyalty. Revenue sharing also gives the partner a stake in the success of the referral and motivates them to take an active role in the sales process.

Reward choice – Even when an enticing referral incentive is created, it doesn’t mean that it excites or motivates all customers or partners. Reward choice gives advocates the opportunity to choose the reward they receive. With this reward structure, once a referral becomes successful an advocate is directed to a page where they can choose the referral incentive that aligns with their sense of value and their lifestyle. This way a business can remove speculation about the value their referral incentive delivers and instead know that they’re providing a valuable referral motivator.

Incentivizing referral programs improves your ROI

When developing a referral incentive a company can show customers and partners that they appreciate their loyalty and by doing so improve their experience. A referral incentive has multiple benefits in driving growth via referrals, but also strengthening the relationship and loyalty from these important customers and partners. Harvard Business Review published a study sharing that referred customers spend more (16% higher LTV) and stay longer (18% less likely to churn). And according to Fred Reichheld, author of the Loyalty Effect, a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-100% increase in profit for your company.

Discover  incentiving referral programs increase your ROI. Try the ROI calculator now!

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Originally published on CustomerThink

A CMO’s insight into Dreamforce 2016 – The era of communities commences

The wonderful thing about Dreamforce is that it brings together attendees with roles across the business to discuss real-world problems and ways to address them. At past Dreamforce conferences I’ve attended, I felt that the content was rather siloed. That all changed this year.

As a CMO who also manages product strategy, I attend marketing, sales, product management, customer success, partner and Salesforce product sessions for a holistic Dreamforce experience. This allows me to connect the dots and clearly see what is happening in the market for B2B companies today. What was unique this year was the ubiquitous focus on the customer. Let me rephrase, it isn’t all that unique to have a theme for the conference, but this year there was ubiquity in the approach. Specifically, the culmination of communities.

The buyer has taken over

We all know the buyer has changed. Buyers are overwhelmed and only interested in products/services when they have a specific need identified. It is extremely difficult to break through with your message. This was clear in every sales session I attended where personalized and social selling was emphasized versus email campaigns and cold calling. And from the marketing sessions, it is obvious that demand generation is a real struggle for many companies as they are trying to find a silver bullet to break through the noise. Product management continues to struggle with getting user feedback. Customer success is still working to find operational efficiencies so they can scale the service and support they provide.

So how does this relate to communities? Simply put, they are the answer to solving these dilemmas.

Community Cloud is a melting pot of solutions

Salesforce has clearly focused innovation on the Community Cloud product. But they haven’t done it in a silo. They are bit by bit bringing all the great functionality from their various offerings into Community Cloud. In presentations I saw functionality from Pardot, Marketing Cloud, Wave, PRM, Service Cloud, eCommerce and much more all integrated into their Community Cloud offering.

Communities can be focused on customers, partners or employees. If you approach a community with the concept of creating a win-win for the company and its community members, you can leverage it to solve many of your business problems. Here’s how:

  • Building a community is a unifying project across department silos. It forces your company to work together across departments. And we all know good things come from this type of alignment.
  • With any type of community, if you provide value, you can make asks of your community like content and referrals. Customer and partner communities are ripe for this type of a program. And referrals are as close as marketing can get nowadays to a silver bullet for demand generation as they are proven to be the highest quality lead and fastest to move through the pipe.
  • Building a customer community can allow for product management to harvest point-in-time and real-time product feedback. They can do this with surveys, but more specifically triggers can be setup within a community to serve up certain surveys to certain users at predefined times or trigger. And certainly, setting up Q&A posting can provide a rich interaction and Chatter can allow for real-time discussion.
  • The possibilities for Customer success to scale with a customer community are incredible. Customer success can provide self-serve support as well as provide a fast-track to escalate issues and get real-time help with less overhead. And with the Service Cloud data integrations, everything is tracked.
  • Across departments and across community types, there is a desire to segment and “personalize” the experience. Community Cloud’s integration with Engagement Studio/Journey Builder technology allows administrators to setup unique experiences for community members so that the right information is served up to the right person at the right time. This is the nirvana for engagement and in my opinion is the key to communities being a game-changer for companies.
  • Salesforce has also focused on a Google Analytics integration with Community Cloud so that companies can collect all the relevant data to optimize their user experience as well as to better understand their community members. This means data that every department can use to understand their customers, partners and employees better.

Communities are now easy to launch

The big news from Dreamforce is that thanks to its ISV partners, it is now easier than ever to create a community. Salesforce partners have created community templates, called Lightning Bolts, which allow you to quickly start from a pre-built community that fits your needs (think WordPress themes).

And Salesforce isn’t stopping its innovation in this area anytime soon. The future of the community is to continue bringing the functionality from every cloud into community, continue to enhance the ability to deliver a personalized experience by turning on the capabilities of Einstein’s machine learning (Salesforce’s new AI platform) and much more. And while Salesforce didn’t mention this, I would predict that bringing data from IoT devices into Community Cloud is a logical future enhancement as well.

The benefits of communities are hard to ignore

With the functionality that Salesforce is building into Community Cloud, this is no longer a nice to have. Instead it is a strategic mechanism to building engagement with customers, partners and employees. The potential benefits to the business could be just what is needed to grow revenue. Keep in mind, you must make sure that you are adding value to your community members and that means you need to provide support, content, maybe even entertainment. If you get it right, you can expect the following outcomes from your community:

  • Better marketing content – user generated content (UGC) is the best type of content. It instills trust beyond what a brand can convey directly and is incredibly valuable for brand awareness and driving leads through the pipe.
  • Amazing leads – whether customers, partners or employees, all can generate referrals for you. And any sales person will tell you that referrals are by far the best leads.
  • A better product – the feedback from product users in a community (and partners) can be invaluable to product management to set priorities and focus on meaningful innovation that truly adds value in demonstrable ways.
  • Lower support costs – with all of the functionality to scale customer support and make it self-service, this can be a big cost savings.
  • Faster sales cycle – thanks to great leads from referrals and great user content, new business will move faster through the pipeline and keep the sales team highly productive.
  • Improved satisfaction – don’t just think customers on this one. Partners and employees too will be happier with your company when they are engaged with in a smart way in a community. Make it a win-win and think about their needs and your satisfaction metrics will go up.
  • Increased revenue – when you add up the other benefits, there is the potential for both cost savings and revenue generation. Combined, communities can make a big impact on the bottom line.

If you’re thinking about how to gain extra value through Community Cloud, start thinking about referral software for Salesforce.

Salesforce referral program

3 ways to incorporate brand authenticity into your referral marketing strategy

How authenticity breaks through the marketing noise

Marketers often ask me what causes referral marketing to be successful and more specifically what motivates a Customer to refer a product.  The most obvious answer is satisfaction with the product or service purchased. Without that, you can’t expect someone to refer.

The next factor I mention often surprises Marketers.  But in addition to customer satisfaction, it’s perhaps the most important factor in getting referrals. That factor is brand authenticity.

At its heart, authenticity is about practicing what you preach, being totally clear about who you are and what you do best. When a brand’s message gets out of sync with Customers’ actual experiences, the brand’s integrity and future persuasiveness suffers.

Customers are drawn toward brands with an original story, an engaging and powerful identity and an unwavering and visible commitment to deliver on their brand promise. Think of fast-growing brands like Google, Apple, Salesforce and Uber and you’ll realize they all have that level of authenticity at their core.

Authenticity speaks volumes. Brands that tell a genuine, honest story resonate with people. People believe in honest brands. That belief leads to their willingness to communicate with others about the brand and the product and yes, refer it to others.

When I say this to my marketing friends, the response I often get is, “Sure, but I’m not Google or Salesforce so what can I do to be more brand authentic and generate referrals through referral marketing?”

Here are three key considerations for generating referrals by staying true to your brand’s authenticity.

The when, how and what of keeping referral marketing authentic   

1)   When to ask: Make it a natural extension of the customer’s experience

Once you have engrained brand authenticity into your user experience, try to identify when the most effective time is to ask for a referral. One company that excels at asking for a referral is Lyft. Lyft incorporates authenticity at the core of their business by making sure their drivers keep true to their slogan, “My friend with a car.” Because of this, Lyft has identified the opportune time to ask riders to refer Lyft or even a specific Lyft driver–at the end of a pleasant ride. Once the ride is over and the rider rates the driver, the app gives the option of referring while the ride is still at the forefront of the rider’s mind.

But leveraging the user experience to generate referrals isn’t just relegated to the ecommerce world.  If a primary element of your go-to-market model is a field sales team or an inside customer service team, you can ask for referrals in person.  The key is doing it at the right time. Highly engaged field teams that deliver great value to Customers are absolutely part of your user experience.  Therefore, why not have them ask for a referral after they have provided a positive experience to a Customer.

RingCentral is one brand that successfully extended their selling strategy to customer engagement in a brand authentic way to include their referral program.

Currently, RingCentral employs a relationship-focused selling approach. For RingCentral this often pays off when pursuing a company that has more than one location. RingCentral noted that the relationship-focused selling approach opened the doors for a Client to test out their product in one location, and when it succeeds, fully implements RingCentral. This period of success also made these Customers highly likely to refer and open a door to other Customers by simply asking for a referral at the right time.

From this approach, a referral marketing program was a logical next step to take their relationship-focused sales approach to the next level.

To reproduce these two referral marketing successes, ask your Customers or Partners for referrals immediately after your service or product has had success or has created a positive experience.

2)   How to ask: Be true to your brand’s voice and image

Along with knowing when to ask for a referral, understanding how to ask for a referral is equally important with referral marketing. An essential part of this is sticking to using brand authentic format, creative and voice.

Frontier Telecommunications is one company that has done an excellent job at extending their authentic brand creative and voice to include their referral marketing program. As an extension of the name Frontier, the company embeds their mascot, Frank the buffalo, into their brand and creative. The humorous voice and creative of Frank the buffalo was extended into their referral program.

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Along with the above email and social media posts, Frontier included their brand voice and creative in their referral program through bill inserts and on the web. By sticking to their authentic brand creative and voice, the familiarity of the messaging and format contributed to the success of their referral marketing program.

DIRECTV is another brand that has become experts at understanding how to ask for referrals. Video is one of DIRECTV’s most popular vehicle for their promotional efforts. Their brand authentic creative is humorous and irreverent, so it was only natural that this brand authenticity format and voice extend to their referral program.

DIRECTVreferralmarketingDIRECTV_REFERRALMARKETING

And since DIRECTV’s double reward strategy offers a $100 bill credits to the referral (prospect) and the Customer who referred, this format allows them to speak to both demographics at once and increase the number of new Customers generated by their referral program.

 3) What to offer:  Understand what customer’s value

Authenticity is also a key factor in determining how to reward for referrals.  At Amplifinity, we’ve learned to first understand the relationship our brands have with their customers and what the customer values before recommending an incentive model that will drive referral behavior. There is considerable research on what motivates people to refer and the short answer is that there is no one right way. Monetary motivation, social sharing and ego can all play a role. But finding the right method starts with understanding your customers, their relationship with your brand, and what will cause them to make a referral during an interaction with others in your target market.

ADP is one company that has created brand authentic referral rewards. ADP knows that their Customers and Partners highly value their services and have developed their rewards from that knowledge. For each of the first three successful business referrals ADP gives $100 off their services. On the fourth successful referral ADP gives the business one year free payroll, a highly valued reward for any customer or partner. Because the forth referral reward is valued so highly, it engages Customers and Partners in way that enhances their connection to ADP.

The trigger that causes us to refer a product is engaged when the reward is genuine and consistent with the relationship that we have with that product or service. To apply this practice to your referral program, find a reward that amplifies the benefits of your current relationship and you’ll greatly improve your results.

Bottom line – Referrals with brand authenticity leads to higher revenue growth

When you project brand authenticity in your referral marketing initiative your program will succeed because it’s recognizable and reflects the reputation that the rest of your brand projects.

If you are looking for more best practices on launching a successful referral marketing initiative, check out our resources page to help your referral marketing flourish.

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A CMO’s observations of the 2016 SiriusDecisions Summit: The personalization craze vs. the real thing

They made it personal but how are you supposed to?

What I observed at the 2016 SiriusDecisions Summit is that everyone, in every category of marketing is trying to achieve personalization. From all of the emphasis from vendors and presenters on the customer experience, Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Customer Advocacy, it was clear that personalization is seen as the way to get better demand creation. This was such a strong message that even data and predictive analytics vendors were glomming on by saying they do ABM.

What this says to me is that whether you are a Customer Marketer, a Demand Gen Marketer, a Digital Marketer or a Content Marketer, you are trying to find ways to connect at a more personal level with your target buyers and your customers.

The disappointing part of the conference for me is that while everyone was talking about personalization. Very few presentations (and even fewer vendors) actually covered how to make personalization happen.

But there was one presentation that blew me away

The one presentation that began to approach this in a demonstrable way was called “Customer Advocacy: Its Impact on Demand Creation”. This was a collaborative presentation between the Account Based Marketing/Advocacy group and the Demand Creation group. Research Directors Lisa Nakano and Jen Horton went to a variety of clients and interviewed people that are undertaking advocacy programs and more importantly measuring them. They looked at marketing programs where customers are having influence over personalized 1-to-1 interactions with target buyers. From that, they specifically looked to the data to see if this is truly driving high quality demand creation.

What I liked about this presentation is that they truly addressed all levels of advocacy – from general collateral and reviews of customers, to direct referral leads and even through to customer references used by marketing and sales. What they discovered were some great correlations to demand and revenue. Here are the notable advocacy program examples that yielded indirect influence or even a direct impact on closed business.

Bomgar uses advocacy to drive awareness

Advocacy program: Bomgar runs an advocacy program run on Influitive focusing on using gamification to get customers to post in social media and provide reviews and case study content.

Results: Significant increases in social followers, mentions and posts. They doubled case study content and got 400 suggested leads.

Action Item: While none of this was carried through to a revenue analysis, any Brand or Communications Marketer should take note and work with Customer Marketing to start an awareness-level advocacy program.

 

Citrix tracks the impact of references

Advocacy program: The customer advocacy program at Citrix has a robust customer reference system and tracks how references used in marketing content and by sales influences deals won.

Results: They showed a clear correlation from 3 years of data showing that the number of references used correlated to pipeline and revenue.

Action Item: Customer Marketers who run reference programs are often seen as librarians and not adding significant value. It might be time to start running some analysis of your own so that you can show value and get buy-in to expand beyond references to other forms of advocacy.

 

ADP drives demand creation with referrals

Advocacy program: ADP runs four referral programs using the Amplifinity platform. Their largest program is for customers and they run three partner referral programs as well. ADP uses referral programs to achieve personalized 1-to-1 recommendation of their products which drives high quality leads into their system.

Results: The presentation stated that their referral programs are their #1 source of new demand creation. They see a much higher conversion to purchase with referral leads. Additionally, they’ve found that customers that came from referrals are much less likely to churn.

Action item: Digital and Demand Gen Marketers need to stop and re-read the first sentence of results. A company with annual revenue at $11B stated that referral programs are their top source of demand creation. Whoa! If you’re not already doing referrals, seems like it’s time to get started.

Referral programs are becoming integral to demand creation

It is worth mentioning that ADP isn’t the only company mentioned at the SiriusDecisions Summit that has implemented referrals as a key part of their demand creation mix. TSYS Merchant Systems was featured in a Case Study called “Constructing a Referral Channel for Organic Growth”. In it they shared their advice on how they designed and launched their program.

During the presentation they said that their investment in referral software paid for itself in the first 6 weeks. Additionally, while normal marketing-generated leads convert to purchase 1% of the time, they stated that the leads from their referral program were converting to purchase at a rate of 80%. That is astounding!

Bottom line: Advocacy is a proven personalized channel for generating revenue

It is clear that the Bomgar and Citrix examples show what we’ve all felt in our gut – that investing in Customer Advocacy just makes sense.

From the ADP and TSYS examples, it is obvious that referral programs are a direct way to establish at scale the 1-to-1 personal interaction between customers and your target buyers. And more importantly, that it results in the highest quality and highest converting demand creation.

The bad news is that according to SiriusDecision’s 2015 Customer Advocacy study only 23% of b-to-b marketers focus on advocacy for early stage demand creation. With results like those shown from ADP and TSYS I predict that many more b-to-b companies will focus on this in the coming year.

Find out if you are one of those companies by taking the quiz, “Are referrals a fit?

cta referral quiz

Questions? Tweet me @TrishaWinter

How referral software bridges the chasm of B2B technology adoption

Escape the Neverland of the technology adoption life cycle with referral software

There are many stories and movies that document and romanticize the idea of never growing up (Peter Pan and Pippi Longstocking). And it’s not hard to see why. Childhood and adolescences is a time full of opportunity, innovation, and creativity without the responsibility or social expectation of having everything figured out. This is very similar to the technology adoption life cycle during the innovators and early adopters stages, from Geoffrey A. Moore’s book, Crossing the Chasm. The type of creative and experimental license and development that takes place during these stages of the technology adoption life cycle is only accepted at this time because of the psychological characteristics that categorize innovators and early adopters.

  • Innovators – Innovators are forgiving. They know your technology will have its challenges and maybe some issues but they embrace it because they want to be cutting edge.
  • Early adopters – Early adopters can see the potential of your technology before it has presented proven or widespread results. However, their belief in your product includes the expectation that everything is working properly.

Both innovators and early adopters are characterized by their lack of focus on a technology’s proven results as opposed to its ability to have great future results and put them ahead of the curve.

But while those adopters are necessary to amass in the early evolution of your technology’s development, no business wants their growth to halt at the early adopters stage of technology adoption. After all, even Wendy from J.M. Barrie’s classic, Peter Pan, is ready to grow up and leave Neverland eventually. Just as every startup will inevitably attempt to get their technology adoption to grow and cross the chasm to reach the early majority. Unfortunately, unlike Peter Pan, fairy dust and happy thoughts will not fly you over the chasm like it flew the Darlings home (although it would be great if it did).

When trying to cross the chasm to grow your customer acquisition you have to understand the psychological characteristics that are inherent in the early majority to know the cause of the chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. These characteristics include:

  • Pragmatism
  • A desire for proven results
  • The craving for referrals and reviews from trusted sources
  • Evidence of program support

By understanding the characteristics that cause the chasm you can then start to figure out how to construct a bridge between your early adopter and the early majority.  Otherwise, like many other startups or new technologies, you might get stuck in the Neverland of technology adoption with little chance for growth.

So what will help you construct that bridge?

The early majority aren’t looking for your assurances on how reliable and cutting edge you are, they need to hear that from sources outside your business that have experienced the benefits and challenges of your technology. This means that your business isn’t the one who can physically layout the bricks to build the bridge, your customers and partners are.

But as you know, to be disruptive you need to have control, automation, and the ability to scale in all your processes and initiatives, including advocacy. Automated referral programs provide those features.

How to give Advocates the materials and motivation to build your bridge

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While you may not be able to directly bridge the gap between early adopters and the early majority, you do have the opportunity to increase the referral reach and activity of your current customers and partners by giving them the tools that optimize the process. And lucky for you, innovators and the early adopters are inherently enthusiastic and optimistic about your technology which makes them prime candidates to refer.

Automated referral software turns that simple enthusiasm into action by providing you with the opportunity to incentivize and empower referrals through a consistently branded channel of communication that motivates your innovators and early adopters to make a warm introduction to your potential early majority adopters. Through this channel, Advocates can extend the trust and respect of their previously established relationships to encompass your brand and create a bridge of communication over the chasm to the early majority for high valued interactions.

In fact, the automated referral software bridge is so effective at crossing the chasm that studies have proven that referral leads convert 4x more than marketing leads, (emarketer).

So if you’re in the process of staring down into the chasm that separates your current customer and the next stage of your technology adoption, ask yourself this question.

Do I have the right tools to bridge the chasm?

If you don’t know the answer to that a referral program might be the exactly what you’re looking for. After all, no one wants to be stuck in technology adoption Neverland forever. Calculate how automated referral software can bridge the gap and improve your ROI now!

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