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 to transition from customer engagement to customer partnership

When customer engagement strategies are implemented right, they continue to support the success of customers and allow a company to keep building relationships within an account. These engaged customer have a better chance at upsell and cross-sell, increasing their lifetime value. But every account has a ceiling, where it has reached its full potential for cross-sell and upsell, or maybe never had the potential to begin with. However, this doesn’t mean that the monetization of customer experience ends. A customer’s lifetime value still has a substantial ability to grow by transitioning from methods used to influence customer experience to methods that can build a partnership between a company and its customers.

Customer partnership is when a company’s customers shares in the desire to grow and better the business, products or services. Here the company acknowledges the immense influence their customers have over the business and their role in its continued success. This leads a company to then enable customers to impact their revenue growth even further. Below are 5 steps to start enabling this.

5 steps to integrating customer partnership into your business practices

Remember the phrase, “You jump, I jump Jack.”? It comes from Titanic, but relates to customer partnership. It goes along with the idea that if your customers succeed you succeed, and vice-versa. Enforcing this message with customers is key to a customer partnership. This should have been conveyed starting all the way back in the sales process, but no matter when it starts make sure it is perceived as sincere by following it up with action. By making sure you support your customers’ success you start to build a foundation for partnership. Here is how.

1. Offer training to customers on new products and features.

Every business is constantly innovating. That means that customer need to be supported. Through customer engagement you might be sending email updates or having an account executive reach out to inform their customer on new opportunities within a new feature or product. But this doesn’t offer true support. It is often then left up to the customer to take the initiative to learn and apply this new product or feature.

As part of taking on and applying the idea of customers’ success being your success, try offering free training. This might be harder for bigger businesses who have a great deal of customers, especially if those customers that have whole teams or departments that would need to be trained, but there are ways around that.

  • Offer training to managers and then have them train their teams
  • Create videos to scale customer partnership. This could get as granular as creating videos for each department if they are using different functions of the feature of product. Then be open to calls and questions on the training.

2. Ask customers what other products or services they would like to see developed

Customer should be using your product or service regularly. Because of this they often have ideas about what would make it better and what other features, products, integrations and services would help their success. By asking them to have input in product development you make them feel like they are a part of the business, not just a buyer. Here customers can start to feel like they are in a partnership with the business and start to share in the desire to better the company.

But no matter what these suggestions are, make sure that customers know their ideas were heard. For instance, when a customer gives you an idea try telling them that you are going to pass this along to your manager. Follow up shortly after with positive feedback. Some responses could be:

  • “That was a great idea. It turns out we are actually developing something quite similar that should be available soon.”
  • “We’ve been discussing developing something like that and it should be in development in the near future. I’m sure your input will help push it forward.”
  • “My manager thought that was a very interesting idea. It is definitely something that will be under discussion for future development. Thank you for thinking of it.”

3. Provide them an easy way to help build the business

Once you have established a foundation for partnership with your customers you can start creating other ways for them to be a part of the company and generate greater revenue. By creating an automated referral program customer can easily help grow the business and revenue. By previously using customer engagement strategies and foundational customer partnership methods you have already proven the value of your product or services to your customers. This means that there is a high likelihood that referrals are already happening naturally. It is just a matter of scaling that process for revenue growth and creating a program that drives a greater number of referrals.

Try using referral software that gives customers the ability to refer using multiple channels that are trackable, including:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Lead form
  • Verbal referral
  • Shareable URL
  • Printable cards

Through a referral portal customers would also get full visibility into their referrals’ progress and status in real-time to stay engaged with the referral program. To understand the effectiveness of referral software, customer referral data was analyzed in the report, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs. It found on average, customer partnership with referral software provided over 3X (13% conversion rate) higher lead to deal conversion rate when compared to a study done on customer referrals made ad hoc by Salesforce’s Implicit.

4. Have them assist sales in the qualification of referral leads

The power of referrals comes from the relationship that has already formed between the customer and their referral. This means that customers have intimate knowledge of the referrals wants and needs. After a referral is made, sales can reach out to the customer and partner with them to qualify the referral lead. That way a salesperson knows the needs of the referral from first contact and can address them correctly.

Referral software that enables the breaking of lead routing rules also helps to enable the partnership between sales and the customer. This way the customer’s referral gets passed to their salesperson as a way to extend the relationship and trust between that customer and salesperson to include the referral.

This type of sales assistance was showed to increase deals generated from customer referral partnerships by 17 percentage points (30% conversion rate) when compared to the overall conversion rate.

5. Reward customers for bringing in new customers

There is no doubt that customer partnership requires work on the side of the customer to continue to generate leads, qualify them and offer any continual nurturing to the referral. To help reciprocate this effort, a company need to provide added value to the customer. There are many types of referral rewards that do this:

  • Gift cards
  • Bill credits
  • Checks
  • Merchandise

Based on the data from, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs, the majority of customer referral programs (52%) chose to use gift cards to compensate their customer referral partners. These are easy to automate and scale which removes any manual hassle associated with incentives.

To understand the value you should be rewarding put yourself in your customer’s place. On an hourly basis, how much is there time worth? The average reward provided to customers using referral software was $111, but it went up to $2,500. The cost of the product or service being referred should also be taken into account.

The structure of a reward is another consideration. By using a more advanced reward structure like escalating rewards, which increases the reward amount with each successful referral, you can continue to drive referrals and communicate the value of a customers continued partnership.

To see more data on customer referral partnerships download the report, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs.

20 tweetable customer referral program stats

More and more companies are automating their customer referral programs through referral software to grow their lead generation at scale. To understand how these companies referral programs are performing,  20 tweetable stats are provided. These stats come from the data report, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs. The data from this report was based on millions of referrals made on companies’ customer referral programs run on the Amplifinity platform.

The power of referral programs for lead generation

1.

The verbal referral method is used 13% of the time and has the highest conversion rate (32%). Click to Tweet

2.

Lead form referrals are used 23% of the time to refer and have a 19% conversion rate to deals. Click to Tweet

3.

Email is used to refer 24% of the time and has a 17% conversion rate to deals. Click to Tweet

4.

Social media is the most used referral method (29%) but is the least converting (1%). Click to Tweet

5.

Print cards are used to refer less than 1% if time but has a 12% conversion rate to deals. Click to Tweet

6.

The shareable URL referral method is used 12% of the time but only has a 4% conversion rate. Click to Tweet

7.

Customer referrals converted 3x (13%) more than the referral industry standard (3.63%). Click to Tweet

8.

Customer referrals with sales involvement increase deal conversions to 31%. Click to Tweet

9.

61% of customers make 1 referral. 34% make 2-10 referrals. 5% make 11+ referrals. Click to Tweet

10.

Active customers produced an average of 0.87 referral leads/year. Click to Tweet

11.

Customers with previously successful referrals produced an average 2.5 referral leads/year. Click to Tweet

12.

Top 1% of customers making referrals made 22% of referrals resulting in 1% turning into… Click to Tweet

13.

Top 10% of customer making referrals made 54% of referrals resulting in 6% turning into deals. Click to Tweet

14.

52% of customer referrals reward with gift card, 29% checks, 9.5% bill credits and 9.5%… Click to Tweet

15.

52% of referrals reward with gift card, 29% checks, 9.5% bill credits & 9.5% swag. Click to Tweet

16.

6% of referrals with rewards 1,001 - $2,500 converted to deals. Click to Tweet

17.

5% of referrals with rewards $101 - $1,000 converted to deals. Click to Tweet

18.

13% of referrals with rewards $41 - $100 converted to deals. Click to Tweet

19.

The average customer referral reward amount among programs was $111. Click to Tweet

20.

82% of referral rewards were between $41 - $100. Click to Tweet
customer referral program, customer referrals, referral program, referral software

8 benchmarks for creating a successful customer referral program [Inforgraphic]

We always hear how customer referral programs have grown in implementation as a result of their undeniable ability to generate quality leads that convert to new customers. But even though referral programs might appear to be wildly successful compared to your different lead generation programs, finding out how it compares to other successful customer referral programs is often more telling. This useful insight helps to understand where extra attention needs to be paid in order to optimize for success.

The eight benchmarks mentioned here comes from the new data report, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs. These benchmarks are a result of millions of customer referrals made in business customer referral programs run on Amplifinity’s referral software.

What is the average activity that can be expected from a customer referral program?

Activity is a very important metric to understand. Customer referral activity is the foundation of a successful referral program. This is what the first benchmark is focused on.

1. During the course of a year, it was discovered that 36% of customer enrolled were actively referring.

This means that 64% were inactive. Why were they inactive? A lot can depend on when a customer was enrolled. If they were enrolled in a previous year, made a referral, but where not successful they are often deterred from referring again.

To overcome this try having sales or customer success reach out and engage inactive advocates to train them on how to refer and the right type of person to refer in order to keep them engaged in the referral program.

How many referrals can a customer be expected to generate?

Once the percentage of active customers is discovered, how are those customer behaving?

2. On average:

  • 61% of customers will make 1 referral
  • 34% of customers will make 2-10 referrals
  • 5% of customers will make 11+ referrals

To try an increase the number of referrals coming from customer advocates, provide a special offer or an increase in reward with each successful referral. Driving multiple referrals from a single advocate becomes even more important when looking at the next benchmark.

3. The data found that on average over a year period a customer produced 0.87 referral leads.

This means that if a customer referral program had 1,000 advocate they would produce 870 referral leads.

However, compare this to customers who previously referred a qualified referral lead.

4. These previously successful customers produced an average of 2.5 referral leads per year.

To drive more referral leads from previously successful customers, identify these customers and have sales reach out to thank them and encourage their productivity.

How many deals are generated from customer referrals?

Now getting to the main event – the conversion rate. The average referral lead to deal conversion rate from customer referral program run on the Amplifinity referral platform was 3x greater than the industry average of 3.64%, according to Salesforce’s Implisit.

5. The average conversion rate of referral leads that turned into customers from all programs was 13%.

While this conversion rate is spectacular, it becomes even more phenomenal when looking at customer referral programs that had sales involved.

6. Customer referral programs that had sales teams play a role in recruiting customers to become advocates as well as regularly asking for referrals had a 30% conversion rate.

This conversion rate has a 17 percentage point increase over the average. To help facilitate this try training sales on when and how to ask for referrals and break standard lead routing rules. This would allow the salesperson who ‘owns’ the customer to have their referral leads routed to them and incentivizes sales to form stronger relationships with customers to increase the quantity and quality of referrals.

How do the quality of referrals compare to the quantity?

So you now know that it is important to drive a higher quantity of referral leads. But the quantity of referral leads needs to be balanced with quality. For instance, a customer advocate could easily refer daily by sending a blast referral out to their social network. And while this could look great if you are just looking at quantity of referrals made, when aligned with the percentage that turned into deals you will be sorely disappointed.

7. In a year, the top 1% of customer advocates by volume of referrals, made 22% of overall referrals which only resulted in 1% of deals.

This falls extremely short of the average conversion of 13%, not to mention the 30% conversion of referrals when sales is involved.

But what about the top 10%?

8. The top 10% of customer advocates by volume of referrals, made 54% of referrals, which only resulted in 6% of deals.

Unfortunately, when an advocate just focuses on the quantity of referrals they often sacrifice quality. General social blast lose the one-to-one connection that make referrals so powerful.

Luckily there is a way to combat this. Try coaching enthusiastic customers on what makes a successful referral. They will appreciate the guidance and the reward that comes from referring more qualified leads.

Start visualizing customers referral results and discover how to manufacture successful referrals:

referral software, referral program software, customer referral program

Which referral methods are generating new customers? [Infographic]

Referral software has significantly grown in adoption by businesses in an effort to amplify the good results companies already receive from more manual referral campaigns and programs. Because of this, more data than ever before is available to see not only how businesses automating referral programs are going about engaging customers to refer, but how customers are using these programs and the success different referral methods provide business customer referral programs. By analyzing this data, companies can better understand how customers interact with referral programs to turn referral marketing into a science.

The data used here comes from the new benchmarks report, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs. These benchmarks are a result of millions of referrals made in business customer referral programs run on the Amplifinity platform.

What type of referral methods are companies offering customers?

Out of the six referral methods, the inclusion of these methods are the following:

  • 77.2% include lead form
  • 72.7% include email
  • 44.4% include verbal referral
  • 50% include social media
  • 40.9% include shareable URL
  • 18.2% include print cards

Breaking down social media, it might be surprising to see that LinkedIn isn’t the most offered form of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn inclusion rate are as follows:

  • Facebook – 50.5%
  • Twitter – 27.3%
  • LinkedIn – 13.6%

You’ll also notice that not one method is included in all the customer referral programs in the study. To better understand what types of methods to offer try surveying customers to determine how they connect with their network.

Lastly, the best indicator of which referral methods to include is the effectiveness of those methods. Which methods are your customers using the most and which are the most successful? As you’ll see here, these two ways to judge effectiveness don’t always line up.

What referral methods are customers using the most?

It is plain to see that the methods customers use to refer is directly correlated with what referral methods a company offers. But looking at what method customers gravitate toward can still give you a great deal of insight. The following show what referral methods were most used by customers:

  • Social media – 29%
  • Email – 24%
  • Lead form – 23%
  • Verbal – 13%
  • Shareable URL – 12%
  • Print cards – <1%

It is impressive that social media is the most used even though it is only included in 50% of customer referral programs. Email and lead form follow shortly after, but their inclusion rate in the programs were more than 20% higher. This order of popularity could be based off the level of familiarity and comfort a customer has with the methods provided and also how easy the referral is to make. But one thing to remember is easy isn’t always better. The use of referral methods really isn’t a popularity contest . . . it’s a conversion contest.

What referral methods are converting referral leads?

When transitioning from looking at the most popular to the highest converting referral methods, only lead form, email and shareable URL come close to where they ranked in use. The following is the rate at which each referral method converted:

  • Verbal referral – 32%
  • Lead form – 19%
  • Email – 17%
  • Print Cards – 12%
  • Shareable URL – 4%
  • Social media – 1%

One point you’ll immediately notice is that while social media came in first in use, it came in last in generating new customers with only a 1% conversion rate.

The data points to top converting referral methods having a one-to-one relationship instead of a one to many. The discrepancy between the use of social media to refer and its conversion rate can be due to the fact that it is being used as a generalized blast in social networks as opposed to referring a specific peer that is in need of the product or service. While this is good to build awareness it won’t generate new customers.

To combat it, try training customers on how to refer one-to-one on social media or explain the best use of the referral program to them.

Start visualizing customers’ referral process and discover the science behind referrals:

Successful Referral Programs Offer Escalating Incentives to Drive Customer Engagement

Originally published on Loyalty360 by Jim Tierney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

Referrals need to focus on 1:1 interactions.

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

Engage advocates to increase referral activity.

Automate your referral channel.

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

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

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