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 widgets limit your referral program’s functionality

Are referral widgets just a vanity application?

Referral widgets have become a widely adopted approach for businesses so you may be considering whether this is the best path to launching your referral program. But unless you’re an ecommerce company concerned with only tracking a single transaction and not interested in generating repeat referrals, widgets fail when applied to referral programs.

In fact, when widgets are applied to most B2B referral programs they become more of a vanity application than anything else. Like vanity metrics, widgets’ trending popularity in the technology sphere might make you think that adopting the widget strategy will improve engagement since it has no barrier to refer. But for B2Bs, widgets fail to prompt and capture repeat referral action and data which is essential to a successful referral program. While a widget makes it easy for customers to make a referral, it only does this by dramatically reducing the amount of valuable information you acquire.

A full referral program however, captures customer and partner information in order to build a mutually beneficial relationship and increase the value of referrals, generate and close a higher number of referrals, and obtain repeat referrals from the same costumer.

Check out these 7 questions to help you decide if a widget is really what you want or will just act as a vanity application.

7 Questions to ask when considering a referral widget

  1. Will a widget inhibit referral program data collection?

 

Yes. With a widget, there is no referral program registration. Program registration provides deeper understanding of your advocates and repeat referrals. The information you collect at the time of referral using a widget is usually the bare minimum necessary to track and fulfill a reward. Typically this is just an email address. The gathered information is more concerned with delivery of the gift card than creating a relationship with your advocates.

 

  1. How does qualifying leads change with a referral widget compared to a full referral program?

 

With a widget no advocate profile is created, which means that you cannot see top advocates (other than email addresses). Additionally, there is not enough information to pass into Salesforce to match up with a contact. Therefore, no advocate data exists in Salesforce. That also means no Advocate name listed on the referral lead so you can’t contact them to prequalify the lead.

 

  1. But wait, can’t we just collect the name and create a profile each time a customer or partner use the widget?

 

Sure, but then you are forcing them to register each time and they might change their contact information so you have no way to ensure that their data will be combined properly. Furthermore, this would eliminate the fundamental advantage of the widget that it is a simple process. Once you add registration, you might as well not use the widget.

 

  1. Hold up, if it is an SSO system, can’t the widget talk to that system and get the info?

 

This is possible, but only with so much dev effort that it eliminates the value of the widget being easy to drop in. One company I talked to about this strategy attempted to do this and had to develop an entire page solely focused on supporting their new widget. It took so much dev time and effort that they never were able to implement the widget on any other page.

 

  1. Does adopting a widget based strategy introduce any security concerns?

 

Yes. Another issue with widgets is that they open up your website to the potential of getting hacked. More specifically, your website is at the mercy of the security processes and standards of the company developing the widget you are adopting. To avoid this issue marketers should make sure the widget goes through a comprehensive internal security review to avoid introducing any security risks to their web properties.

 

  1. But widgets at least are always available and visible to a website visitor right?

 

No. Another limitation of widgets is that they don’t always work when a web visitor has ad blocking turned on. About 20% of web users today utilize ad blocker technology, which means 20% of your visitors won’t be able to refer.

 

  1. So how do widgets keep customers or partners engaged in the referral program?

 

They don’t. Another issue with the widget is that you can’t accumulate rewards. Since the widget tracks the single referral and not the advocate, you can’t use reward structures such as monthly commission checks. This also discourages repeat referrals.

At Amplifinity, our platform is designed using a relationship focused sales approach, which means that providing you the best data while creating a good experience for the customer and partners who are referring you is our top priority. And with the option of single sign-on (SSO) we lower the barrier of entry into the referral program to make customer and partner referrals seamless. Learn what features will increase your referral program ROI by checking out our features page and requesting a demo today!

 

ROI Calculator

Questions? Email me at JSwenson@amplifinity.com

Originally appeared in Customer Think

Amplifinity Announces Automated Referral Solution for the Telecommunications Industry

Telecommunications companies focused on customer service are using referral software to generate organic growth from satisfied customers.

Ann Arbor, Mich., January 28, 2016  — Large telecommunications businesses are household names, which makes it difficult for smaller companies to compete. While some telecoms may not be able to outspend their larger rivals, they can offer a more personalized experience. The challenge is to get the attention of new customers who are looking for exceptional customer service. Telecom companies like RingCentral, Jive, and Charter Spectrum are successfully using customer referrals to help spread the word.

Today, Amplifinity is announcing a new telecommunications industry solution based on its industry leading SaaS (software as a service) platform. The solution offers telecommunications businesses the capability to cut through the marketing “noise” with a referral automation platform to address the need to attract and acquire new customers. Studies have shown that one-to-one referrals from a trusted source, like happy customers, immediately increases the trust level that a new customer has with telecommunications provider. The Wharton Business School discovered the lifetime value of a referred customer is 16 times higher than a non-referred customer.

 

Amplifinity features that drive telecommunication success:

 

  • Better customer engagement: Amplifinity’s platform can help improve customer relations while growing revenue. Amplifinity provides sales enablement features that help sales and customer success teams stay involved and informed in the referral process. Access to customer advocate data enhances each interaction and improves customer engagement by enabling company representatives to recognize and thank customers that make referrals.
  • Mobile Access: Customers often refer during interactions with friends and family. By enabling the ability to refer from a mobile device, advocates can refer at the moment the opportunity arises.
  • Reward Choice:  Consumers will be motivated to refer for many reasons.  By offering the consumer the ability to select from different rewards types that are tailored to a customer’s preference, more referrals will naturally occur. Some popular rewards are bill credits, gift cards, and charitable contributions.
  • Advocate Nurture: The Amplifinity solution automatically sends customers proactive and informative messages that help nurture the referral process. In addition, advocates are always able to login to their customer account and see the status of every referral they’ve made.
  • Salesforce Integration: For companies already using Salesforce as their CRM, Amplifinity is fully integrated, so referrals can automatically become leads for the sales team. Amplifinity offers a fully integrated and certified managed referral application available on the Salesforce AppExchange.

 

“Referral programs are a very effective way for telecommunications providers to acquire customers and drive growth,” said Amplifinity’s CEO Larry Angeli. “Your happy customers will readily refer you to their network. This is a win-win for businesses focusing on delivering differentiated value with customer service.”

 

About Amplifinity

Amplifinity’s referral amplification software turns customer, employee and partner advocacy into revenue. Our platform provides complete referral tracking and management with 100% accuracy so none are missed. Enterprises like ADP and DirecTV trust Amplifinity to enable high-quality acquisition while providing an engaging, fully-branded experience for their advocates. www.Amplifinity.com

 

 

SMB Telecoms become tele-competitive with referral software

A revolution is taking place. One that might have very similar roots as the all-so-famous Revolutionary War. But what does this mean?  Well, in many areas of the country and the world, large telecommunication conglomerates have the monopoly on their telecom industry. Customers have only a few choices in their television, Internet, email, or phone service provider. In any way that matters, these telecommunication companies are essentially king.

So how are small and medium sized telecom businesses and newer technology driven technology driven telecoms supposed to convince customers to riot and switch over to them? Well, as you yourself may have experienced or heard from others, smaller customers don’t always feel well-cared for by the kings, and while they might provide great prices at first (this usually changes later),  many people have become frustrated and disenchanted with their unapologetic treatment of customers.

This alienation of customers leaves an opening for SMB telecoms. While SMB Telecoms  might not be able to match the pricing of the telecom kings, you can provide something that people and business are ready to revolt for, a personalized customer experience.

How RingCentral personalized their customer experience

RingCentral delivers cloud business communication solutions with a relationship focused sales approach. The success of their business depends on keeping every interaction extremely personalized. In their blog, RingCentral’s Sales Organization: Building Success by Building Relationships, they emphasize how building a relationship with customers is a necessary part of their business model.

To keep to this relationship focused approach, from the first phone call RingCentral starts their interaction on a positive note, which they believe can make all the difference in fostering a fruitful relationship. If your sales team demonstrates how they care for their potential customers and understand their pain points you can start to establish a relationship that builds to a sale.

For RingCentral this often pays off when pursuing a company that has more than one location. RingCentral noted that the previous fostered relationship then opens the doors for a client to test out their product in one location, and when it succeeds, the company often revolts against the previous telecom technology and fully implements RingCentral’s technology instead.

RingCentral claims that this success is “a direct result of our relationship-building efforts.”

And because RingCentral had proof of the power of a relationship focused sales approach they understood what the next step was to their approach – referrals. With small and medium sized telecom business increasingly focused on customer relationships, why not grow your business through mass personalization by incentivizing the customers who already know how valuable your product is? RingCentral thought along the same lines, and that’s why they implemented Amplifinity’s referral software to make their customers their best sales force.

The next step to relationship building sales – referrals

Referral software is the next weapon to spur the masses in the customer relationship revolution. Referral software mobilizes the customers you already have by incentivizing them to become advocates for your service or product. By empowering referrals with referral software you extend the trust between an advocate and their network of family and friends to include your business. The result of this is a drastic increase in your quantity of quality leads.

In fact, with referral software:

  • Customers are 400% more likely to buy (Nielsen)
  • Leads convert 4X better than marketing leads (emarketer)
  • LTV increases by 16% (Harvard Business Review)
  • Conversion rate from referral to purchase is 36% (Amplifinity)
  • Churn decreases by 18% (Marketing Business Review)

Discover your personal referral program ROI with the ROI calculator now!

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Questions? Email me at JEdmondson@amplifinity.com

Salesforce AppExchange celebrates 10 years of inspiring businesses’ innovation

Amplifinity Connector continues to empower Salesforce clients

January 14th contains an abundance of important events including birthdays, deaths, cultural and historical events. But today we celebrate a birthday that’s purely representative of innovation, collaboration, and specialization – the 10th birthday of the Salesforce AppExchange.

Birthdays, and especially a business’s birthday is a celebratory occasion because it demonstrates the ability to adapt to changing ecosystems and markets. But Salesforce’s AppExchange has not only managed to succeed with their own products and services, it also has enabled other businesses to extend their reach by challenging them to innovate easy product and service options that empower integration with Salesforce through the AppExchange. And as the AppExchange launches into the double digits we take a closer look at the innovation it has inspired.

The value of the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce clients

One such innovation that offers easy application through a sophisticated managed app is the Amplifinity Connector. The Amplifinity Connector is the premier managed referral app that easily incorporates the sensational power of Amplifinity referral software into Salesforce. This simple solution aligns marketing and sales for optimal efficiency by leveraging customer and partner relationships and maximizes the value of Salesforce.

Felecia Flack of Northern Michigan University declares enthusiastically that, “The combination of Amplifinity and Salesforce enables our constituents to easily SHARE the word about our great university. We’re excited about the connections we’re making with prospective students because of this partnership.”

The success of the AppExchange has allowed Amplifinity to provide Salesforce clients a unique and unparalleled combination of Salesforce Cloud and advanced referral automation software that:

  • Increases sales productivity to optimize revenue growth
  • Enhances lead follow through from sales
  • Provides superior data to improve the use of Salesforce
  • Offers more advanced tracking to attribute marketing ROI
  • Improves marketing program results by creating a consistent channel for lead generation that is easy for marketing to maintain

This exceptional value has been a key instigator in the adoption of the Amplifinity Connector by Salesforce clients. But the AppExchange hasn’t only added value to Amplifinity referral software, but inspired continual innovation and product development (specifics coming soon).

The fact is, the Salesforce AppExchange does not only inspire innovation, but challenges businesses to keep developing advanced technology in a simple deliverable package. This train of thought goes beyond lending itself to the AppExchange but to large scale technological creation. So let’s raise a glass, eat a piece of cake, and develop a new disruptive technology to celebrate 10 years of the Salesforce AppExchange.

Women in Tech
10 Women in Tech toasting Salesforce with local, Michigan beverages on the AppExchange’s 10th Birthday!

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Questions? Email me at JEdmondson@amplifinity.com