How the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce Can Improve Your Referral Program ROI

What are you missing out on if you don’t automate your referral program with software like Amplifinity? The answer is simple, the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce. The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce is one of the key integrations we offer, and it can vastly improve the performance of your existing referral programs.

Workflow integration

Without the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce you are missing out on a tighter integration with your existing deal flow. What does that mean? Well, the last thing you want when looking for a way to automate your program is to have to re-engineer your entire sales workflow to fit your software purchase. What you need is to find a tool that both automates the process and fits into your existing sales workflow. Whether it’s having a solution for managing and tracking offline referrals, as Amplifinity does with our verbal referral functionality, 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 your program’s success.

Verbal referrals

By incorporating verbal referral functionality into your referral program 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 through Amplifinity’s software, 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 advocates will thank you and be more willing to refer leads in the future.

Reward calculation

Don’t miss out on Amplifinity’s reward features by choosing a different software for your program. Finding the right reward structure to drive a high level of customer and partner engagement is essential to the success of your program. The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce allows you to easily reward based on the size of the deal by allowing you to calculate rewards in Amplifinity with the help of revenue fields in Salesforce, or by allowing you to simply set the reward in Salesforce and have Amplifinity pick the reward up at deal completion.

Program recruitment and retention

Don’t miss out on another great feature – the one click invitation. With Amplifinity, we make it easy for you to invite contacts to the program with just one click. In addition, our platform allows your advocates, once they join, to follow their referral lead through the entire process within their portal – leading to more transparent lead tracking, and happier partners and customers. If your partners and customers are happy, they are more likely to stay and engage with your program.

Troubleshooting

Through the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce all Salesforce users can have access to Amplifinity’s Customer and Partner referral profiles within Salesforce. This makes troubleshooting any issues that might arise within your program easy for your customer service representatives, partner managers or sales representatives. It also makes it easy to quickly check the status of referrals when interacting with a partner or customer.

Sales Team Performance

The last, and frankly the most important, benefit of the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce is the positive impact it will have on your sales team. Our data shows that having a sales team that is completely bought into your referral program is one of the leading factors of referral program success. The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce not only enables your sales team to continue to work referral leads using the same process they use for all leads, but it also allows the sales team to take advantage of the tools available through the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce to increase their number of leads, by being able to invite contacts and own the referrals they produce.

If you want to learn more about managing referral programs with Amplifinity, check out our resources page here.

The rebirth of the telco partner strategy: A message from a top telecom company

“The future of the telco channel is bright,” said a Channel Account Manager at a large telco company in a confidential interview with Amplifinity CMO, Trisha Winter this year. But while the future is bright, the channel present is still a little murky. The telecom industry is in the process of adapting their partner model to the looming SaaS marketplace. This is resulting in a large amount of companies pivoting their partner strategies to align with the new on-demand and service model and keep the future shinning promisingly.

“We take part in an event called Channel Partners which is a twice a year telecom channel event,” said the Channel Account Manager. “This event grows bigger every year as more companies embrace the channel and indirect model. Our company is actually behind in some ways, not because we are not trying but because it is harder for the big companies to make the drastic pivots that are needed and that smaller companies can easily maneuver.”

But this Channel Account Manager is not the only one seeing their company having difficulty with this transition. There are a lot of on-premise companies that are being forced to do cloud delivery, but they are finding that their existing partners can’t enable it. In response to this the telecom partner models are being reshaped and different types of relationships are being developed between resellers, agent, master agents, VARs, referral agents and a company.

How are you trying to accommodate the changing partner model?

Recently, the company in question came out with their first SaaS product. This change sets the expectation for other telco companies to follow suit.  Consequently, telco companies’ go-to-market model and channel team will need to change to address how their current channel model does or doesn’t fit with this kind of product.

“That is the big challenge for us,” said the Channel Account Manager. “With the old model you go out and sell these very transactional products. Now we are getting into these consultative and as-a-service products. This requires better sellers and more consultative sales techniques. This will then lead to longer sales cycles. Instead of 30 or 90 days it will more likely be 180 or 360 days. And partners are going have to have a better understanding of the products and technology.”

Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity sees these challenges as the catalyst that has caused many Amplifinity clients to turn to referral partners to continue to grow revenue. “There are a lot more consultants and partner types than there ever has been,” says the Channel Account Manager. The trend toward a consultant and service model requires the sales process to be owned by a company’s direct team but still drive revenue from partners. This is the value of referral partners.

Currently, many agents and master agents are required to undergo an in-depth technology certification to become a partner and have a mature understanding of the CRM in order to be able to generate revenue as a partner. But this Channel Account Manager understands that telco companies can no longer let this be a barrier to generating revenue from the channel. “While we want partners to know the technology if a partner has a good lead we don’t want the technology to be a road block. This is when they will bring us in to close the sale.”

What do you suggest for other telco companies trying to transform their partner model?

“Partner ecosystem is becoming more fluid,” the interviewee points out. “You have to have a way to manage a partner that is there for just one deal and no more. Everything you’ve done before is kind of thrown out the window. This is much different than before when these provider would set up brick and mortar companies with 30 sales reps on the phone. Now you might only have a consultant or agent who can specialize in one particular thing. One day they might work on a deal with you and the next they will have moved onto a deal with someone else.”

This change in the way partner interact is reflective of the switch to a cloud-based sales model. The fact is, a good number of agents will have a hard time transitioning to cloud-based products which not only has a different sales model but a different buyer, especially when selling to businesses. Business buyers of telecom services have pivoted from the long standing IT titles to business leaders due to cloud technology making products and service easier to use. This results in many agents finding they no longer have the customer base to consistently reach target buyers. That is in addition to their struggle to support cloud-based technology. But companies have found that these agents are still valuable contributors who can send targeted leads to the vendor when they see a fit so as to continue to generate revenue. However, unlike the past, partner monogamy won’t be the main source of revenue growth.

“There will have to be an overall cultural shift as well as structural,” says the aforementioned Channel Account Manager. “Whether it’s unified communication-as-a-service or software-as-a-service, this type of a model, while much different than the old one, opens up much more possibilities.”

The overall message from this interview, “The channel is really growing like crazy.” But it is up to each telco business to adapt their partner strategy and technology to take advantage of that growth opportunity.

To continue to help educate your changing partner strategy, download the data report, The State of Business Partner Referral Programs, to see performance benchmarks of companies who have automated their partner referrals for sustainable growth.

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:

How to measure against new customer referral program benchmarks

Impactful, strategy-changing customer engagement and referral program data just hit the market this past week. This data comes from the release of the new report, The State of Business Customer Referral Programs, and the webinar, Customers: Your most important source of demand, with Lisa Nakano, Service Director Customer Engagement Strategies at SiriusDecisions. In the webinar Lisa discussed how customers need to be leveraged to impact demand via advocacy and referrals.

Based on that claim, it is interesting to investigate how customer referral programs are performing this crucial task and the success rate of referrals by companies running customer referral programs. This includes:

What is the average customer referral activity a company can expect?

In the recent study done by Amplifinity based on millions of referrals made by business customers on the Amplifinity platform during the course of a year, it was determined that on average only 36% of customers are actively referring throughout the year.  On average this was 2,106 customers making referrals out of the average enrolled in the referral program, 5,850.

customer engagement, referrals, customer referrals

While the 36% may seem low, it is important to understand that this data is over the course of year, not the lifetime of the customer. That means that this percentage can also be attributed to how long customers have been enrolled in a program. Bottom line, there are a lot of willing customer advocates that need to be reengaged with to keep them active.

How high-quality are the leads that come from customer advocates?

Many times companies assume the easier the referral method, the more a customer advocate will engage within a referral program and the more new customers will be generated. This assumption isn’t necessarily true. Here is how the different types of referral methods rank in popularity.

Most Commonly Used Referral Methods

As the chart illustrated, social media is the most used referral method even though it is was discovered that only 50% of referral programs offer it in the study. However, a referral from social media converted from lead to new customer less than 1% of the time. While referring in social media can be easy, this study showed that for business customers, a broad social blast doesn’t work for referrals. This is most likely because these aren’t one-to-one direct referrals from a trusted source. Therefore, while this type of referral is good to build awareness, it loses its power to generate demand.

The importance of that one-to-one interaction is further expanded on by Lisa Nakano when analyzing ADP’s demand generation tactics.  In the webinar, Customers: Your most important source of demand, Lisa explains how many companies today have challenges with demand generation, because no matter how many times they email prospects or create targeted nurture campaigns their prospects only trusted what their peers tell them. To combat this Lisa told listeners ADP’s solution, “They [ADP] turned to Amplifinity as their partner and used referral marketing to bring in the positive word-of-mouth and activity to feed demand.”

Looking at the opposite spectrum from social media, the verbal referral method was only used 13% of the time but was the top source of conversion with 32% of referral leads converting to new customers. It also had a higher inclusion rate in customer referral programs, coming in at 54.4%.

Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity predicts the continual rise of inclusion and use of verbal referrals, “Even though verbal referrals is fourth in overall use, this is a fast growing referral method thanks to new referral program technology introduced in 2016 that allows referrals to be captured from sales and customer success via Salesforce CRM. We predict verbal referrals will climb in adoption and usage in 2017.”

A large reason for verbal referrals having such a high conversion rate besides it being a one-to-one referral is that this method includes sales which increase conversions significantly. But more on that later.

What impacts referral program conversion rates?

The success of referrals has come a long way. Previous to the study done by Amplifinity, a B-to-B referral industry standard conversion rate of 3.63% was established by Salesforces’ Implisit. But the management and automation of a customer referral program has brought industry conversion rates to a whole new level. On average, customer referrals made on the Amplifinity referral platform had a 13% conversion rate.

This is over 3x the referral industry standard determined by the Implisit study. This drastic increase in the success of referrals can be attributed to establishing referrals as a channel for demand generation as opposed to an ad hoc campaign.  By automating programs to collect referrals at scale, companies are able to remove breakage and operational hassle so marketers can refocus their efforts on the promotion and optimization of the program.

Lisa Nakano commented on ADP’s referral conversion rate, saying “They [ADP] had some very nice results with this once they started understanding what they needed to do to activate their advocacy community. Referrals became their number one source of new demand. The conversion was amazing in terms of how quickly folks worked their way through the funnel and the percentage that converted.”

How does enabling referral selling change the referral conversion rate?

The Amplifinity report showed that enabling referral selling produced even better results. On average, a referral program that enabled sales to actively recruit new customers to the program, generate referrals from customers, qualify referrals through customers, and receive a facilitated introduction from customers more than doubled the average conversion rate. In fact, referral selling increased the average conversion rate by 17 percentage points, with a 30% average conversion rate.

This helps explain why verbal referrals were the highest converting method as it is a referral method enabled by sales.

The increase in conversions that referral selling delivers is a result of it being a further extension of the one-to-one referral. By enabling referral selling and breaking lead routing rules the trust that exists between the customer and their referral, and the customer and their salesperson can also be used to connect the customer advocate’s referral to their trusted salesperson. This way, any referral from the customer advocate will be automatically sent to that customer’s salesperson.

As an example of how the power referral sales enablement can contribute to demand generation, Trisha Winter pointed to ADP, saying, “ADP has stated they have higher customer satisfaction/NPS scores for customers who are advocates with them making referrals. Because they break lead routing rules, this naturally incentivizes sales to work on that relationship with that customer and have really great engagement.”

For more information on referral selling and another take on the Amplifinity data, read the article The Best Way to Ask Your Customers for Referrals, by Mike Garrison, an expert in training sales on how to increase ROI through referral selling,

How rewarding are referral incentives to customers?

There has always been much debate over incentivizing referrals. For the most part, everyone now understands that the effort a customer puts into making the referral and following up on the referral, whether that is by helping sales qualify them or making an introduction, needs to be compensated like any type of work. The question now is, what reward amount should be offered to customers that is enough to incentivize them but isn’t prohibitive to the ROI?

Looking at the data, reward payments for the customer programs ranged from $20 – $2,500. The data was analyzed based on actual reward payments since many programs have varying reward amounts by product purchased or offer a percentage of revenue.

Overall, the most popular and most successful reward was between $41 – $100. But you shouldn’t take this to mean that a reward amount of $41 will drive referral success. In fact, the vast majority of these rewards were $100. While the overall average reward amount for customer referral programs came in at $111.

While this data might mean to some that they can provide a lower reward amount and still get results, that isn’t quite the case. Rewards must be provided to customer advocates not only as compensation for the amount of work they put into the referral but also based on the cost they are asking their referrals to spend. As the cost for a referral to buy goes up, there is more often greater success with a revenue sharing system, like Lisa Nakano talks about ADP in the webinar. While the data may show the success rate as lower for rewards above $100, that can be attributed to the natural decrease in the conversion rate of any higher priced service or product.

For another take on this new referral reward data read, Successful Referral Programs Offer Escalating Incentives to Drive Customer Engagement, by Loyalty360.

Download the full report to see more data on business customer referral programs including:

  • All the referral methods from frequency of inclusion to conversion
  • The success of higher reward amounts
  • How many referrals you can expect from each customer over a year
  • The success rate of the top 1% of advocates
  • And more

referral program, customer referral program, referral software

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