Amplifinity harnesses the power of referrals to boost customer engagement and revenue

Originally published on Loyalty 360

The age of relying solely on mass mediated channels to reach an audience of prospective clients and customers is over. The fact is that people do not trust traditional advertising or formulaic sales pitches as much as they trust each other. The rise of digital connectivity and the advent of social channels is increasingly allowing people, and brands, to turn to personal networks of friends, family members and professional associates to make decisions on what products to buy or what technology platforms to integrate.

For marketers, this should not be a cause for alarm. In fact, it presents a tremendous opportunity to use referrals to win brand loyalty and increase customer engagement. In some circles this is known as advocacy marketing, and it leverages social assets to engage potential customers overtime, and to nurture relationships established through the power of true brand advocates.

These relationships are vital because referrals from a trusted source have been proven to increase both the satisfaction levels and the lifetime value of customers. Furthermore, referrals can also cut through all the marketing “noise” that interferes with so many other marketing channels. Overall, the benefits of referrals are hard to dispute. But the problem for most brands is in knowing just how to access, integrate and leverage referrals to understand customers and build better relationships with them.

However, Amplifinity can help organizations facilitate this conversation.

As an enterprise class software platform that uses the best of current technology to meet the needs of its clients and their customers, Amplifinity recognizes the importance of referrals in building advocate relationships. At its core, Amplifinity turns customer and employee advocacy into revenue. It believes that the best business comes directly from customers who inform an organization about other people or companies that need its products or services.

By leveraging the very nature of our socially connected marketing landscape, Amplifinity has been able to create a reliable channel for customer acquisition and engagement by scaling referrals digitally. The accuracy of this platform is also impressive, and Amplifinity claims that no referrals are ever missed through its ability to track and manage referrals. To date, Northern Michigan University, ADT Security Systems, and Outdoor Living Brands count themselves among Amplifinity’s list of clientele.

Recently, Loyalty360 was able to speak with Trisha Winter, Amplifinity CMO, who spoke more in depth about the platform and about the state of customer engagement marketing in general.

Can you start by giving us a high level overview of your customer engagement philosophy?  

Winter: Amplifinity believes every company should be customer obsessed, not only building loyalty to translate to repeat purchase, but new business through referrals. We believe you need to be consistently engaged with customers and highly transparent in interactions by building trust and customer delight through interactions with your business and a solid referral program can be a key part of that engagement strategy.

And when compared to other technology providers, what is unique about Amplifinity?  

Winter: In the past year, there has been a big uptick in brands that are realizing the value of leveraging their customers’ advocates and looking for ways to operationalize that advocacy. What makes Amplifinity unique is our focus on integrating referral programs with direct sales and field staff. We enable verbal recruitment of advocates and verbal referrals to easily be entered into the system by the field and be brought into the fully trackable and fully digital experience. This greatly increases the program success and makes referrals a part of daily operations for the field without adding hassle to marketing.

How does it work? Can you give us a brief overview of Amplifinity in general?  

Winter: Our platform provides brands the ability to acquire new customers through their existing customer base, employees or partner network. These brand advocates use the platform to promote the brand’s product or service to their existing network through integrations with social media platforms and an email automation and management system within the platform. Amplifinity makes referral program registration and login simple and secure by allowing brand advocates to connect using their brand credentials with Single Sign On and automates the management of participant communication preferences through built-in CAN-SPAM and CASL support.

As brand advocates refer the brand’s product or service and the receiving member of the advocate’s network (prospect) accepts the referral, the platform connects the two participants within the system by attaching a unique code. This unique code is attached to all activity of both participants in the future and allows the referral automation system to close the tracking loop and attribute success once a purchase has been made. Amplifinity’s platform allows the brand to monitor the status of all referral activity and automates the reward process once a successful referral has been reached. Through APIs and other integrations, Amplifinity allows brands to connect the activity within the referral automation system into their CRMs, Marketing Automation platform, and other system of records.

We also see a lot brands struggling to create alignment and a true dialogue with their audience. How do you think brands can accomplish this and how can they leverage your technology to do so?  

Winter: We now live in a world of inbound acquisition. The best inbound lead that can be generated is from customer, employee or partner referrals; referrals from people who know and can speak highly of your brand. Data shows referrals are the highest quality leads. In fact, the average conversion from referral lead to purchase on the Amplifinity platform is 34%.

We also see brands challenged with regards to data. What do you see as the challenges brands face with data, analytics and creating insight today?  

Winter: Marketing’s biggest challenge is showing ROI for its spend, budgets have increased over the years and now marketers are being pushed to show results. Amplifinity’s platform can directly show new business from referrals. You get direct ROI, and it is a clear monetization of efforts on building customer loyalty.

And finally, overall, how do you see the state of marketing today?  

Winter: Marketing budgets soared as efforts skewed to digital. There is intense pressure to now show ROI for that marketing spend. At the same time, new technologies are coming out and it’s a race to stay on top of latest and greatest. With competing pressures and priorities, it’s easy to get swept away in new tech that doesn’t give results, or drive top line growth and it is difficult to show direct ROI for marketing activities.

Choose the advocacy adventure that’s right for you

Where to start on your advantageous advocacy adventure

In the past few years the martech industry has become flooded with promising solutions that strive to solve the challenge of breaking through the marketing noise and acquiring the leads, recognition and notice you desire.

Advocacy is the latest and greatest new marketing channel that facilitates the acquisition and retention of greater quantities of quality leads and increased brand recognition. Gartner’s research finds that “Referral marketing is a channel that offers a high volume of excellent low-cost leads.” This is done by capitalizing on the trust of advocate’s previously formed relationships which other forms of traditional demand generation tactics and brand awareness methods cannot hope to access.

But the term “advocacy” has become quite fashionable in the marketing world, and has generated a great number and variety of reference and definitions.

So how are you supposed to know which subcategory of advocacy your business should venture down first? Well, there are a number of factors that help determine what advocacy adventure is the most advantageous for your business.

Think of choosing the right form of advocacy akin to a-choose-your-own-adventure book. You want to choose the path that will get you the biggest impact. And while choosing the wrong advocacy path might not cause you to be killed by aliens or fall down a well and break your leg, it can keep you from achieving your goals.

For instances, imagine if your advocacy adventure said:

You walk into a maze. Two paths are open to you but neither indicate which path is more advantageous. Do you go right or left?

You choose right. After walking for a bit your path splits into four more unidentified paths. Which path do you choose?

You choose the path on the far left. After walking for a little while longer you hit a dead end. Unfortunately, you’ve now wasted time and have put off achieving your goals.

The fact is, if you don’t know where to start your advocacy adventure it will never be advantageous.

Amplifinity’s advocacy quiz ensures that your advocacy adventure will remain advantageous by helping you to figure out the right starting point for your business objectives. Take this quick quiz today and start on your way to your advantageous advocacy adventure.

ROI Calculator

Want to further the discussion? Email me at Jedmondson@amplifinity.com

I had 5 awesome C-level sales meetings in one week. Here’s the secret to how I got them.

It was a great week. I had 5 quality C-level meetings with potential new customers and partners for Amplifinity in the short week before a holiday. The opportunity to meet with current and prospective customers is my favorite part about being a CEO.  As I reflected back on the week and what made it a success, a common thread emerged, REFERRAL – Everyone I met with was introduced to me by someone who knew me and my company and wanted to help. Interestingly, while they were all referrals, each one emanated from a different type of relationship.  My objective with this blog post is to help you think about the foundation of relationships you have in your network and how they can be leveraged to help you generate new business opportunities.

1. A current customer referred me to a new prospect: 

I was having a conversation with an executive at one of my largest accounts. She mentioned how pleased she was with our solution. After thanking her for the feedback,  I used the opening to ask her if she knew anyone who would benefit from our product. Note that the “ask” came as a natural part of the conversation. It wasn’t forced and was not perceived as bothersome. In my experience I’ve found this request actually improves my relationship with a customer. If they respect what you’ve done for them, they want to see you succeed, and by giving you an introduction to someone else, they are now invested in your success. By the way, don’t be surprised if they follow-up with you to see how it went. And better yet, follow up and let them know how the meeting went. They will appreciate it–and they may even provide you with another referral (double bonus!)

2. A current customer referred me to a new opportunity within their own company:

According to Nielsen, 92% of respondents trusted referrals from people they knew. If you are working with enterprise level customers or prospects there are often many potential new prospects inside that same customer waiting to hear your value proposition. Think of these as “buying centers”–separate groups within a company that represent a new sales opportunity for you or one of your peers. Large companies are siloed, so the chances of cross-selling or upselling are high because different departments have different needs to be met. If you are referred to a new prospect from someone within their same company, your odds of getting a meeting are very high and you have a built in reference.

3. A board member referred me to an executive at another company:

In my role as CEO, I’m fortunate to work with a terrific board of directors. Each is a high profile business leader in their own right and is very connected.  Even if you don’t report to a board, executives within your company can provide the same conduit to meet other decision makers in different companies. I find this works best if I can be specific and have a company in mind where I know they may have a relationship.

4. A current prospect referred me to another prospect:

I admit this doesn’t happen often, but it recently did for me. I didn’t even ask. I was offering a prospect some helpful advice unrelated to my company business (I essentially referred her to someone who could help) and unprompted, the prospect sent me an email later that said he knew of someone that could really use our solution. Awesome. I think most of us are naturally wired to help others. Help others succeed, and you’ll often get rewarded in return.

5. A current partner referred me to another new prospect:

Growing our partner network has been key to our success at Amplifinity. Successful SaaS companies invest in becoming connecting to partners within their ecosystem in order to extend their overall value proposition. At Amplifinity, being a member of the Salesforce ecosystem has added tremendous value to our business. We are now part of a large and ever growing community of hundreds of other SaaS companies that share common interests and goals.  That very same ecosystem is also a naturally interconnected network that can help you find new business or potentially use your product or service.

I encourage you to make that leap to adopt  referrals as a business strategy. If you do, you’ll quickly see that systematizing it with a referral automation platform can be a very powerful channel for organic growth for your business.

If you’d had success using referrals in your business, send me an email with your story. I’d love to repost it here on the Amplifinity blog so that others can benefit.

ROI Calculator

 

Care to further the discussion? Tweet me @Larryangeli

 

Need a hack to break through the marketing noise?

New marketing channels are noise free

In summer, kids scream for ice cream, at Halloween people scream for treats, but marketers shouldn’t have to scream for leads. And let’s be honest, you’ve been screaming a little too much over the years haven’t you?

If you’ve been a marketer for a decent amount of time you know that committing to a new marketing channel or technology isn’t always smooth sailing. You receive the commitment and follow through when the technology is still bright and producing well, but slowly the newness fades and the promised deliverables are no longer met.

For the more seasoned marketers who were working in the late 90’s, you may recall the excitement that email marketing brought to the table. As marketers, we finally had a clear and incredibly effective way to push our message out to our database.

Those of you a bit younger may remember the doors getting blasted open by paid search. We were able to get right in front of a prospect exactly when they were searching for a solution that we could provide.

Still not relating? Well, there is always the up rise of social media. Social media is an inspired concept that  promised to connect us with our prospects at a more personal level and we dove in head first to get them to like our posts and god-willing, click through.

There are many more examples, but the story is the same. It starts with a breakthrough technology that transforms the way we reach our market. If you are lucky enough to be a first mover, you enjoy much more time harvesting the advantages from this new channel. But eventually, whether email marketing, paid search or social media, the channel that once provided such great results fades in its quality.

Why?

Noise.

How advocacy marketing avoids the marketing channel drop off

A new channel starts out sensationally because not everyone is using it, so those that are get the benefit of being clearly seen/heard amongst the crowd. But as this new method gets adopted by the masses, it loses its effectiveness. Your market gets bombarded (with emails or search ads or social posts) and it just becomes an overwhelming noise.

So they switch it off. They stop opening emails from vendors, they avoid paid search ads, use ad blocking technology, and filter out your social posts.

Then how do you break through?

What is the next channel to ride?

What marketing approach will finally make your message a priority?

The answer – advocacy marketing.

Regardless of the channel, there is one thing that will ALWAYS cut through the noise, advocacy marketing. Prospects may be ignoring your brand messages, but they will pay attention if it’s presented to them from someone they know. A former colleague, a friend, or a peer will always break through the noise better than a brand because of their pre-established bond of trust that a brand channel can’t artificially create.

If you want to break through the noise, recruit your customers, partners and employees to be your advocates. Empower them with the tools to reach out to their personal and professional networks and share the benefits of your products or services. I promise that they can cut through the noise and be heard where you can’t. In fact, a Nielsen study reported that customers are 400% more likely to buy a product recommended by a friend.

Bottom line – your advocates can spread your brand message and generate leads for your business. If you aren’t yet looking at advocacy marketing today, I highly suggest you investigate how advocacy marketing can deliver personalization of your brand at scale. It is quickly becoming the only effective way to break through the noise. Learn more about advocacy marketing by exploring the ebook, The Advocacy Market Explained, and discover a channel that won’t quit on you.

 

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Questions? Tweet me @TrishaWinter

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