The second paradigm shift: The self-qualified buyer
I recently went on a trip to the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. While there, I happened upon a full service gas station. Being a millennial, this was the first time I had ever seen one. I asked the friends I was with if we should stop there. Unsurprisingly their response enforced exactly what I felt (just like referral marketing software).
No, they’ll just charge more for things we don’t want or need and can do ourselves.
Thinking about this I found it paralleled the shift in power from brands dictating what the buyer needs to the informed buyer taking control and dictating what a business needs to provide them.
We’ve heard time and time again how the informed buyer has changed the selling strategy. But this doesn’t mean that B2B buyers are just doing extra research before interacting with sales teams. Instead, B2B teams in charge of buying are obtaining a high-level of understanding about the service or product to match that of a sales team. Naturally, this has led to an increase in the level of expectation buyers have in order to ensure that they’re financial resources are being spent responsibly, creating a much more competitive B2B ecosystem.
But the evolution of the B2B buyer hasn’t stopped there. Buyers are now not only coming armed with solid information, but starting to self-qualify themselves before they ever reach a salesperson. In other words, buyers are becoming more likely to qualify businesses as opposed to businesses qualifying buyers. This means that even if your PPC ads and prospecting emails reach the right people at the right time, unless you have the resources that qualify you as a high-quality provider that has the potential to fit the organization now and as they grow in the future, you’re disqualified before the buyer ever comes in contact with a salesperson.
This second paradigm shift means that more than ever before B2B buyers are looking for information that doesn’t only inform them on the importance and benefit of a product or service, but the integral benefits and drawbacks on the business itself in order to determine its current and future fit for their organization. However, the type of content used for this qualification isn’t business driven, but customer driven through reviews, and even more powerful, peer opinions, otherwise known as referrals.
It was Laura Ramos, a principal analyst at Forrester that said at INmarket, “The next great stage of business innovation is not coming from back-end business optimization, but from an empowered B2B consumer.”
While it may feel like you’re only losing more and more control over the sales process, that doesn’t have to be the case. Referral marketing software is one strong strategy that keeps you proactively selling to the self-qualified buyer.
How referral marketing software can help you take back the sales cycle
With this second paradigm shift it is more important than ever before to galvanize your current customers and partners to work on your behalf. Referral marketing software allows you to take control of that process. Referral marketing software harnesses the persuasive power of your customers’ peer relationships in addition to partner and employees’ peer relationships to incentivize them to warmly introduce your brand while testifying to your qualifications.
By employing referral marketing software you can make sure you don’t miss out on any referrals. Automatic tracking and attribution allows users to trace referrals to their source in order to contact the customer or partner who referred them and qualify the referral while ensuring that the referral’s qualification of you is positive. Along with that, referral marketing software gives you the ability to measures each advocate’s individual success to optimize your nurturing strategy and get the most ROI.
And with 83% of customers already willing to refer, but only 29% actually following through, referral software is a highly effective way to capture the full 83%, (Texas Tech), and make referrals your most successful form of demand generation as companies like ADP have.
In fact, with referral marketing software, referral initiatives:
- Have a 4X higher conversion rate than typical marketing channels (emarketer)
- Increase LTV by 16% compared to non-referred customers (Harvard Business Review)
- Decrease churn by 18% compared to non-referred customers (Harvard Business Review)
- Increase a leads likeliness to buy by 400% (Nielson)
- Create a 35% conversion rate from referral to purchase (Amplifinity)
To learn more about what goes into automating referrals listen to the webinar, How RingCentral automated referral marketing.
And to discover if referral software is the right way to reach your self-qualified buyers, try taking the quiz, Are referrals a fit?