Referral Strategy: How to keep referral sources engaged

So you’ve identified your referral sourcesdeveloped a recruitment strategycreated a sales enablement plandeveloped a plan to enable referral sourcesconstructed a referral incentive strategy, and decided on your onboarding process, now it’s time to create a referral strategy to keep referral sources engaged after onboarding, and the referrals pouring in.

When trying to ensure that referral production stays high, you need a communication and promotional plan for current referral sources that keep them engaged whether they are in the middle of waiting on a successful referral or haven’t referred lately.

To start, let’s look at the three types of communication you need to establish the events that can trigger these communications.

3 communication types to keep referral sources engaged

There are three different types of communication you should establish with your referral sources:

  1. Automated communication on program status
  2. Nurture communication by program activity
  3. Regular program communications

These each keep referral sources engaged in different ways and their implementation are based on different criteria. By breaking down how each type of communication can be implemented you will be able to decide on what communications you want to send, plan and execute.

1. Automate communication on program status

Once a referral source has made a referral, you don’t want them to become disengaged from the program because of the lack of transparency or have continuous calls coming in to check on the status of a referral.  By setting up automated communication to referral sources, triggered by referral status changes, you can ensure that referral sources stay engaged while waiting for a referral to become successful.

To determine what automated communication you should implement in your program, let’s list out the different referral stages these communications can occur:

  • Referral is accepted – Send an email that confirms the lead was accepted and wasn’t already in the system.
  • Referral is qualified – This email informs the referral source that the referral was qualified or accepted by sales.
  • Referral becomes an opportunity – Send this email to inform the referral source that the referral lead has been converted to an opportunity.
  • Referral proceeds to the next opportunity stage – There is a lot that goes on with the referral during the opportunity stage and there can be many mini stages within it. This email informs of any stage change in the opportunity and any role they should play. For instance, if you would like your referral source to reach out when the proposal is delivered to see if the referral has any questions, you can indicate that in this email correspondence.
  • Referral is closed (lost) – This email is triggered if the opportunity is lost.
  • Referral is closed (won) – Send this to inform the referral source that their referral made a purchase.
  • Referral reward is earned -This informs the referral source on the amount of the reward earned and any information on how it will be paid.

When deciding on what automated communication you want to setup, be sure to think about the triggers that are specific to your business process.

2. Nurture communication by program activity

The success of referral sources can be optimized by creating nurturing programs that help develop them and encourage activity. Here are a few automated nurture tracks you can create based on certain activities or lack of activity:

  • If a referral source has a high number of referrals, but little or no success – Retrain on the target buyer and value proposition to ensure they are referring the right companies/people with the right message. Also, this reinforces the value of a 1-to-1 referral introduction.
  • If a referral source has low referral activity – Reinforce product value prop and target buyer. Remind them where to find referrals and how to ask for them.
  • If a referral source logged in within last X days but didn’t make a referral – Provide information on how to make a referral, what happens to a referral once it’s submitted and reinforce product value prop and target buyer.
  • If a referral source has a high number of successful referrals – Create a kudos campaign to recognize their efforts and encourage them to keep referring.

Once you figure out your different nurture campaigns, determine the frequency of each based off your referral strategy.

3. Regular program communications

Segmented communications target the special needs of those groups, but regular value-added communication will keep referrals top-of-mind for everyone in your program. Use the ideas below to build a newsletter template to send a monthly (or frequency of your choosing) communication. Possible information to include in a regular newsletter (circle content you want to include):

  • Target buyer/persona spotlight with corresponding value prop
  • Leaderboard of top members by referral success
  • Tips on asking for referrals
  • Success story – highlight a story on how someone generated a successful referral
  • Testimonial – quotes on how great the program is and how easy it is to earn rewards
  • Links to get more info
  • How to earn incentives – criteria and payment

To help construct your referral strategy nurture process and take the next step to create a promotional campaign, download the exercise or download the entirety of, The Referral Guidebook, to create an all-inclusive referral strategy.

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How to improve reseller productivity with a referral program

Reseller and agent programs are undergoing heavy scrutiny from CEOs. Searching for revenue growth, CEOs want to know if the channel can provide it, yet they are also noticing that traditionally strong resellers are struggling. This means Channel Chiefs are looking for ways to prove the value of this important channel to market.

The answer is to layer on a referral program.

There are some big advantages to running reseller and referral programs in tandem that lead to a more productive channel and corresponding revenue growth. Here’s my list of the top 5 benefits of running a referral program alongside a reseller model.

Top 5 use cases and benefits of running reseller & referral programs together

  1. Make the referral program a qualifying step for resellers – This allows you to validate that a potential reseller actually has access to your target buyers and influence on their purchasing decisions. Once a referral partner meets your requirement for successful referrals, you can then go through the certification process knowing it won’t be a waste. Additionally, by participating in the referral program, the partner has already gotten basic training on your target buyer and value proposition.

Key Benefits:

  • Saves time/resources in certifying only productive resellers.
  • Saves time/resources in training resellers on the target buyer and value propositions.
  1. Use the referral program to attract potential resellersReferral programs are an easy way to begin to form a relationship with potential resellers that is less risky for both sides. The partner can quickly find out how easy it is for them to work with you and find in-market buyers without spending their time on certification that might not pan out.

Key Benefits:

  • Recruit more partners (and potential resellers).
  • Provide partners a great impression of how easy it is to work with you.
  1. Use the referral program to identify potential resellers – Many referral partners start as programs for individuals to sign up for. This is particularly true if you have a territory model for your direct sales team and they are recruiting influencers in their territory to become referral partners. Understanding the referral performance of these partners can lead to identifying potential companies to form managed relationships with – either as a referral or resale partner. This saves time and money in going after the right partners since they have a proven fit for your business model.

Key Benefits:

  • Provides data to demonstrate which companies would be profitable resellers.
  • Saves time and money searching for new resellers.
  1. A referral program makes it easy for resellers to refer – There will always be times when a reseller identifies a potential buyer but isn’t in a position to make the sale due to conflict of interest or lack of the right skill set or solution. Having a solid referral program that is easy for resellers to use allows them to clearly make a referral and get rewarded for it instead of fumbling with deal registration exceptions.

Key Benefits:

  • Reduces exception handling for tracking non-resell contributions.
  • Gives resellers confidence they will be fairly rewarded for non-resell activity.
  1. Transition underperforming resellers to referral partners – Products and buyers change and sometimes resellers can’t make the transition. Running a referral program alongside reseller provides an outlet to move underperforming resellers to referral partners. This allows you to still get great leads from them, but save money on recertification that doesn’t produce closed deals.

Key Benefits:

  • Provides a low-cost way to still get revenue from struggling resellers.
  • Saves time and money to recertify underperforming resellers.

If you are running a reseller program without a referral program, you’re missing out on significant revenue and time savings for your team. Beyond the value of your reseller model, referral programs can also be a way for you to get revenue from non-resell partners in your ecosystem. Technology partners, integration partners, services providers, consultants, implementation partners, etc. all interact with your target buyers and could all be making referrals to your offering if enabled to do so. There are so many benefits to adding a referral partner program to your channel – make it a priority this year.

And to see how referral partner programs are driving revenue for companies, download the benchmark report, The State of Business Partner Referral Programs.

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Building a referral culture with all your employees [Interview]

Previously Mike Garrison, referral selling expert and President of Garrison Sales Consulting and Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity discussed the CEO, sales and marketing’s part in building a referral culture. Now Mike and Trisha will dive into how every employee can be a part of driving a referral culture and how that can not only helps create a predictable referral selling system that grows revenue, but goes toward increasing employee satisfaction.

How to involve every employee in building a referral culture

Trisha: Hi, I’m Trisha Winter, CMO of Amplifinity. I’ve been interviewing Mike Garrison, business coach with referral sales expertise on the concepts of referral culture. So Mike, thanks for joining me again. We’ve talked about why a CEO needs to have building a referral culture on their radar to drive revenue growth. We’ve talked about what that means for sales and to marketing. And I think a lot of people would have stopped the conversation right there.

Mike: Not us.

Trisha: Not us. We’re going to dive into all the rest of the employees. So tell me Mike, who else needs to be involved in driving the referral culture at an organization?

Mike: Everybody.

Trisha: That’s scary.

Mike: I agree. But you guys have seen the presentation right?

Trisha: No

Mike: So it’s everyone. And there’s a reason why. What scares CEOs, marketing and sales about getting all the employees involved is when there isn’t an explicit referral culture – when people don’t understand the principals and values. Amplifinity employees understands the culture, it’s all about your customers and referrals. But when you get down to it I would say that this is the CEO’s challenge, because your leadership is going to make it or break it. And employees, you’re either fulfilling one of two roles. You’re either client facing or a behind the scenes support. Both sets of those employees have a tremendous impact without having to be a sales person.

Trisha: Alright. Now let’s dive into that because I’m sure there are developers out there that are absolutely frightened by that statement. But first let’s talk about client facing employees. So what can they do to both build and live a referral culture?

Mike: Are ready? This is going to sound crazy. And I might get struck down with a lightning bolt flung by all the other referral experts. If you’re client facing but not in sales, don’t ask for referrals. Looks like the internet didn’t shut down from me saying that.  Here the reason why.  First off, it’s kind of risky. And I would think that if you’re in customer support and all of a sudden you were required to ask for a certain number of referrals that it would perhaps be not exactly why you entered into that business. But the reason why it is risky is that whenever you ask for a referral whether you’re in the mail room or you’re a hardened outside salesperson, you’re creating an expectation and obligation. This introduces risk. So I would say that if you’re not in sales don’t take risks. Instead have fun and show appreciation. So every single person, whether they talk to a customer or anyone on the phone should be saying, ‘I love referrals.’

Trisha: And that’s easy.

Mike: It’s easy and it’s not risky. You’re not saying, ‘I took care of this software bug for you now give me a referral.’ Well what would you do if they say yes? You would have to talk to somebody else anyways. While marketing can be training employees on the core messaging, they can just say something like, ‘Anything else I can do for you? No? Just remember, we love referrals. If we can ever help you let us know.’

That is easy, automatic and it makes a difference.  And here’s why. One, customers don’t feel put on the spot to give, they just feel taken care of. And number two, the ones that will refer you will really like it.

Trisha: Absolutely. And I imagine those folks could certainly communicate with sales and let them know that they did something amazing and it went really well. And then that salesperson can think about if it is time to have a conversation with that customer about what they can do together to help grow business.

Mike: That’s brilliant! And if you’re in client success and you’re able to turn a difficult situation around, don’t waste that experience. Get with your sales and marketing department. That way you have double insurance to make sure that lead doesn’t drop. That lead needs to go in your CRM and put in your sales leader’s matrix for how you develop relationships. But if you don’t have that culture of showing appreciation and capturing it, that great experience is just wasted.

Trisha: Absolutely. And you know, as a salesperson if I knew that every single customer facing employee was talking about how much we love referrals that would be amazing. Really it is just setting that mindset and developing that relationship so it makes it so much easier for sales.

Mike:  Every employee can put it on their signature. As a regular employee, go to your marketing department if you’re not encouraged to say you love referrals and ask if it is okay to say it. It would be kind of bold but if you’re thinking about moving up, the mindset of how to take ownership of revenue is important. It is not about touches anymore. Your company, your job thrives on sales results. Believe it or not even a new employee can take ownership of sales and revenue and play your part.

Trisha: Absolutely. And if I were a CEO that is exactly what I would key into because I’m sitting there telling every employee that they need to be a part of driving revenue and these employees don’t understand how.  And it is so simple for them to do it.

Now, that is customer facing employees. Let’s talk about that developer we freaked out with the first statement that about them having a role in referrals. What can they do Mike?

Mike: That’s right. So, if you don’t actually want to talk to people you can still help. Cause I get it. I used to play World of Warcraft. I have a little introvert in me too. But think about social media. Everyone who has a smart phone has the ability to help market. So if you want to take ownership in revenue but you didn’t want to be in sales the good news is you don’t have to. There are way if you are willing, even once a week you can make little posts about your job and how you like it. Those things are invaluable. Because guess which people are trusted more? It isn’t marketing and sales.

When a receptionist talks about how they love the culture and love referrals people believe you more.

Trisha: Absolutely. It is more authentic. Now from a social media standpoint every single employee in the company has a network that sales can tap into and there can be some support there as sales starts to build their referral culture. But it sounds like what you’re also talking about is just laying the groundwork out there within their network about the value your company is bringing to your clients and beginning to share that information so that it makes referrals easier.

Mike: Yeah! So I’m going to take the responsibility off all those in sales and marketing, and then I’m going to give you an opportunity. So if your company doesn’t value the employee this is not going to work. Like if you don’t feel that the culture where you work supports referral and is really valuing people this isn’t going to work. Time to get a new job. But if you’re at a place you love working at, that you enjoy working at, that you feel like it is doing something important even if it is tough, then you can do a couple things. Number one, on your Facebook profile put where you work and if you can link it to your company Facebook page and then like the company page. One of the craziest things is when I start working with a company and then start noticing how many of the salespeople haven’t liked the company page. So if I were a CEO I would be looking into how many of my employees like the company page and actually have done a post with it. That would be a little leadership test. This isn’t something you can mandate. The other thing is if you’re really motivated and want to help I want you to go to the people who can make it easy and less risky for you. I want you to walk over to those marketing people and ask if there is a way they can help you authentically promote the company. And then if you’re at a true referral culture oriented company the sales department will have already talked to you and told you they love referrals. And maybe they might have even asked you if you can introduce them to someone that you know. Not everyone is in sales, but everybody is in referrals.

Trisha: Absolutely. And that is fantastic advice but that wraps back around to the CEO truly driving referral culture. And every single employee needs to see the results. They need to see how much business we are driving via referrals. How many referrals are coming in the door and how many are turning into actual revenue. That’s again all part of creating ownership of the revenue objective. And if referrals are a great way to achieve that revenue growth, which we all believe, to take on that revenue strategy, it’s taking it on holistically. It is not just saying we embrace our referral strategy. It is we walk and we own and we live a referral culture. That what drives us together to go after this revenue objective.

Mike: Yeah. When you really get down to it, a referral culture values other human beings. And that’s why all the employees have to be involved. Because if you want to step to the referral culture, every employee becomes extremely valuable. Not having to necessarily do as much activity as other employees but everyone has value.

Trisha: And who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that?

Mike: Exactly? I mean, HR do you want to improve retention? Then get on board with referral culture.

Trisha: Absolutely! Awesome! Well, let me attempt to wrap up here. So we talked about who needs to be involved in referral culture. It’s not just marketing or sales, it’s all employees. We kind of broke it into two buckets, customer facing employees and non-customer facing employees.  For customer facing it is as simple as walking the walk and talking the talk and saying you love referrals. Just making that a part of your everyday conversations. And with non-customer facing employees, it’s the idea that you still have a lot of power to authentically drive the value through your networks in social media and support that culture. And then of course to be talking about it and measuring and sharing those results with the entire company.

Did I sum that up well?

Mike: Yep! Killer!

Trisha: Awesome! Any last words about referral culture?

Mike: You’ve got to give a crap.

Trisha: Absolutely. And if you do there is the way to grow revenue!

Mike: Yes. And don’t forget that you have to have an automated component (referral software). I am not just shilling for Amplifinity. You can’t do this without leveraging technology. Look for great partners like Trisha to help you do this.

Trisha: And it is not just about technology Mike, it is about coaching the organization to build a referral culture and that is where Mike can help you out.

Mike: Awesome!

Trisha: Thanks so much for joining me for this discussion!

Mike: Alright. Take care Trisha!

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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.”

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

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8 Stats/Quotes that prove referral software speeds up your sales pipeline

How Salespeople can close leads faster with referral software

B2B salespeople don’t have it easy. Take the stress of survival and the monotonous repetition of a time loop from the movie, Edge of Tomorrow and you have a sense of a salesperson’s job. While salespeople can generally deal with the pressures their job entails, the lengthening of the sales pipeline has made it increasingly difficult. A great deal of effort is spent on finding a way to speed up the sales pipeline in an attempt to increase sales productivity and therefore revenue. But the simplest solution is to improve the quality of the leads entering the pipeline. Companies that have realized this are turning to referral software to scale collection of the fastest moving leads through the pipeline.

By itself, a referral comes in more qualified and so decreases the sales cycle as a result of:

  • The lead being handpicked by someone who knows your product and the value it can bring.
  • The prospective buyer coming to you from a trusted source makes them 400% more likely to buy, (Nielsen).
  • The salesperson knowing the person who made the referral which gives them the ability to call them up, learn more about the prospect and get a warm introduction.
  • Prospects who come in via a referral tend to bring less competitors into the buying cycle as they already trust that your solution is the best choice since it was recommended to them.

By adding referral software to the mix it increases the number of referral leads that come in and shortens the sales cycle further by automating incentives, nurturing, and attribution of the referral lead. It also provides advanced customer and partner insight, along with aligning sales and marketing in one program. The sales enablement that referral software facilitates syncs up marketing and sales data and allows sales to add precision to their sales strategies to organize leads by quality and pursue them. This gives Sales the tools to close more deals faster and reduce the sales pipeline.

But don’t just take my word for it. Below are ten stats and quotes that prove referral software speeds up the sales pipeline.

Prove referral software shortens the sales cycle with 8 stats/quotes

  • Companies that are “Optimizing the marketing/sales relationship grow revenue 32% faster than companies that do not. As a result the most competitive sales teams are enabled by marketing, and the most competitive marketing teams are completely in sync with sales.” (Aberdeen, In Marketing/Sales Alignment 2016: Who is Agile Enough to Win?)
  • Pipeline acceleration strategies benefit from quicker sales cycles. Advocacy can help improve overall productivity for the sales force, enabling a much more efficient sales selling environment and helping sales close more deals, which is what they want to do,” (Bob Peterson, Senior Research Director, SiriusDecisions, How to Climb to Smarketing Success).
  • By implementing technology that empowers a 360 degree customer view there was, “13.2% average year-over-year decrease in (improvement in) the average sales cycle time, vs. 1.0% and 1.9% respective increase in (worsening of) sales cycles for Industry Average and Laggard respondents.” (Velocify, How Best-in-Class Sales Teams Convert More Leads).
  • Partnership relationship/channel management technology users report a lead acceptance rate that increased by 3.6% year-over-year compared to a decrease of 0.1% by non-users decrease, (Aberdeen, Sales Effectiveness 2015: How in the world are we going to hit our number?).
  • “Customer advocacy can support demand generation by increasing the velocity of identified deals. Referral deals move faster through the pipeline,” (Bob Peterson, Senior Research Director, SiriusDecisions, How to Climb to Smarketing Success).
  • Partnership relationship/channel management technology users report reps achieving their quota increases by 3.3% year-over-year compared to 0.4% of non-users, (Aberdeen, Sales Effectiveness 2015: How in the world are we going to hit our number?).

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Originally published on Salesforce.com