The word-of-mouth marketing is just one of the most powerful channels for grabbing new customers to your business. In fact, according to Edelman Trust Barometer, 84% of B2B businesses initiate the buying process with a referral. And data from B2B Sales Prospect shows that the referral is the best acquisition channel for conversion rates for Sales at almost 4x the average.
In other words, it should come as no surprise that many B2B marketers are following in the footsteps of companies like Uber who have successfully grown their businesses using referral programs. While companies from any industry can use the power of word-of-mouth marketing, these types of programs pose unique challenges for B2B businesses. Because of the complex sales processes and expensive nature of some B2B products, you need to put time and careful consideration into developing your referral program’s strategy, structure and internal processes. Here are some checklist before launching a B2B Referral Program.
Assess the customer satisfaction levels about your product or services. You may want to conduct a Net Promoter Score (NPS) study. NPS measures your sales prospect’s willingness to recommend your product to other prospects. If a NPS study is not feasible, assess your sales prospect retention and subscription renewal rates.
Customers you should target
The most effective way to grab your referral program off the ground is by targeting your best sales prospects. Start with targeting sales prospect who are willing to pay for the product typically believing in its value. Target sales prospects who actively use your product as they can best communicate its value to others.
Promote the program
Start in promoting referrals more extensively through your website, blogs, newsletters, social media, and direct mail. You can also extend the referral program to your partners if you have an active channel program or multi-media partner.
Qualify referred leads
Qualifying referred leads is a more complicated process for B2B companies. You can ask for this information upfront as part of lead capture process or your sales team may prefer to ascertain this information by speaking directly to the referred lead.
Hand-off referred leads to sales
Create a separate CRM that views or market alerts to make sure that the sales team follows up on referred leads quickly. Consider making a written service-level agreement (SLA) with sales to establish how and when sales representatives will follow up with leads.
Automate your referral program
With all of the moving parts involved in a B2B referral program, it will save you time, money, and resources if you find ways to automate some of the tracking and administrating aspects of your program.