B2B Brand Advocates’ Influence on Sales

If you’re a business and looking to make a purchase, you’re likely to ask your peers on who to buy from. According to a 2012 Google study, 60% of B2B tech buyers asked their peers before making a purchasing decision. In addition, a McKinsey report revealed the primary factor for 20-50% of all purchasing decisions is word of mouth.

Now, you may be asking yourself how do I get brand advocates to capitalize on this? First and foremost, satisfied customers are where to begin. The challenge now is to organize these satisfied customers and create them into brand advocates.

Here’s how to achieve that:

Identify Customers Already Supporting You

Let’s break these down into three common groups.

  1. Socially active customers: these are customers who are talking about your company online via blog posts, Facebook, LinkedIn, news posts, and other public media. Monitor when your company is mentioned on many of these sites and you’ll see who these customers are and what things they are saying about your company.
  2. Peer problem solvers: power users who seek out to help others in your support community. Check out online communities about your products or services and you’ll find them there.
  3. Customer references: very satisfied customers willing to talk to others about your company to help you sell your products or services. Talk to your sales force as to who they mention for references in sales calls.

To Encourage Participation, Limit Your Number of Asks

Start with a small percentage of everyone you have identified as potential brand advocates. You can’t ask everyone or else it will get overwhelming for your customers as well as your business. From there, once successful, start asking a few more and continue along that path. These people can just do simple things such as writing a blog post on LinkedIn about your products or services or just following your company on Twitter. Along with this, have different programs each month focusing on different targets.

Provide Recognition as a Meaningful Reward

  1. Give your customer premium access to your product or service
  2. Offer a sneak peek at your product before you launch it
  3. Extend a special invite to meet with your product managers or CEO
  4. Give a badge or other award to recognize excellence in their field
  5. Write a personal, hand-written thank you note to show your appreciation

Improve Performance With an Advocate Marketing Platform

Find a platform to help you manage your new brand advocate base (such as AdvocateHub from Influitive). This platform should not only give you visibility of what’s going on and easy communication with your advocates, but it should give your advocates visibility as well. The analytics provided will help you see which advocates is performing best and tie into your current applications to see how well this is helping your sales.

Source: Original report produced by Software Advice for the B2B Marketing Mentor.