Turn Your Raving Fans into a Sales Force: Using Customer Advocates as Your Reference Pipeline

Turn Your Raving Fans into a Sales Force: Using Customer Advocates as Your Reference Pipeline

As we probably all know, word-of-mouth recommendations hold immense power. People trust people, and when happy customers sing your praises, potential buyers listen. That’s where customer advocates come in and customer testimonials are gold. But instead of relying solely on occasional reference requests, why not cultivate a network of passionate advocates who are genuinely excited to sing your praises? These advocates, your most loyal customers, can become a powerful force in your sales pipeline, driving conversions and building brand trust.

Why Advocates Trump Traditional References:

Let’s face it, traditional customer quotes can feel very branded. Prospects are often presented with pre-selected customers who fit a specific profile, raising suspicion and diminishing their impact. Customer advocates, on the other hand, offer:

  • Authenticity: Their genuine enthusiasm and relatable experiences resonate deeply with prospects. Remember, people trust peers over polished marketing messages.

  • Specificity: They provide concrete examples of challenges overcome and value achieved, addressing prospect concerns directly. Picture a manufacturing executive discussing how your software streamlined their production process by 20%, saving them millions. Powerful, right?

  • Reach: They tap into their own networks, amplifying your message beyond your immediate marketing reach. Imagine an advocate sharing their positive experience with colleagues at an industry event – exposure you couldn’t buy!

Integrating Customer Advocates into Your Sales Cycle:

Identify & Cultivate

  • Proactive approach: Don't wait for feedback – actively seek out satisfied customers.
  • VOC surveys: Include "Open for reference calls?" questions to gauge interest.
  • Customer Success: Monitor interactions, identify advocates organically.
  • Streamline the Process

  • Document and track: Capture their willingness and relevant information in your CRM to track advocate details
  • Internal Communication: Share advocate profiles with sales teams for targeted referencing.
  • Build a reference process: Develop a system to match advocates with prospects based on industry, needs, and availability.
  • Make it Effortless

  • Pre-brief & talking points: Provide advocates with clear information and guidance.
  • Flexible options: Offer diverse ways to participate – calls, video testimonials, social media shares.
  • Respect their time: Don't overuse your advocates. Set clear expectations and offer incentives for their participation.
  • Express appreciation: Recognize their contribution with personalized gestures, exclusive benefits.
  • Customer advocates are more than just references; they’re brand ambassadors.

     They understand your product’s impact, believe in its mission, and actively promote it to their network. This makes them powerful assets for a variety of reasons:

    💫  Benefits for you:

    • Increased Credibility: Customer advocates provide social proof, building trust and speeding up the buying journey.
    • Targeted Outreach: Identify advocates relevant to specific prospects, ensuring a personalized and impactful connection.
    • Reduced Sales Cycles: Authentic testimonials resonate with prospects, leading to faster conversions and higher win rates.
    • Higher Customer Success: Active advocates contribute to higher customer retention and satisfaction.

    💫  Benefits for the Customer:

    • Community & Recognition: Advocates feel valued and connected to a community, fostering loyalty.
    • Growth Opportunities: Speaking engagements, case studies, and thought leadership roles offer personal and professional development.

    Long story short - Customer advocates are more than just references

    Customer advocates are more than just references; they’re passionate brand champions. By integrating them into your sales cycle, you unlock a powerful word-of-mouth engine, enhancing credibility, shortening sales cycles, and boosting overall customer experience. Start nurturing your advocates today and see your sales soar!

    Remember: Customer advocacy is a continuous journey. Invest in building meaningful relationships, provide valuable engagement opportunities, and watch your advocates become your most effective sales force.

    Integrate NPS into your business today and unlock the power of customer advocacy and loyalty, propelling your brand towards new heights.

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