According to a Nielson report, 83% of those surveyed trust recommendations from people they know. This trust is why advocacy marketing is so powerful and why it’s such an important part of account-based marketing (ABM) and growing your business.
Getting customers to trust your company and feel delighted with your product or service throughout the entire customer journey can increase sales. The key is to go beyond your unique value proposition (UVP) so that your customers have a reason to love your offerings and talk about your company within networks.
Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause. What’s your cause? Ours is making clients’ lives easier so they can focus on what they do best. This provides more of a talking point than the actual services we provide.
Advocacy is the last stage in account-based marketing. The four stages are: identify, expand, engage and advocate. Advocate is after you land an account, hence the phrase “land then expand.” “Land and expand” is defined by Sangram Vajre in Account-Based Marketing for Dummies as, “Growing your revenue from within the account by increasing usage or deal size.”
This is where the net-new sales team ends and the success team (client delivery) begins. Just like marketing supports the sales department, marketing should support the success department by helping to expand the account to grow (think: upsell and cross-sell) and create a great brand experience for retention. This is fairly different than traditional marketing.
Creating a metric to monitor customer satisfaction is important for advocacy marketing. Net Promoter Score lets customers rate how likely they are to recommend you on a scale of 1-10. It’s also important to measure how engaged your current customers are with your content, be it on your website, help page or email. Your digital marketing department has the technology and marketing chops to support the success team just like they do for the sales team.
How does your success team surprise your clients? By going above and beyond the unique value proposition. For example, our UVP is that we guarantee reliable data, improved processes and are easy to work with. Your UVP can be tied to retention and growth, an incentive for the success team.
The Account Journey
An account journey represents the stages of your customer relationships, which marketing and the success team support after landing an account:
• Land: Closing a new customer
• Adoption: Onboarding and implementation
• User Expansion: Influx of additional stakeholders
• Expand: Increase how much of your product or service they’re using
• Upgrade, Upsell, Cross-Sell: Sell new products within the account, including new departments through the stakeholder role of champion
• Advocate: The customer creates opportunities for net new business through referrals
The idea is to cultivate and nurture the account to become huge promoters of your offerings from the first interaction. Measure customer engagement throughout the journey. Engagement indicates whether they’re taking advantage of the continuous learning and support you’re providing. The most engaged, along with the highest NPS, is a great combination for a referral.
Alignment Around Unique Value Proposition
Advocacy marketing is an organizational effort. Every person in your company contributes to the customer experience. This creates a thirst for departmental alignmentthat must be quenched for success in any advocacy campaign.
To do this, sales, marketing and your customer success team must be in alignment. This ensures each interaction with an account — from prospecting to a delighted customer — is consistent, from the initial advertising touchpoint until your product or service is implemented and used on a daily basis.
Align around your cause and UVP, which provides everyone with expectations of the brand experience. Stacking company core values will deliver a consistent brand experience.
Individual Customer-Centric Channels
Account engagement should be handled at the contact level with department personalization in mind. Identify a customer’s individual pains and learn how to delight and deliver value to that department. Just like in account-based marketing, measure the overall account engagement by the sum of each contact lead score.
The big challenge in advocacy marketing is to create more highly relevant and personalized content, even more so than in the pre-sale stages. Make sure there’s a feedback loop from success to marketing to continue building a smarter content calendar. This information will also be extremely helpful for the sales process.
Use the opportunity and your existing tools to personalize your support for the expanding bank of stakeholders, whether they are power users, champions or detractors. Utilize personal channels in new ways like Slack, your website, personal emails or YouTube. Highly targeted account-based advertising campaigns that target other departments within current accounts help stakeholders seek out your product to adopt into their own processes. This is becoming a major ABM tactic.
When creating content, you’ll still utilize many of the marketing department’s ideas, like informational onboarding videos, a help page, personalized emails on the culture of your company and more. The difference is to make this content more relevant and hyper-personalized to not just that industry, but to that specific account. Express your UVP through your content as well as behaviors you are encouraging, like sharing and generating more stakeholder contacts.
Relationships And Revenue
Advocacy marketing drives revenue, and the focus on retention and expansion might reduce customer acquisition costs. The return on your advocacy investment should exceed your return on marketing investment.
A smaller base of customers with a higher lifetime value also decreases management time and increases the team’s capacity and expertise while allowing you to better focus your efforts on their satisfaction. We once lost a client but had cross-sold in another department. Over time, we won back the original department we had lost. It would’ve been difficult to earn a win-back otherwise. Customer churn is a serious problem too many companies face, but with the right strategy, you can go from churn to referrals.
Always look for quality ways to interact and delight. If you’re vigilant and align your departments around this idea, you are well on your way to a very strong advocacy plan.