Why Customer Advocacy is the Shortest Path to Revenue Goals

We’ve all been there. You want to meet your next quarterly revenue goals, so you double down on investment in traditional revenue building campaigns such as ads, promotions, and sales pushes. Client acquisition is usually the first place B2B professionals look when it comes to increasing revenue.  

But, as the old saying goes, “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” It turns out that nurturing your current client base might be the shortest path to meeting your revenue goals.

According to research conducted by Frederic Recheld, the inventor of the net promoter score, a 5% increase in customer retention rates can lead to a 95% increase in profit. It all depends on how well your company is able to retain existing customers.

The key to customer retention? Customer advocacy. In this article I’ll cover everything you need to know about setting up your own customer advocacy program.

What is customer advocacy?

Customer advocacy is a business strategy in which you convert customers into brand advocates by placing your customers first. For customer advocacy to work there are three things you need to do:

  1. Deliver products, services, and customer support so good they can’t help but trumpet your brand.
  2. Create an internal customer advocacy team that can advocate on behalf of your customers at each step of the buyer’s journey.  
  3. Develop a customer advocacy program that both incentivizes and makes it easier to promote your brand.

Do these three things well and you will build a solid relationship with your client base that invokes loyalty and presents organic opportunities for revenue growth. Now let’s take a look at how you can actually implement customer advocacy within your organization.

Become an integral part of the buyer’s journey

A common mistake many make when attempting to implement a customer advocacy strategy is to tack a program on to the end of the buyer’s journey and treat it as an afterthought. This is what a traditional buyer’s journey looks like:

Buyers journey

But the buyer’s journey is neither a static machine nor a linear process. It’s dynamic and cyclical. It really ought to look like a flywheel:

Buyers journey flywheel

By prioritizing the customer we turn the traditional linear buyer’s journey into a flywheel that revolves around the customer.

Oftentimes we remove humanity from the process of dealing with B2B companies, but you’re still dealing with a human being first. True customer advocacy should be more like dating your customer.

Awareness

The flirting stage. Make them aware that you exist. Keep your content on the lighter side while still showcasing your expertise. Let them get a feel for who you are. You are a subject matter expert and you can lend that expertise to help them.

Interest

The courtship stage. You need to put your best foot forward. They are still looking at other companies. You need to make them interested. Create content that entices them.

Consideration

Your content should linger on their mind. Show them that you can provide the transformation they are looking for. Remember when you would spend the entire week anticipating a meetup with your significant other on the weekend? Your customer should feel the same way about your company.

Decision

Answer all questions, quell any concerns they might have. Show why you are better than the rest. Get the customer to say:

“Yes, Yes, I Do! You are the person that is going to give me what I need.”

Customer advocacy is about ensuring alignment between product, sales, marketing teams and the needs of the customer.

You advocate for the customer in meetings and ensure content is tailored to the customer for each phase of the buyer’s journey. When you humanize the process you can get into the psyche of your target buyer.

Turn your customers into advocates

Now that I’ve covered the importance of placing the customer at the center of the buyer’s journey, it’s time to turn our attention to the customer advocacy program itself.

The customer comes looking for a solution because they have a pain point they want addressed. If you successfully advocate for your customer within each step of the customer journey, they’ll be more likely to advocate for you.

Here’s how you advocate for your customers:

  • Become a consultant: Iterate with them, solve new pain points, ask how are they looking to expand and grow?
  • Serve as a launchpad for your customer: Once a customer has bought into your solution, make sure they have the support they need to excel. Provide resources that lower the barrier to entry and make your product an integral part of their day.
  • Personalize for individuals: Tailor your customer advocacy program’s experience to individual buyers. Advocate personas can help.
  • Make it easy to advocate your brand: Offer social media contests that encourage user-generated content, or graphic design resources that make it easier to share your brand.
  • Provide opportunities beyond upselling: Don’t entice customer advocates to promote your brand with money. Do provide unique opportunities for them to grow (e.g., a guest post on Forbes). The advocacy will come naturally.
  • Be human: Send personalized thank you notes, holiday greetings, and small gifts. How are they dealing with COVID, new job titles, and other events? Customer advocate teams should forge real authentic relationships with their customers.

Build a community your customers will want to rally behind

Advocacy should expand beyond the check-in. Providing a forum or space for buyers to network with buyers provides immense value on its own and turns your company into a thought leader.

Facilitate conversations and become a social advocate in areas beyond their business. How are moms coming back into the office after COVID? How can companies be supportive?

Build a social community, on your own platform that you manage, that is part of a customer advisory program to centralize and capitalize on all your customer advocacy efforts, including:  

  • Blog posts, thought leadership
  • Online private community discussion forums
  • Networking opportunities, such as exclusive access to a community of CSuites.
  • Facilitated, candid conversations that matter—For example, how do you deal with remote workers in different timezones?

The bottom line

In this article I covered what customer advocacy is, where it fits into the buyer’s journey, and how you can tie all your efforts into a community to be effective. Do these things right and your next upselling conversation will go smoothly.

This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the independent freelancer listed as the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
Article Author
Author
Yunche W.
Expert Vetted
CMO
Lisbon, Portugal
Marketing Strategy
Sales Funnel Management

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