COVID19 lockdown is the perfect time to identify your customer advocates and nurture the hell out of them.
The growth in social, mobile, and subscription-based business models now make visible customer influence more critical. Peer recommendations and endorsements are the most robust B2B marketing and relationship building mechanism.
Advocate sales and marketing are about leveraging those customers that love what you do.
Who Are the Customers and Buyers That You Have a Great Relationship With?
Laura Ramos, principal analyst, Forrester, is a promoter of empowering customers as advocates and noted that 74% of buyers go online for business purchasing, and more than half (53%) would rather research online than speak with a salesperson.
This means, must stand out to your buyers, and not only show up online as a trusted and credible resource; but other customers must show up online as advocates of your personality, products, and service.
And here is why:
- 92% of consumers trust a peer recommendation more than traditional advertising, and
- In addition to this, referred customers are less likely to leave.
Getting customers to promote your brand will have a significant impact on your reputation and your revenue post COVID19.
76% of customers say they view customer service as the real test of how much a company values them. In 2017, Moz credited 13% of traffic value to online reviews, making customer feedback the 5th most important ranking factor.
What is interesting is in most circumstances, quantity is regarded higher than quality according to BrightLocal study that revealed when judging a business on customer feedback, 44% of people looked for the number of reviews.
Here is What You Need to do NOW:
- When was the last time you looked at your database of customers and reviewed the recent contacts and customer feedback and then asked the key contacts for peer recommendations, testimonials or to be a call reference?
- Do you have trusted relationships that would willingly support your cause and refer you to other like-minded buyers and customers? The time to ask is now.
- Do you collect and survey customer feedback through online reviews to gain insights into what customers want and their expectations? Now is the time to do it (read my articles on customer feedback)
- Have you gone back to a successful collaboration and collated results for a case study? Advocates are prime candidates to offer references for your product or service.
You are missing a trick by not considering and promoting what your customers think about you and your company. Now is the time to go the extra mile and keep your key customer in business, and in-play by being their most valuable resource and support.
On the Scale Your Sales Podcast, I have lots of discussion with experts on the impact of COVID19 on sales and what the best strategies are to come out of lockdown stronger than ever.
Engage and Nurture Identified Customer Advocates
If you are not quite there yet in the relationship with your key contacts, then create a plan of giving. Do whatever you can to nurture your key customers, offer to help them, share their content, refer relevant people to them and give three times as much before you ask for anything.
Engaging and nurturing your key customers in this way will also help you build trusted relationships, and it will, in the long run, improve customer loyalty and retention.
Focus on creating an excellent online reputation, positive reviews, and extraordinary customer success stories. If you do not do this now, then I am telling your competitors to do so.
It is vital to promote your business via key customers; ultimately, you want more of these most valued customers. Your best customers may not refer you on, however, their testimonials will attract other similar customers. If these customers do refer you on, you are far ahead of the competition. It is win-win.
Do You Have a Customer Advocacy Strategy?
If not, let us talk about how you can get your team focus on it now.