Supercharge your sales process with advocates! (influitive)


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Supercharge your sales process with advocates! How to use your fans, evangelists and promoters tactically to get customers to purchase faster and more reliably for B2B products and services. A little bit on the psychology on advocates and what motivates them to phenomenal levels of activity. How to integrate advocate marketing into your inbound and outbound demand generation system.

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  • Influitive is the advocate marketing company. Our AdvocateHub app makes it easy for marketers to recruit, mobilize and recognize an army of customer advocates that support marketing campaigns, refer new clients and help close deals faster.
  • My fellow presenter Aaron Ross has a terrific framework for demand generation, and I encourage you to go to his site at and learn more about it . He divides up the universe of demand generation approaches into three categories: Advocate word of mouth, which he calls “seeds”, Inbound, which are “nets” and Outbound, called “spears”.Nets are your marketing leads, such as internet marketing, events, webinars, white papers, advertising and the like.  You’re casting a wide net, so this is about “quantity over quality”.   Pros: Easy to generate lots of leads, some kinds of marketing programs are scalable, you can generate leads from everlasting content, highly measurable.  There are ways to generate leads at almost no cost. Cons: Not sure what will work, most leads aren’t a fit, low conversion rates, mostly individuals / small businesses, small order sizes, a lot of cost and effort to build, optimize and maintain.The best way to grow your “Nets leads” is usually through an Inbound Marketing Program (more details to come about how to do this coming this summer).  In a typical program, you create content that people appreciate (be it Educational, Entertaining and/or Experiential) and share it with partners who have already have audiences relevant to what you do, through for example, guest blogs, ebooks, webinars or events.  The idea is that the right people love your great content and come back to you for more and more…and eventually purchase something.    When you have salespeople or business development people reaching out to specific targets, lists or kinds of companies…these are Spears.  It’s a specific, targeted approach, driven by a human, with a goal of “quality over quantity”.Seeds are word of mouth leads, usually from prior relationships or happy customers.  No matter who you are, Seeds are the best leads you can generate. Pros: Highly profitable, word of mouth leads are the fastest to close and have the highest win rates.  There’s nothing better!  Cons: According to Aaron Ross, ,It’s almost impossible to proactively grow them.  You just have to do your best and be patient.I am going to show you how you can proactively generate more of these amazing leads, predictably and reliably, by building a powerful advocate program. First, let’s spend some time understand the amazing people who generate these leads for us, the advocates. What makes them tick?
  • It is easy to understand why advocates are effective – because your buyers are much more likely to trust them. But it goes deeper than that – the content that they create is much more relevant to the buyers, for several reasons. Let’s go through a few standard questions:The WHO – your customer advocates are seen as trustworthy, as they are a lot more impartial than sales and marketing people.The WHAT – the content they disseminate is based on their experience so it trusted.The WHERE – the content they create is available at the point of where a buyer wants to learn more about how your solution can help themThe WHY – advocates want to see their favorite company and products succeed – and they also want their colleagues and peers to benefit. They believe that they are doing the world a favor by their advocacy.Think about the last time when you had a really satisfying buying experience. I would bet that at least 80% of you had a lot of advocacy around that purchase, whether it was a referral on the way in, the ideal case study in the middle or the perfect reference at the end which made you breathe easier about signing on the dotted line.
  • With that in mind, it makes sense that buying processes are a lot more efficient when there are advocates heavily involved in them. Our analysis has shown, corroborating the personal expeirence of many on this call, that for a referral lead, the sales cycle is much shorter whereas the probability of winning and the order size are significantly higher. When we have people that we trust recommending a solution to us, our perception of fear goes down and we feel more confident in making a rapid and sizeable purchase decision. One of the more interesting things that we have found is that customers who grew from seeds – by advocate word of mouth – are much more likely to become advocates themselves. It’s as if that advocacy is a fortuitious virus, legitimizing the propagation of this behavior. I saw this recently when visiting my 6yo daughter’s favorite frozen yogurt shop, Menchie’s, which has an advocate wall, full of artwork that the kids make celebrating their chosen frozen confection. My daughter spent the rest of the afternoon making Menchie’s art – her advocacy center in the brain was triggered by seeing other advocacy. We’ll be talking more about the neurosicence of advocacy in a few minutes.
  • It’s a good thing that customer advocates drive an efficient buying process because that process is totally out of your control now. A very high proportion of the buying process is done before your buyer interacts with your company, especially with your sales reps. The cost and time for buyers to connect with highly knowledgable peers is rapidly heading toward zero, and as a result they are depending more and more on them to make purchase decisions. In this type of environment, you somehow need to get these highly credible and effective advocates to communicate a lot more with your prospective buyers. Since these advocates are so effective and do not require a base salary, it makes sense that the advocate leaders are typically the category leaders.It’s too bad that Aaron Ross says that as wonderful as advocate marketing is, we have to patiently wait for the seeds to deposit thmeselves on our field. But is that really true? Is there nothing we can do to create more of these wonderful leads and opportunities?
  • We firmly believe that you CAN create customer word of mouth, consistently. The fan in this photo is a metaphor for the modern advocate program, which focuses on providing a much better experience for the advocate, which in turn drives high levels of advocate productivity. I’m going to show you how to build your own advocate program, the essential components of it, and a little on how we do it here at Influitive. And where advocate programs fit in with the inbound and outbound components of your go-to-market approach, your nets and spears.
  • In the earlier waterfall chart, I focused on one of my favorite advocate acitivities – referral lead generation. But that is not all that they can do. They get involved throughout the customer lifecycle in multiple ways. They work hard for you to increase revenue and reduce your cost of sales.Xactly more than tripled the number of product reviews to land on top of the AppExchange category, driving massive sales increases. They are now well on their way to an IPOEktron has an army of advocates on blog comments, Quora and LinkedIn passionately defending their brand and attacking others.Act-On generated over $500K of revenue from referral leads in December alone sourced through advocates.We have several of our customers who plan their product roadmap and marketing calendar based on input from advocates.There is no limit to what advocates can do if you provide them the experience that they want.
  • So what is an advocate program? They are actually quite simple, and in their basic form they’ve been around for more than 20 years. They used to be called reference programs when they were focused mainly on getting customer references and site visits. They involve having tasks for advocates to do, then some form of points for those activities and then rewards and recognition that are driven by the scores. By luck, accident or design, video games have the same basic structure and they have been very effective at addicting the young and old, by hacking into their need for feedback, action and achievement.
  • This is Influitive’s advocate program, and you can see the same elements. On left hand side you can see tasks like referrals, case study data, content generation and more. On the right, you can see points, levels, badges, achieveents and rewards. You can also see part of the leaderboard, which drives achievement and competition.
  • Drilling down to a referral challenge, you can see some other important game mechanics and behavior hacks. The advocate player can see how many other people have done the challenge, including some people that he/she knows. They also get served up with some recommended people to refer, to jog their memory. This is an important hack for maximizing referral behavior.
  • Referral activity is a high-order process that involves both emotional and logical components. People refer because it feels good (emotional) and drives long-term survival value (logical). This process engages some of the most high-order circuitry in the brain, used to judge the relative value of objects and people. Reciprocal behavior deeply engages this area. Referrals also feel good – probably because survival value is enhanced when successful referrals are made. The “reptilian brain” of simple reward association is not heavily engaged. So the typical process of paying people for referrals is not effective. In fact, the conflation between social and economic value may result in lower levels of productivity.
  • So what is advocate marketing and why are we talking about it’s impact on Lead to revenue management? I’ll give you the definition, but as you know, a picture is worth a thousand words. And this picture, submitted to us by our customer Ektron, really shows it off. You can see that there are four gentlemen here proudly posing for a picture under their hand-carved sign which says “The Ektronauts” They are clearly power users of Ektrons web content management system. They love the product. But more than that, they are proudly declaring it to the world with a hand carved sign. Now as crazy as that may sound – every company has Ektronauts, people that believe passionately in their vendor’s mission, vision and products. They just need to be found and given a platform. Advocate marketing captures this enthusiasm of fans, evangelists and promoters – increasingly grouped together as "advocates" - and turns it into a powerful force for igniting business.  For the B2B companies that we focus on at Influitive, advocate marketing not only generates more leads directly through referrals, but accelerates revenue generation through every other marketing and sales channel.  It's this force-multiplier effect that makes advocate marketing so exciting, being embraced by forward-thinking marketing leaders.  And now over to Lori Wizdo from Forrester, who is one of those forward-thinking marketing leaders, to provide her insights on Advocate Marketing.
  • So let’s discuss an integrated demand generation campaign looks like, with your seeds, nets and spears working in perfect coordination. At Influitive, we have decided that the HR software space is a perfect fit for our ideas and technology, and have set a goal to capture 50% of the companies in this segment over the next year. We are currently ahead of plan, and I want to tell you how we are doing it. And if you are a marketing or sales professional in the HR software and services space, and are listening to this talk, then you should email me so you can see what is taking this space by storm!We launched the campaign with advocate marketing as we typically do, because it is most powerful. One of our advocates got me in to a key conference for HR software marketers, influenceHR, as a keynote speaker. There I presented some original material, essentially a spoken white paper. The talk goes up on Slideshare where our advocates share, comment, vote it up. At the same time we are producing case studies and testimonials from companies in the targeted space, and using those in our outbound demand generation campaigns. And the whole time we have focused referral campaigns happening in our VIP AdvocateHub, specifically identifying companies in the space as great targets for us. When our sales reps meet with the targeted companies, they are welcomed as peers in the boardroom, not vendors in the hallway, because of their deep domain knowledge and relationships – all facilitated and supported by a powerful advocate program.Just like a modern military, the marketing general wins by coordinating their forces in the most synergistic way. Advocates should be at the core of the campaign – what does not go better with happy customers shouting your value from the rooftops? The way to build and mobilize your advocate army is with an advocate program, and I strongly believe that everybody listening to this presentation should have a plan on creating one.
  • Supercharge your sales process with advocates! (influitive)

    1. 1. Supercharge your Sales Process with Advocates June 20, 2013 Mark Organ, CEO @markorgan #advocates
    2. 2. 2 Influitive helps recruit, mobilize and recognize an that . About Influitive 2013 Cool Vendor in Social Marketing
    3. 3. 3 The modern B2B company generates demand using multiple means, featuring effective content OutboundInbound Advocate WOM
    4. 4. 4 Advocate-generated content is highly relevant Salespeople Colleagues & peers Whose content are buyers more likely to trust?
    5. 5. 5 Customer advocates drive the most efficient buying process Source: B2B company survey; Analyst materials; Influitive model
    6. 6. 6 Your company is no longer in control of the buying process! 75% 25% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 2006 2010 2014F Dependence on knowledgeable peers in the buying process (B2B software buyers) Initiates process Initiates contact Purchase complete 75% of buying process complete before B2B buying interacts with company!
    7. 7. 7 You can drive customer advocate WOM
    8. 8. 8 Referrals Product reviewsBlog comment s Advocacy lives across the customer lifecycle ReferencesRetweets, lik es, shares Discover Media interviews User groups Product surveys Customer Advisory Boards Analyst interview s Consider, Retain, Inspire Purchase
    9. 9. 9 Well-executed advocate programs drive WOM performance The common elements of all advocate programs: Tasks Scores Rewards & recognition
    10. 10. 10
    11. 11. 11
    12. 12. 12 Why do people advocate…? It’s hard-wired into our brains! Amygdala Emotional rewards Orbitofrontal cortex Judgment of relative value – reciprocity – social survival skills
    13. 13. 13 1. Part of the Team What Motivates Advocates?
    14. 14. 14 What Motivates Advocates? 2. Measurable Impact
    15. 15. 15 What Motivates Advocates? 3. Social Currency
    16. 16. 16 EXTREME ADVOCATE PRODUCTIVITY More than 4.3 activities per session! Advocate-centered Comprehensive Self-service Influitive’s unique approach to advocate programs
    17. 17. 17 When customers market for you… …beautiful things happen! more customer engagement, support and content 55% Value of user generated content created by each new advocate: $135K 17 positive product comments 26 customer videos 500% more award submissions
    18. 18. 18 Introducing – the Ektronauts!
    19. 19. 19 Fred’s mission: Develop customer references and testimonials that accelerate the sales cycle and enhance Ektron’s reputation in the marketplace. Integrated advocate marketing at
    20. 20. 20 500% increase in award submissions 26 customer videos captured in 2 days 17 positive product reviews on Quora #1 search result in Google! Integrated advocate marketing at
    21. 21. 21 White paper/ebook Speaking engagements SDR outreach Referral campaigns Sharing the content Customer testimonials & case studies Capture 50%+ market share in the HR software space with astonishing speed A seamless and integrated approach to demand generation, with advocates at the core Inbound Outbound Marketing element: Advocate engagement:
    22. 22. Supercharge your Sales Process with Advocates June 20, 2013 Mark Organ, CEO @markorgan #advocates