More and more companies are starting to implement strategies and systems to leverage customers, customers and 3rd party influencers to become sales and marketing channels. And they are doing it with great success.
Why customers make a good sales and marketing channel
There are many reasons why customers have the potential to be a powerful sales and marketing channel for your brand. First, in today’s connected world, customers can reach their social networks on the brands behalf, easily and often. They have a strong voice. In addition, customers are typically very knowledgeable about your products and services and a good percentage of them are passionate about the company. Lastly, their friends listen to them and they can drive your brands message. More than ever before, buyers look to a trusted source before making a purchase decision. Customers can and will reach out to their social networks and spread a brand’s message, especially if they are encouraged and enabled to do so.
What customers can do to drive sales and marketing productivity
Customers do many things that are very important to the brand. They can:
- Introduce their friends to your product or services
- Recruit new hires and great talent
- Amplify marketing messages
- Forward content about new products and promotions
- Write testimonials
Even better? They can do these things at scale.
The benefits of recruiting customers to become brand advocates
The benefits are impressive. Attracting new and retaining current customers is crucial for a successful business. Enabling and encouraging customers to refer their friends, brands can:
- Build brand awareness and build a highly positive reputation
- Generate the highest quality leads – leads that drive new customer acquisition
- Create higher levels of customer enthusiasm and loyalty to your company
- Save money and lower risk when compared to traditional advertising and marketing initiatives
Although customer advocacy isn’t a new concept, in the past it has been an operational nightmare to create and manage these programs. But today’s technology has made it easy for administrators to set up, support and manage advocacy programs. Technology makes it easy to:
- Enroll customers into the program
- Provide customers the tools to easily reach out to their networks
- Track and manage all the workflows and controls so brands can measure results all the way through to a sale.
- Automate the process of brands thanking and nurturing customers for their contributions so they continue to advocate on behalf of the brand
This is not a future pipedream. We have seen some very compelling case studies. I have seen accounts has over 1.2 M customers registered to take part in a program, and these customers made over 1.0 M referrals, which generated over 400,000 new acquisitions last year alone.
Mobilizing customers, employees and 3rd party influencers to leverage their trusted relationships is happening everywhere because it is smart business: they are the sales and marketing channels of the future.
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