referral strategy, referral sources, referral program, referral partners

Now that you have identified your referral sources, developed your recruitment strategy and created a sales enablement plan, it’s time to create a referral strategy for enabling your referral sources with everything they need to make informed referrals of your target buyers.

Once a referral source has registered, they need to have access to a portal that not only gives them the functionality to refer, but provides them with all the information they need to make an informed referral.

To do this, start by developing your target buyer profile if you haven’t already.

Developing a target buyer profile for your referral strategy

A key component in enabling your referral sources is ensuring they understand your target buyer profile. Creating this kind of content means first breaking down the traits of your target company into straightforward categories. Let’s start with these six steps.

Step-1: Layout how big your target company normally is. This involves listing the typical revenue range of your target company and the number of employees they normally have.

Step-2: List the industries you most commonly target.

Step-3: Name the type of offering your target companies normally have. This could be:

  • Simple products
  • Simple services
  • Complex products
  • Complex services

Step-4: Figure out what your target companies’ typical go-to-market model is. For instance:

  • Brick & mortar
  • eCommerce
  • Direct Sales
  • Resellers/distributors

Step-5: Figure out if there are any key technologies your target companies use or offer.

Step-6: Evaluate your target companies’ presence relative to competitors. Are they small, medium or large? And are the companies you’re targeting experiencing declining, sustaining or growing revenue?

Once these questions are answered, you can move on to breaking down the key traits that define the buying unit or department of your target companies.

For this, focus in on who the buying department is and ask yourself these six questions about that department:

  1. What are their key needs and challenges?
  2. What are their goals?
  3. What situation/behavior is a signal of need/intent to buy your solution?
  4. What alternative solution are they using today?
  5. What is the value your solution offers relative to the status quo?
  6. Who are the key titles involved in the purchase and the role they play?

Answering these question will help to ensure that you are enabling your referral sources with all the information they need.

Create training content for your referral sources

Once you have created your target buyer profile for your referral sources, there are still a variety of different enablement resources that you can provide through your referral software portal. This will ensure your referral sources can communicate the right message to a target buyer and make proper use of your referral program. Here are the different types of content you can create:

  • Product description – Write a description of the product or service you want your referral sources to refer.
  • Value proposition – Develop content that will help a referral source communicate the specific value of the product or service that applies to each individual target buyer.
  • Customer-facing product info – Offer content that the referral source can share with target buyers to grow their interest and get them to agree to a meeting.
  • Incentive rules – Create incentive information that informs referral sources on how they can earn incentives and grow their incentive.
  • How to make a one-to-one referral ask – Not all referral sources will know the best ways and time to ask for a referral. If you are including social media in your program, it is especially important to reinforce the ways it can be used to make a one-to-one introduction versus an awareness blast.
  • How to ensure the referral gets entered – To avoid any lost referrals, provide information that reinforces the different ways referrals can be entered into the system and tracked.
  • What happens to a referral lead – Referral sources want visibility into what happens after they make a referral. Provide them with an overview of the process – who the lead gets routed to, how it’s handled, what happens if it is unqualified, the various points at which they will receive updates on the sales process progress and what happens when the referral makes a purchase. This includes how and when they are going to get paid.
  • How a referral source can access their data – Referral sources need transparency into the status of their referrals and rewards earned/paid. Let them know how they can access this information so you don’t get calls wondering what happened to a referral.

To help guide you through this portion of referral source enablement, download the full worksheet.