b2b word of mouth

5 Proven Ways to Leverage Customer Advocates in B2B

If you're a B2B marketer, you may be wondering how to drive more advocacy for your company and products.

Here are five proven ways to tap into the power of customer advocacy in B2B:

1. Get Advocates to create and post product reviews.

Reviews for business products and services are becoming more popular. Business sites like TrustPilot, G2 Crowd, and Spiceworks all feature user reviews. 

Hibu, a digital marketing services company, encourages Advocates to create and publish reviews for their products and services. Since starting their Advocate reviews program last year, Hibu's ratings have skyrocketed from two to eight stars on a popular business reviews site.

2. Encourage Advocates to create and share stories.

Stories are different than reviews.

Reviews usually focus on product features and functions. Stories, on the other hand, are often  about the overall experience customers are having with your company or about a topic or issue related to your company.

NursesRx, a company that places traveling nurses on assignments at hospitals and other health-care settings, conducted a highly successful Advocate stories campaign entitled: "I am Nurses Rx."

NursesRx generated hundreds of compelling, original stories from nurses who participated in this campaign, which helped bring their brand to life in a very human way.

3. Encourage Advocates to refer peers.

Referral marketing is highly cost-effective. In a recent study by Software Advice, B2B marketers rated referral marketing as one of the lowest-cost yet highest quality lead gen tactics. 

The key is having an "always-on" referral marketing system that makes it easy and rewarding for Advocates to refer peers.

Here's an example of how LeanKit, a client of Zuberance's, has solicited referral leads from Advocates.

4. Get Advocates to answer prospects' questions.

Let's imagine that Darren, a small business owner and prospect of yours, is thinking about subscribing to your software but is still on the fence.

Why not invite Darren to chat online with one of your Advocates?

That's exactly what Intuit QuickBooks is doing with its "Advocate Answers" program, which is managed and powered by Zuberance.

Pretty cool stuff, right? It's like a real-time, online customer reference program. You can even reward Advocates for answering prospects' questions.

5. Create an online community of your Advocates.

More B2B companies are creating by-invitation-only communities for their Advocates, where these customers can earn rewards for completing actions like the ones mentioned above.

Advocate Communities are Different that Customer Communities

Please don't confuse Advocate communities with online customer communities used primarily for peer-to-peer support, technical problem-solving, or product feedback.

Advocate communities differ in two major ways from customer communities:

  1. Advocate communities are for Advocates only. They are limited to highly-satisfied, enthusiastic customers who pro-actively recommend your company, products, or services. 
  2. Advocate communities have different goals and purposes than customer communities. The primary goal for an Advocate community is to encourage and enable Advocates to spread positive WOM and help drive sales via actions like referrals. This is not the case with a peer-to-peer support community.

Do You Need an Advocate Community?

You don't necessarily need an Advocate community to drive more advocacy and sales.

With Zuberance's cloud-based advocacy solution, you can engage and leverage your Advocates wherever they are -- and without requiring them to join a community.

How are you leveraging your B2B Advocates?

 

 

Check Out Upcoming Online Summit April 12 on Social Media for B2B

Date: April 12, 2012                  Time: All day event                  Price: FREE REGISTER NOW

Webcast provider, BrightTALK, is hosting an all day online summit on the topic of "Social B2B" on April 12 where our Founder/CEO, Rob Fuggetta, will be presenting on brand advocacy.

Social media has definitely been the buzz word for the last decade, but what makes it unique for B2B organizations? Does Facebook and Google+ work for B2B and is LinkedIn the best social network to engage professionals? Experts will share their best practices on social media programs aimed at the B2B buyer, social CRM and the important steps you need to take to become a social business.

Some of the presentations include:

  • How Three B2B Companies Are Leveraging Brand Advocates to Drive Sales featuring Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance
  • Mastering B2B Social Media featuring Kipp Bodnar, Inbound Marketing, Hubspot
  • The Shift to Social Business featuring Michael Brito, SVP Social Business, Edelman Digital
  • The Secrets of Building Online B2B Audiences with Social Media featuring Quoc-Thai Dang, Demand Generation Marketing Manager, BrightTALK
  • And more!

REGISTER NOW

Webinar Recording: Secrets of B2B Social Media & Word of Mouth Marketing #B2BWOM

Below is the recording from our recent webinar on "Secrets of B2B Social Media & Word of Mouth Marketing" during which top marketers with a breadth of experience running B2B marketing shared social media success stories from brands like Intuit, Adobe, Microsoft, and CDW.

View more videos from Zuberance
Speakers:
Key Takeaways:
  • Only 5% of Chief Marketing Officers rate their companies' online marketing performance as excellent.
  • B2B marketers say their top challenges are generating more leads, reaching decision makers, and improving lead quality.
  • One of CDW's best marketers and salespeople is "Hard-core" CDW Advocate, Justin Dorfman.
  • 83% of online consumers say online reviews influence their purchases.
  • Intuit found that Advocates love to share new product information before the public launch (beyond just discount offers.)
  • Companies can double their conversions by putting Advocate-generated recommendations on product pages.
  • 80% of Intuit's sales are driven by Word of Mouth.
  • Brand Advocates are your secret B2B marketing weapon- 90% of buyers trust Word of Mouth vs 14% trust ads.
  • Advocacy best practices: 1) Don't pay your Advocates. 2) Make Advocate/Word of Mouth marketing part of ongoing marketing mix. 3) Scale and track advocacy programs.
  • How to identify Advocates: Ask them The Ultimate Question, "How likely are you to recommend our brand/product to your friends and colleagues?"
  • Build your brand army by identifying Advocates across touch points: Email, website, call center, product page, social media, packaging, etc.
  • Advocates recommend because they've had a great experience with your brand/product and they want to help others.

We also conducted a poll during the webinar and asked the audience, "How much of your business comes from Word of Mouth?" ANSWER: 48% say that 50% or more of their business comes from WOM. (See results below.)

Make sure to download our "Top 5 Myths of B2B Word of Mouth" whitepaper.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

The Power of B2B Word of Mouth

Need more evidence that Word of Mouth is the most powerful driver of business for B2B marketers? 48% of B2B marketers say half or more of their business comes from Word of Mouth, according to a new Zuberance poll.

We conducted the poll during our September 21, 2011 webinar, “Secrets of B2B Social Media and Word of Mouth marketing.”

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance

How many B2B Advocates do you have?

From the upcoming book, “Energize! How to Turn Fans, Followers, & Brand Advocates into a Powerful Marketing Force” by Rob Fuggetta. Here’s one of the biggest myths about B2B Word of Mouth advocacy:

Only a small fraction – maybe 1% to 5%  – of customers recommend the business products and services they use.

In fact, about 50% of business customers are Advocates, our surveys of business people have found.

The percentage ranges from 24% for a telecommunications services company to 81% for an IT reseller. (See chart below.)

Our polls are not scientific surveys. But the results point to a clear finding: if you’re a B2B company, you’ve got more Advocates than you think.

If you have 100,000 end users, you may have an army of 50,000 highly trusted, influential, and social media-powered Advocates.

What’s the best way to find out how many customers you have are Advocates?

Ask them if they recommend you. It’s that simple.

Read more about what's fact and what's fiction in the world of B2B Word of Mouth marketing here.

-Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance

Intuit: Advocate Recommendations are game-changing for us

Laura Messerschmitt, Senior Marketing Manager at Intuit, discusses how Intuit is leveraging the Zuberance Advocate Platform to systematically energize Intuit Advocates at scale.

Questions discussed:

  • What was Intuit's marketing problem? (Beginning)
  • How is Intuit identifying its Advocates? (:28)
  • How is Intuit energizing its Advocates? (1:15)
  • What are the benefits for Intuit? (1:49)
  • Why Zuberance? (2:24)
  • How is Zuberance different? (3:01)

Intuit identified Advocates through newsletters, in-product touch points, Facebook, Twitter, and their private community, the "Inner Circle." They mobilized them to write and publish reviews to Amazon (with an estimated revenue impact in the millions), and to share offers like their "Love a Local Business" campaign, a program that gives out $100K in small business grants.

The Results:

  • Intuit has identified 69% of their customer base as Intuit Advocates
  • 30% Intuit Advocates have recommended the company in the form of writing a review or sharing an offer.
  • On average, Intuit is getting approximately 2.3 in-bound clicks from prospects from Advocate shares. That’s a 231% Recommendation Click-Through Rate (CTR), which is hundreds of times higher than typical CTRs.

Click here to learn more about how to turn your customers into a powerful marketing force.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance