Why you need customer advocates

Are you connecting with your customer advocates? If not, here’s why you should.

If you were asked who sells your products or services, you might get a perplexed look. It might seem an obvious answer. You may say, “sales and marketing”; however, increasingly, your customers are doing the job for you. These relationships are invaluable – they are your customer advocates.

Decision-making processes have changed little over time. Buyers expect to learn about products and services before they decide to purchase. It’s likely that until they have proof, they will “sit on the fence.” They are often resistant to the product marketing messages they read, untrusting of your emails and even the events that you organise. Selling features and benefits through traditional marketing tactics is not enough. Neither do buyers want a sales pitch. They want to hear from your customers to give them certainty that your solution can help them solve their problem.

An effective strategy is to put your happy customers, with similar pain points in front of these buyers at the right time in the sales cycle. You need to get customers to feel trust for your company and experience delight with your product or service throughout the entire customer journey. To do this well, you need to think beyond your value proposition. Your prospects need to have a reason to be excited about wanting to use your solutions. You want them to talk positively about your company within their networks.

How customer advocacy can deliver value to your business:

Accelerate sales pipeline and revenue

Sharing your advocates proof points is the fastest way to make buyers trust your solution. With sales cycles that are getting longer, and buyers more sceptical, the ability to demonstrate success is imperative in closing the loop more quickly, on sales.

Reach more decision-makers

Buyers are more likely to believe what other people say about you. Advocates can build buyers trust by sharing their stories on social networks, at events, and in case studies enabling you to reach a broader audience, more cost-effectively.

Increase retention, growth and satisfaction

By developing regular engagement with your advocates and knowing everything that they are using your solutions for, makes them feel valued and drives their success. What is the outcome? It’s a relationship which ensures long-term client retention, potential to grow that account and increased customer satisfaction.

Advocate marketing is today’s modern marketing

The approach of using satisfied customers to power your marketing and engagement strategies is known as advocate marketing. Your advocates can help you reach more people in a more credible way than spending your budget on the next event or campaign. You may already be doing some advocate marketing. For example, some of the tactics include; testimonials, case studies, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, speaking opportunities at industry events, and participation in community events and user groups/conferences. The list is endless.

Once you embrace advocate marketing in a structured marketing programme, you will find that customers can help you grow your business in remarkable ways.

Penny Thorn