Word-of-mouth customer advocacy drives over $6 trillion in sales annually for businesses. And for a B2B SaaS company—there has to be a strong Customer Success strategy in place before tapping into the power of customer advocacy. Customer Success, when done well, naturally encourages buyer loyalty by producing good customer experiences that build long-lasting relationships with your brand. If your B2B SaaS company hasn't given serious thought to enabling customers to become an extension of your marketing team, maybe it's time you did!
What is Customer Advocacy?
Between 2020 and 2021, businesses had to weather one of the worse economic downturns in history. It quickly became clear that retaining a business's current customers was more feasible than expending scarce resources to attract more. This led to a surge in the customer advocacy movement that continues to stay strong as we move into a post-COVID economy.
Customer advocacy occurs when a business prioritizes providing a positive customer experience whenever and wherever buyers engage a company's brand, products, and services. This can include user-friendly interfaces, websites, mobile apps, personalized content that delivers actual value, products that solve real problems, and world-class customer experiences.
If we divide the B2B SaaS market between profit-driven companies versus customer-driven companies, profit-driven companies tend to view interactions with buyers as purely transactional. On the other hand, customer-driven companies place a premium on customer happiness and tend to view every encounter with a buyer as an opportunity to start a relationship.
Businesses that advocate for their customers reap the benefits of having buyers advocate for them. People who purchase from a customer-centric SaaS company are more likely to walk away from each engagement feeling supported and valued. As a result, customers are more likely to recommend your products and services while continuing to return as a buyer as they move from role to role, company to company.
Annually customer advocacy is responsible for 13% of all sales, and that percentage compounds with each passing year, delivering an exponential increase in customer lifetime value. Customer advocacy not only drives profits; it's also responsible for driving brand awareness. 28% of people say word-of-mouth increases their positive perception of a brand and, as the age-old saying goes, perception is reality. Positivity can be contagious, so marketers widely consider word-of-mouth the most effective form of marketing.
How Can You Promote Customer Advocacy in Your B2B SaaS Business?
Transforming your customers into an extension of your marketing team starts with a solid Customer Success strategy. Customer Success Operations, or CS Ops, is responsible for guiding and optimizing the customer journey from beginning to end. Because Customer Success is involved in each customer's overall experience, CS Ops teams work cooperatively with other departments, including Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Operations, to optimize the customer experience from every angle. An effective Customer Success model lays the foundation for building customer loyalty and ensures every role within an organization that interacts with customers prioritizes buyer happiness.
How to Build a Customer Advocacy Program in your B2B SaaS Company
The first step in building a customer advocacy program is creating a profile that represents your ideal advocate. Next, begin targeting happy customers who fall within the parameters of that profile with personalized content. Lastly, recruit them to be participants in your customer advocacy program.
You may want to also consider using incentives. Offering special perks or preferential services can go a long way toward encouraging potential advocates to contribute. When customers understand what they stand to gain, they are likely to be even more enthusiastic about spreading the word about your business.
Customer advocacy comes in many forms; below are a few of the most common methods that have the highest likelihood of making a meaningful impact:
- Social Sharing: If you have customers that are active on social media, especially those with a sizable following, encouraging social sharing may be very effective. You can provide customers with graphics and other branded content to share on social channels.
- Product Reviews: Buyers often read product reviews when trying to make informed purchases. Positive customer reviews are invaluable, especially when they include specific feedback regarding one of your products or services.
- Customer Quotes & Testimonials: Enthusiastic customers may choose to share positive feedback about their experience with your products and services through a testimonial. These quotes can be very effective when used in presentations, on your website, or on your company's social media platforms.
- Customer Referrals: It's hard to imagine a higher compliment than having one of your customers recommend your products or services to a friend. Customer referrals are a potent form of customer advocacy because they have such a high trust factor.
- Customers As Members of Your Advisory Board: Inviting select customers to sit on your advisory board can make a world of difference in shaping the overall experiences of your customers. Customers can provide unique insight that will help determine your business's strategies, product roadmap, and other areas of focus.
To evaluate the effectiveness of your customer advocacy efforts, you must set goals. Create a list of metrics you will want to track to measure your program's success. Remember, you don't have to do all of this on your own. Incorporate tools such as Vitally's Customer Success platform to automate tasks like targeted customer outreach and tracking and measuring performance data.
Customer advocacy is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to B2B SaaS companies. If a business has a strong Customer Success strategy, creating customer advocates almost becomes inevitable.
Vitally helps Customer Success teams build natural customer loyalty and extend customer lifetime value. Our dedicated CS platform unifies your customer data across tech stacks and automates day-to-day tasks so your team can focus on creating world-class customer experiences. Request a free demo and see how we can help you start building enhanced customer loyalty today!