How to Generate Referrals with Your CRM
Referrals are a critical part of any business, but it’s particularly crucial for B2Bs. You’re not going to use social media or advertising in the same way that a B2C will, and when people are making purchasing decisions on behalf of their company, they want to be sure they’re making the best choice. Hearing from a friend or colleague that they’ve worked with you in the past and would recommend your services is hugely beneficial.
That’s why establishing a referral program is a great way for B2Bs, like marketing consultants, to get their referral engine up and running, and to establish a process for your happy clients to continue to recommend you well into the future.
Your CRM tool is great for lots of things, and one of them is managing a referral program. With a clear-cut way to track interactions with clients and email segmentation tools at your disposal, CRMs make it easy to ensure that your existing customers remain happy (and willing to refer you!) and that you stay on top of providing a highly personalized experience to those valuable customers.
Structuring Your Referral Program
The first step to creating a great referral program is understanding what kind of offer your clients would find valuable. Looking at the data on your existing customers can help you hone in on the best offering. If you work with a lot of customers who are in tech, then offering something like an iPad as a referral bonus is probably not a great idea—it’s likely that if they’re tech-savvy they already have all of the gadgets on the market. Perhaps a discount on the next product or service they purchase from you would be more enticing.
You want the reward for the referral to be something valuable so that it adds real incentive for them to pass your name along. Understanding who your customers are can help you settle upon an offer that’s appealing to them and manageable for you.
Let Your Customers Know About the Program
Once you’ve established the structure for your referral program, you want to let all of your clients know about it. Of course you can post on your website and social media about your exciting new offer, but you’ll also want to use email segmentation to go after those returning customers who are most likely to refer you.
After your program gets up and running, you want to reach out to each new customer to let them know about the program. Every time you finish up a project for a new client, send them a personalized email thanking them for their business and asking them to consider your program. After that initial note, you can add them in to a group for customers who have not yet referred in your CRM so that you’re able to track their behavior collectively and to send them gentle reminders about your referral offer.
Use CRM to Build Referral Champions
The only thing that’s more valuable than one referral is two referrals. When you can create referral champions for your business, those who refer you again and again, you’re able to position yourself for long term success.
How does a CRM help you do that? Flag those who have referred you once before in your CRM. These are people who should be getting extra special attention from you. When you see that they posted on social media about your new book, send them a copy. When they reach out expressing interest in your most recent white paper, let them know about an upcoming webinar you’re running on a related topic and offer them a spot.
While a CRM is great for allowing you to provide all of your customers with highly personalized service, you want to double-check that you’re hitting all the right marks with those who have already vouched for your business. When they continue to receive outstanding, thoughtful service from you, they’ll be likely to continue to pass your name along to others.
Staying in Touch with Existing Customers
One of the best ways to continue to generate referrals is to remind your customers that you exist. Again, this is where CRMs come in handy. Since they track all of your interactions with each client, you can see when it’s been a while since you’ve heard from someone. CRMs help you establish a regular rhythm for checking back in on those clients who haven’t reached out to you recently.
You can use your CRM data to send them a personalized follow-up. Let’s say you have a client that you performed an SEO audit for three months ago, but you haven’t heard from them since. Reach out, checking in on what changes they’ve made to their online approach based on what they learned from the audit. Attach a white paper that you wrote on some of the latest best practices when it comes to SEO. If you don’t hear back, reach out again at a later time offering a related service, maybe with a discount for returning customers.
CRMs are great because they keep you from letting any clients fall through the cracks. Sometimes you happen to send an email to a former client who hasn’t used your services in a while, just as they’re fielding a request from a friend for a recommendation for a great local marketing consultant. If an email from you hit their inbox the same day, you have a good shot at being the name they recommend to their friend.
When you’re running a marketing consulting business, most of your leads will come through referrals. That’s why your existing customers are gold. Not only is it possible that they’ll come back to you when they have another marketing need pop up, they’re also the people who will advocate for your business. Making sure that they’re happy, incentivized, and keep your business top of mind is the secret to generating referrals. And with a CRM tool, you’re able to make sure you’re staying in touch with each of your customers in the most effective way possible.
If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Customer Relationship Management.