Customer advocacy is a potent resource that is surprisingly untapped by even the savviest companies for reasons that range from time and resource constraints to lacking the right expertise. That means that a lot of companies are leaving a lot of value on the table, from revenue growth to increased loyalty to improved competitiveness. That’s not to mention customer advocates are 2-3 times more effective in persuading others to make a purchase and 70% more likely to be perceived as a good source of information. This is especially true in B2B where potential customers rely on firsthand experiences from others that have faced the same challenges they are trying to address.
And yet, many organizations have the faintest of customer advocacy programs where case studies, testimonials, and referrals are the extent of advocacy efforts. They don’t realize how a fully developed customer advocacy program can impact and improve the success of the entire organization.
Cultivating customer advocates doesn’t have to be a time-intensive or soul-crushing endeavor. In fact, little focus and organization can deliver a dramatic impact across the organization. Below are four examples of how a sustained and scalable customer advocacy effort can deliver measurable business outcomes:
1. Product Insight and Roadmap
A Customer Advisory Board (CAB) is like your Customer Board of Directors who are tasked to provide you feedback and direction to improve every facet of your company, from business strategy to product to delivery and support. Pulling together a diverse group of customers (from the very happy to the not so thrilled) provides you access to unfiltered opinions about what it’s like to be one of your customers. They will share feedback about current products/services and offer input into what they would like to see. Their feedback enables you to improve the current customer experience and shape your product roadmap to match the needs and wants of your customers. Your CAB is designed to make you more competitive.
Another nice benefit your CAB gives you is a group of powerful and invested champions and evangelists who have bought into your success because they have been a part of shaping your future.
2. Sales and Marketing Enablement
Capturing the attention of current and potential customers can be amplified by customer advocacy. Voice of the customer content, such as case studies, testimonials, and referrals, are powerful proof of positive customer experiences and excellent sales and marketing tools.
You can increase the power and relevance of your customer content by developing a repository of specific use cases. By getting more granular, you can equip your sales team with better, more specific sales collateral with stories that resonate stronger with potential customers.
Your ability to secure case studies and testimonials from customers is also indicative of the health of your business. If your Net Promoter Score shows you only have a handful of advocates or happy customers, something is clearly amiss and needs to be addressed by your Customer Success team.
3. Churn Reduction
Churn is a challenge every company faces and reflects one simple fact – something has made your customers want to leave. The real kicker here is that customer churn means you’re losing revenue you fought so hard (and spent so much) to earn and it makes growing doubly hard because you need to first replace that lost revenue before you can achieve net new revenue growth.
A simple way to reduce churn is to leverage your Net Promoter Score to identify your unhappy customers - also known as at-risk revenue. Once flagged, your Customer Success team can reach out to these accounts in jeopardy and find out what’s going on so you can address the problem before they leave. Demonstrating that you’re invested in their happiness and correcting their concerns is one of the best ways to not only stop churn, but to develop your staunchest advocates and supporters.
4. Revenue Growth
Customer advocacy is a potent revenue driver, with a 12% increase in customer advocacy leading to a 200% increase in revenue growth. Business growth due to customer advocacy can be quantifiably linked by several methods, including calculating the revenue generated by referrals, the percentage of revenue influenced by your CAB, the percentage reduction in churn, and the percentage growth of your current revenue.
A robust customer advocacy program can be the catalyst to elevate your business, thrill your customers, and hit revenue targets. And with 58% of companies unaware who their brand advocates are, this is a prime opportunity to engage your customers and toast your competitors.