Advocacy: The Common Thread Tying Business Together

There are so many products out there in the marketplace. Especially in the B2B SaaS world where it’s all about features and price and spinning a value prop to assure someone you’re better than the competitor. It’s a world where the customer can switch providers with a snap of their fingers and take their dollar elsewhere if they don’t value their relationship with you or your solution anymore.

There is one common thread that runs through every stage of the buyer’s journey. It runs through every stage of the customer lifecycle. It even runs through every Sales, Marketing and Customer Success strategy. It’s the voice of your customer. The voice of the customer is the common asset that impacts every aspect of business. Activating the voice of the customer as the common thread tying existing customers, strategic business activities and new customers together is the key to success in modern business. It’s the opportunity literally sitting beneath our noses waiting to be optimized.

One metric that proves this common thread theory is revenue. Salespeople like to claim companies are driven by sales. While Marketers argue it’s driven by demand generation. Still Customer Success Managers stake the claim the business would cease to exist at all without a base of happy successful customers to begin with. Well, what if all three are actually correct? They just need to be speaking in the same terms. How do you do that? With customer advocacy and revenue.

Revenue is the literal translation of advocacy’s role throughout marketing, sales, customer success and reveals its impact on driving new business. Think about it…

  • Sales speaks and lives for revenue, they’re entirely driven on closing that next deal. Well, customer references, testimonials and customer success content play a large role in closing business and securing that revenue.
  • Whenever Marketing ties their programs to revenue by showing those customer referrals they generated, the customer speakers they secured to speak at that event or the PR push using customer stories drove qualified leads which lead to that revenue, it gets Sales’ attention.
  • When Customer Success ties the number of customers they improved health scores so Marketing could do those activities and helped Sales drive upsell opportunities which increased revenue, it gets both department’s attention.

 

When executive managers finally see and understand how many touchpoints customers are influencing by their advocacy and the number of departments advocacy improves, they often change their tune. They realize customer references and customer advocacy is not just some dinky program sitting over in the corner. It’s a strategic value driver.

With the right technology stack and correct integrations within it, the common thread of advocacy’s impact on revenue is easily and seamlessly connected. But how do you track it when all three departments use disparate systems? What is the right stack? One that integrates all of the following:

  • Sales CRM (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, etc.)
  • Marketing Automation (Marketo, Eloqua, etc.)
  • Customer Success Platforms (Gainsight, Totango, etc.)
  • Customer Advocacy Platforms (RO Innovation, Influitive, TechValidate, etc.)

When all of these systems share data about how, when, where and which customer voices are being used, regardless of buyer stage or owner of that customer relationship, a complete story is told. Revenue can be tracked and attributed end-to-end. ROI and total value of the customer can be calculated because all the metrics and information is there. Howard Tarnoff, VP of Customer Success at Ceridian, simply puts it this way about companies that make it or break it today: “There are only two types of companies: ones ahead of the game who are already taking advantage of this ‘4 legged stool’ tech stack, and ones that will.”

Basically, without this foundational tech stack, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to prove the value of the voice of the customer. You’re missing a way to tie it together via that common language of revenue impact. Your missing out on the way to make your brand rise above the rest.

Nichole Auston
Director, Content Marketing at RO Innovation
Nichole Auston is the Director of Content Marketing at RO Innovation. With a background in digital marketing and nearly a decade of experience managing marketing programs for a variety of SaaS companies, she’s passionate about sharing insights, best practices and stories about sales enablement and customer reference management, and the people and technology that power it.
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