I’ve interviewed a lot of customer advocacy professionals about the skills they view as ‘must haves’ for success in this career field. Multi-tasking, being detail-oriented, the ability to work with cross-functional groups often are mentioned as bread and butter skills. However, there’s one skill that I often see the most successful advocacy pros doing well that they almost never mention – the art of being a master salesperson.
If you’re scratching your head at that one, let me explain.
The most successful customer advocacy managers are continually securing buy-in from internal stakeholders. The use case for customer advocacy changes depending on the role of the person you’re talking to within an organization. Sales will use a customer advocate much differently than your CFO will on an investor call. Therefore it’s vital as a customer advocacy manager that you understand all the potential ways a customer advocate touches your organization and are able to clearly articulate the various use cases for advocacy within each department. It’s your job as the owner of that program to “sell” internal stakeholders on these uses (and more importantly the benefits for them) to maintain their buy-in and participation. That means pivoting your talking points slightly based on your given audience – just like a master salesman.
Customer advocacy is utilized differently depending on a given role at the organization. For example…
- Sales Team – Traditionally sales uses customer advocacy early in the sales cycle to build credibility through case studies or near the end of the cycle via a request for a customer reference, like a 1:1 call between the prospect and current customer.
- Marketing Team – Marketing may think about advocacy more as an online review to showcase social proof, testimonial quote they can feature on a product sheet or webpage, social media engagement or a written case study.
- Customer Success Team – The Customer Success team sees customer advocacy as a health marker for a good target customer for upsell, cross sell and retention. If their happy customer is sharing their story publicly, chances are probably good for a positive renewal conversation.
- Public Relations Team – The PR team
may be thinking
of customer advocacy as a request from a reporter or analyst looking to speak with a customer
or a speaking slot they’d like to fill at an industry event.
- Customer-to-Customer: In the world of social media, conversations about the brand happen at all times on their own between current customers and future customers. So for them, organic customer advocacy happens via a LinkedIn message or community board.
Knowing how each stakeholder in your organization values the role of customer advocacy, and how each benefit from using it enables customer marketing managers to tailor their approaches and become an irreplaceable member at their organization. To get a full list of these stakeholders and a “cheat sheet” of what to say to each to position the value of a customer advocacy program, download this Customer Advocacy Business Case eBook today.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the success story is told in print, as part of a speaking opportunity, or in a personal conversation. The goal of customer advocacy management remains the same: to engage, organize, amplify and share the customer story in ways that can help create market impact, differentiate your brand and sell your product or service.