SalesMarketing, Sirius Decisions

Advocating for Customer Advocates

Bob Peterson from SiriusDecisions shares the value of customer advocacy at different points of the buying cycle. View his entire presentation here.

Happy customers are your business’s best advocates, so why
don’t more companies have formal customer advocacy programs? In many
organizations, the culture of the company drives a customer-centric philosophy
but is that enough to make the most of your customer relationships and really
impact the business?

These questions and more were covered at MassTLC’s recent
roundtable “Mobilizing Your Company’s Advocates to Boost B2B Sales and
Marketing Efforts.” The roundtable featured a panel of experts with broad
experience and perspectives on the benefits of customer advocacy and how it can
impact sales and marketing.  The audience
actively participated in the session providing examples of customer advocacy
efforts in our organizations and asking questions such as: Who should own an
advocacy program? At what stage(s) of the sales process do advocates add the
most value? Are tactics such as writing case studies and having customers
present on webinars or at events enough or does every company need a strategy
for customer advocacy?  
Having spent much of my career in small technology companies
that compete with the likes of Oracle, IBM and SAP, I can’t say enough about
the importance of leveraging customers as advocates and using these advocates
to complement traditional marketing and sales efforts. Research shows that
buyers want to hear from their peers during their vendor evaluation journey so
it’s critical for companies to know how and when these advocates can have the
most impact. Many organizations have decentralized activities specific to their
functional areas (sales manages sales references; marketing manages PR and
speaking references) and I believe collaborating cross-functionally is critical
to a successful customer advocacy program – but how you centralize the function
and maintain a focus on strategy, not just tactics, are unique to every
company. And just like any sales or marketing program, you need to determine
KPIs and establish benchmarks so you can measure your progress and
Does your organization have a formal customer advocacy
program? Do you leverage tactics such as references and case studies during the
sales process and, if so, do they add value to the buyer? I’d love to hear from
others on the strategies and tactics you’ve used to maximize the value of
customer advocates and learn more about the customer advocacy programs you’ve
Rachel Weeks is
director of marketing at HealthcareSource, the leading provider of talent
management software for HR professionals in the healthcare industry. Rachel excels
at driving marketing strategy, transforming marketing operations, and
developing relationships with colleagues, clients, and strategic partners.
Rachel is an active member of MassTLC and presented at the 2012 Marketing
Analytics Summit. You can connect with Rachel on

In addition, Influitive has shared a link to their advocate marketing playbook, chapter 1. It’s 5 chapters in total and if you register here you will receive the other chapters as they are published through the Fall. 

Thanks to our speakers for joining us;  Bob Peterson, SiriusDecision for moderating the discussion, Evan Jacobs from Rapid7, Tom Wentworth from Acquia and Mark Organ from Influitive.  Thank you to Acquia for hosting the program and to our sales and marketing community sponsors: Dassault Systemes, SiriusDecisions, KnowledgeVision and ZoomInfo.  

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