B2B Referral Program

Developing An Effective B2B Referral Program That Works

If we asked you what the most powerful tool in a salesperson’s toolbox was, what would you say?

Cold calling? Email? Live events?

Actually, studies show that it might just be their current customers! B2B sales referrals are extremely powerful. Not only do they shorten the sales cycle and make a prospect more likely to buy, but they’re also more likely to stick around for the long-term. 

Why Should I Have a B2B Sales Referral Program in Place?

Let’s have a look at statistics below:

  • B2B companies with referrals experience a 70% higher conversion rate
  • Referred customers’ lifetime value (LTV) is 16% higher than that of non-referred customers
  • Referral leads have a 30% higher conversion rate than leads from any other channel
  • Referrals account for 65% of companies’ new deals.

If you have been thinking of implementing a formal B2B referral plan for your sales team, don’t wait! It might be one of the best things you can possibly do for your B2B lead generation and customer retainment.

But how do you begin building an effective B2B referral program? What are some B2B referral program best practices you need to know before you begin? 

In this blog, we’ll cover all that and more. So, read on!

B2B Sales Referral Program
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How to Set Up Your B2B Referral Program 

Let’s look at the process of creating a B2B referral program, step-by-step:

First, Look for Ways to Improve Your Customer Service 

The very first thing you should do before beginning a customer referral plan is to take a good, hard look at your current customer service practices. 

The only way that clients and customers are going to go out of their way to refer your business to a friend or colleague is if they have had a superb experience with your company. And this starts with customer service. 

Do an internal audit (working with your customer relations team) on what customer satisfaction currently looks like and ways you can improve upon it. Even if this requires a little investment upfront in the form of new software, more representatives, etc., it will likely pay dividends in helping drive your referral program. 

Next, Set Your Goals

Once you’re sure that your customer service is top-notch, begin to set your goals for your referral program.

Do you want to generate just a few leads per month? Or are you looking for referrals to drive the majority of your business? Outlining key metrics and goals for your program will give a clear idea of the work that’s going to be required to implement it and what resources you may need. 

Determine What Makes a Great Client

Next, you’ll need to take a look at your current client or customer base and identify what makes a great client. 

If you’re going after referrals, it’s important to note that you don’t want to be referred to just anyone. In order for your program to work, customers need to be recommending your business to the right type of people. Afterall, getting a bunch of referrals from clients that aren’t a great fit for your business not only drains resources, but it can also damage current client relationships. 

In order to avoid this, note a few things that you are looking for in clients. This could be:

  • Current company size
  • Budget
  • Industry
  • Demeanor
  • Contract length requirements, etc.

You’ll need to be able to communicate this list to the clients you get in touch with when asking for referrals, so make it as clear as possible. We will dive into how to make the ask a little further down in this article.

B2B referral Program
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Look at Your Current List of Happy Customers and Identify Potential Referral Sources

This next step should be pretty easy considering you now know what makes a great customer! Birds of a feather normally flock together, so it’s likely that your current customers with whom you have great relationships with know others who might fit your ideal customer profile. 

Make a list of your best customers. Look back at your interactions with them and review their activity with your business. Make sure you are fully aware of where each relationship stands before moving onto the next step:

Create Incentives

Decide what you’ll offer your current clients or customers in exchange for a referral. Sometimes, this isn’t even required! Happy customers are normally more than willing to recommend you to their contacts if they’ve had a good experience with you. If you believe that’s the case with your clients, you can skip this step. 

However, it’s never a bad idea to offer an incentive if you think it will be highly beneficial for the client. You can give discounts, extra services, swag, or really anything that makes sense for your business— use your creativity. 

Have your potential incentive in mind when you are ready to take the next step: making the actual ask to your customers.

Making the Ask  

When you’re ready to reach out to your list of great customers (that you made in the step above) including the following information in your email or conversation:

  • Some way in which you’ve added value for this particular customer
  • What you’re looking for in future clients
  • That you’re launching a referral program, and
  • Your incentive (if applicable)

Conclude your ask by thanking your client and asking them to simply keep this information in mind for the future. Or, if they seem interested, ask them if they are aware of anyone who could benefit from your company’s expertise.

Looking for More Ways to Generate Quality B2B Leads?

If you are looking for more ways to fill your pipeline with qualified, quality leads, check out Leads at Scale. Our professional team of outbound sales professionals can help you reach thousands of prospects each month, adding business to your pipeline and freeing up time for your sales team to focus on closing new business and generating referrals.

Schedule a free demo here to learn more. 

John Dubay

John Dubay is the Managing Partner at Leads at Scale, an outsourced sales support company that helps B2B companies generate well-qualified leads at scale, ready to be closed.

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