B2B Referral Marketing: Things You Can Be Doing Better

Table of Contents

B2B referral marketing can be a powerful strategy for generating high-quality leads and driving business growth. Our clients typically come to us with a number of questions. How do I increase my B2B referrals? How can I better grow my business through referrals? How do I measure the success of my B2B referral program? Let’s answer these and more.

To improve your B2B referral marketing efforts, consider the following key areas:

Clearly Define Your Ideal Customer/Client

This will help you focus your referral efforts on the right audience who are more likely to refer your business to others. The more clearly you define the emotional needs, pain points, and goals of your specific target market, the more effective you will be with your messaging. For B2B, it is critically important to also identify the decision maker and then the actual user of your product or service. Sometimes these are not the same. For example, if you sell sales enablement software as we do, the decision maker may be the sales leader, CMO, or CTO,  but the user may be their sales professionals. Your messaging will need to reflect that.

Provide Exceptional Customer Experiences

Deliver outstanding products or services and ensure your customers have a positive experience. Satisfied customers are more likely to refer your business to others. Implement customer feedback loops, address any issues promptly, and go the extra mile to exceed expectations. The old saying that “satisfaction = expectations realized” applies here. Tell your customers/clients what to expect then deliver on that promise.. 

Develop A Referral Program 

Establish a structured referral program that incentivizes and rewards customers, partners, or employees for referring new customers/clients to your business. Create clear guidelines, offer attractive rewards, and make the referral process easy and straightforward. Any successful B2B referral program should have a minimum of 3 core components. First, it must be technology-based and fully automated to make it easy for all involved. If your program requires too many people to change too much behavior – it won’t work. Second, it must not only generate quality referrals – but contain a process to convert them to ideal clients. Lastly, your program should produce quality meetings from requests for consultations – not a bunch of low-quality leads you still have to chase. For a program that has been built by producers for producers, check this one out

Cultivate Strong Relationships

Build strong relationships with your existing customers, partners, and industry influencers. Actively engage with them, provide value, and foster a sense of community. The stronger your relationships, the more likely they will refer your business to others. This may sound obvious, , but we come across so many busy professionals who find this challenging because of time constraints. Many also feel guilty that they don’t do that often enough with enough relationships and question how referable they really are. If that sounds like you, we built a 2-minute referral intelligence quiz you can take to test how referrable you may be to help you at least establish a baseline. 

Leverage Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful motivator for referrals. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and testimonials on relevant platforms, such as your website, social media channels, Google, and industry-specific review sites. These testimonials can influence potential customers and increase referral likelihood. Video testimonials can be a very effective way to do that. The more personal and authentic those are, the more effective they can be. Here’s an example of one to provide some direction. Just scroll down to the middle of the page and click on the video. 

Create Referral Marketing Collateral

Develop marketing collateral specifically designed for referral purposes. This may include referral cards, email templates, social media posts, or even branded content that makes it easy for your advocates to share information about your business with their network. Experiment with short-form and long-form written content (such as whitepapers to demonstrate your expertise – here is an example of one that is popular with our referral sources), and short and long video content. One of the most effective approaches we are seeing lately is 1-3 minute personal videos sharing the who, what, why, and how of you and your business in an authentic way. 

Offer Valuable Incentives

Incentives can be a significant motivator for referrals. In fact, recent research suggests that using incentives in your B2B referral process can increase referrals by 50%! Consider offering a range of incentives such as discounts, exclusive access to new features, free upgrades, or even cash rewards. The most popular incentive with our clients is Amazon gift cards.Tailor your incentives to match the preferences of your target audience. If you are in a highly regulated industry and can’t offer financial incentives, go with something else meaningful. You can simply integrate messaging such as “help someone you care about” or “we make it easy for you to make a difference with someone or a business you care about and want to help”. 

Track and Measure Results

There is an old saying that has always resonated with me. Don’t do what you can’t measure. As a former senior executive for a Fortune 50 company, I was continuously frustrated that we spent millions trying to train our people on referral marketing, but had few ways to measure the success of those investments because we lacked a technology-based system to do that. That is one of the most useful features of our business referral system. No matter what system you use, make sure yours allows you to implement robust tracking and measurement mechanisms to monitor performance.. Identify the sources of your referrals, measure conversion rates, and analyze the lifetime value of referred customers. This data will help you refine your approach and optimize your referral marketing strategy. 

Remember, building a successful B2B referral marketing program takes time and consistent effort. Continually evaluate your strategy, adapt to changing market conditions, and seek feedback from your referrers to make improvements along the way. Like anything else worthwhile, doing better often requires us to be self-aware to know when we may need some help with improving a program. Given our experience and proven B2B referral program, nothing makes us happier than working with clients committed to improvement!

ReferMe IQ™ is passionate about helping organizations build high-growth referral-based businesses with their ”state of the art” automated referral platform. Peter S. Velardi is an accomplished senior executive and entrepreneur who has impacted thousands of individuals and organizations to build a fast-growing referral-based business.

If you’d like to learn more about any of the topics discussed, please click here.

Post author: Peter S. Velardi

Share this article with a friend

Create an account to access this functionality.
Discover the advantages