B2B SaaS is competitive — the market is getting more crowded and growth isn’t just important, it’s expected. You’re likely being asked to do more with less, whether that be resources, budget, or a combination of the two. One growth lever that’s often overlooked? Customer advocates and champions.
Not only do loyal customers provide invaluable insights and feedback, but they also become champions of your brand, driving growth through recommendations, references, and case studies and testimonials.
You likely have a vague idea of a few champions — they’re the people being asked time and time again to help out. But how do you uncover those hidden champions you know exist, but have yet to identify?
Let’s get into it.
First, Understand Who Your Ideal Advocate Is
If you don’t know what makes someone a great advocate, you’ll be lost. So, before you start identifying customer advocates, you’ll need to define them.
Some questions to help you uncover what does — or does not — make someone a great champion include:
- Does the customer have a deep understanding of your product or service?
- Has the customer experienced significant value by using the product or service?
- Is the customer willing to participate in an advocacy program?
- Is the customer in a market, industry, or persona-type that you’re actively trying to engage?
- How long has your customer been a customer?
- What products or services are you actively trying to grow, and does the customer have experience with these products or services?
Once you have an idea of what makes up a true customer advocate or champion, then you can work to identify them.
Leverage Customer Data to Assess Advocacy Readiness
Don’t rely solely on gut feeling when it comes to identifying customer advocates — you’ll overlook champions in the process. Instead, make sure you’re pulling relevant data from sources your advocates — along with your sales, marketing, and customer success teams — are using.
Your CRM and other data sources like product analytics hold a treasure trove of information about your customers. Look for signs that indicate advocacy potential, such as high customer satisfaction scores, frequent product usage, or positive interactions with your support and sales teams. Then, analyze historical data to identify trends and commonalities among your advocates.
Look Externally and Monitor Social Media and Online Communities
In today's digital age, customer advocacy often manifests on social media and online communities, including review sites and forums.
Keep a close eye on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, review sites like G2, and industry-specific forums where your customers might share their experiences. You can do this by using a social listening tool, or by simply searching the different platforms for your brand name or posts you’ve been tagged in. Make sure to look for customers who consistently engage with your brand, post positive comments, and recommend your products or services to others.
Search for Advocates Participating in NPS Feedback and Reviews
If you’re actively measuring customer satisfaction and net promoter scores (NPS), take note of those people and score them against your defined advocate persona.
Customers who take the time to provide feedback, especially positive feedback, are more likely to become advocates. If they match your earlier definition of what you’re looking for in potential advocates, add them to your list of champions who might be willing to participate in your advocacy program.
Ask Your Team for Examples of Customer Success Stories
Your customers likely interact with a variety of departments throughout their lifetime – sales, marketing, and customer success. Information can be siloed. For example, the marketing team might not have the insight into customer satisfaction that the customer success team has.
To identify advocates and champions, reach out to members of your customer success team. While they might not know every champion — there are plenty of happy customers who aren’t interacting with customer success after all — they should have examples of customers who have achieved remarkable results using your product or service. These customers are often eager to share their experiences, and would be willing to participate in case studies, testimonials, or other marketing activities that showcase their success.
Next Up: Activation, Management, and Tracking Success
By understanding who your advocates are, leveraging data, and fostering meaningful relationships, you can build a loyal army of champions who will contribute to your long-term success.
That said, identifying your customer advocates and champions is just the beginning. To really drive a healthy ROI from your customer advocacy program, you’ll need to activate or spur these champions to take action, manage the requests you make of them, and track pipeline impact.
If that all sounds a bit overwhelming, we’ve created a product that does all of these things: identifies, activates, manages, and tracks champions.