There are a lot of posts out there about customer advocacy, what it is, and why it’s important. Read them—a well-run advocacy program is a benefit to B2B companies and gives you a competitive edge. Not only does it enhance the customer experience, but it also drives leads, increases retention, shortens the sales cycle, increases internal communication, and makes an impact on revenue.
However, that’s not what this article is about. This is a behind-the-scenes tour of the day-to-day of an actual customer advocacy manager (me!). Once you set up the program strategy and infrastructure, the role consists of being three core people for your customer: a cheerleader, a matchmaker, and a reminder-er (it may not be a real word, but trust me, it’s a real thing).
Here’s how the roles take shape to improve customer and employee experiences:
Luckily for me (and our customers), being a cheerleader in this context doesn’t mean grabbing pom-poms and doing back-flips. If so, I’d probably break my arm for the fourth time.
Although, admittedly, there’s still a lot of high-fiving. (My arm is healed now.) I’m constantly celebrating internal wins with our customer success team as well as customer accomplishments. Well-run advocacy programs give customers lots of opportunities to build their business as well as their personal brands.
One advocate told me she “feels like a celebrity” speaking at conferences on our behalf. And with how much her network expanded in person and on LinkedIn, I think she might be!
Several other of our customer advocates have been promoted after implementing our platform and using it to solve company challenges. And it was advocacy content like case studies and speaking engagements helped get their name—and work—out there.
As for our internal teams, a customer success manager upsold at renewal? Yay—that definitely deserves a high-five!
It also indicates there’s a successful use case and is a great gateway to connect with the customer to turn their work into a case study celebrate the way they drove that internal value. They get recognition while we get collateral to fuel our sales cycle—it’s a win-win.
The ultimate act of celebration? Company awards! The Kapost Awards celebrate amazing teams and individuals who have tackled some of the biggest marketing challenges and come out on the other side, more aligned, efficient, and impactful than ever.
And as the advocacy manager, I get to brag about them. “Go marketing, communications, and sales team!” I’ll scream it until my voice goes hoarse.
The number one request I get from customers is introductions to other customers. They want to share knowledge and ask each other, how are you implementing Kapost? What changes do you see in the market? How did you collaborate to determine your taxonomies? In many cases, customers learn as much from one another as they ever would from us. What’s more, it builds a community of customers that only makes us stickier.
The number one request I want to receive from my sales team is to set up reference calls. (Only because you better believe they already know how to find and share our customer-co-created content.)
In both cases, I’m connecting two people or teams who want to come together for a common purpose—to grow and better themselves and their teams.
Millennials looking for love might have Tinder, but advocacy managers looking to make suitable references have a variety of tools at our disposal. RO-Innovation is my go-to to keep advocate profiles on hand and track their engagement. That way I can find the best match without over-extending any of my advocates.
And would-be daters may consider the heights of their potential suitors, I match our customers by verticals—and not the horizontal kind. I do my best to match industry, company size, and of course, the job functions. (After all, CMO is looking for a different conversation than the marketing manager.)
How do I know whether a match is successful? Here are two key ways I know I’ve done my job:
- A deal closes after a reference call (helllooooo advocacy program revenue attribution).
- I see people I connected engaging on LinkedIn, or I get emails thanking me for the introduction six months later gushing about how much they’ve learned from each other.
That all happens. And it’s the best reward I could receive.
Match-made, on to the next!
A customer once told me that I’m good at “gentle nudges.” That’s probably because, “me again, popping into your inbox,” might be my tagline.
As much as people want to be involved in advocacy and collaborating on guest blog posts or case studies, they’re busy. They have a full-time job, family, friends, and a million other people knocking on their door.
Things can easily fall through the cracks—but not on my watch. I’m here to make it as easy as possible for people. I do the majority of the work and excitedly reach out to our customers to remind them of where the project is and offer my help.
Sometimes they need to put a project on hold for a month to work on something else. That’s fine! And its good information to have so I can adjust timelines for my team. Other times, customers have literally forgotten and get right on it, which is always a happy result.
Whatever the answer, sending reminders always serves to move the relationship and conversation forward.
I also take any opportunities to send reminders when I have something else to reach out about, like to congratulate an advocate on a well-deserved promotion. This role is about genuine connections, and I’m always a cheerleader—even in the reminding phase.
Spoiler: it can be hard to remember to remind people, and that’s why half of my emails in my inbox each day are reminders for myself. I deploy Mixmax to ping me if someone hasn’t responded for a week so I can keep projects moving forward (and my teammates happy).
Onward and Upward
At the end of the day, customer advocacy is about building mutually-beneficial relationships that drive company value and revenue. By genuinely being there—again, and again—for your teammates and customers, you capture the value, spread cheer, and make marketing magic.
There’s no better way to build relationships and cheer people on than in-person events that celebrate customer successes by positioning them as the experts they are while making real-time matches. Check out upcoming events to join in the fun.
Cheers for now. I have to go pat some folks on the back for being amazing.