Customer Advocacy Fosters Sales and Marketing Growth for B2B Companies, Experts Say

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As the field of customer advocacy develops, If You Market Podcast hosts, Sky Cassidy, and cohost Karla Jo Helms, interview customer marketing expert, Meaghan Sullivan, on how companies can utilize their customers as a part of their marketing and sales strategies. The podcast encourages businesses to make their customers feel like they are part of the future of an organization.

Meaghan Sullivan | If You Market Podcast Guest

Meaghan Sullivan, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at BetterCloud, outlines how B2B companies can garner relationships that benefit the organization and the customer.

“Learn everything you can about your customers from your Sales department because they're going to be your lifeline to tell you what customer has a great story to tell."

A study shows that B2B prospects are 75 to 85 percent through deciding whether to buy a product or service by the time they contact a company.(1) This occurs before the customer even speaks to a salesperson. Additionally, it can cost five times as much to acquire new customers compared to retaining existing ones.(2) Customer advocacy aids this by building customer relationships to maintain current clients and positively promote an organization to prospective clients. “It's using the customer's story and word of mouth to share their success,” said Meaghan Sullivan, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at BetterCloud in the latest B2B If You Market Podcast.

Sullivan discussed the ways in which businesses can cultivate relationships that benefit both the organization and the customer on Episode 43 of the If You Market podcast “The CUSTOMER ADVOCACY is Always Right, with Meaghan Sullivan,” hosted by MountainTop Data CEO Sky Cassidy and JOTO PR CEO Karla Jo Helms.(3)

When discussing the role of customer advocacy in the presales process, Sullivan identified the ways in which customer stories can generate future leads. She explained that prospects might trust the positive feedback of a current customer more than the person trying to sell them a product or service, “As opposed to just putting statistics or saying, ‘this is what our product does and this is how it can solve for you,’ swap that out [by saying] this is what a current customer is doing and how they solved a problem similar to yours.”

The hosts also discussed the difference between using real customer stories and hypothetical customer stories. Sullivan explained that using the likeness of a hypothetical customer can be useful for education purposes. However, Cassidy added that the addition of a real customer story to a marketing campaign can create another level of social proof or trust among prospects. Helms also noted that this kind of marketing is linked to both PR and sales. When done right, these individual aspects can become one intelligent promotion cycle.

Sullivan’s top tip for finding customer advocates is to become close to Sales. “Learn everything you can about your customers from your Sales department because they're going to be your lifeline to tell you what customer has a great story to tell, what customer is a thought leader or an innovator and wants to be a part of sharing his story,” she said. “You’ve got to be best friends with your Sales team.”

Sullivan’s Top 4 Tips to Creating Customer Marketing Campaigns

1. Remember to showcase the human side of your customer—there should be a real face representing a company that is satisfied with the results.

2. Keep your record of customers organized—know which customers have great stories to tell.

3. Look out for reference fatigue—respect that your customers are busy and may not always be available to participate in a case study.

4. Recognize that all customers are valuable—every customer can give value through influence.

“Even if they're not a known brand influencer, their face, company logo and their experience being put out there is what customer advocacy is all about,” said Cassidy. “Whether they're a known “influencer” or not, the whole point is to impact how people see it.”

Customer Advocacy is a growing field that centers on showcasing customers and their stories. To listen to the podcast episode on Customer Advocacy with Meaghan Sullivan, visit https://ifyoumarkettheywillcome.com/2019/04/22/43-the-customer-advocacy-is-always-right-with-meaghan-sullivan/.

The If You Market podcast is a 45-minute conversation about B2B marketing—new trends, best practices and pitfalls to avoid. Each episode features a conversation with one expert guest discussing topics like: content marketing, account-based marketing, social media, marketing automation, PR, etc.

The podcast airs on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and TuneIn Radio.

About Meaghan Sullivan
Meaghan Sullivan started her career off in Sales operations and Inside sales at NetApp and Cloudera. Her years in sales taught her the importance of building relationships with her customers that go beyond closing the sale and hitting her numbers. She later transitioned into Customer Marketing and Advocacy where the emphasis is on the customer (customer community, sharing the customers’ success and story) as a way of validating solutions, products, and services. Meaghan is currently the Senior Customer Marketing Manager at BetterCloud. Here she focuses on putting the customer in the spotlight and working with the sales organization in order to enable the customer to be successful and celebrate their success with the marketplace.

About the If you Market They Will Come Podcast
Meet If You Market podcast host, Sky Cassidy—an accomplished B2B marketer. And his co-host, disruptive PR evangelist Karla Jo Helms. Together they talk with industry experts to analyze B2B marketing tactics in a cocktail hour atmosphere.

Sky Cassidy is also the CEO of MountainTop Data. MountainTop Data, based in Los Angeles, CA, provides data and data services for B2B marketing. Karla Jo Helms is the CEO and Anti-PR Strategist of PR agency, JOTO PR DisruptorsTM, based in Tampa, FL. Visit them via http://ifyoumarkettheywillcome.com/category/if-you-market-podcast/

1. and 3. Cassidy, Sky. “The CUSTOMER ADVOCACY is Always Right, with Meaghan Sullivan,” If You Market podcast; April 22, 2019.
2. Preiss, Susan. “The True Cost of Losing a Customer,” Blue Ocean Contact Centers, January 8, 2019.

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