RevOps best practices: How to get Customer References

customer references and referral programs. two people headshots over green background

Customer referrals are your most valuable asset when it comes to conversions and renewals.

Did you know, for instance, that customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate?

They also spend 200% more than non-referrals and convert at a rate 3 to 5 times higher than any other marketing channel (Annex Cloud). 

But it’s not only the high conversions. 

For many buyers, purchasing processes kick off by asking for peer recommendations from a trusted B2B referral program.

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 84% of B2B buyers start the purchasing process with a referral, not with a salesperson

“I start by getting recommendations from people I know who have used a few of the tools we’re looking at,” said QuotaPath RevOps Manager Brandon Smith. 

Then, once Brandon receives the green light from his network, he’ll reach out directly to learn more.

On the other side, you have SaaS businesses on the prowl — and in some cases, desperate — for customers they’re in good standings with who can share their positive experiences. What does this process look like at your company?

For early-stage businesses, it’s often a communication chain: Rep is on a call with a prospect who requests a referral. Rep then reaches out to CSM or AM and asks for names of contacts. AM or CSM, when they finally have time, then confirm a contact they can reach out to. 

Surely there’s a better, more efficient way, right? 

Below, we share a few best practices to grow your customer reference processes. 

Community referrals

Professional communities are a great place to grow and amplify your customer referral program. 

We, for example, are active in RevOps Co-Op, Pavilion, Women in Sales, and RevOps Alliance. These virtual spaces give us the opportunity to share helpful content and resources and answer questions that relate to our area of expertise: sales compensation.

They also provide the chance for our happy customers to suggest QuotaPath when someone asks for commission tracking recommendations. 

To ensure QuotaPath comes up, our community lead collaborates with our account management team to create a shareable document with every active customer across these professional communities who reported high NPS scores.

That way, when someone asks for referrals, the community lead can send a quick Slack message to those customers and direct them to comment if they feel comfortable. This also allows you to track who you’ve asked to respond so that you can get a healthy mix of referrals.

Additionally, your team can reference this document when you need referrals in other scenarios.  We recommend updating it quarterly to account for new referral contacts, point of contact exits, and churn or poor experiences. 

CRM checkbox

Another way to streamline your referral process is to use your CRM to notate accounts and contacts willing to be referrals. This is also a great way to build out contact lists when you need a wave of positive reviews across sites like G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius. 

You can do this by asking your RevOps or SalesOps teams to build a field that enables your team to put a checkbox on the account record for easy updating and reporting. 

Sales enablement should follow to:
1. Encourage your reps to ask customers if they’d be willing to be referrals
2. Build this step into the reps’ daily CRM hygiene processes

RevOps, this will likely fall to you to update every quarter or midway through the year to ensure references aren’t over-contacted and to keep the list timely. 

Ask for a reference on your customer satisfaction survey

If you want to put in place another avenue to add customers to your referral list, you can plant a question in your customer satisfaction survey.

Some sample copy to consider: 

“Would you be willing to provide your contact information so that we can follow up with you about becoming a referral?”

“How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?”

And, if they say “no” to those, you could follow up with this: 

“What could we do to make you more likely to refer our company to a friend or colleague?” This question gives you specific feedback on how you can improve your customer experience and make customers more likely to refer your company to others.

Follow up with customers after they offer a reference

Lastly, remember to follow up with customers after they give a reference. 

This can fall to marketing, the reps, or a member of your leadership team. 

Following up will show that you appreciate their time and that you are serious about using their reference. Send a “thank you” note, swag, or even an update on how you used their referral. The better the experience, the more often your contact will be to act as a continued reference. 

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About QuotaPath

QuotaPath partners with RevOps, Finance, and Sales teams to manage sales compensation more efficiently — and more effectively. With a library of free resources and an automated commission tracking system that aligns teams, saves time, and increases earnings accuracies, QuotaPath is the only sales compensation management software with a free trial. Sign up today

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