An effective referral program is worth the investment to help generate and close new business. B2B companies that have a referral program report a 70% higher conversion rate and a close time on sales that is 69% faster (Extole).
Choose an incentive structure
There are two main incentive structure options:
- Tiered Structure: The referrer gets increasing benefits for each additional referral in order to encourage and reward multiple successful contract referrals.
- Symbiotic Structure: Not only does the referrer get an incentive, but the referred party also receives an incentive.
Bonus: Combination of both structures: The two structures above are not mutually-exclusive! Combine the two for maximum success.
Create a realistic referral process
A realistic referral process will depend on your sales team structure and sales process, but below are common tips to make any process smooth:
- Make a Webpage: Build a referral submission page on your website. It will give interested referrers a destination to learn more about the referral program and an easy way to submit names. It will also help you track referrals.
- Say “Thank You!”: Don’t forget to send the referrer a thank you email to confirm their submission.
- Reaching out to the referred party: A referral email should also be sent to the referred person. If a week goes by and the referred party still hasn’t scheduled an audit, the appropriate salesperson should send two follow-up emails and make a phone call to ensure that the referred party follows through.
- Define a “successful referral:” Ideally, you would only give referral rewards after a deal completely closes, but make sure your salespeople have a way to keep track of referred deals through the whole pipeline, and a way to note that a referral was successful. If that tracking is not available with your current CRM, consider choosing an earlier milestone like a one-off purchase or scheduling a consultation.
- Pick a gift card: You can give the referral rewards in a few different ways. There are many online companies that provide this service, and you can choose either a generic card design or branded design.
- Credit toward a future purchase
- Online eGift card or eVisa card
- Physical gift card
Promote the new program
Your new referral program can be promoted through several communication channels.
- Email series to past customers
- Email series after a sale to a new customer
- Printed asset to hand out after a sale to a new customer
- Direct mail to past customers
- Dedicated website page
- Post on social media
- Display targeting to past customers
A successful referral program takes some planning and promotion, but your sales team will love having their past customers generate new business.