August 11, 2019

When to ask your customers for a referral?

by Stijn Hendrikse

Anytime. Yes that’s right. Because it never hurts to ask.

In my experience, most B2B SaaS Companies are far to conservative with asking for referrals. Here’s the usual reasoning:

  • They need to be live before we ask for a referral
  • We just asked them to pay us, we probably should wait with asking for a referral till they have experienced the value
  • I want to upsell them more. Let’s do that first before we ask for a favor

None of these are good reasons. The reality is that you can always find reasons why people will not be receptive for a referral request.

 

How to make a friend?

In human psychology there is a simple answer to the fundamental question “How to make a new friend?”. It’s by asking them for help.

So ask your customers for help. Don’t worry about doing it too soon or too often. They will tell you if they don’t like it and you at least have tried.

 

So, when is the best time to ask?

When someone buys a new car and is driving it of the dealer lot, they are typically most likely, and sometimes even excited to tell others about the big decision they just made. They put a lot of variables into making this big decision, and are likely to share this with others as a positive experience.

The same goes for a B2B software purchase decision. So don’t wait.

 

How to ask for a referral?

Make sure you research various vendors of automated referral programs. By using codes to facilitate a “give some, get some” transaction where your customer can provide the person they refer a benefit, you can not only track the program better, but you’ll have a higher conversion rate.

You can automate the process. Use your marketing automation to setup a workflow that kicks in as part of the customer nurture.

 

Referral request timing

  1. Ask your customers if anyone else can benefit from their decision right after they bought. You can make this part of a “post purchase survey” and only aske the people who give you a positive experience rating to refer others.
  2. Ask again after the customer goes live. A “post go live survey” can again help weed out some clients who may need more support before asking them.
  3. Do an annual customer health check. Make this a value-add service provided by your customer success managers. After the health check is a great opportunity to send out another referral request.
  4. When your customer pays is another natural moment to send a note that they can share with others to benefit from. You can make it interesting for your clients by providing a benefit (discount? special access?) for each successful referral.

Bottom line? Every B2B SaaS Company should have an “always on” referral campaign running all the time.

 

Stijn Hendrikse

After 15 years of experience in the Software Marketing Industry, Stijn adopted the SaaS model to launch Kalungi, a SaaS Chief Marketing Officer blog where he shares best practices. This supports his work as a CMO Consultant with Chief Outsiders.

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