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Turn Customers into Influencers – Referral programs on the Salesforce Platform

23 Dec 2020

Are you wondering what a referral program is, and why they are so effective? Think about who customers turn to when they need a product or service. They’ll probably ask friends and family for recommendations or look up online customer reviews for confirmation.

What is a referral program? 

A referral is an act of recommending a service/product to another person. Companies often develop referral programs, which are a tactic through which they prime and reward their customers for spreading the word about their product or service. The final goal is to boost natural or latent word-of-mouth with useful yet straightforward tools and rewards.

Salesforce referral program

Almost any business, no matter the field, can implement a referral program. At Vass, we’ve helped different companies such as start-ups, fintechs, etc., in the set-up of their referral programs to attract new customers and provide upselling and cross-selling services.

Who can apply this kind of program? 

Before following a referral program approach, all companies should assess and understand in which stage they are and what is the go-to-market strategy. For instance, start-ups could benefit from this kind of programs due to network effects as long as they have a product/service relying on existing happy customers willing to use word of mouth.

Word of mouth is so powerful because it provides potential customers with a proven experience from a reliable source. Companies can run promotion campaigns on social media, but they’ll never reap the benefits of creating a network effect like they would with a referral program. A referral program allows one to access customers that are usually not reached on other advertisements. It also grants better credibility of a friend/family member recommendation which also leads to good service loyalty.

With just one review, prospective customers can learn about a user experience from someone they trust and what benefits they found, making the conversion much quicker and likely to happen over simple advertising. From the other side, those making the referring can profit from an incentive: companies tend to reach an agreement with a third party to offer a service promotion or discounts.

In a nutshell, referral programs are a handy tool when a business needs to grow its pool of customers effectively.

Addressing the implementation 

Whenever considering setting up a referral program, businesses ask themselves: how can we implement a process that keeps growing our client database and keep the engine running? Here is where we, VASS, give our approach: to implement a flexible and scalable model in which you continuously measure feedback, analyse your market KPIs and understand how the market is reacting to your product.

Imagine that you just launched the first version of your referral program. You start to measure your customers’ reaction, tweaking the implementation accordingly. That is, following customer growth, either seeing if everything is ok or improving the way you are approaching the market. This agile methodology provides the necessary tools to successfully build, iterate and then achieve an exemplary implementation of the referral program.

Why is Salesforce our tool of choice? 

Up to now, we’ve covered who can benefit from implementing a referral program and how we believe we should do it. We’re now facing a fundamental question: why choose Salesforce when implementing a referral program?

Salesforce referral program

Salesforce is exceptionally customer-centric and cohesive. Working on Salesforce when developing a new referral program lets businesses engage with customers through different channels, thanks to the synchronisation of Salesforce and Salesforce marketing cloud, already included in the Salesforce solution. A relation model is already built containing all the needed information on the user database. Considering there can be many different points of entry (emails, app download, website registration), this is a must if businesses want to know when and how to engage with their customer.

This ties in with the fact that companies will know in which phase of the journey the customer is. For instance, if they’ve completed registration but have not verified their email, or if they use part of the product and not as a whole, companies can stay on top and engage with the customer to fully understand the reasons behind their behaviour.

Using Salesforce means you’ll end up with a simple yet scalable solution that can be built on top of or changed in development structure. This adaptability enables you to tweak your solution quickly to not only maximise benefits from a sales point of view but to perfect the customer service experience that your offer. Apart from the referral program platform, Salesforce also provides us with tools for support agents, case resolution and writing tickets to the support team.

Salesforce referral program

Your customer support agents will always have a 360 view of the customer because they’ll be able to get a full view of the customer environment, meaning they will truly understand what clients complain about, and be able to troubleshoot everything. The high-level cross-platforms flow between Salesforce marketing cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud and, possibly, a client’s database or internal system, makes this possible.

It doesn’t matter if your business is built on top of a different platform (a mobile app, a web browser) what’s important is understanding how the pieces adjust and move together. Diverse ecosystems call for different kinds of implementations, which we develop in very different ways.

The importance of being client-specific

The combination between main Salesforce clouds standards fits the loyalty needs (Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud) because the program revolves around generating leads, nurturing them, then having the onboarding, creation of new users and finally the incentive. They all need to be performed by different Salesforce platforms, meaning we work with solution iterations that combine both and a series of automation processes.

From a VASS perspective

What can VASS do for you in your journey towards implementing a referral program? By using a unique methodology in the implementation of this kind of solutions, we are aiming to provide flexibility and scalability to grow alongside with the market growth.

After the experience we acquired with different industries on the B2C market, we strive to transform, studying the market to adjust our project delivery to what each business needs. That’s why we believe in keeping close contact with our clients, putting ourselves in their shoes to grasp what their needs are and how we can change to build better solutions adapted to today’s world.

Ricardo Beatriz

Salesforce Lead Consultant at VASS UK

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