Generating Sales Leads When Your Own Fans Sell You Short

Another popular marketing tactic that’s often blogged about is getting your own customers to market you instead of just your own marketing department. But while it’s true that referral marketing does help generate more B2B sales leads, there’s still a chance you’re being sold short by your own fans.


Look at celebrities. Ever wonder why some love them and others hate them? How many times have you heard a Justin Bieber joke that involved his fans? No doubt a lot.


Whether or not you even agree with loving or bashing doesn’t change the fact that someone’s fans do have an impact on how a brand is perceived. Put in the context of B2B marketing, sometimes your own customers could really do a worse job of marketing compared to your own team (or even that of an outsourced team).


Say you’re going around promoting an insurance package with a pricing model that’s to die for. All of your customers agree. For a while, you’ve been generating more sales all the while your lead generators can take it easy as your customers do the job of helping you convert.


Time goes on though and you’re noticing a gradual rise in hostility and skepticism towards your brand. You ask your marketers to investigate and what do they find? They realize they’re no longer convinced because your own customers are not matching up to your value proposition!


Why does this happen and how do you fix this?


  • Reinforce shared values – You may not be a non-profit organization but there is still merit to reinforcing the values you share with your target audience. It also helps you understand your target market more deeply and discover what associations have cropped up.


  • Intervene – It’s also about time you started speaking for yourself as an organization and not simply allow your own customers create versions of your company that are not always accurate. Intervene and speak out whenever you think there’s no other way to convince prospect of your value proposition.


  • Set guidelines – Even celebrities set out guidelines for fans to follow during concerts and autograph signings. Why should you be afraid to set up some rules or even a policy for customers involved in your referral marketing program?


For all the value of referral marketing, it shouldn’t blind you to the possibilities of misrepresentation and abuse. Be responsible about how you’re being represented even when you don’t like to exercise too much control.

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