Building a customer advocacy program can really accelerate your business and drive revenue! The ultimate goal for any department within an organization is to have a representative at the table during those crucial C-suite meetings. We want to convince senior stakeholders that you can drive results.

Getting that coveted seat at the table can be a steep climb. But don’t worry, Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy at Adobe has over 10 years of experience in creating highly scalable programs that can really drive businesses to success.

And at the Future of SaaS festival 2021, he gave us 5 awesome tips for building a customer advocacy program. Check them out below. 👇

1. Why build a customer advocacy program?

2. How do you attract customers’ attention and keep them hooked?

3. How do you spotlight that advocacy?

4. How do you get your C-suite aligned behind your program?

5. How do you build a tech stack for your community?

1. Why build a customer advocacy program?

Firstly, what do your customers care about? What makes them tick? What gets them excited?  Most importantly, what’s going to get them passionate about using your technology or solution?

These are the questions we need to ask if we want to keep our customers around and reduce the churn rate, right? What better reason to build a customer advocacy program?

We want to shine a spotlight on our most valued customers to really build that loyalty!

Back when I was at Marketo, before it got acquired by Adobe a couple of years ago, we started to explore the potential for capturing the voice of the customer through advocacy programs. Here, I’m gonna take you through some of the insights I gained from this.

Firstly, we identified our diehard fans. Right off the bat, just giving your customers a special title like ‘champion’ or ‘advisor,’ can allow them to feel seen and noticed by you. And that’s going to make them a lot more keen to do business with you. But who are these folks?

Well, for us it was those customers who were super vocal in not just their support for us, but in their input and feedback on our products. Before you start trying to win customers, you should first target those folks who are just raring to go when it comes to collaborating on your product.

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Want to know how to ship those customer outcomes on time, every time? Maggie Crowley, an expert on Product Management, has all the know-how you’ll need!

2. How do you attract customers’ attention and keep them hooked?

So, you’ve found your group of super fans who are wearing your swag and singing your praises. They want to talk about your product non-stop, but how do you make them stick around? Well, first things first, we leveraged this group by asking specific questions to garner their support and feedback.

Because the key factor was that we knew that our program had to be built around what our customers wanted, not what we wanted to hear. This is the crucial distinction. So, the questions, we’re naturally geared around what they wanted to see in our product and how we could improve our services.

The next step is to create what we call ‘shock and awe campaigns.’ These are steps that you can take that let your advocates know their feedback really is valued and that it’s a crucial part of your organization’s quest for improvement.

We created a customer advisory board and selected our most vocal advocates to be a part of it. We gave these advocates special titles, such as ‘community advisor.’  We then showcased this on social media. 👇

adobe community advisor
Community advisor

We even created special awards for our most trusted advocates. What a way to show customers that they’re valued, right? 👇

Community ambassador

3. How do you spotlight that advocacy?

You have to recognize that this is going to be a two-way street. By helping customers to build their reputation, you’re going to bolster the reputation of your organization considerably.  

What it means to have a high customer retention rate
When a company has a high customer retention rate, buyers return to purchase products or services on more than one occasion. When retention rates are high, this bodes against customer churn rate.

A lot of our customers that benefited from being advisors actually featured us in their social LinkedIn profiles, and many of them claimed that it had actually helped them get promotions in their professional lives. In any organization, we’re always looking to offer solutions to our customers, right?

Well, what better solution could you offer than a potential promotion or valuable professional connections? Then, what can you do? Well, you can leverage that success by using them as testimonials for the efficacy of your program. Take a look at some of ours below. 👇

So, those customers are singing your praises, but can their voices be heard? Do you have these testimonials included in your landing pages and in your marketing campaigns? You’ve got your die-hard advocates to sing for you, and they are going to be an essential tool for enticing new advocates.

For any new customer that’s going to potentially sign up with you, that level of loyalty is going to look incredibly attractive! You’re not just sweet-talking new customers through the door with empty promises, you’re able to keep customers around for the long run as well.  

The next crucial component of this is: are you leveraging the data? What is it that customers are really valuing in your product? What is it that’s going to make them stick around? This is essential qualitative data that’s going to attract new advocates.

4. How do you get your C-suite aligned behind your program?

Because you’re not going to get very far unless you can get that C-suite alignment. What’s your ‘elevator pitch’ for winning over those key stakeholders? For us, it was really about stressing the value of creating customers for life, it’s not just about getting a high conversion rate.

A customer advocacy program can 100% be aligned with your organization’s key OKRs and KPIs. And that’s really the factor that has to be stressed in your pitch. We’re talking about creating loyalty, and what better way to reduce your churn rate, an essential metric of concern, than by creating customers that are going to stick around?

5. How do you build a tech stack for your community?

There are a few different technology partners that can really help to leverage to help you build your tech stack and your customer marketing function.

Airtable is really a great platform for organizing that customer data that’s going to allow you to attract new customers as well as retain the ones that you have. As I said, you have to be able to leverage that data that you’re getting from your advocates.

And you can’t do that very well if you don’t have a centralized platform from which your team can learn and gain insights.  

Gainsight is a great resource for understanding temperature scores and gaining a better understanding of the intelligence you're collating. It’s a great platform for utilizing customer success, which is going to be such a valuable function in a customer advocacy program.

We used Bevy as part of our community engagement platform. It’s such a great tool for creating and hosting customer events, which was such a huge part of building our program. We want customers to sing our praises, we want them to keep each other hooked on our product!

With so many tech solutions for building community, there’s really no reason why you can’t create a customer advocacy program within your org. Don’t miss out on the opportunity! 🙌

Enjoyed this article? Why not join us on June 15th for the Future of SaaS festival, where we'll be discussing customer centricity with some of the industry's leading voices. 👇

Future of SaaS Festival | Online | June 14-16, 2022
June 14 - 16 | Online Accelerate the capabilities of your SaaS product to drive rapid growth. We want to help B2B SaaS companies drive innovation, evolution and growth, which is why we are bringing back the Future of SaaS Festival... but this time with a whole day dedicated to empowering