How To Get More B2B Sales Referrals

Sales Pipeline Masterclass: Part Eight

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Photographer: nick hidalgo | Source: Unsplash

You just closed a sales deal, but don’t go resting your laurels. Now you’re going to use this one sale to get additional sales referrals. After all, what better way to reach your next customer than through one that already sees the value in your product? Referrals generate 3-5x higher conversions and bring you a 25% higher profit margin – but you need to plan and execute them systematically.

This post is the eighth and the final part in our Masterclass series on how to build your sales pipeline. Building a strong sales pipeline is the #1 key to sales success. That’s why we created this indispensable step-by-step guide, to teach you how to build your pipeline the right way.

– Jeroen Corthout, Co-Founder Salesflare, an easy-to-use sales CRM for small B2B companies

In this article, we’ll be talking about the steps you should be taking after closing your leads to get more sales referrals.


1. Don’t hesitate to ask

Many salespeople are hesitant to ask for referrals. They worry they might sound too needy or they might not get the desired response. Asking for sales referrals is not going to cost you any business and by not asking you actually run the risk of missing out on valuable opportunities.

All you need to do is ask for introductions. You’re not asking them to get you new business. Asking your customer for recommendations of others who might see value in your product is neither salesy, needy nor entitled.

To make it easier, prepare a script for yourself in your head.

Start off by asking if they know other people who would benefit from your products or services. If they say yes, respond by saying “it would be awesome if you could give me 3-4 people I could contact.”

Even if they end up giving you only a name or two, that’s still two more leads than you had before your call!

Upon getting those leads’ information, ask your referring customer if you can mention them by names as your referral or if they would be willing to make some quick introductions. While getting an introduction is best, some customers might not be comfortable providing you with one. In that case, ask if you can just mention their name.

two person writing on paper on brown wooden table
Photographer: Nik MacMillan | Source: Unsplash

Either way, remember to thank them and make note of all the essential details. Make plans to either contact the referred prospects yourself or follow up on the introductions your customer is making.

Pro tip: Always ask for sales referrals face-to-face or during a virtual meeting. Also, as a bonus, remember to ask the client for a testimonial while you’re at it!


2. Automate the sales referrals process

As soon as you start getting more referrals than you can handle, you should consider automating the process. In fact, you should kick off your official referral program.

The only way you’re going to get more sales referrals is if your customers know you’re actively looking for them. Imagine running a referral program that no one knows about or doesn’t know how to participate in? Absolute disaster.

This is why you need to promote your referral program continually.

From the emails you send out to further nurture your leads, to your social media posts, your ad campaigns and the smart banners on your member accounts, make your referral program as visible and easy to participate in as possible.


3. Sync referrals with your sales process

You don’t want a barrage of incoming referrals to disrupt your ongoing sales process. That’s why automating your referral program is important to keep everything in sync and well on track. It doesn’t just help ensure a timely follow-up with the referred leads, but also rewards the behaviors you find most important.

An animated screenshot of Salesflare's automated to-do lists that can help you manage your sales referrals
Salesflare‘s automated to-do lists helps you follow up from your CRM

A few ways to sync your referrals with the sales process:

  • Keep track of all your new referrals and where they came from in a separate Google Excel Sheet
  • Create a fresh pipeline for the referred opportunities in your CRM with notes on how you can touch base with them
  • Set up and schedule tasks to follow up these referred leads
  • Continually update the referrals based on events


4. Don’t forget to send out reminders

Everyone gets caught up in work, and it’s only human for people to forget about your referral program. Don’t hesitate to send participants a quick reminder after a certain period.

You could automate a reminder every quarter to your entire customer base, with a quick summary of how they could benefit from the referral program. You can further optimize this campaign for better results by tracking who interacted with your email, whether they read more about your referral program and whether or not they completed the desired action.

Here’s an example of what an email campaign to promote a referral program consists of:

  • Email 1: Influencer signs up for the program (share what the program is about)
  • Email 2: 7-day check-in (if no influencer activity)
  • Email 3: 14-day check-in (if no influencer activity)
  • Email 4: 30-day check-in (if no influencer activity)
  • Email 5: Influencer gets first lead or signup (a free trial)
  • Email 6: Influencer gets first ten clicks on their referral link

A smart CRM like Salesflare can help you set up separate automated emails for active and inactive customers for your referral program.

An animated screenshot of campaign creation in Salesflare
Email campaign creation in Salesflare


5. Closely track your referrals

Irrespective of the size of your company, your customer base or your referral program, it’s essential to have tracking in place. This won’t just give you the ability to track the effectiveness of your program but also which customer or affiliate has been able to drive the most business for you.

Here are a few things you should always measure:

  • Who was referred by whom?
  • When did the referral come in?
  • Did you convert the referred lead?
  • How are you going to nurture the referred leads?

A CRM like Salesflare keeps a close watch on how your customers are interacting with your emails, the links you share and your website. This way your pipeline of referred leads remains up-to-date with all of the vital information that could help close the deal.

Screenshot of Salesflare showing its tracking feature
A screenshot of Salesflare‘s tracking functionality: Peter clicked on a link in an email and visited our pricing on the website.


6. Reward your brand advocates

There are two reasons why you need to track how your customers are interacting with your referral program. First off, it will tell you if your strategy is being successful at getting you more customers through word-of-mouth. And what’s more, it will tell you which of your customers are the most proactive when it comes to promoting your business.

Those are the customers who will continue to share their experiences with your product and drive more people to it. But even they need a reason to stay motivated.

Of course, great product experience and support can do wonders. But incentivizing their efforts in promoting your product, can get you more participation.


Goods, not cash

However, in the B2B space, it pays less to reward with money. Research shows non-cash incentives have greater impact on behaviors even when participants express a cash preference. Clients will prefer an additional month of free trial, getting a premium feature at a discount or a gadget. Take Buffer for instance. They send their users care packages with t-shirts and mugs all the time.

All you need to do when deciding the incentive is to keep in mind what your customers enjoy most about your product.

In the end, the ultimate key to getting more sales referrals is understanding what it is that keeps your customers motivated to promote your brand.

Need a refresher? Go back and read Part Seven: How To Ace Your Negotiations Using Proven Closing Techniques.

If you liked this Sales Pipeline Masterclass, check out the second Salesflare Masterclass, dedicated entirely to Sales Automation. Sales automation will save you lots of time and let you close more deals. That’s why we created a comprehensive series to guide you through all the different aspects of sales that can be automated and explain how you can automate them. Go to Lesson One: How To Automate Lead Generation For B2B Companies!

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Vanhishikha Bhargava