According to the 2017 State of Customer Marketing Survey, only 61% of B2B organizations are satisfied with the results of their customer marketing efforts.
If you dive into the report, you’ll see that’s because:
- 27% of organizations are not tracking any revenue generated from customer marketing activities
- The two most important measures of program success are upsell/cross sell revenue and renewal rate. However, fewer than 50% of respondents have specific customer marketing programs in place that support achieving these two metrics.
If your company is investing in customer marketing or advocacy programs, you must track the value of your efforts and make sure those metrics align with your goals. You wouldn’t drive a sports car without checking the oil; the same should go for your customer engagement programs.
Below, I’m sharing my customer marketing and advocacy dashboards to help you get started. (Note: We use Marketo to push campaign data from our AdvocateHub software to Salesforce (SFDC) to build our dashboards.)
I’ve separated them into two groups: demand and engagement. Demand metrics show the revenue impact of your programs, while engagement metrics show the impact your programs are having on your customers.
Consistently reporting on these metrics will keep your entire organization internally aligned around improving the customer experience, and show you which programs are delivering.
Tip: Work with your marketing and sales operations teams to make sure these dashboards are set up properly from the start.
1. Customer referrals and referral influence
I have three separate dashboards under this category:
- Number of referrals received from customer advocates per month (quantity) – This helps you see which referral campaigns or tactics are working best.
- Pipeline value (quality) – This gives you overall numbers to share about the impact advocate referrals have on your sales. I’ve created mine like a funnel so I can see the pipeline at each stage in the buying process.
- Closed/won business from referrals (ROI) – This one is obvious: so you can show the dollar value of the deals advocates helped you generate.
To do this, I‘ve created one campaign for all referrals coming through our advocate marketing program, Influitive VIP.
You’ll want to set up campaigns based on the platforms you use. If you have various methods for collecting customer referrals, it may be worthwhile to set up separate campaigns (or nested campaigns) for each and separate dashboards.
I suggest keeping things simple at the star and just setting up the three dashboards I mentioned above—unless you know you will have a number of vastly different referral collection channels that need individual tracking.
2. Pipeline influenced by references
If you’re using an AdvocateHub, you can initiate references from your advocate marketing program, which will be automatically logged into SFDC (thanks to our Marketo/SFDC integration). Then, you can create a dashboard for advocate references, and filter by opportunity stages. This will show you your total influence on pipeline.
If you don’t have software to track this, you could create one campaign and attach every reference (contact) you source into that campaign—but it’s a pretty manual process, unfortunately.
3. Speed of deal influence from references
I like to track how advocate references affect deal speed. So, I’ve created a dashboard that compares deal velocity between opportunities that never requested a reference to those that did. I track the time from the day a reference request is made to the day the deal is closed. I do this by pulling in the date the reference was initiated, and compare that to an opportunity stage of ‘closed lost’ or ‘closed won’. With an AdvocateHub, this is Advocate Activity = Reference; for those without, select the response date in the reference campaign.
It’s an important metric, even if it doesn’t have a direct dollar value attached to it. I’ve seen deals close 2x faster when an advocate is used as a reference compared to opportunities without a reference.
4. Customer retention rates
In your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, mark off which accounts are engaged, or are members, of your customer marketing/advocate marketing programs, and which ones are not. Then, you can create a report that analyzes churn rates for both groups so you can compare the overall value of your programs. (Marketo did this and found members of their advocate marketing program had a 95% retention rate.)
You could also track this based on individual renewal campaigns you may be running, but I think the dashboard above is valuable to have as well for proving how your programs affect overall customer retention and loyalty.
5. Cross-sells and upsells
Depending on the kinds of tactics you use, you could assign individual campaign IDs in your marketing automation platform for each cross-sell or upsell campaign.
You could also ask your account managers to mark cross-sell or upsell opportunities influenced by your programs as part of a special SFDC campaign.
If you don’t track cross-sells and/or upsells as campaigns in your marketing platform or CRM, you do what I suggested above for retention rates, and compare upsells and cross-sells in accounts that are engaged in your programs vs. those who are unengaged.
You could do separate dashboards for each, or have a “customer-driven revenue” bucket overall to catch these metrics (depending on the depth of insight you want on your main dashboards).
6. Second-order revenue when advocates change companies
Customers will frequently take you with them when they move to a new company. Tracking this can be tough, but I have a method for doing it that shows the impact our relationship-building can have on second-order revenue.
I get our advocates to refer themselves when they want to purchase our software at their new company. This type of referral can be separated from your other campaigns.
Just remember to frequently update contact information from the old SFDC record to the new one. This way, you can pull in the Contact ID and easily create a report on all opportunities closed with the advocate in question
7. Opportunities from customer stories
If you’re charged with helping uncover customer case studies, you should create a dashboard to show the influence those content pieces have on opportunities.
Simply create campaigns for case studies sourced through your program. You could do it by asset, or lump them together in one dashboard. (The campaigns for each will likely already be created in your CRM, so you just need to pull that info.)
Admittedly, our content is not separated by the original source because our content and customer marketing teams work closely together. However, if you’re looking for another way to show value, this is an option.
8. Leads from social
We often get our advocates to share our content on their social networks. That’s why I like to show how much of that is impacting demand generation.
It’s really easy to include UTM parameters in the links you get customer advocates. These parameters can show you which customer marketing campaign or program the Tweet and lead came from. Then, you can pull those UTM sources into a report in your CRM.
Our AdvocateHub platform automatically tracks social shares so it’s easy to pull the data into an SFDC dashboard.
1. Individual engagement levels
I have a dashboard set up that shows me engagement at the contact level in my advocate marketing program on a month-to-month basis.
If you have an AdvocateHub, your contacts (or advocates) will already be tracked at an individual (or contact) level. Without software, you’ll need to manually track and assign advocates to campaigns in your CRM.
This dashboard tells me which advocates are engaged. If one month I have 300 engaged advocates, and 200 the next, I know something in my programming isn’t resonating.
Tracking unique acts of advocacy at the contact level can be very helpful for your marketing, sales and customer success teams because you will:
- Know if executive sponsors are engaged with your product
- Have extra contacts to reach out to if your admin or key contact leaves the company or goes silent
It’s worth noting that I haven’t seen a correlation on advocate activity at a contact level and revenue. However, I do see it on the account level, hence why I’ve set up this next dashboard…
2. Advocacy at the account level
This dashboard should show you how many unique accounts are actively engaged in your programs. Consider it a high level look at your customers’ overall happiness levels.
If you have an AdvocateHub, your contacts (or advocates) should be assigned to an account in your CRM. To generate an activity at an account level, you will need to create a trigger that connects contact activity to an account level.
You also have the additional advantage to the the strength of your relationships by diving into each account to see the depth (or number of individual contacts advocating for you). If you have three or more advocates in an account who are providing some level of activity, then this is a customer that is ripe for an upsell or cross-sell.
P.S. David Coates, Director of Customer Marketing at Iron Mountain, has mastered creating customer marketing dashboards. See them in action in this blog post.
Balancing both dashboard groups = key to customer marketing success
Engagement dashboards are important, as they tell you if advocates are finding value in your programs (and you’re if giving them enough).
The demand dashboards are important because they show the value advocacy delivers to your company.
Without looking at both, you could end up putting more time into programs that are popular with advocates, but not the most valuable to your business.
You must find balance between the two to make the right decisions about where to put your time and effort in your customer engagement programs.
Other valuable metrics to track that don’t have a SFDC dashboard
Although these may not be your top priority, tracking the metrics below can show the entire value of your customer advocacy programs.
If you’re curious about all the ways to show the ROI of your customer marketing and advocacy initiatives, take a look at our comprehensive guide on the topic.
- NPS of engaged customers and advocates – Compare scores of those engaged in your programs vs. those that are not to see which group is happier. You can also track if you’ve helped increase the responses to NPS survey requests.
- Number and quality of reviews on third-party websites – If you’re actively encouraging customers to write more online reviews, track your numbers on these websites monthly to see the impact your campaigns may be having. We’re able to track these easily through our AdvocateHub integrations, but you could track these monthly in a spreadsheet.
- Social media engagement – If you’re encouraging customer advocates to promote your brand on social networks, track your impact with UTM parameters, or the tracking software your social team may be using.
- Event promotion/attendance/speakers – If you’ve helped source speakers for your events from your customer base, make sure you note how many were sourced and for what events. If your customer advocates helped promote attendance at your events, use campaigns and/or UTM parameters to evaluate their impact. They can be a powerful distribution channel since their peers are prime potential attendees for your events.
- Amount of product feedback – Product and development teams are always hungry for customer feedback. If your engagement programs help deliver more of this to them, keep tabs on how much you’ve provided. This will show how engaged customer advocates can impact almost every area of your business.
Tip: If you’re implementing a formal advocacy platform to make managing your customer relationships easier, I urge you to document how much time you spend sourcing references, administering feedback surveys, etc. so that you can compare the time you spend doing it manually vs. the time you spend doing it at scale through an advocate marketing program.