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Ten-Hut, Advocate Army Fall In

Posted on May 25, 2016 , by Steve Bernstein
Ten-Hut, Advocate Army Fall In

Pat Benatar once said that, “Love is a battlefield.”  And while this may be true, had Benetar worked in Marketing she might have said, “Word-Of-Mouth is a battlefield.”word of mouth management
Your account teams are the battle-hardened commanders of the company’s customer management. They go into the fray every day, dealing in contract skirmishes, friendly-fire from oversold expectations, and do their best to win the hearts and minds of their customers. Meanwhile, the creation of the Advocate Army that your company needs – the elite troops that are your happiest customers, spreading positive word-of-mouth to their friends and colleagues – takes more than our account managers: These front-line heroes are dealing with the everyday battle, but what we also need are company-wide reinforcements.
Your company needs to diversify its troops. Just like you can’t send tanks into swampy ground or expect the Spanish Inquisition, you can’t expect the heroes of your front line Account Management / Customer Success (CS) to effectively strategize your Word of Mouth Management (WMM) as effectively as your marketing team, who are focused on long-term strategy.
You need to engage with Strategic WMM. Without it, you’re losing the potential for new and continuing business. It’s vital to build positive relationships with buying teams; they’ve bought from you, they’re on board, they’ve responded to your marketing. Surely they are the best people to enlist in your advocate army, spreading positive word of mouth about your services and products?
But wait, have you checked that they’re positive advocates?
find your advocatesYour battle-hardened account teams are tactically dealing with the day to day fracas, defending the line, striving for renewals. The accounts they work with most are often those they build relationships with, which is a good thing. We know how important customer relationships are, but the question we must ask ourselves is, “Who are these relationships with?”
Usually there are day to day contacts within an account that get the most attention, but these people aren’t necessarily going to be the decision makers (DM), key influencers, or budget holders.  Rather, they’re the shepherds – program managers, perhaps – of the products and services that your company provided. It is worthwhile to note that although they have needs, these needs don’t always line up with those of the DM, meaning the sentiment of the account is an unknown.
You’re focusing on what you thought was the front line without realizing the real fight was happening elsewhere.
Strategic WMM should be the domain of your Marketing department. Advocates are the reinforcements you’ve been waiting for in your operation’s day to day sparring. With Marketing focused on Strategic WMM, operational Customer Success can then remain in the hands of account managers so both teams can play to their strengths.

Type: Programmatic Tactical
Audience: One-to-Many, Strategic Accounts One-to-One
Relationships: Understands sentiment of the Buying Committee Drives adoption and usage
Focus: Strategizes and plans over a longer term Day-to-day customer handling

That being said, Marketing and Customer Success must be allies working together.  The CS teams know the accounts, who the players are, and their use cases better than anyone else. Open communication between CS, Marketing and Products ensures relationships and needs of customers are handled along with the ongoing WMM. It ensures the Buying Committees – not just the end users — are engaged and positive advocates for your company and reduces the impact of detractors, finding them and assessing where they’ve arisen from.
To successfully understand what is creating your company’s promoters or detractors, your WMM needs to be scalable and strategic. As an Operating System, WMM provides an understanding what is going on at each segment level, it’s health, strategy and any improvement required. Understand what’s working and not-working rather than just singularizing all accounts across the board. Work to optimize the roadmap for the creation and maintenance of promoters/advocates rather than just look at an aggregate NPS® or average scores.
Winning any battle requires the right equipment and TopBox scales the process, measuring the strength of the advocate army of buyers, not just end users. It can deal with scaling the ‘dialog’ process which becomes apparent as your company gets even larger. It gives you visibility into what’s working well so you can optimize those efforts, while also pinpointing trouble spots that are creating detractors that do battle against you.
Advocate generation (WMM) led by a marketing team in conjunction with operational CS teams in support can achieve long term results quickly and effectively.
advocate armyRemember Generals, in order to gain the most ground on the battlefield and grow, you need to make sure your advocate army is strongly built and well taken care of so you can deploy them when ready. Your detractors are skilled at infiltration; they wield power that can wipe out an advocate platoon with a click of their keyboard. Use your tactical division in WMM and operational CS to stay ahead of them and beat them at every turn.
So go out there and get your Advocate Army ready for deployment, now fall out troops!

Find out how to move forward and activate your advocates here.