Nobody wants to be a guinea pig. That is, your potential customers don’t want to be the first to try a product or service. They want reassurance that others have “been there, done that” and got incredible value from their purchase.
That’s why customer feedback is every marketer’s best friend.
But quality feedback doesn’t just build your prospects’ trust and enhance your credibility. When you use it to craft a compelling case study or an ad campaign that really hits home, it can tell your company story or even create a human connection. And any one of these benefits can boost your lead generation.
Carrie Brown, AMA Madison’s President and Marketing Manager at Beam Benefits, shared her expertise in harnessing customer insights for marketing success at Craft Marketing’s October 24 event.
Read on to get Carrie’s top 3 tried-and-true strategies for sourcing, using, and elevating feedback to achieve marketing success.
3 Strategies for Sourcing Quality Customer Feedback and Making the Most of It
1. Take Full Advantage of Your Sourcing Options
Carrie introduced three levels of customer feedback sourcing you can pursue:
- Beginner: Social platforms.
At the entry level, you can investigate passive feedback via social platforms. Keep track of which social platforms your customers frequent, and regularly check them for feedback. This route’s advantage is that you don’t have to ask your customers in advance for their thoughts. Unfortunately, this is a less accessible option for B2B companies, as these customers are less likely to make comments or create conversations independently.
- Advanced: Surveys, Customer Service, Email, Purchasing Sites
To bring your sourcing strategy to the next level, you can ask audiences to share their thoughts on your products or services. For example, this could be a note on your email footer, surveys, purchasing sites, looking at customer call ratings, and more. Carrie’s tip: Keep an eye on your customer service score. She’s found great success with this trick. Each month, she reviews her company’s log, searching for trends and changes she can implement based on the feedback she finds.
- Expert: Sales Team
The top tier of sourcing: Work with your sales team. They are the front lines who can help your customers talk to you. Carrie explained that while this option takes more effort and persistence than the previous two methods, it truly pays off. As she stated, “The best feedback you can get is when customers talk to you… And you’re listening.”
But it can be challenging to get sales’ permission to have you speak to their customers. They may be so busy they’re difficult to contact. Even tougher, they may have reservations about you interacting with their customers at this time. If your organization’s sales and marketing teams are less than well-aligned, the challenge only grows. Carrie acknowledged these roadblocks and offered the following three points that you must execute to get sales on board:
- Illustrate how and why: You must demonstrate to them how their customers’ feedback will help them open more doors for them in the future. Explain the concept of social proof, and show them any data you may have displaying web traffic or downloads on case study pages. Better yet, if you can, give them examples of current customers who were partially won over by customer referrals, case studies, ads using customer testimonials, and other feedback-heavy content.
- Request Again and Again: It will likely take 3-5 times of emails, slack messages, and phone conversations to get traction. Keep persisting.
- Make It Easy for Them: Determine the best way to reach your sales reps. Carrie shared that at her company, the Sales team lives on Slack, so she made a Slack Bot for them to fill out a form at their convenience.
- Work With Top Reps and Customers: Identify the top sales reps and work closely with them. They’ll be able to tell you who they have good relationships with and who the returning customers are. This is a brilliant way to fast-forward to the customers who like you the most and will have the highest praise to offer.
- Follow the Wins: Pay attention to where the sales team is having the most wins and raving about their positive experiences in the market. That’s the moment where you need to ask them to make contact.
Carrie acknowledged that all of these initiatives take a lot of work. But she also said that it’s well worth the effort because they’ll pay off when you get to start using and elevating the feedback you get.
“The best feedback you can get is when customers talk to you… And you’re listening”
2. Use & Elevate Feedback
To fully maximize your customer feedback, Carrie offered the three following levels of strategy:
- Beginner: Using Customer Names as a Reference in Proposals & in the Sales Journey
When you get a fantastic piece of customer feedback, it’s worth asking the contact if they’d be willing to act as a reference in proposals and to aid the sales journey going forward. These references can be pivotal when your sales team works with future prospects. Carrie suggests always letting your reference know when and why you use their name and if they might expect a call.
- Advanced: Use Written Testimonials in Assets
Written customer testimonials can and should be repurposed. There are many ways to make your customer the star to reach future customers, including:
- Social media posts
- Email campaigns
- Digital and print ads
- Website content
Carrie’s pro tip: Create a spreadsheet categorizing your testimonials by pain point or “reason to believe.” If a testimonial hits multiple pain points, you can categorize it in multiple areas. This resource will be a convenient reference point for your entire marketing team as they create content.
- Expert: Create Assets that Speak to the Customer Experience… From the Customer
An effective way to reach your customer is to create assets that speak to the customer experience from another customer’s point of view. This could be through:
- Targeted video ads
- Custom landing pages
- Social posts from their point of view
3. Use Negative Feedback to Strengthen Your Organization
Finally, Carrie emphasized that negative feedback can be a useful source of constructive criticism for your organization. Look for trends in negative feedback above all. One-off complaints are often less urgent and will be a less valuable use of your time.
Sometimes, negative feedback can help you level up your product. For example, Carrie highlighted TuckTec, a foldable kayak company. As happy as they were with their purchases, TuckTec customers were persistently lamenting that they didn’t have a spot in the kayak to hold their coffee. Some even posted workarounds to hold a cup of coffee in the boat safely.
TuckTec listened and released “The TuckTec Folding Coffee” folding coffee cup that could brew coffee without needing a water source, electricity, fire, kettle, or mug. As Carrie pointed out, this is a prime example of how a complaint can turn into surprise and delight for the customer.
See You at the Thirsty Goat for November’s Craft Marketing
Craft Marketing invites you to its next live in-person event at the Thirsty Goat in Fitchburg at 4:00 PM on November 28th, “Increasing Sales with Targeted B2B Marketing Efforts” presented by Prue Lotharius. You’ll get to network with your peers and enjoy a delicious beverage of your choice.
You can learn more and register here.
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About the Author
Kara Martin, Content Writer at Naviant, specializes in written B2B content, from case studies to blogs and beyond. She transforms complex technical information into compelling, data-driven content that helps organizations turn their digital transformation goals into a reality.