In Part 1 of this series on how to make referrals work for you, we reviewed the types of referral sources that, if managed well, can bring new revenues to your business.
But, let’s dig a little deeper now by looking at these types of referrals and map them against two key qualities that are essential for them to be effective. And by that, I mean, being able to shorten the sales cycle and increase the volume of new sales opportunities:
Key Quality #1: How well the type of referral source knows your organization.
To bring you business opportunities that you want, referral sources need to understand: your product/service offerings, what’s unique about your company, and your company’s culture.
Key Quality #2: How well the type of referral source knows your targeted companies.
At the same time, referral sources need to understand your preferred, or targeted, companies in ways that go beyond answering the BANT (i.e. budget, authority, need, and timetable) questions. They also must have a handle on targets’ goals, their plans to pursue these goals, and the challenges preventing them from reaching their goals.
That might seem obvious, but, you’d be surprised how much effort and resource are spent on engaging referral sources that lack these both qualities. So, to help you focus your time on leveraging those referral sources that will have the most positive impact on your sales funnel, consider the following mapping. (Just keep in mind this serves as a starting point. There are outliers and exceptions for every referral source type.)
If you want to optimize referral sources and their activities:
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Andrew Brown is Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Bridgemaker Referral Programs. He is the lead author of the ‘How to Grow Your Business Through Better Relationships’ series – which includes books on getting the most from referral sources, channel partners, and strategic alliances.