How to ask for referrals
Integrate it into your customer journey
A steady stream of customers being referred to you through word-of-mouth is an asset that any SaaS company would love to have, yet its surprising how few playbooks exist to actually drive referrals.
In fact, many SaaS companies actually make it really hard for themselves to drive referrals because they silo their customer-facing teams (customer success and support) away from their customer-acquisition teams (sales and marketing).
Yes there are some established digital marketing tactics like affiliate marketing and prompts to share on social, however these tend to only work in B2C models or self-serve B2B models.
For the remainder of B2B businesses, we can get inspiration from service industries like real estate and financial advice, where the offering is a commodity and referrals are the key to growth.
Referrals are a function of recurring impact. You will always get the most referrals from the customers who are seeing the most impact from you on a regular basis. It’s no surprise that financial advisors get the most referrals when the stock market is going up and portfolio returns are strongest.
Ask for a referral immediately after you’ve demonstrated impact. Customers are most engaged in the moments when they see the positive impact of working with you. Realtors usually get the most referrals from buyers within the two months after they buy a home and are feeling great about their purchase. Similarly, venture capitalists get the most referrals to new limited partners after they’ve had an exit and distributed the gains.
There are 4 key impact moments in every customer’s journey, which gives you 4 opportunities to ask for a referral: