The Advocacy Channel Ep. 23: Customer Advocacy at the Top: Navigating Executive Engagement for Optimal Business Growth
Welcome to 2024!
Kicking off our first podcast episode of the year, we delve into the strategic world of executive customer advocacy. Join us as we feature insights from two seasoned experts: Angela Wells, Head of Customer Advocacy and Executive Programs at Splunk, who brings over 25 years of experience in marketing and customer relationships, and Sarah Moody, a San Francisco-based customer marketing veteran with 27 years of experience, particularly in Voice of the Customer programs. These two experts bring a wealth of knowledge and insights to our discussion around executive customer advocacy.
Check out the full episode below, or keep reading for the top 5 pieces of advice from the episode.
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What is Executive Customer Advocacy?
Listen from 00:02
Executive customer advocacy is about creating high-level connections between companies and their most important customers. Angela explains, "It's really about building connections at the highest level of your company with the highest levels of your customers." Sarah adds, "It's a mindset shift. This is about building relationships, thinking creatively, and playing the long game".
Why is Executive Customer Advocacy Important?
Listen from 03:00
Executive customer advocacy is an important tactic for several reasons:
1. C-Suite Influence and Decision Making
As Angela puts it, "Executive advocacy creates a direct line to the decision-makers." These are the individuals who can drive significant business changes and make substantial investments. Their advocacy can lead to more substantial, long-term business commitments.
2. Brand Reputation and Market Positioning
Sarah emphasizes, "When these executives advocate for us, it elevates our brand. They're not just customers; they're influential champions in the industry." This endorsement can be pivotal in shaping market perceptions and enhancing brand credibility.
3. Sustainable Business Growth
Angela notes, "Building these relationships goes beyond immediate sales. It's about sustainable growth through trusted partnerships." Engaging with executive customers can lead to more stable and predictable revenue streams.
"We design our executive programs to make sure our top customers feel as valuable as they are. They are the first at the buffet, the first to access the best of what we have to offer. This prioritization is essential for maintaining their engagement and loyalty". (07:15)
Key Strategies for Effective Executive Customer Advocacy
Listen from 08:35
1. Content is King
Beyond mere content creation, this strategy focuses on developing experiences and opportunities that deeply resonate with executive customers. Angela highlights the need for exclusivity and value, "Our goal is to ensure that these executives are the first to receive the best of our offerings." Sarah adds, "It's about content that not only informs but also inspires and connects at a deeper level".
2. Enabling Influential Connections
Effective customer advocacy depends on creating positive networking opportunities among customers. Angela and Sarah recommend organizing exclusive events and platforms for executives to connect and share insights, fostering a community of influential leaders.
3. Presence at Industry Events
Active participation in industry events is crucial for visibility and engagement. Angela notes, "It's about making a statement, being a part of the conversation, and demonstrating thought leadership in real-time.”
4. Building Relationships Through Strategic Engagement
Utilizing existing networks for establishing personal connections is crucial. Sarah notes, "We track metrics on targeted companies to build executive connections. It's about renewals, upsells, and turning customers into advocates".
5. Integrating All the Steps into a Cohesive Strategy
Angela underscores the importance of a unified strategy, "We bring all pieces of the executive customer experience into one puzzle, ensuring we engage with key accounts all year long".
"To build a relationship with these customers, interact with them in a way where they feel valued. It's about making it worth their while, imparting value so they come back again and again". (39:00)
Results and Impact
The benefits of executive customer advocacy are profound. Sarah shares, "Accounts in these programs have shown a 10-20-30% increase in ARR over 12 months." This strategy not only boosts revenue but also strengthens customer loyalty and brand advocacy.
Angela and Sarah conclude with a call for a paradigm shift in customer relationships, "It's about shifting from transactional interactions to building lasting, value-driven connections. We design programs that make customers feel as valued as they truly are".
Listen to the full episode for even more expert advice on leveling up your customer advocacy initiatives. Special thanks to Sarah and Angela for being on the show!
Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahlmoody/
Connect with Angela on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angela-w-wells/
Got questions or feedback about the podcast? Send us an email!