When maintaining your referral network there are a few online tools essential for maintaining a healthy and active network that actually drives quality leads. You likely already have the basic business essentials setup and in use for customer engagement, tracking, and support. However; make sure to leverage these tools with business partners that send over referrals. Every business referral network partner should be included in your customer relationship management database, connected on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, and depending on the individual’s role in your referral network, be part of your project management system.
Tracking Leads is Essential
Tracking the success of each individual in your referral network is critical and the most logical place to store this data is in your customer relationship management system. Depending on the sophistication of your system you may be able to have a field for leads associated with the contact who referred them and then follow that lead all the way through your sales process to know if the deals are closing or not. Generating a monthly report from your referral network partners will help you manage your activities and know who you owe a referral fee to or at the very least who deserves your time and future business leads according to the agreement you share. If you do not have a CRM system deployed for your small business, check out the low cost solutions from Zoho or Salesforce. Depending on the needs of your business both are excellent solutions. Using Excel spreadsheets, notepads, and other means just won’t cut it if you’re getting more than one or two leads per week. It would be worth the time, money and effort to invest in a CRM system to manage your contacts properly. Neglecting to track the success or failure of referral partner’s leads means you’ll lose important data that can help your business grow.
Engage with Partners Socially
One way to remain at the forefront of your referral network partner’s minds is to engage with them through social media sites such as Linkedin, Facebook Pages and Twitter. These sites are extremely beneficial as your referral partners are likely to be connected with other business leaders who have followers that are also focused on business in your industry. When your referral partners post, tweet, comment or participate in online discussions you have the added value of additional exposure to new potential partners, clients or customers. This will help make sure you are familiar to the ecosystem of people that associate with your referral network. Additionally, when you have something relevant to share be sure to do so. Remember the key to social media is engagement with the online community your business is a part of.
Leverage online tools to enhance the effectiveness of your referral network. Make sure you track communications and engage in conversations that can help develop your brand in the community. Referral networks can drive high quality leads when managed properly. Be sure to interact on social networks and take advantage of the excellent low cost solutions available to small business owners to engage hundreds and thousands of individuals in your industry.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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