6 Questions Every CMO Has about Employee Advocacy
When you’re trying to gain internal support for employee advocacy, think about who is poised to see the value of your project. For example, the CMO or the VP of Marketing is typically a great person to approach.
When you’re approaching the marketing leaders at your company, it’s a good idea to anticipate some of the questions and objections that they might have. To be successful, you’ll need to understand who the stakeholders are, what they care about, and how they make decisions. We’ve prepared some questions and tips to get you started.
Question 1: Why does employee advocacy work?
Like consumers, B2B buyers are more likely to trust a brand or product recommendation from friends or family. In fact, Forrester’s research on software purchasers in North America shows that peers have lots of sway in the purchasing decision.
Your employees are your buyers’ peers. By encouraging your employees to act as advocates, your company can influence the discover and explore stages of the buying process.
Question 2: What is the ROI of employee advocacy?
To answer this question, be prepared to talk about ROI estimates, and know which metrics are important to your marketing leaders. As Forrester has noted, “Most B2B marketers told us they can tie revenue directly to advocate participation.” But companies with employee advocacy programs also see benefits like:
- Higher conversion rates
- More qualified leads
- Better customer relationships
- Brand amplification
- More social engagement
- Increased retention of customers
- Higher customer lifetime value
To help you create your ROI estimates, you may want to consult these resources:
Question 3: Which additional resources will be needed?
Marketing leaders want to know how an employee advocacy program will impact the marketing department’s structure. It’s likely that your company already has many of the resources you need. For example, you probably have a content team and a team dedicated to analytics and metrics.
As you think through your program, remember that one of your biggest challenges will be training your advocates on social media and reenforcing best practices. If you choose the right vendor, it will be easy to train your current team and get them up to speed. Not only will your vendor’s platform be user-friendly; its customer success team will support your training efforts.
Question 4: How will we protect our brand?
It’s fairly easy for a CMO to control a brand’s reputation if the company has a handful of corporate social accounts. But what happens if a company suddenly has thousands of advocates tweeting about the company? How can the marketing department ensure that those people are building a positive brand image?
To allay your CMO’s worries, you may want to prepare a mental script – like this one:
“If you are concerned about the brand’s reputation, the marketing team can build a content library. You can pre-approve the content, and you can pre-approve messages.
“Don’t worry. This won’t add more work for you. A good social selling platform will allow the marketing department to share pre-approved content – with the click of a button. In turn, advocates can share those messages and amplify your company’s message.
“Just think of how many more people will see our organization’s messages if we have everyone posting about it – not just our corporate account.”
Question 5: How does this fit with our current plans?
Understand your CMO’s strategic vision for your department, and then, align your response to that vision. Each marketing department will be slightly different. For example, if your company is trying to humanize its brand, point out that advocacy puts a human face on your brand. Or let’s say that your CMO is putting more emphasis on content marketing. Show how your employees can act as content amplifiers.
Question 6: What is our timeline for success?
Prepare a timeline that lays out how long it will take to roll out your employee advocacy program. As you build your timeline, take stock of all the tasks that you must accomplish. (You can find a checklist of tasks here.) And make note of any competing initiatives that could delay your launch.
Oh, and one more tip: As you’re selecting a software partner, ask them about their time to deployment. Stay clear of vendors who take a long time to launch.
Remember that employee advocacy is not a one-person show. You’ll need the support of your executive team. To do so, you need to understand your stakeholders and what makes them tick. If you can address their pain points and concerns, you can win them over. Good luck!
If you’d like to learn more about employee advocacy, check out The Rise of the Employee Marketer.