Customer Advocacy - who owns it?

Simon Neve
Simon Neve Member Posts: 1 Navigator

While doing some research into advocacy (stories, case studies, reviews) it's not clear who's typically responsible for it.

Advocacy seems to fall between any these departments:
- Customer Success
- Marketing
- Product
- Sales enablement
- Customer Advocacy - separately to any of the above

Would be interested to know who owns it in your experience, and who should own it ideally?




  • Steve Bernstein
    Steve Bernstein Member Posts: 133 Expert
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Comment
    edited March 2021
    Hi @Simon Neve-- In my humble opinion, there are generally 3 parts to this critical activity:

    1. Customer Success must own the process of creating and identifying advocate/promoters. As part of the regular work that CS does, best-practice is to engage ALL the "right" contacts (e.g. key stakeholders, power users, architects, project managers, administrators, other line-of-business influencers, etc) to understand their sentiment, with the "why" behind it. Most of our clients do this step as follows:
    • In advance of an EBR, renewal, or customer "value realization" milestone, CS collaborates with Sales and with their customer champions to make sure the list of the those contacts hasn't changed. For example, ask your customer champion:
      • "As part of our commitment to your success with our products and services, we need you to complete a short assessment of your experiences and relationship with us... the assessment takes no longer than 3 or 4 minutes, and we're committed to addressing the feedback as part of an updated Joint Success Plan.  Will you participate? 
      • "Who else is in a position to have opinions on how our 2 companies work together... here are the people I have in mind... has anyone changed roles/new colleagues to include?
      • "Would you please help me engage them in also completing their assessment so we can be sure we've swept all the corners? I'll be able to share all the (anonymized) feedback with you so we can all see what's working well and what needs to be addressed or improved...I can provide a short email that you could copy-paste to them."
    • BOOM!  With that you've just identified your key stakeholders and gotten them to complete your request for feedback. This "script" would be used during existing interactions with your customer-champion, and best-practice has shown that it's best to do this process prior to an EBR so you identify concerns before the meeting and use precious executive time to work on priorities, action items, and mutual accountability.
    2. Your assessment questionnaire will identify ALL the promoter/advocates (not just the people you work with on a day-to-day basis), but also those that aren't... you'll want to work to address their needs per #1 above and/or follow-up with the individual contact 1:1.  Just by demonstrating that you care and are following up you'll move-the-needle and greatly enhance the relationship, if not convert that contact to be an advocate/promoter outright.

    3. Now that you've identified your advocate/promoters, it's easy to provide that list to marketing to ACTIVATE them. Marketing needs a program that will leverage the customer-contacts by persona, segment, and other cohort (such as region, industry, etc) to complete certain activities such as references, referrals, and testimonials. 

    Rinse and repeat... By requesting the feedback as part of customers' own lifecycle, rather than just a big survey "event" you'll not only be able to increase your advocacy rate, but you'll improve company efficiency since such survey-events require you to bite off far more than you can chew, creating more detrators or disengaged contacts due to bothering them about baloney like "surveys."

    Full disclosure: We use our own Wayoint's TopBox SaaS to drive the automation inside Salesforce and create the necessary visualizations/analytics that make this process easy. As I always say, my role here is "market education" and I'm certainly not here to try to sell you anything, and I am happy to provide more details on the process if you want to continue the thread or DM me directly.