How To Build A B2B Referral Program That Actually Works | A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Build A B2B Referral Program That Actually Works | A Step-By-Step Guide

Referral marketing doesn’t just apply to B2C businesses. It is also common for B2B decision-makers to seek advice from people they trust when making a purchase. 

88% of B2B decision makers rely on word-of-mouth (online and offline) for “information and advice.” (Capterra)

The Value Of B2B Referral Programs

A B2B referral program motivates satisfied customers to recommend your brand, product, or service to decision-makers at other businesses. 

In the B2C world, referral programs are already proven to be effective. However, how does this play out in B2B?

Building a B2B referral program is different from a B2C referral program. 


There is a key fundamental difference between B2C and B2B. Most of the online content like case studies revolves around B2C referral programs. And that’s why we wanted to do a deep dive into how to build the structure of a B2B referral program that will guarantee referral success. 

We believe that this is a good channel for B2B. A large number of B2B businesses are using our software to generate new leads and use our software to grow their business.

Let’s walk through a step-by-step guide for building a B2B referral program that works and guarantees your success today.

1. Referral Program Incentives

Start with the incentive. Incentives are more important than rewards in B2B. The reason is like in a business environment people put a lot of reputation, building their network, and building trust within their business community. Offering an incentive to someone elevates you in that business community because it means you’re doing them a favor. And the business environment is very valuable. 


If you could refer an X agency or company for a 3-month free subscription, that would improve your social status and make you look good to your network. Often that drives people to refer more in B2B than getting a $200 reward. 

Once you’ve figured out your incentive, your whole referral campaign will go smoothly. That means you need a double-sided referral program.

Why Are Incentives Important?

Incentives make it easier for people in a business environment to share things within their network. The reputational risk isn’t worth it if it looks like all you’re doing is trying to get them to buy something so you can get the $200 reward.

So, incentives are incredibly important because people have more confidence and more willingness to share X business or service with their network. It enables them to be doing a favor for their business network, and that’s actually what drives success in a B2B referral program.

2. Double-Sided Referral Program 

B2B referral programs should be double-sided. What is a double-sided referral program? The top-performing referral programs are the ones that are driven by offering both a reward to the person referring and an incentive to the person invited. 

For example, your customer gets $200 for every friend they refer, who becomes an active customer, and for a friend a special demo meeting directly with your Founder. It’s a win-win, don’t you think? 

In order to drive more leads and grow its business, this is how Referral Factory has built, designed, and launched its B2B referral campaign. 


3. Referral Program Reward

When building a B2B program structure, the question always arises, who should receive the reward? A company, agency, organization, or individual? 

Identify who you are rewarding in your B2B referral campaign. 

In most referral campaign cases, it’s a person. In order to motivate the person to refer, you need to reward them (vouchers, cash, or coupons) and not the company they work for.

Referral programs, however, must offer rewards that make them appealing to existing customers.

You don’t have to reward in cold hard cash (though, tbh, this doesn’t hurt!). Think about what your business could offer that’s either low cost, free or even just sneakily disguised as a reward 🥸

For example, you could give a discount on your products or services (for this, you might want to check out our Coupons feature). 

4. Marketing Your B2B Referral Program

The biggest fact of your B2B referral program’s success is promotion. 

The reason you have to put in more work to promote your referral program is that you often don’t have a consumer product that people log in to 10 times a day. You have to actively promote it, which means you need to do things like a widget, sync your CRM contacts or a pop-up, and put it into a business process that people ask for a referral at this point.


How to promote your referral program is actually very important and how to include it in your business processes. Like everyone in your company should put referral links in their signatures, where people can sign up to refer 👇


Here are a few more ways you can promote your referral program 👇

Use a widget in your website that allows turning your website traffic into referrals. 

An easy way to get people to join your referral campaign is to include a widget on your website. Visitors can immediately start referring by clicking on the referral campaign widget! Place the widget on your homepage or any other page where you want to encourage users to join.

Sync your CRM contacts which allows you to generate a referral link for every one of your CRM contacts.  

You can issue referral links to all your CRM Contacts or a specific list of contacts once you go live with your referral campaign. This will allow you to add those contacts to your campaign and call their unique referral links back to your CRM. Then, every customer interaction becomes an opportunity to refer a friend.

Put a Pop-up in your logged-in environment

Add a referral campaign pop-up to your website after a positive customer experience. The pop-up can be added either during or after the order checkout. When customers feel positive about their purchase, they are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. 

Email All Your Contacts

Upload your email database to Referral Factory, and automatically issue referral links to users by sending them an email announcing that they can now refer friends! 

Check out this article for more referral campaign promotion ideas that will help you market and promote your referral campaign once it’s launched.

Findings From 2000+ Referral Programs And 100 000+ Referrals Generated For Our Customers.