B2B Marketing
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Why B2B Marketers Should Double Down on Referral Marketing

Published by in B2B Marketing

I’m a bit of a finance nerd.

I love apps like SmartyPig, Acorns, and Mint.

The truth is, for how much I know about software (even accounting software), I would have never discovered these products unless I read finance blogs, like I Will Teach You To Be Rich, 20-Something Finance, and Budgets are Sexy.

I trust these authors with their reviews and insights, much like many people use Capterra to provide objective insights on business software.

These blogs are a modern take on referral marketing, an age-old tactic of how people find out about new products.

I’m sure you’ve bought plenty of consumer products because someone close to you recommended it. It could be something as common as Pokémon Go or a new brand that specializes in a clothing style that you’re particularly fond of.

But referral marketing is something that B2B marketers have shied away from, largely because it’s difficult to get businesses to endorse products to their competitors.

How can B2B marketers take advantage of word of mouth?

b2b referral marketing

We’ve got you covered. I chatted with a host of expert content marketers who explained how to make referral marketing work. Check out what these three experts have to say. The following sections are edited down quotes from these marketing professionals.

1. Referral Marketing Statistically Works

Tom Smith, Insights From Analytics

ALL marketers should use referral marketing. It’s the most effective and least expensive form of marketing and has been since marketing began. More so with the growth of social media.

People seek truth and share opinions online and offline.

Consider these statistics:

  • 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. [Ogilvy/Google/TNS]
  • 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. [BrightLocal]
  • 72% say reading a positive customer reviews increase their trust in a business; it takes, on average, 2-6 reviews to get 56% of them to this point. [BrightLocal]
  • On social media, 58% of consumers share their positive experiences with a company, and ask family, colleagues, and friends for their opinions about brands. [SDL]

And these stats don’t just apply to B2C.

  • 91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their buying decision. [USM]
  • 61% of IT buyers report that colleague recommendations are the most important factor when making a purchase decision. [B to B Magazine]
  • 56% of B2B purchasers look to offline word-of-mouth as a source of information and advice, and this number jumps to 88% when online word-of-mouth sources are included. [BaseOne]

These statistics suggest that referral marketing is possibly the best way for brands to generate leads.

2. Use Referral Marketing as Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Elena Lockett, FM Outsource

Referral marketing is one of the cheapest and most effective form of marketing. All you need is to provide good customer experience and then spread the word via your clients and the internet.

At FM Outsource, we love it when a client recommends a good product. Reviews are the basis for many purchases nowadays so if you are referred a product from a friend or family member you trust, you’re more likely to be getting the deal you’re expecting.

Another great way to utilise referral marketing is by gaining sources from websites, emails, and blogs that send interested readers to your site. Whether that’s through guest blogging on similar websites or submitting press releases on relevant news in the business, you’re more likely to get high-quality leads looking over your site.

3. It Worked for Me

Larry Nolen, Internet Choice

I am responsible for increasing our online visibility through content marketing and link building efforts. We’ve seen a lot of success through content marketing and creating relationships with webmasters.

We have seen 52.24% increase in sessions and 421.95% increase in new users due to our referral traffic.

In our efforts to expand our link profile we have established relationships with relevant bloggers, publications, and digital media outlets by offering them relevant content for their site.

We position ourselves as a guest writer or offer a coupon or discount code to their readers in exchange for a sponsored or featured post.

We have created a large network of blogs and sites that our traffic has increased predominantly in the referral and organic search space.


So to summarize, referral marketing works, even for B2B brands. Companies tend to talk to each other if they’re not competing in the same vertical. Guest blogging is a good investment, and consider using discount codes or coupons to get people over to your site.

Do you use other methods to get referrals? Did I miss something here? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for Referral software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Referral software solutions.

About the Author

Rachel Burger

Rachel Burger

Rachel is a former Capterra analyst who covered project management.


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