• LookBookHQ, a sponsor of SiriusDecisions’ Summit, builds software that accelerates B2B purchase decisions
  • Before 2017’s Summit, Ellen Lind asked LookBookHQ’s VP of customer experience, Heather Foeh, about events and customer advocacy
  • Heather and her team leverage events to build relationships with customer advocates by soliciting their feedback on new products

Editor’s note: This post is part of the fifth issue of our B2B Marketplace Newsletter, a resource for marketing and events professionals from leading technology and services providers. Go here to learn more and subscribe.

LookBookHQ, one of the sponsors of SiriusDecisions’ recent 2017 Summit, builds software that accelerates B2B purchase decisions. By delivering more of the content people need about a company and its products or services whenever and wherever they click, the LookBookHQ Intelligent Content Platform helps marketing and sales organizations educate prospects and customers faster and more efficiently. Before Summit, I had a chance to sit down with Heather Foeh, VP of customer experience at LookBookHQ, to ask her some questions about events and customer advocacy.

Heather Foeh

Where’s your favorite place to host or sponsor an event?

My favorite place is Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. I was able to host a small gathering there for some advocates a couple years ago, and it was phenomenal. Each morning we had meetings, and then each afternoon people could choose what they wanted to do: go to the spa, go skiing or go snowmobiling. Then we all met for dinner each night – there are so many good restaurants around the area. I definitely wouldn’t host a big conference there, but for a smaller gathering like a customer advisory board, it’s a great location.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I’ve become the biggest advocate for Slack. Especially for someone who’s remote, it’s just a great way to keep up with the chatter that’s happening in the office. And now that they’ve added video calling, I easily do eight to 15 video calls a day. On a personal level, I really love Calm. It’s a meditation app – it has programs I use in the morning, but there are also these sleep stories in the evening that I use to go to sleep. I’ve been using it for a couple years; I have the paid version and it’s not cheap, but for me it’s totally worth it for as much as I get out of it.

What’s the last song you downloaded?

I listen to a lot of soundtracks – that’s what I like to listen to when I work – and I just downloaded the one from Amélie. It’s a great soundtrack, fun to listen to, very upbeat. I just listened to it on the plane while I was reading a book last week!

Who is one of your favorite keynote speakers that you’ve seen at an event?

Chris Hadfield – he’s an astronaut who commanded the International Space Station. He was so interesting to me – how many people get to have that experience? – and he was a really good speaker. It was at a Vidyard conference called Space Camp, so it was a clever tie-in. He did a good job talking about how video is such a great communication tool and you really appreciate it when you’re far away from your family. And he was funny but also touching, which is what you want. You want somebody to take you through the emotions.

How do you find out who your advocates and champions are?

Well, twice a year we do a Net Promoter Score® survey. The people who give you 9s and 10s – those are great people to ask if you don’t know them already. I’ve also started asking the sales team to identify who they think could be advocates before they’re even customers. Sales reps work with somebody in the sales cycle, and they just kind of know that this person gets it – he or she is a mobilizer in the company; people listen to this person; he or she gets stuff done, is very passionate and competitive, and wants to do a really good job really quickly. Because the sales team has talked to so many people and closed so many deals, they can spot the really good ones. It’s a great way for them to say, “You need to start mentoring this person as an advocate from day one, because she has what it takes and she’s going to be a great advocate for you.” Then often I will reach out and introduce myself and try to develop that relationship really early on with that person.

Client success managers are honestly the best salespeople to find advocates – most come through that channel. They’re the ones who have the day-to-day relationships and get the little stories on their weekly or biweekly calls, so it’s helpful when they raise their hand and say, “Oh, so-and-so just told me this great story about this great result they had. They really want to talk about it; they really want to know if you need any speakers at an event.” They’re constantly uncovering advocates.

How do you leverage events in building customer advocates?

For getting advocates, one thing we did many years ago in my Eloqua days was a series of 18 road shows: 18 cities over the course of two months. We had a feedback form on the tables – at the end of the day we asked people to evaluate the event and the speakers – and along the bottom was a checkbox next to “I’m interested in learning more about what it means to be in the Eloqua advocate program.” It was such a simple thing to add that little checkbox, but we got 75 advocates over that time period just by asking!

With events for advocates, I really like to do smaller, more intimate things. We’re getting ready to do one in May, for example – actually, the day before SiriusDecisions Summit, because people will be in town anyway – we’re going to spend the afternoon together. It’s really meant to be product-facing and best practices; it helps them to know what their peers are doing and what’s working for them. But also our product team is sharing with them a lot of the new things that are coming and getting their feedback. I think that’s one of the best ways to repay your advocates: giving them sneak peeks and insider knowledge. Letting them know they’re part of the in-crowd – that’s always a good feeling – but also making them feel heard, like they were able to influence some feature or function of a product they use regularly. That’s the “pay it back” part. That’s one of my favorite things to do.