Is your sales process on the longer side, involving a higher ticket-price, more due diligence, or multiple stakeholders? 

If the answer is yes, you may be looking for a referral program that lets you go beyond “give one, get one” rewards. Multi-step referral rewards are a great way to keep your customers and partners motivated, by rewarding them for bringing in both qualified leads and sales. 

Here’s how to use multi-step referral rewards to grow your word-of-mouth business. 

What are multi-step referral rewards?

A multi-step referral program gives the advocate (referrer) different rewards for each key step in the sales process their referral completes. The rewards are cumulative, and will usually increase in value with every step the referred friend completes.

For example, a multi-step program might give the advocate (referrer):

  • $10 in credit when a referred lead is qualified in your CRM, and $25 in credit when that lead makes a purchase
  • A $10 Visa card when a referred lead books a demo with a sales rep, and a free month of your service when that lead becomes your customer
  • A gift card to another local business when a referred lead schedules a site visit, and $50 cash back when that lead becomes your customer
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Multi-step referral rewards are different from tiered referral rewards.

Multi-step rewards are earned as a single referral moves through different stages of the sales funnel.

Tiered rewards increase in value with the number of referred customers someone brings in. For instance, in a tiered structure, someone might earn subscription credits after one successful referral, and access to an exclusive certification course after three successful referrals.

Who should use multi-step referral rewards?

Multi-step referral programs are best for sales-led B2B businesses, as well as B2C businesses with longer buying cycles, or higher ticket-value services that require a more “consultative” approach (think HVAC installation or construction contracting). Even though referrals trust the peer who referred them, they often still take their time in researching these types of businesses (and the products or services offered) before they decide to purchase.

Because it may take a while before a referral results in a sale, giving the advocate a smaller reward for bringing in a lead keeps them motivated to make more referrals. Then, they’ll still reap a bigger reward as an added thank-you when they bring in new, paying customers for your company.

The following industries are great fits for multi-step referral rewards:

  • Sales-led B2B businesses and SaaS companies
  • Contractors/Construction
  • Landscapers/Lawn Care
  • HVAC professionals
  • Plumbers
  • Movers
  • Staffing

How do I set up multi-step referral rewards?

Interested in launching a program with multi-step referral rewards? Here’s how to set them up, including how they work in Referral Rock.

Choose the right referral software

To set up – and automate – multi-step referral rewards, you’ll need the right referral software. Referral software lets you track every referral using unique links, and instantly issue rewards for successful leads and referrals (based on actions in your CRM or e-commerce platform).

It also collects detailed program data that you can use to measure success and refine your program for optimum results

That said, not every software can handle tracking multi-step referral rewards throughout the buying cycle. So, you’ll need to select your software carefully.

Referral Rock expertly handles multi-step rewards, so it’s great for businesses that want to use complex reward structures. 

Simply choose the actions in the sales process that you want to reward, match them to reward steps inside Referral Rock, and then pick the rewards you desire for each step. 

Referral Rock integrates with over 50 of the tools you already use, including HubSpot and Salesforce, for tracking when the referral moves through different buyer’s journey stages (from Lead to Opportunity, or Opportunity to Closed Won, for example). . 

Plus, Referral Rock works with Zapier to streamline the reward process, has a flexible API, and lets you reward advocates with a variety of payout types (gift cards, cash payments, coupons, or custom incentives). 

Define your reward steps

Multi-step referral programs usually have two reward steps – the first when a referred lead is qualified, and then the second when that referred lead becomes a paying customer. 

But you’ll need to decide when to reward the advocate for the first step, a qualified lead.

This could be:

  • When the lead fills out a form and then is qualified by the sales team (or your internal lead-scoring system)
  • When the lead books a demo
  • When the lead starts a free trial or training session
  • When the lead signs up for an on-site consultation

The second step is more straightforward – when the referred lead pays for your product or service, the advocate gets a reward. 

Yes, we’re focusing heavily on the advocate rewards here, as that’s what makes a program multi-step. But to drive the most purchases, you should also consider rewarding the referred friend for making the purchase, with a reward that directly ties back to your business. 

Examples of business-related rewards are credits towards the purchase, discounts, upgrades, free products, free added services, or a free month of service.

Decide on your advocate rewards

It’s best if you give the advocate a smaller reward when their referral becomes a qualified lead, and a larger reward if that referral makes a purchase.

But what type of referral rewards should you offer for each? It depends on your business and whether the referrer is likely to make another purchase. 

If the referrer isn’t likely to purchase from you again soon (because you have a high-ticket, low-frequency product or service), choose rewards that have nothing to do with your business, such as other businesses’ gift cards, cash back, or tangible gifts. 

If you expect the advocate to purchase from you in the near future (say, you’re a subscription-based business or you offer recurring services or upgrades), offer a reward connected to your business. For instance, you might offer store credits, subscription upgrades, or a free month of service. 

No matter what options you choose, make sure the rewards are motivating for advocates and cost-effective for your business. Here are some of our favorite reward suggestions:

For when the lead is qualified:

  • $5-$15 gift card to a non-competing business (Starbucks, a local restaurant) 
  • $5-$15 Visa gift card
  • A small amount of store credit

For when the referred friend purchases:

  • A free month of service
  • A larger amount of store credits 
  • Cash back
  • A service upgrade
  • A tangible gift (you could even let the referrer choose from a menu of gifts)
  • A larger Visa gift card 

Set up conversion tracking

Integrate your referral software with your CRM to set up referral status tracking based on:

1 – Who made the referral 

2 – Where the referred lead is in the sales process

Usually, that action will get registered by your CRM. For example, when a referral becomes “closed won,” the referral status can become “approved” and a reward can be issued. 

Here’s a more detailed description of how to set up these referral status updates in Referral Rock based on the CRM or other method you choose. Steps are slightly different for each method — here’s what it could look like in HubSpot:

RR HubSpot tracking

Set up your rewards

Your next step is to designate reward rules, which will trigger the rewards you chose whenever a referral lead is qualified or makes a purchase. 

Here’s how this works in Referral Rock:

You’ll start by selecting “Single reward” under “Member rewards,” because these rewards will be for the member (the person doing the referring).

First, set up the reward for when the lead gets qualified. To designate the event that triggers the “qualified lead” reward, choose “Qualified referral” as the referral status. 

rr multi-step referral rewards for member

It’s then time to pick the type of reward you’d like to give out. Choose the reward type you previously picked for when the lead is qualified (e.g. a discount). Then, select “Add” to save your settings.

Go through a similar process to set up the reward for when the referred friend purchases. Start by selecting “Single reward” under “Member rewards” to establish this second member reward.  

To designate the event that triggers the “purchase” reward, choose “Approved” as the referral status. 

rr multi-step referral rewards for member

Next, select the reward type you previously chose for when the referred friend purchases (e.g. a gift card). Then, select “Add” to save your settings.

Once your CRM integration is set up, Referral Rock can automatically pay the rewards out to advocates whenever a referred friend reaches the funnel stages you selected. This makes it easier to manage and scale your referral program! 

Promote your multi-step program 

Now that your rewards are set up, it’s time to promote them. Be sure to make the multi-step rewards, and what must be done to earn them, clear on your referral program page. 

servicetitan referral

Then, promote the program via email, social media, and anywhere else you communicate with customers. People need to know about the program for it to generate leads and sales!

Tip: Referral Rock’s new program link builder makes it easy to promote your program! Build personalized access links that can be used across email campaigns, checkout flows, website banners, and more. Learn more >

Start a multi-step referral program that works with your sales process 

Ready to tap into the power of multi-step referral rewards? Remember: you can  create more leads and sales by rewarding your advocates at different points in the sales process, keeping them motivated along the way.  

Referral Rock provides the best multi-step referral reward experience, as it lets you create structures that motivate your audience, trigger rewards through your CRM, and automate reward fulfillment with a variety of payout options. Learn more about reward management or book a demo to see how we can help.