Today, the B2B world is focused on integrating best practices of B2C into their methods. For Yesler and Wings4U, this discussion started in 2012. Together, they built and maintained a global advocacy program for one of the world’s most reputable technology brands. Acquired by Accenture in 2020, Yesler offered marketing across the full customer lifecycle, including account-based marketing, customer advocacy, sales enablement, and marketing automation.
It was love at first sight. “The partnership started as a means to gain geographic and regional coverage” remembers David Jones, President of Yesler. “But it quickly evolved into something bigger and better.” Through the customer advocacy program that Yesler and Wings4U were jointly running, their client was able to reduce operational costs, improve productivity, support sales, and influence revenue up to a staggering $1B annually.
Yesler had a strong presence in the USA and Wings4U worked with customer advocacy experts across LATAM, CEE, MEA, APAC. The two agencies complemented each other. Through this partnership, Yesler gained access to an experienced team of global customer advocacy professionals. By recruiting and providing nearly 30 people in 16 countries, Wings4U helped Yesler to scale rapidly.
“Wings4U was able to cover the areas we couldn’t,” highlights Jones. “Both companies in this niche part of B2B marketing were just a perfect fit on paper.”
Wings4U brought a team of experienced people to run the program and establish relationships with stakeholders. Whereas, Yesler was focused on program strategy and planning. Wings4U experts covered the program execution from customer reference recruitment to supporting deals, and reporting. Jones adds, “Wings4U’s unique skills in building the right team with the best expertise out there, wherever they are around the world, was a huge benefit for us.”
The high-touch reference managers promoted top revenue deals by specialty area and supported escalations for strategic and high visibility requests. Frontline reference managers recruited references by building a proactive pipeline of referenceable customers and focusing on the fulfillment of customer-to-prospect (C2P) requests. Customer data managers were responsible for data integrity to improve reporting and analytics of the program.
“We chose Wings4U as our business partner for staff augmentation because of their ability to scale quickly and their team of reference managers that were already strategically positioned across the globe,” explains Erin Meismer, Former Director of Customer Advocacy at Yesler. “They were able to quickly onboard and learn the tools, processes, and skills necessary to succeed in a fast-paced role.”
What started out as a partnership for regional coverage turned into a strategic symbiosis over the decade. “We had this seamless extension like one big, happy family. We had our teams doing offsites together during the annual planning sessions. Lifelong friendships were formed,” recalls Jones.
The secret sauce to a decade-long relationship was the efficient onboarding, remote work, and coaching. Wings4U’s reference and customer data managers became part of Yesler’s team seamlessly. “From a business results standpoint, we were at the table—making decisions—together. I think in the end, that's where a lot of the business impact came from,” says Jones. “It was structured in a way that enabled both companies to be very successful while taking pressure off of the teams that were actually working together.”
The two companies formed one team culture and created a fruitful working environment. People who joined the team were able to excel in their positions and advance in their careers. This also allowed the program to see results more quickly. Team members used their years of experience to drive better business outcomes and build improvements to the program over the years.
The Global Customer Advocacy Program brought disparate reference programs into one consolidated program. Centralizing the efforts resulted in higher reference customer satisfaction and avoiding reference burnout through overuse. By leading the recruitment process of new references, identifying customer advocacy gaps and best practices per region, and ensuring published customer evidence quality, the partnership benefitted the client by reducing cost, increasing productivity and improving the reporting accuracy. With a unified program strategy, Yesler and Wings4U completely transformed the Global Customer Advocacy Program which resulted in influencing revenue of $1B annually.
The strength of the Yesler’s and Wings4U’s partnership came from their ability to execute a high-impact customer advocacy program and their ability to evolve together. Yesler and Wings4U shared the mindset of growing together in anticipation of customer needs. “Our relationship took different forms over the decade; we could flex to try and jointly go after things or to tweak what we're doing already,” concludes Jones. “So, the single largest benefit was the entrepreneurial spirit and partnership that we formed together.”
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