How to assess referral software
Referral software has become a widely recognized form of high quality demand generation by analysts like Forrester Research and SiriusDecisions and by businesses both B2C and B2B alike. In response to this, the industry has seen a great deal of referral software developed to take advantage of this burgeoning channel. Below, listed in alphabetical order, are the top seven referral software companies that we here at Tango Card have seen distinguishing themselves in the market. In order for you to narrow down the field to the referral software that will best fit the needs of your business, I’ve done my best to outline the strengths of each platform and listed a sampling of customers.
7 leading referral software vendors (in alphabetical order)
- Ambassador Referral Software – Ambassador makes referral software for consumer brands and B2B companies of all sizes. They empower marketing teams to increase customer acquisition, referrals and revenue by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth. Their marketer-friendly software simplifies referral marketing. Ambassador automates the process of enrolling, tracking, rewarding and managing customers, affiliates, influencers, partners and fans. This allows companies to rapidly implement, scale and optimize referral marketing programs. Ambassador is the only vendor in this list that offers omni-channel marketing, web, mobile, and offline. If you are a B2B or consumer brand and want to easily manage any type of influencer with a single platform, Ambassador is for you.
Strengths: True automation (real-time reward and payment fulfillment) and robust integrations including Salesforce
Customers: SAP, Ria Financial, SunPower, Frank+Oak, Madison Reed.
- Amplifinity – Amplifinity makes referral software that creates a dedicated channel for lead generation for companies with sales teams. They are the only vendor in this list who specializes in a lead flow to sales and the only one that can handle the complexities of referral partners. They offer a deep Salesforce managed app integration that brings sales and customer support teams into the process. Amplifinity also has a strong analytics and reporting package that tracks everything from promotions to referrals through to reward fulfillment all with detailed information on each advocate’s activity. If you are a B2B wanting to get into referrals or want to scale an existing program, Amplifinity is a solid choice.
Strengths: Robust Salesforce integration, sales involvement, partner programs, white labeling at all price points
Customers: ADP, DIRECTV and RingCentral
- Extole – Extole makes referral software for top retailers and other consumer brands looking to run refer-a-friend programs. Extole has focused on serving the needs of the retail, travel and financial services industries and have some great features for those segments. With their referral program based off widgets they plug in well to existing ecommerce buy flows. Extole has created multiple integrations and APIs with common retail platforms to extend the capabilities of their offering for this targeted segment. If you are in retail, travel or financial services, you should definitely look into Extole.
Strengths: Plug-ins for ecommerce retailers, recruitment tools for advocates, easy widgets for online buy flows
Customers: LandsEnd, Staples and Starbucks.
- Friendbuy – Friendbuy makes referral software for B2C companies with an online buy flow. The majority of their program is made up of templates which makes it fast to get a referral program started. They pair this with analytics that focus on social aspects of referrals including likes and shares. Data on the customer likes and interests gives users the ability to incorporate retargeting ads on Facebook. Reward automation is worked into the program through an API and web hooks but does require IT to connect it to their programs. If you are an ecommerce looking to get something basic started quickly, look into Friendbuy.
Strengths: Low cost, fast start programs, tracking for social impressions/awareness
Customers: Chico’s, NatureBox, and REVOLVE
- Influitive – Influitive makes customer advocacy software with referral collection as a part of what they offer. The Influitive platform is a user community developed for B2B companies. The community uses gamification to get customers to write reviews, create content, make social posts and also make referrals. If your need is more on the content side this is the only vendor in the list who fits that need. Their referral capabilities are the most limited in this list, but worth mentioning as they can be collected as part of a larger advocacy initiative. If you are a B2B company looking to create an advocacy program where referrals are a piece of the action, Influitive is the right choice.
Strengths: Collecting reviews and content from customers, gamification, community building
Customers: Hootsuite, Box, and BMC.
- Referral SaaSquatch – Referral SaaSquatch makes referral software that caters to small to mid-sized B2Cs that want the referrals to take place on their brand website. Through integrated referral touchpoints brands can place a referral component onto a variety of marketing channels and resources. This includes mobile apps that can have a widget component placed on it to capture referrals. It offers basic work flow scaling and baseline rewards to incentivize referrals. Their software relies on API integrations which makes it flexible, but requires IT involvement. If you are an ecommerce with IT skills to use APIs, Referral SaaSquatch can be a great option.
Strengths: Ability to integrate into wide range of online properties, low cost setup for those that have IT resources for APIs
Customers: Snapwire, Busbud, and Shoebox
- Referral Rock – Referral Rock is a newer referral software that relies on an API heavy approach and is largely based off of widgets. They focus on customer referral programs for small businesses. This program includes essential workflow automation and tracking through web pixels. Referral Rock works well as an economical referral component to supply the fundamental referral elements to a business. Their features include basic sharing methods that allow brands to give customers simple tools to refer. Referral Rock is also the only vendor on this list to offer a free trial. If you are a small business, Referral Rock is a simple option for B2Cs to start a customer referral program.
Strengths: Templates for easy start, month-to-month contracts, free trial
Customers: Budsies, Vita Wellness Massage, YMCA of Atlanta
Referral software vendors rely on Tango Card for automated fulfillment
Many top referral software vendors works with Tango Card to automatically fulfill on incentives to advocates making successful referrals. It’s incredibly important to provide an instant, desirable reward backed by expert customer service so that advocates have a positive experience – increasing the change that they refer and refer again. Check out the referral software vendors that are a fit for your business to see how you can start generating high quality leads. And be confident that their reward provider is taking great care of your advocates.
Written by Scotty Greenburg
Scotty has been at Tango Card for 4 years in Marketing. Along with the rest of the Tango Card business team, he has helped to create a culture of incentive domain expertise to best support Tango Card’s enterprise reward and incentive customers. He also likes shimmery backgrounds.