More than 40,000 companies around the world look to Ivanti to help them meet remote work-related IT challenges so their employees can work productively and securely from anywhere. The Utah-based IT software company, which has 36 offices in 23 nations, delivers industry-leading unified endpoint management, zero trust security and service management solutions through its Ivanti Neurons IT automation platform powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“Ivanti manages and secures the ‘Everywhere Workplace,’” said Sal Viveros, the company’s Head of Global Corporate Communications. “Businesses depend on our technology to automatically manage, secure and service all of the on-premises and edge devices in their IT environment—from laptops to phones to virtual reality headsets.”
Part of Viveros’ role at Ivanti is to help increase brand awareness for the company and promote senior leadership’s expertise in how businesses can use technology and services to make the “Everywhere Workplace” possible. One of Viveros’ frequent collaborators at Ivanti is the Director of Social Strategy, Jamie Laliberte Whalen, whose responsibilities include shaping influencer marketing strategy and leading Ivanti’s newly reimagined brand ambassador and incentive program.
“The brand ambassador program is near and dear to my heart,” said Whalen, who joined the company in November 2021. “I wanted the program to be really successful. That’s why I reached out to our customer success team at Sprout Social to help us identify what we needed to do to improve it.”
Benchmarking brand ambassador program performance—with insight from Sprout
Whalen leads a social media team who deliver on Ivanti’s global social strategy with support from a system of internal stakeholders, like Viveros, and additional resources and tools, including Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social.
The assistance Whalen specifically sought from the Sprout Social team was twofold: First, she wanted to know what a best-in-class brand ambassador program looked like, especially for Ivanti’s industry. Second, she wanted insight into how Ivanti’s current efforts were stacking up against those top-tier metrics.
“In short, I wanted Sprout to tell us where we are and where we need to be so we could set reachable goals to move us toward becoming best-in-class,” Whalen explained. “I told the customer success team at Sprout, ‘Give me the key performance indicators and other metrics that we can hold ourselves accountable to, so I can bake that into our social strategy for the year.’”
Sprout’s team came back with a host of relevant data for Whalen to examine, including information on how similar programs by Ivanti’s competitors were performing and what tactics they were using. Whalen also received details on user adoption and engagement levels and signup rates for both best-in-class programs and Ivanti’s own program.
Whalen said, “We learned that our program had about a million in reach per month. Also, our adoption rate was just 17%. Some people would consider those numbers good, but in my view, they weren’t good enough. I also learned from Sprout that a best-in-class program has about a 30% adoption rate, and we obviously weren’t even close to that.”
After reviewing the data from Sprout, Melissa Puls, Ivanti’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, told Whalen she wanted to challenge everyone in the organization to utilize the program. “I told her I’d already included it in our social strategy,” Whalen said. “I knew it would be powerful if we had a program that allowed everybody to access and share content at the right time, wherever they are. The voices inside our company are the strongest voices. They are on the front lines, working hard every day in our ‘Everywhere Workplace’ to make sure Ivanti’s brand is standing up.”
Underscoring the value of employee advocacy—starting from day one
To increase utilization of Ivanti’s brand ambassador program and drive employee advocacy, Whalen and her team, with help from Sprout, examined how the current program was structured. “We looked at it holistically and examined its backend taxonomy,” she explained. “I wasn’t the first owner of the program, so I had to step back to understand how it was set up initially and determine how we needed to run and support it moving forward.”
One need Whalen identified was an internal communications plan that would “let everyone know how awesome the reshaped program was going to be.” She said, “It’s not my program, it’s everyone’s program. And I think a key reason we’ve had so much success in improving it is because we made the point to get people—including executive leadership—involved and excited about it early on.”
Whalen said her team prioritized creating content and posting it to an intranet site to help employees understand how to use Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social. “We developed new videos to explain what Sprout is, how to use it on a desktop, how to use the mobile app, and more,” she said. “We also created resources like blogs and how-tos.”
This information is now a part of Ivanti’s onboarding process for employees.
Director of Social Strategy
The social media team at Ivanti also realized that many existing employees didn’t know about the program—or hadn’t been educated well about how to use the Sprout tool. “We had two different groups to educate, so we created a quarterly newsletter to help everyone know what content is available for them to use and offer tips to help them succeed,” said Whalen. “There’s been a lot of follow-up by email, too, to highlight wins and keep people engaged.”
Measuring results and telling the value story through Sprout’s analytics
Using contests like gift card giveaways and other special events as incentives have helped drive employee engagement in the brand ambassador program. That includes Invanti’s sales and BDR teams, who were among those unfamiliar with the program and initially uncertain about the value it could provide. “Let’s just say I had a ‘Jerry Maguire’ moment with them,” Whalen laughed. “I was like, this will help me help you. Let me show why this is beautiful, and why it’s worth your time to participate.”
The education and incentivizing Whalen and her team have provided has paid off—delivering a quick and impressive return on investment, in fact. “By the end of the first month of revitalizing the program, we had 17 million reach and an adoption rate of nearly 46%—which is well over the 30% benchmark for a best-in-class program,” said Whalen. “Also, after launching our incentive program, we went from 1,000 to 3,000 shares in the first month, and then up to 17,000 shares within the first quarter.”
The newly thriving brand ambassador program at Ivanti is also helping the company save about $500,000 in marketing costs this year through earned media. “That’s a lot of money that Ivanti doesn’t have to spend on marketing thanks to our brand ambassadors,” said Whalen.
Executive leadership at Ivanti is not only paying close attention to these results, but also is engaging with the brand ambassador program as well—including acknowledging employees’ efforts. Whalen shared this example: “After our first contest, our CEO reached out to the three winners to thank them personally for being brand ambassadors. He was so impressed by these individuals and what they were able to do for the company. I don’t think these folks had ever talked to our CEO before, but now they were all in a conversation because of something they’d done together.”
“Social media is critical to building the Ivanti brand, and using our employees to help communicate with our customers is important because it’s more authentic and more credible,” said Viveros. “With help from Sprout, we can provide information to our employees to share easily with our customers through social media. It’s a way for our key messaging to touch our customers directly.”
Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social is also really easy to use. I’m posting two to three messages per day myself, and it takes me just seconds to do it.
Head of Global Corporate Communications
Whalen credits the wealth of data and insights and the partnership that Sprout Social has provided for helping Ivanti’s brand ambassador program quickly achieve best-in-class performance. “We’re up to 17,000 shares monthly with our brand ambassador program—which gives us a lot more reach and a lot more eyes,” said Whalen. “I think that through our partnership, we have created a beautiful effect.”
Analytics that help communicate the bottom-line value of social media efforts to stakeholders and the “business-to-human touch” the customer success team delivers are top reasons Whalen said she’d recommend Sprout Social to other marketers. “You’re not just working with a company—you’re working with people,” she said. “Sprout really wants the best for your company. They will create a plan for you to become a best-in-class program. That’s what they do. Many companies say they do that, but Sprout has actually helped us do it, and we have the results to show for it.”
We couldn’t have succeeded without the data, insight and partnership we got from Sprout. We’re up to 17,000 shares monthly with our brand ambassador program—which gives us a lot more reach and a lot more eyes. I think that through our partnership, we have created a beautiful effect.
Director of Social Strategy
Learn how Employee Advocacy by Sprout Social can help extend your social reach. Request your free demo today.