We all know that a huge part of the sales cycle can happen well before a prospect even contacts you. Our potential customers often look to their peers, friends, and those that are respected in their field for input and advice. This is where a strong community of advocates comes in. Your advocates are a very important part of your story, of your sales cycle. In working with our clients and their advocacy programs we are always looking to create win-win situations. We advise against asking advocates to do favors. We caution our clients not to incent advocates with discounts. Instead, we encourage framing the discussion as one of presenting advocates with opportunities to network, to speak with analysts, to show thought leadership, or to influence product direction. Rather than ask them to do a case study about your products, offer to showcase their success and leadership. Advocacy activities can offer wonderful opportunities for increased company and personal awareness or for professional development. Create situations where both you and your advocates win!