Do You Have a Map For How You’d Like Your Program to Evolve?


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In the last few posts, we’ve been discussing the attributes of a successful customer reference program and we’ve tried to emphasize that success is most often found in the best practices of program management rather than specific customer reference tactics. This post we’ll discuss the importance of having a roadmap for your program.

When building or managing a customer reference program it is essential to have a vision of what you want it to be, what you want to accomplish and how it will evolve over time. Particularly with customer reference management, one of the things you’ll quickly discover is that you have many stakeholders, each with different opinions of what you should be working on. 

The most effective way to deal with this complexity is to clearly articulate your mission and the scope of what your program intends to accomplish. Make sure to include a plan for accommodating expanding goals as they grow with the program over time.

Aiming for too much too soon brings on a bigger risk of failure and will require many more resources upfront.  Over promising on results that can’t be delivered immediately will reduce your ability to demonstrate the success you need to move forward and grow the program over time.  As much as we would all like to see huge results right away, try thinking of this as a marathon rather than a sprint. You will accomplish a sustainable, strong and valued program in the long run.

Make sure to get your plan on paper as the exercise will help you organize the goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and measurement of the plan. Once documented, you have a map that can be used to communicate with the rest of your organization. 

When thinking about the evolution of your program, consider starting with a limited number of customer reference activities and increase those activities over time. Another dimension is to expand the audience you are serving. For instance, you may begin by offering reference activities for your direct sales organization but after that begins to run smoothly you may decide to add your channel sales to the program as well. Yet another dimension is to consider how your program can be integrated into other customer engagement programs, such as beta programs, customer advisory councils, and others. 

By sharing your plan with sponsors and stakeholders, you will gain their confidence as you demonstrate incremental success. Without it you may end up with a program that stagnates and creates apathy among your participants. 

And remember that the best plans and programs are evolutionary. Customer references are dynamic by nature, so embrace that and constantly look for opportunities for improvement and expansion. A flexible program will go the distance and provide excellent results that become a key part of your business.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joshua Horwitz
Boulder Logic
Joshua Horwitz is president and a founder at Boulder Logic, a company specializing in customer reference management. Companies with complex products and selling cycles rely on Boulder Logic for an easy-to-deploy, highly customizable enterprise solution to accelerate sales and marketing using their existing customers. Blog:


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