Have You Defined The Metrics For Measuring Your Program?


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The next item on our customer reference program checklist is critical. I can’t emphasize this one enough. You must define your metrics so you that you can measure against your goals, show value and demonstrate success. 

Even if you have not been asked to define your metrics, understand that you should do it. At some point you will need to validate your program to ensure its existence and future growth. In addition, a defined set of metrics that are effectively communicated will elevate your program and help you to secure the executive support necessary for success.
It doesn’t need to be difficult or complex. In fact, when initially setting the metrics, we recommend that you start modestly and evolve them over time. You may be able to come up with dozens of dimensions for measuring things, but recognize that reporting takes time to prepare and time to digest. Focus on measuring what matters most. 
Consider these areas/categories when beginning to define your metrics:

Portfolio metrics: Portfolio metrics enable gap analysis as they show data for various aspects of your reference portfolio such as where you have references, industry, product, geography, segment, coverage etc. Consider breaking your portfolio metrics down by what types of activities your references are willing to provide (live, content, phone calls, etc.) With these  metrics you can clearly identify the gaps that need to be filled and the areas of strength in your portfolio of references.

Activity metrics: Activity metrics are useful for demonstrating the efficiency of your program to yourself and to management. It is important to consider metrics such as the time it takes to fill a reference, the total number fulfilled, the time it takes to recruit a customer, the percent of customers coming into program, resources in program, service levels, etc. Use this as an opportunity to gauge your own performance and communicate it appropriately.

ROI metrics:  The most important reason to define metrics is to show the financial impact you are having on the business. Choose metrics that show reference activity impact on specific deals. Also when you track this activity you can see the individual deals that are being influenced by the program. Consider comparing sales deals that use references versus those that do not. Trending over time will further validate the program’s significance in generating new revenue.
Start with just a handful of key metrics that will speak directly to the needs of your business, then evolve and expand from there. Remember that the reports you think will be most important initially are not always likely to be relevant down the road. Don’t be afraid to discontinue certain measurements as your program evolves. You will learn as you go what is most important at any given point in time, so be flexible and change with new knowledge.

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: http://referencesuccess.com


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