Is There Consistent Acknowledgement That References Are Valuable?


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Whether you are building a new program or already have a program underway, it’s important to know the answer to this simple question. Does your company acknowledge that references are valuable to sales and marketing? We’ve seen too many customer reference managers focusing on process best practices, automation tools and creative deliverables without first securing confirmation on this important question. Customer reference tactics are important, but if your organization doesn’t have real appreciation and active recognition that customer references drive revenue, then your efforts will be undermined or encounter friction along the way. So this is the place you need to begin. If there is partial acknowledgement but you hear qualifications in the answer you receive, then you need to refocus the discussion back to this fundamental question.

If your immediate management team appreciates the value, then you are off to a good start. Expand by taking the pulse of your executives, sales staff, marketing department as well as PR and Investor Relations. If there is still general agreement that references do hold value, then you can move on to defining and communicating the goals that will maximize your program efforts.  

We suggest that your goals be as specific and measurable as possible so that you will have solid data with which to report ROI as the program develops. Some examples of customer reference program goals are below:

  • Increasing the frequency of reference use (greater use of references adds greater value)
  • Increasing the coverage of your portfolio (greater match is more effective)
  • Increasing the longevity of references (reduced effort to obtain, demonstrated effectiveness)
  • Reducing the turn-around time to provide better experience for prospect and less time wasted
  • Reducing the amount of distraction of sales to obtain (more benefit with less cost)

If however, your organization does not value customer references then you must do some homework to demonstrate it to your key constituents. Look for a champion in the Sales department. He or she will help create the positive perception and momentum you will need to carry the program forward. Also, look at your competitors and compare what they are doing to your process. Look for opportunities to point out areas of improvement or to validate your own activity in customer references. It is also very helpful to use third party research to prove your case on the value of customer references. There are industry analysts and groups that provide updated statistics and projections on the future importance of this discipline. Finally, enlist an executive sponsor for your program. Executives can effectively communicate your message and instill its importance to the company overall. 

This post is part of our checklist for a successful customer reference program. 

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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