ROI and your Customer Reference Program


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It’s January and the New Year brings renewed energy, sales and marketing objectives, and of course, budgets. If one of your goals in 2011 is to create or enhance a customer reference program it will be critical to demonstrate why precious dollars should be allocated to this effort rather than some other sales or marketing initiative.

Even though sales people and senior executives generally understand that there is value in customer references, they often cannot quantify the financial return. So by demonstrating the ROI that a customer reference program brings, you will be able to justify the value and build a better and more productive program right from the start.

To avoid initial doubt your team members, sales organization and most importantly executive management may have about a program they are unfamiliar with it will be important to be strategic in presenting the rewards and financial gain.

Here are some tips for how to present your case in a compelling and engaging way:

1) Start early and let the numbers do the talking: Demonstrate financial value at the beginning of the year and set expectations. Use recent examples of noteworthy and high profile deals that the company is proud of. And be sure to create an exciting and fun presentation that has a wow factor punctuated by financial growth and resource savings.

2) Remind your audience: Send monthly or quarterly updates to the organization and management team to remind them of the work you are doing and the financial value it is bringing to the company. Using real dollar figures will be the key to your message. Make your communications succinct and readable.

3) Show them the money: Enlist an executive’s support by showing concrete financial value of the program. An executive sponsor lends credibility and influence throughout the organization. Find someone who shares your vision and enthusiasm to be your evangelist.

4) Deliver the Data: Create detailed reports that analyze data in a variety of ways that show you understand all angles of the financial impact of the program. Analyze impact on sales margin, sales cycle time, time spent on core sales activity, resources utilized, etc.

5) Chart a course for the future: Identify and cast light on areas that need improvement and make projections for the financial value of these improvements.

Now that we know how to present your case, here comes the tricky part – actually calculating the ROI. Determining financial impact requires consideration of several factors that will be unique to each organization. Top-notch customer reference management service providers will have quantifiable data and formulas to help you determine and demonstrate ROI. When evaluating customer reference management partners, make this the first question you ask, as the answer will lead you to the solution that works best for your organization.

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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