Use References to Increase Sales in a Down Economy


Share on LinkedIn

In today’s economy, most businesses have customers that are reviewing their budgets and reprioritizing expenditures. As a result, companies are not making large purchase decisions without thorough due diligence, including gathering evidence that the investment will be justified by a reasonable return.

As posted in other blogs, the increased need for justifying expenditures in difficult economic times reinforces the key business case for customer evidence managers: companies need to continue investing in customer evidence programs because there is a high probability of return on the investment. Well-executed customer reference programs can influence many business objectives, including stronger market presence, credibility, and increased sales. In this economic climate, I want to focus on increasing sales. There are many tactics to boost sales, but here are some of the most effective ones we have been recommending to recent customer evidence clients:

1. Give your sales people a strong opening story. If your rep can walk into a prospective customer and say, “X Company invested in our solution and realized substantial process improvement with 10% gains to their bottom line in 6 months,” they will have no trouble getting that customer to listen to them. After all, everyone loves a good story.

2. Grow the momentum of the sale and get it farther into the pipeline by connecting current customers with prospects. Getting satisfied customers talking with other customers via webinars, conference calls, or round table discussions will give your solution credibility and create the momentum needed to ensure the sale does not stall.

3. Help your sales reps close the deal with evidence of ROI realized by existing customers. Strong return on investment (ROI) stories are incredibly helpful in closing a sale. At this point in the sales cycle, the prospective customer has been given your proposal, so they know what your solution will cost. This could either close the deal or stall it. There is simply no better way to ensure the deal moves forward to a close (other than to perhaps reduce your price) than to include an ROI story from another customer. What’s even more powerful is a direct conversation between your prospective customer and a customer that has a strong ROI story to tell. Leave it to your existing customers to close the deal for you.

None of these tactics can bear fruit without a well-planned and effectively executed customer reference program. Companies don’t need to spend millions to create an effective program that increases sales; but they do need to plan effectively for this extremely volatile economy.

For more information or help with customer reference program planning, please visit our website at

desteni lebrant
Marque Partners
-Degree in international Business, Minor in French -Manager, Egghead International Corporate Division - negotiated multimillion dollar joint venture with partner in Tokyo and Europe -Egghead spun off EleKom, Director of Sales, later sold to Clarus Corp. -


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here