Where Do I Find Customers Who Will Be A Reference?
An effective program takes a more proactive approach, securing willing customers before reference opportunities arise. But where do you find customers who will be a reference? Our recommendation is to set up simple and consistent steps to ensure you have a bank of referenceable customers.
Solicit For Nominations
Set up a way, typically an intranet form or customer reference system for anyone in your organization to suggest a customer. Salespeople are the ideal contributors, but don’t overlook product managers, customer service staff, professional services employees and others who interact with customers. Use your internal marketing efforts to drive participation. Consider asking for limited information upfront so you can receive more nominations. Track and recognize those who participate to reinforce the behavior.
Reach Out To Relationship Owners
A nomination form often isn’t enough. It’s necessary to reach out to sales people directly and ask them to contribute. Typically you’ll find the 80/20 rule applies, where 20% of your sales people will contribute 80% of the customers. Nurture the relationships with these key contributors.
Allow Self Enrollment
With the emergence of social media, attitudes have shifted where customers have become more accustomed to sharing the experience on the Internet. Set up a method for customers to nominate themselves, but ensure you are prepared with a process for qualification and channeling feedback from customers.
Monitor Sales Wins
Keep an eye on new deals and set reminders for yourself to check back after the customer has had enough time to realize the benefits of your offerings.
Leverage Satisfaction Surveys
The satisfaction surveys your organization is likely already conducting can be an excellent source of customer references.
Using the same customers again and again as references is a recipe for burnout. A proactive approach to recruitment minimizes turn-around time and allows for a professional experience for everyone involved. It also ensures references are properly qualified, setting up the best possible match for the particular customer reference situation.
“We’ve found surveys to be one of the most effective techniques for identifying advocates who will join our reference program.”– Chris Rallo, Channel Marketing Manager Rackspace.