As a customer reference manager, one of your tasks is to be on the constant lookout for customers who have achieved great results with your products or services so they can share their high impact story with others. Filling your pipeline with customer reference nominations is one of the surest ways to keep your customer reference program growing and thriving for the future. But often, the task of “wooing” them into your program is easier said than done.
Here are a few easy tips you can implement today to increase customer reference nominations in your program:
1. Buddy Up With the Sales Team
Often, the people in your sales department have the closest relationship with new customers. Capitalize on those relationships by asking your sales people who would make a compelling customer story, and have THEM do the asking. Since the customer is more likely to perceive the sales person as a figure they trust than the customer reference manager they’re just being introduced to today, this loyalty factor can make all the difference in getting the customer to say “yes” to participating in your customer reference program.
2. Search the CRM for Possible Candidates
The company CRM (customer relationship management) database, like Salesforce.com, is a great place to hunt for and identify potential customer references. You can search by deal size, industry, company, geography, close date, product/service, title, and more. Customer reference solutions, like RO|ReferenceView, often integrate directly with CRM platforms to make the task of nominating customer references even easier. As you focus on rounding up potential customer candidates from these searches, also interview the sales rep associated with each customer account to sniff out quality customer reference stories.
3. Target Your “Wish List”
A healthy customer reference program is made up of a variety of different types of customers, from different industries, geographic locations, and product/service scenarios. Potential customers reviewing a purchase decision with your company must be able to equate themselves to the customer references you provide. A small family business with 10 employees will not easily relate to a case study featuring a multinational Fortune 500 company.
When your pool of customer reference assets is greater, so are the chances that you’ll be able to provide a more influential customer reference for the situation. Pinpoint the types of stories you lack by customer profile (consider product/service used, company size, industry, geography, etc.). Then create (or update) a “wish list” of specific types of companies and stories you’re looking for in customer references. Lastly, be sure to communicate that information to anyone in your organization who interacts with customers.
These recruiting tips will help you rapidly fill your reference program pipeline with happy customers and new success stories. To help track and manage this process more efficiently, see how customer reference technology, like RO Innovations ReferenceView, can help.