When it comes to efficiently managing a customer reference program, often technology can help you do more with less effort. But how do you know what technology solution is right for your organization’s program? To help you decide, we have compiled some quick guidelines based on over a decade of experience of talking with customer reference managers in the industry.
Microsoft Excel – This is a good option for companies who are just starting out and have a very small customer reference database to track. It is inexpensive and easy to use but has limited search and sharing capabilities. For companies going this route, we advise keeping tight tracking measures in place and sticking to defined protocols for reference requests to avoid issues.
CRM (like Salesforce.com) – After a reference program starts to grow a bit, we see companies wanting to use their CRM for managing reference activities. While it certainly is a user-friendly option, accessible by the sales team (making sharing easy), it is limited in its customer reference workflow capabilities and in tracking customer reference usage. For companies choosing this option, we suggest maintaining a separate database or tool to track customer reference requests, usage statistics and assets related to the reference (case studies, press releases, video testimonials, etc.).
Customer Reference Software – This solution is best for companies with mature customer reference programs and medium- to large-sized businesses that have a need for enterprise-scale customer reference management capabilities. Often these platforms integrate with CRM systems to make it easier for workflow management and sales team adoption. These systems also come with a more robust feature set, and are tailored to support customer reference management activities to make everyone’s lives easier and fulfill requests faster.
Remember, the technology that is right for your program this year, may not be the right solution next year. As your program grows and matures, make sure you have the appropriate technology to support it and your customer reference management efforts. In considering this option for your organization, see if RO Innovations ReferenceView is a good fit for your customer reference management needs. Or, contact a member of our team to schedule a live demo.