One of the most valuable aspects of successfully operating a business is proper management of customers. Customers act as advocates of your company when talking to their peers, analysts and your prospects. It’s their opinion of your company, product and staff that can sway a potential new customer to choose you over the other guy. According to an article in Pragmatic Marketing, “Satisfied customers willing to serve as references for your new prospects often make the difference between winning and losing the sale. Getting and keeping those references, however, is a challenging and time-consuming job.” Thus it is important to use the right tools to properly manage, nurture and protect your relationship with happy customers – as they are your organization’s most valuable (and often most successful) sales assets.
Customer reference management technology enables a company to handle a wide variety of workflows based on industry best practices. This technology is a vital tool that can help a company handle customer reference request workflows, sales staff self-service, customer reference nominations, reference reward programs and much more.
Centralized Customer Intelligence Library
Purpose-built customer reference applications enable companies to have a database designed to store all of its customer reference information in one central place. This makes it possible for everyone in the company to have visibility and access to accurate information about customers in real-time. When the technology is equipped with configurable search wizards, sales and marketing staff experiences greater self-service as they no longer have to wait to receive information about available customer references from the reference manager. Instead they can search, find and formally request the customer reference and marketing assets they need for their sales opportunity instantly.
Customer Reference Nomination
A best practice of a reference program is to sensitize the entire organization to be looking for good customer references, because truth be told, many people touch customers in your organization – not just the reference manager. Customer reference management applications incorporate this best practice in the nomination features and workflows of the solution with a centralized, formal nomination process that’s easy to use. Get valuable customer reference nomination tips and strategies here.
Reporting & ROI Tracking
Customer reference management technology is designed to capture information necessary for important reports. This enables a company to detect any problems with their customer relationships, sales process, etc. A business can also have the intelligence on how customer references affect revenue. This will provide a way for management to effectively monitor the program and make recommendations for the future.
Customer Reference Usage
Successful customer reference management also includes tracking the usage of customer references. When used too much, a customer reference can quickly burnout. Other times, great references exist in the program, but are rarely used. A company can analyze customer participation rates and make necessary adjustments with the data intelligence provided by the technology. It will enable a business to discover what processes are working best with their customers, enable greater control over customer reference usage, and determine which customer references are performing well and which relationships need some nurturing before being activated again in the program. The technology will also allow managers to see who from their staff is actively using customer references, making nominations and helping the program succeed through usage, and who is not.
Customer Reference Request Workflow
With a centralized, formal customer reference request process facilitated through the technology, the last minute “Hail Mary” emails from sales requesting customer information are virtually wiped out (we can’t promise you still won’t get one or two of them…old habits die hard). Customer reference management technology is able reduce last minute scramble for customer interactions because customer intelligence is available and visible for search 24/7. This centralized workflow helps speed up turn-around times on customer reference requests, allowing the voice of the customer to impact sales conversations quicker and earlier in the sales cycle.
If you would like to know more about the many benefits of customer reference management technology we can help. Contact the customer reference management experts at RO Innovation today and learn more.