Peer references remain the single most powerful driver behind many B2B buying decisions. In fact, SiriusDecisions surveyed over 600 B-to-B marketers in a 2010 B-to-B Buyer’s Survey and found the following:
- In the early buying stages, peers are second only to analysts as the most influential information source, and 51% say peer referrals are their MOST FAVORED content
- In the mid-buying stage, peers are ranked as the MOST INFLUENTIAL information source (23%)
- In the late buying stage, peers are the MOST TRUSTED information source (29%)
Clearly, peer references hold a lot of weight in B2B purchase decisions, and need to be used in all stages of the buying process. Yet a recent Corporate Ink survey of an elite group of B2B marketing and sales execs found that few companies have what it takes to effectively leverage customer references for a competitive advantage:
- 75% are concerned about the overuse of a small group of customer references
- 75% have no designated resources for managing a customer reference program
- 60% could do a better job of tying incentives to the value a customer brings to the organization
Furthermore, these statistics from members of the Worldwide Customer Reference Networking User Group reveal:
- 60% of sales prospects will ask to speak to a customer reference.
- 70% of those will ask to speak to more than one customer reference.
- Yet over 30% are provided with references that DO NOT MATCH their request.
- 1 in 3 sales reps say customer reference requests are not fulfilled quickly enough.
- On average, reference managers claim that over 80% of references in their database are highly positive on an overall basis, yet over 50% of sales are lost because the customer reference was not positive enough with the prospect.
- Over 50% of the time the perfect reference cannot be used, due to overuse, burnout or other reasons.
- On average, sales reps say it takes them 5 hours or longer to find their own reference without help from the customer reference manager.
Thankfully, there are tools and technologies out there to help remedy some of these statistics to help your business maintain a competitive edge when it comes to customer references. Purpose-built customer reference management technologies, like RO|ReferenceView, have features that help manage reference request workflows for faster fulfillment, better organization, easier customer relationship management, and increased efficiency. Talk to one of the customer reference management experts at RO Innovation today, or demo our customer reference software to discover how it can help you.