Those of us who work in sales recognize the importance of references. The challenge in this is knowing how to leverage those references without burning them out.

Recently,  Townsend Wardlaw, a sales management expert, interviewed our CEO on how to overcome this challenge using innovative technology solutions and summarized the story on his blog. An excerpt is below:

Townsend WardlawA sales idea is born.

As the VP of Sales at another company, Jim Mooney couldn’t make a sale without reaching out to one of his past clients as a referral to ask them to talk to his prospect. Somewhere down the sales cycle prospects want to talk to other customers or references to establish some credibility, so references are critical to B2B sales cycle, but he got tired of doing this every single time. So, he wondered, what would happen if he went out and videotaped the reference to have it on hand as a ready customer reference? And if he was able to get the voice of the customers, what if he could give this interview to his prospects to listen to on their own time? If the prospect had a follow up question after watching the video, he could then go to the referral and say, “The prospect John Doe has seen your video and has some additional questions for you.” It would be a more valuable use of the referrals’ time as they wouldn’t have to tell their story over and over again, taking time out of their day to start from scratch and burning them out. In 2002 as a result of this customer reference software idea, RO Innovation was founded.

How it works is simple.

Originally called “References Online,” the company and its customer reference software enables salespeople by allowing them to see what videos are viewed and to have more information about what the prospect is interested in without fatiguing referrals. Additionally, they have the ability to match the prospective customer up with a similar referral (ie. deal size, prospective customer information and specific solution information) in an automated system rather than blindly managing these referrals manually. Through the years, the company has evolved to become much more comprehensive as customers have asked questions.

“I had one good idea 11 years ago…” –Jim Mooney

RO Innovation truly is customer-driven since their customers are the ones that continue to develop innovation for the company as long as it is stays true to their core. RO|Mobile, for example, is another piece of the the customer reference software offered that came about as a result of a request by Philips, who was one of RO Innovations’ early clients. As time went on, there was less capability to set up PowerPoint presentations because meetings were being held at Panera, hospitals, etc, instead of in traditional office settings. The new platform Philips requested now allows salespeople to take it anywhere to act as a sales enablement tool during sales meetings to have the right content at the right time regardless of internet connection. As an added bonus for Philips, when they showed up to these meetings with iPads back before iPads were as common as laptops, it gave them the opportunity to show off their solutions with the latest technology. It was a great branding tool for them that was in line with their company’s values as one of the leaders in the technology space.


Learn more about RO Innovation’s vision for the future of our customer reference technology, and while you’re at it, ask to speak to a few of our references while you’re at it! Contact us today, we’d love to have a quick chat!

Nichole Auston
Customer Marketing Director at RO Innovation
Nichole Auston is the Customer Marketing Director at RO Innovation. With a background in digital marketing and nearly a decade of experience managing marketing programs for a variety of SaaS companies, she’s passionate about sharing insights, best practices and stories about sales enablement and customer reference management, and the people and technology that power it.