Reference Program First Steps

Dec 20, 2010

Start thinking about your customer reference program well before you launch your company, a new product or service. Personal relationships are the key to winning over your first group of customer references. However, as the company grows, this will likely change.
Even if your organization has been in business for years it is never too late to structure the reference process. Persuade C-level executives including the CMO, vice president of sales and marketing to publicly support customer reference initiatives. Their imprimatur adds the leverage you need to win over sales and consulting teams who otherwise might not be willing to put forth the effort required to cultivate references. Set up a database with searchable comment and date fields to ensure your reference customers are not overused. Make the case to management for referencing ROI
— references mean higher revenues. According to Frederick Reichheld (2003), the key marker for a successful organization is the percentage of customers willing to act as references.

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