CxO engagement in your customer reference program (CRP) is the holy grail/ brass ring of many Customer Reference Program Managers. In conversations with clients and prospects, the topic of executive support always comes up. Sometimes it is because a new customer reference initiative is risky. Other times, the program has been so tactical, executive awareness, let alone enthusiasm, seems difficult to earn.
- “What can I do to get the Sales VP’s to recognize the value of the reference program?”
- “Why won’t they fund the program for success?”
- “How do we maximize the potential impact of the use of our customer advocates?”
The desire for executive attention isn’t merely for personal glory or promotion. CxO support can be the difference between muddling along or putting jet fuel in the tank of the customer reference program. Failure to be essential in the eyes of top executives means a lower probability of closing deals and makes the program and program team vulnerable.
Early support for reference programs often isn’t that hard to come by. Customer Reference Programs are usually born from a need by Sales—the revenue engine—for better and more numerous reference customers. The C-suite has a vested interest in improving Sales’ performance, so initial focus on a CRP makes sense but staying on the proverbial executive radar and remaining relevant after an initial blush of success can be more elusive.
No need to despair. There is a proven approach that can increase the strategic value of a CRP and earn on-going CxO backing. Remember, you aren’t looking for just budget approval once a year —you are cultivating an executive champion who truly understands and appreciates how the CRP contributes to corporate success.
Our new eBook Capturing and Keeping CxO Engagement for Customer Reference Success outlines the steps to help you:
- Identify the difference between tactical program objectives and strategic goals
- Position program goals to support your executive’s goals
- Leverage peer knowledge to inform your plans
- Incorporate feedback to fine-tune operations
- Think outside the box when it comes to using advocates
- Share the impact of the CRP on revenue to retain executive engagement
Check out other helpful information for savvy CRP managers on our resources page.