If you’re in charge of a customer reference program and it doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere, and doesn’t get the respect it should, we have a good idea why and how to get it unstuck.
Many customer reference programs begin and evolve organically—that is, without a real strategy or alignment to top company goals. The result is a low-level function, not a fully formed program. A strategic customer reference program contributes directly to top company growth goals, and those contributions are measurable and indisputable.
So much of the answer is time. Program managers tend to spend too much time on tactical activities, through no fault of their own necessarily.
It’s essential to demonstrate that your customer reference program helps your CxO stakeholders reach their goals. To do that you need time to be proactive to plan, execute, and analyze customer reference activities. Allocating your time to these more strategic roles requires that you find ways to handle tactical, low-value activities differently.
In our nearly 20 years in the customer reference space, we’ve seen a lot of the good, bad, and ugly. We know how well-intentioned customer reference program managers get stuck in reactive, mundane tasks that prevent them from impacting the company in they way a program should. That’s why we’ve just updated an eBook, Getting Your Customer Reference Program Unstuck. In it we compare and contrast low-impact/stuck functions with high-impact/unstuck programs, and describe in pragmatic terms how to get unstuck. We cover the most common pitfalls and “black holes,” as well as steps any customer reference program manager can take to:
- align their program with company goals
- measure and report key metrics to make an impact
- coordinate and leverage colleagues in other departments
- move from scatter-shot to a targeted and curated customer content and reference recruitment plan
We’ve got loads of additional program expertise neatly wrapped with a bow on our Resources page.