[Just like leads from the demand gen team, you won’t get what you want without defining the need]
- Know what you’re looking for in advance. The goal of a nomination “campaign” is to recruit customers that support your company’s top growth goals. A blanket request for nominations could result in unusable advocates and be a waste of everyone’s time.
- Potential nominators must know specific attributes of qualified candidates like industry, reference activities in need (speakers/presenters, case studies, press releases, reference site visits, etc.), organization size, and use cases.
- Whether you’re filling in gaps or building a brand new segment of your reference database, be detailed about your needs.
[The demand gen team needs to be crystal clear on the list to generate]
- It’s not enough for you, as program manager, to know your needs.
- Include all your requirements in the request for nominations (email, Slack, etc.) and on the form you’ve devised for collecting those nominations.
- Be sure to define what characterizes a “reference” for your organization. For example, it could be that the client must have a year’s worth of experience with the solution, is using certain parts of the solution, or has a global footprint.
- Give immediate feedback to anyone who submits candidates outside the target criteria, so they don’t waste any more effort on the “wrong” profile.
- Let those teams that could be nominating know what the process will be, and what’s in it for them.
- Roll the nomination campaign into an existing rewards program, or launch a new program for nominations. You’ll reach your goal a whole lot faster if you incentivize the nominators. Be sure the “rules” of the game are clear.
[Ever seen a demand gen team not work from a database with standardized fields?]
- The trick is to make it easy for those customer-facing team members to bring advocates to the program’s attention.
- We’ve seen companies create forms (Word, Acrobat, and web-based) to avoid inconsistency in the information submitted. That’s a good first step rather than relying on free form emails, or Chatter/Slack posts.
- Ideally, the submitted information is captured in a database, making it easier to track and manage.
- Have the steps for qualifying/vetting nominations in place and ready to execute on before the first nominations start coming in.
- Ensure you can process nominations in a timely fashion. Like sales leads, there may well be a “shelf-life.” Contacts change employers and roles. Maximize the value of those advocates as if there’s an hourglass next to each contact’s tenure in your program.
- Letting nominations sit on a shelf is frustrating to those who nominated. If they don’t see action, why will they bother next time they’re asked to nominate?
This is what it’s all about folks!
- After nominees are qualified, start converting those “rough-cut diamonds” into finished “jewelry.” They only have potential until the market knows about them.
- Whether live activities (e.g., reference calls, webinars) or some form of content (videos, quotes, case studies), time is of the essence.
With a well-defined nomination process, your chances of successfully building a reference database that fuels your company’s growth increases exponentially. Next thing you know, you’ll be nominated for club—and rightfully so!