Signature of Approval!

Freud.pngWe just returned from the Cyber Defense Summit 2017 in Las Vegas.  Leading up to the Summit we worked with customers to create videos and quotes that were used throughout the event.  Our trip to Australia to film customers resulted in such great content we expedited processes and went from filming in one country to showing our videos on the main stage of the event 12 days later!

Love this photo, Freud Alexandre, the Enterprise Architect and Security Manager for the City of New Orleans, was so happy to be featured he autographed his banner.  That is the signature of approval! What we like to see with all our customer deliverables.

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Stop by and say hi!

The 2017 Summit on Customer Engagement is fast approaching!  The opening reception is March 6, with conference sessions on March 7th and 8th.  Referential is again one of the Summit sponsors. Please stop by our table and meet Helen Feber and Andreas Silva.  This year Helen will be hosting a break out session with Cindy Valladares of Tripwire.

Join them at 2:20pm on March 7th to hear their presentation: Increasing—and Proving—the Long-term Value of Customer Advocates.

Cindy and Helen will show you how Tripwire has co-opted a measure dear to the heart of the C-suite—the long-term value of customers—and adopted it to the long-term value of customer advocates. In the process, they’ve found that engaged advocates are buying 3X the amount of average customers. Note this is before the additional, exponential value they create from advocating!

The Summit is always a great chance to learn and connect.  We hope to see you there.  Get all the details here.

Congratulations to RO Innovation!

We work closely with RO Innovation and their solution is used by several of our clients.  Congratulations are in order as they were recently named the top Advocacy and Social Selling tool for 2016 by Smart Selling Tools.  It’s the third year in a row they’ve been chosen as a top marketing tool.  See more here

Smart Selling Tools is an analyst firm specializing in sales productivity and sales performance improvement.  The companies they chose for the 2016 awards all have innovative products which produce measurable outcomes.

Congratulations again to RO Innovation!

Customer References or Advocates? Making the Transition

Customer references vs. advocates. Quite a topic of conversation. There are all sorts of articles about the differences between advocates and references. Simplistically customer reference programs have been a critical part of the sales process. Customers are recruited, requests are fulfilled, and sales increase. Usually ­­­customer reference activities are reactive. References are asked to participate in activities such as a call with a prospect or speaking at an event.

Advocates, on the other hand, are proactive in their promotion (and defense) of your brand. An advocate will proactively engage in a community or at an event, amplify your message in social media, or help with new product input. And they will also take that important call with a prospect!

Here is an interesting article on how BMC made the transition from relying on references to a strong advocacy program. A valuable read.

Process review for us – growth for our clients

We have many clients and each has a slightly different advocacy program. Over time, added experience and viewpoints has increased our knowledge and capabilities. Together, those led to our decision to do a complete process review. It’s good to take a step back now and then to ensure we’re using the best processes and tools across the board. It’s also a chance to do some cross training. Team members who work on accounts where our services are very focused might not have yet had the opportunity to participate in the full range of our offerings.

The first step was to update our master template. This will give us a refreshed starting point for new clients and updated documentation for training new hires. This process review is an opportunity to look for growth for our clients. We can share best practices and genericized information about where other clients are seeing the most impact. And we know there’s no better salesperson than a happy customer!   As we help our clients harness the power of their happy customers it leads to increased sales. And that’s really what we’re here to do, help our clients grow.

Check what you already have first!

We’re helping a new client get a more formalized customer advocacy program off and running.  We’re contacting customers that have given high NPS scores recently, that have been part of early adopter or beta testing programs, or that were ‘known’ to product marketing.  But there are other treasure troves of advocates out there!  Stories on our client’s web site and quotes in press releases are just two examples of advocacy in action.

In the zeal to get new advocates you need to be careful to not overlook the ones you already have!  Make sure they are welcomed into any new program.  It’s a great opportunity to reconnect and understand the activities they are now interested in.  They have been there for you in the past, make sure they are a central part of your program moving forward.

Project ‘Find the Customer Reference!’

We were recently asked to do a special project for a new client.  They had a high priority need for customer references for a specific product.  A rather new product at that. And, of course, a very short deadline.  Major events were on the schedule where they needed speakers and new collateral because who better to tell your story than a happy customer?

Sometimes you need to call in reinforcements, which they did.  They didn’t have the bandwidth to take on this special project so called us.  We have the processes in place already, and the people.  We were able to supplement their staff and contact every single sales rep that had sold this product, discussed their customers, and then went on to talk with each customer who was a potential reference.  We were able to help frame the stories to highlight business benefits, not just the ‘speeds and feeds’.  Putting extra resources on this, in a very short window, was really successful.  We’ve uncovered several new references already and we’re not yet done.

While typically we run major programs for our clients sometimes we’re asked to do special projects such as this.  It can be a huge help to have extra bandwidth when you need it – big or small we can help with your customer reference challenges!