Events – details, details, details

We’re helping one of our clients plan a select customer appreciation event to be held at their annual user group conference.  As with many large conferences the event is in Las Vegas.  Couldn’t be easier to work with the people from the hotel, as we change details they’re very flexible and send new quotes almost immediately.   It’s a late afternoon/early evening reception with appetizers, should we have 3 or 4?  Hard to believe all the decisions that went into the final table and chair layout!  And our RSVP list keeps growing, nearly every single person invited is attending.

Even for a 90 minute event project management comes in handy.  We’ve been tracking all the issues associated with customer and internal employee invitations and RSVPs; ordering and shipment of awards that will be presented; not to mention all the decisions necessary for food, drink, and entertainment.  Everything’s in one spreadsheet stored at a shared location  This has been a real necessity as the key decision makers are scattered in multiple states.  Putting some structure around this has made it easier for all involved.  At any time we can all check the current status of issues and action items.

For even a smallish project, when key players are all remote from each other, what works best for you?

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Many brains are better than one!

It’s happened to all of us.  We have an ‘opportunity’ at work and we need some ideas, our mind is a blank or what we’ve tried in the past just isn’t bringing the results we need today.   That’s something we’ve seen with a few of our clients.  Maybe the challenge is finding new sources of customer references, maybe it’s how to get the most out of your user conference.   The list can go on.  Our clients have found many brains are better than one!

We’ve done focused brainstorming  sessions, including key members of our team as we all bring different experiences and expertise.   The client brings the reference program lead and any important stakeholders.   One client even brought their brand new summer intern, what a way to give them a quick education about customer reference programs!  The sessions have been very successful, whether in person or over the phone.  At the end of each our clients have an actionable list of new ideas.   If you’re interested in a brainstorming session for your reference program contact us.  We’ve found this always results in a steady stream of new ideas. What other approaches have you used?

Referential at Boulder Logic Customer Day

Earlier this week we participated in the Boulder Logic Customer Day 2013.  It was a great opportunity to meet with others in the industry.  We were asked to present so Helen led a session on reporting and ROI measurement representing one of our clients, Infor. Metrics is one of our key areas of expertise, we’ve done extensive work in that area and have targeted service offerings.  Many topics were covered over the course of the day and it was great to discuss and learn from each other; Jack from Kronos was bursting with ideas!  Thanks to Boulder Logic for organizing it and to Marketo for hosting the event.

What are good sources of customer references?

Sources of potential new references are everywhere – your sales teams, professional services, support organizations to name just a few.  The source I’d like to talk about today is leveraging user group meetings.  We’re in the season.  Be they small or LARGE, many organizations have gatherings of their users and it’s a great way to have even more of your customers agree to be references.

First off treat your current references as the VIPs they are!  Special badges so they stand out in the crowd, front row seats for entertainment, reserved seating, executive meetings, a thank you dinner: make sure they know you appreciate them.

Encourage them to recruit other potential references.  You might even have a friendly competition, which current reference can recruit the most new references?  Be ready with a sign-up table, know the data you want to capture, and have a sticker to add to badges to indicate they have just been recruited.  Your entire staff should be on the lookout for the stickers and take the time to thank your new references.

These meetings are also a perfect opportunity to capture video.  Get your customers talking, and really listen.  Sometimes that constructive criticism is even more valuable than a compliment.

What’s your favorite way to recruit new references at your user meetings?