Sharing Reference Contact Info w/ Sales
I've been putting new processes into place for our company's reference program and we're getting some pushback from the sales department. I'd really love to hear feedback from this community on best practices for sharing our reference contact information with the sales department.
Our current process has sales submit a reference request when they have a prospective client. I then match that request with a reference contact and coordinate a private Zoom call between the prospect and the reference. This is to ensure they have the freedom to engage in an open and honest discussion. I follow up after the call with an email to the reference thanking them, asking how everything went, and if they have any feedback or suggestions. Sometimes they provide a little information about what the prospect said on the call, but not always.
Here's where I am getting pushback from Sales:
- They often ask for the reference contact information so they can coordinate the call directly and be more involved... and/ or
- They ask for the reference contact information after the call so they can contact the reference directly and pick their brain about the reference call so they are better prepared at their next meeting with their prospect.
We have a policy in place to not share the reference contact information with the salesperson so we can protect that reference. We don't want our references to be inundated with calls from salespeople. And we don't want the reference feeling put on the spot by a salesperson who they don't have a relationship with asking them to share details of a private conversation.
I would really appreciate hearing how other companies are handling their references so we can understand if our thinking is on the right track or off-base.
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