Where are your customer references?

Ryan HL
Ryan HL Member Posts: 5 Seeker
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Our team is working on refreshing our program to identify, log, and reward customers who help us with things like testimonials, case studies, and prospect references.

What framework have you found to be most effective in maintaining your customer reference database? Have you discovered any new or creative incentives to identify or reward customers?


  • Heather Wendt
    Heather Wendt HLAdmin, Member Posts: 308 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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    Great question @Ryan HL! Would love to hear some thoughts for our members. Tagging @Jeff Heckler @Jordan Silverman @Jan Young @Anita Toth...what have you seen as a successful framework?

  • Jordan Silverman
    Jordan Silverman Member, CS Leader Posts: 109 Expert
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    @Ryan HL this is a great question. What I have done at my two prior companies is leverage a tag or attribute in the CRM for this.

    Here is what we did:

    • CSMs would label customers who were open to being reference clients
    • Sales team would see this and ping the CSM with a request and details. Lots of times sales would run a report or segment to see industry, size, etc. AND clients tagged as Reference
    • CSM would connect the client + sales person when relevant

    The CSM liked this because the sales person did the legwork of who was a fit vs just being asked hey who can do this. The Sales person liked it as well since they are now in control of requests and can see who is available.

    My favorite incentive we did was a pizza party. If a client did a reference we would give them a $100-$150 budget for a pizza party sponsored by us the software provider. This achieved a few things: our contact looks awesome free lunch for his colleagues + now everyone at the client knows who we are as a company. Win win!

    Jordan Silverman
    (914) 844-5775
  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 205 Expert
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    edited January 30

    One of my all-time favorite topics!

    1. Provide specific incentives for each reference or other advocacy activity as a thank you. Don't go cheap here. (And never offer them upfront. They are always thank-you gifts.) 
    2. Build automated outreaches in your program that keep your advocates updated and engaged. I built a program into Totango for advocates that ensured we were reaching out regularly. This was a hard sell for some in the organization who think of automation as robotic, cold, and like fliers. I used it to update our members on activities, advocacy opportunities, and even a holiday greeting. Touch points are valid regardless of where they are in the program and do not derail or interfere with active initiatives. It has to be carefully mapped out.
    3. Give them VIP status. EVERY SINGLE CONTACT POINT must know they are advocates and get VIP treatment. Shorter response times, access to expertise, and royal treatment at all times. Ensure they are marked as advocates and everyone on the front lines knows what that means and how they should be treated. These are your brand ambassadors that help deals close faster.