Customer Reference Program (CRP, also referred to as a Customer Reference Program outside the US) is a business function frequently found in large business-to-business organizations. Customer Reference Program managers are responsible for gathering and fulfilling requests for references to help Sales people get new customers and provide proof of customer success stories for Industry Analysts and the media.
Customer references ( testimonials ) are major buyers have frequently seek peer advice in purchasing high value products and services in Both business to business and consumer environments. Coordinated Customer Reference Program results in:
• Less time spent by sales representatives looking for suitable customer references.
• Avoiding overusing and under using valuable customer references.
Gaps being filled for customer references in certain industries / products / geographies.
• Faster customer reference fulfillment time a reduction in sales cycles.
Therefore, it is often essential to establish a dedicated co-ordinator (often called a CRP Manager), organizational processes and often a computer system to manage customer references.
Often split into four main activities:
1) Reference recruitment
The first step if any customer reference program is for an organization to identify to whom it has sold a product , service or solution, and then to. In doing so it will normally be established in which types of customer reference activities will be a member of the customer.
2) Materials creation
After a customer has bought a product, it is a service and it is possible to have a positive experience with others. A common way to achieve this is through the creation of a customer success story or case study. There are many types of materials however, from a single sentence to a document containing many types of pages back up with spreadsheets of financial calculations. As well as written materials, the audience may be involved in the creation of audio, video or hybrid (a combination of written, audio or video ) materials.
3) Reference request management
Having identified who the reference customers are, in which activities they may participate and have created some reference materials, the next internship is to manage requests for references, from Sales and Marketing teams. This may be a time consuming process and some organizations may be simply managed by an external organization, or by a dedicated team. a combination of these techniques.
As with all marketing disciplines, the need to be able to measure effectiveness. Reference programs are often in a position to measure their success. These products have been used by the CRP in the past few years. In addition, the CRP Manager will be able to determine their influence value.
Typical types of customer reference activity:
- Name drop
- Logo use
- RFP text
- Success story
- Case study
- ROI case study
- Sales call
- PR, reactive or proactive
- Analyst interview
- Video testimonial
- Customer site visit