Friday, January 14, 2005

One Way to Get More Customer References

Integrate Customer References into
Contextually Relevant Marketing and Sales Process

The company with the best customer references is likely to be more successful at winning new business. But getting that reference is not easy.
Many customers are unwilling to give references because they know this means a live phone call from other managers who are considering purchasing your products. The problem here is one of overexposing the reference customer. Burnout follows overexposure.

One way to get around this problem is by recording a one-time interview with a reference customer and then making an edited version available on a password-protected Web site. Such content is highly contextual, because it is accessed by specific prospects with specific problems and each reference is delivered within this context.

Recording and posting reference interviews helps a vendor move a sales process along in several ways. Since the references are recorded, the number of uses does not matter, so a vendor can relax the qualification restrictions on reference use. That means introducing references earlier in a sales cycle, especially when later adopter prospects really want to hear from a reference customer before entering into serious discussions.

As with any website data, you can track and analyze usage of this password protected content. For example, you can be notified when a prospect accesses an interview and then make a timely follow up call. When a prospect does not access an interview after a reasonable time, you can check to determine if there is a problem or if interest has waned. In either case the sales process can be adjusted accordingly and the forecast can reflect the reality of the situation rather than the initial assumptions.


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