Here are a few ideas for customer reference managers who are an "army of one" in their organization for ways to collaborate, learn and evolve when you're a one man shop. Hopefully these thoughts can illuminate how to get the validation and answers you seek to run an optimal reference marketing program.
Attend discipline-specific networking events - Networking events, either online or in-person, are a great way to connect one-on-one with other colleagues in the industry facing similar challenges as you. Talking things through and bouncing ideas off other customer reference professionals not only gives you the objective third party feedback you want but can also validate that you are on the right path or suggest areas for opportunity/change.
Talk with your technology partner - Think of your technology provider as more than a vendor but rather as a partner that can help you navigate the landscape. Chances are your customer reference technology provider works with a depth and variety of customers, which means they have experience working with an assortment of customer reference program models and challenges. Having a conversation with your vendor-partner about a specific issue you are looking to overcome might give you ideas or even specifics on how you can address it. What's more, ask your provider about what THEY are doing. The insight they provide may be just what the doctor ordered.
Use social media forums - As the space continues to grow, we are seeing more and more social media networking groups and forums develop. Groups such as the Customer Reference Knowledge Sharing Network (CRKSN) on LinkedIn are great places to go to ask your questions, get answers or recommendations, hear what others are doing, network with other like-minded professionals and get validation for your current tactics.
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