At a time when businesses are coming under increasing pressure to justify spending, customer reference programs are getting more serious about proving -- and boosting -- their value. That's one of the key findings of the 2009 Customer Reference Program Benchmark Report, the first in a series of annual reports designed to establish a set of accurate metrics and industry benchmarks for evaluating program performance and success.
Based on a survey of top reference programs around the world, the Benchmark Report is the joint product of the Customer Reference Forum's Metrics Special Interest Group ("Metrics SIG") and Mainstay Partners. We are pleased to offer the full report to our newsletter subscribers here.
The report paints a broad picture of customer reference programs, describing a range of operational characteristics and performance metrics. These include productivity (request fulfillment and collateral throughput rates), usage (how references and materials are being deployed), and financial (budgets and sales impact).
The report reveals significant differences between programs --sometimes but not always related to the size of the company. It also uncovers what reference managers feel are the most important indicators of program success and the extent to which companies are actually measuring these key metrics.
What Reference Programs Are Doing Well
Areas for Improvement
In future reports, the Metrics SIG and Mainstay will expand the survey to incorporate more programs, further refine the list of performance measures, and continue to add to a growing database of results and metrics from survey participants.
Key next steps will include the creation of a Metrics Dashboard to help reference program managers quickly compare their programs with industry standards and use the results to enhance program effectiveness and better communicate program value to management.
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