Top Customer Reference Trends for 2011

Updated: March 31, 2011

Purpose-Built External Technology Solutions

Besides the obvious high cost of building their own systems from scratch, the key reason we predict many mid-sized companies will decide to implement external customer reference management platforms is the ability to leverage the expertise and experience third party specialists can offer. Established technology solution providers have already incorporated best practices into the design and function of their solution, and often offer their professional services for ongoing support and optimization as a part of the SLA - giving the biggest bang for their buck.

Increased Sales Adoption

Customer reference managers are great at getting customer content produced, managing requests and reference nominations and tracking customer reference usage. A common problem is once the customer reference content is produced, sales doesn't always use it, causing a gap in effectiveness. Reference management technology platforms are becoming the solution of choice for overcoming this sales adoption challenge. Platforms are streamlining reference request fulfillment workflow, creating a centralized place to store and find references, and incorporate references more completely in ready-made templates for "grab-and-go" functionality.

Integration with Social Media Strategies

More and more B2B buyers are actively participating in social media for their research and are using social media platforms as a preferred way to connect with vendors. With the adoption of these platforms becoming an integral part of many customer's daily routines, businesses are finding these online communities as great ways to showcase references, reach out to customers in and informative and authentic way, and create conversations on a more personal level. As such, we expect to see the inclusion of these online social forums in customer reference management strategies to increase significantly. There are reference management technology platforms that offer features that allow sales and marketing personnel to invite customers and prospects to view content and relevant conversations via popular social media platforms.

Integration with Mobile

Another trend in customer reference management taking the business world by storm is the adoption of mobile technology in everyday business practices. With regard to enterprise customer reference programs, a major challenge today is the difficulty of equipping sales professionals with authentic customer testimonials to use with prospects - especially when they are constantly on-the-go. RO|Innovation currently has the only mobile app in the market for the iPad and iPhone 4. The app keeps the latest reference testimonials and marketing assets at the fingertips of sales forces to help persuade prospects to close deals, spark meaningful conversations, and increase efficiency and effectiveness when they have the best chance of influencing prospects - in person!

Greater Visibility into Health of Customer Reference Programs

Even with signs that the economy is starting to improve, many executives still have a very close eye on the ROI of marketing, sales and customer reference activities and initiatives. That is why it is becoming more important than ever to have visibility into the overall health and wellness of your organization's customer reference program. It is important to establish and track metrics related to the overall health of the program, even if they are only able to be studied a couple times a year to PROVE your program's ROI. Having the right reference management technology to gain visibility and insight into your program makes it easier to study metrics with greater frequency and adapt/react to data as it is available in real time to stay effective.

Customer Intelligence Tools

Another trend we have been seeing is organizations using their customer reference technologies for double duty - for management and as customer intelligence tools. They are using their customer reference platforms as a central repository to host all sorts of information about customers, creating a one-stop-shop for storing and mining data about current customers that gives their platform more power and a higher ROI. Not to mention, managers stay more efficient, because they only have ONE platform to manage all this information on.

Featured Research
  • Contact Center Implementation Best Practices

    Are you looking to add a contact center for your business but not quite sure of how to go about implementing one? You aren't alone, in fact, getting a modern contact center up and running efficiently and effectively is much more difficult than it was even five to ten years ago. more

  • Business Meeting Showdown

    It is no secret that communication and collaboration are at the heart of success and longevity for any business. However, as businesses become more global and more employees work remotely, video conferencing is being increasingly used as an alternative to face-to-face interactions. There are pros to both business travel and video conferencing such as personal connection and ease of use. However, there are cons as well ranging from travel delays to being technologically reliant. more

  • Mobile Communication Showdown

    It's no secret that businesses are becoming agiler and employees are spending more time away from their desks. The question isn't should we get rid of our landlines, but how quickly can we replace them?However, staying connected with your colleagues, clients, and customers is absolutely essential for cultivating long-term, lucrative relationships that will help your company achieve success. more

  • Signs you are Ready for Mobile BI

    With workforces moving more and more mobile on a daily basis, it is essential to ensure that your company is able to arm your employees with the analytics that they need to succeed. 89% of business leaders believe that Big Data will revolutionize business operations in the same way that the internet did. These numbers show the trend towards investing in a BI system. more

  • 15 Ways to Optimize Your Contact Center

    We live in a time where customer experience is seen as an important competitive differentiator. Given this, wouldn't you like to make sure that your contact center is fully optimized to meet your business needs? Deciding to upgrade and optimize your contact center is a big step, and one that shouldn't be done without due diligence and plenty of research. more