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
  • Empty the Airport Lounge

    When it comes to budgeting, travel time and expenses typically make up one of the larger allocations for growing companies. But did you know that there was an alternative that could save you time, money, and spare your employees jet-lag? Businesses that utilize video conferencing see a 30% reduction in travel costs. And while you might think your employees will get upset about the loss of flight status, only 15% are worried about the reduced travel and their frequent flier status. more

  • 10 Reasons to Invest in Video Conferencing

    Have you been on the fence about implementing a video conferencing solution for your business? Not quite sure if your employees will utilize it or are concerned about the costs being too high? The modern workforce is adapting and evolving with more and more employees working remotely, it is essential that they have the tools to be able to communicate effectively. more

  • Checklist for Setting Up an In-House Contact Center

    As customer service continues to become the most important competitor differentiator, can you honestly state that your business ranks among the best in your industry? 93% of organizations expect that contact volume will either remain constant or increase over the next two years. It is absolutely essential that you have a contact center that has been set up for success. more

  • 2017 Business Intelligence Trends

    It's long been thought that business intelligence (BI) could only be utilized by highly trained analysts and was therefore unattainable for most businesses. However, advancements in BI have made it so that everyone can utilize BI solutions to help shape business decisions and drive companies bottom lines. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more