Customer referencing programs are unquestionably a strategic, high-value marketing function crucial to proving your value during the sales process. Nonetheless, traditional customer reference and advocacy programs touch only a small sliver of the customer base.
Prior to using TechValidate, our clients typically incorporate only 5% to 10% of their customer base in their marketing communications.
Why are participation rates so low? There are several common obstacles:
Many Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies have explicit policies preventing employees from publicly advocating on behalf of a vendor. Even if there is no explicit policy mandated, legal and PR teams at these companies often squash customer referencing activities because they view them as a risk or distraction to the company.
Many companies also view IT or their business processes as a competitive advantage and do not want to telegraph their usage of a particular technology to others in their industry. As a result, customer reference managers must run a veritable obstacle course to convert silent fans to public customer advocates.
Marketing teams, particularly at larger companies, often lose direct contact with their customers. As a result, customer reference programs become dependent on sales to nominate and surface prospective references.
Sales people are notoriously focused on closing the next deal – sometimes at the expense of what is in the best interest of the company's referencing program. Most customer reference managers confess that they spend more than 50% of their time canvassing their sales teams for leads on customer advocates.
Customer referencing requires a lot of upfront legwork to find potential advocates, get organization sign off at the customer site, and then ultimately extract the testimonial and information into a finished marketing deliverable.
Further exacerbating low referencing rates, the few customer advocates that a vendor has often get burned out by overuse. An advocate's time can be consumed with an overwhelming number of sales reference, press interviews, and analyst inquiries if not managed properly
By providing your customers an anonymity guarantee and drastically reducing the time required for them to participate, TechValidate dramatically increases the percentage of your customer base you can harness to produce public-facing marketing collateral. In fact, TechValidate routinely increases customer participation rates by 3X or more.
In the course of data collection, TechValidate automatically identifies customers that are willing to act as a customer reference for your traditional customer-referencing activities. These customer reference candidates are harvested automatically – no need to canvass your sales team for potential customer advocates.
Incorporate TechValidate with your reference program to provide a wider range of customer feedback, all targeted to usage case or industry. This lets you use customer evidence earlier in the sales process, and not wear out your comparatively scarce named references.
Customer Reference Manager