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Reference Point
a newsletter for customer reference professionals
OCTOBER 2006
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The Value of Getting Together With Your Peers

How do you place a value - in a time of hectic schedules and tight budgets - on getting together with your peers from time to time to share ideas and develop best practices? Carol Blumburg, Corporate Communications Manager at Epicor Software Corporation shares her experience. "I attended my first Customer Reference Forum in San Francisco last March, and came away with several ideas for addressing difficult issues I was having."


One insight she gleaned from a presentation by Lucent's Barb Krasner: act as if everyone in the company is a stakeholder in the reference program. Then organize your stakeholders into a community of interest. “That’s just what I did,” says Carol, who built bridges to other groups at Epicor such as consulting, tech support and product development. “Consulting, for example, had never been involved with references, but now I’m included in their meetings because they know if they recommend a customer where things are going well, I’ll pursue the lead and get the reference."

In addition, these other groups are using Carol's reference database to see whether a customer they’re working with is in the program and make sure to treat them accordingly. "It’s a clear win. I get invited to the meetings of these groups and get a steady supply of fresh leads, as well as recognition for bringing new references into the fold.”

This and other ideas she got from her peers at the San Francisco event "were crucial in helping me grow our program from zero to more than 350 references since March," says Carol, "as well as coming up with a credible measure for showing their impact on our business."

For more tips Carol gleaned from the San Francisco Forum -- including how she overcame sales resistance to her efforts to formalize Epicor's reference process, gain their trust so they would provide more references, and measure the effectiveness of her program, check out my blog post, here.

By the way, Carol will be presenting at our upcoming Fall US Customer Reference Forum in Dallas (please see below), where she'll provide specific tools showing how she achieved these results.

Best regards,
Bill

US CUSTOMER REFERENCE FORUM, DALLAS, NOVEMBER 8-10
Meet, exchange ideas, develop a support network, and take away specific tools you can use from other reference professionals at top firms such as Altiris, BearingPoint, CA, Convergys, Dell, EMC, Hewlett- Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, Hyperion, IBM, Intel, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Oracle, PolyServe, PTC, Qwest Communications, Red Hat, SAP, Software AG, UGS, VeriSign and others.

For more information on the US Customer Reference Forum in Dallas, please click here.

To register, please click here.

Please note: Our hotel has agreed to leave the room block open for a few more days (until Friday, October 20) so if you're planning to attend but haven't yet secured a room, please do so. My understanding is that Dallas hotels are crowded that week and our hotel in particular is filling up.

To reserve a room, please call the Adolphus Hotel at one of these numbers:
800-221-9083 (continental US only)
214-742-8200 (outside continental US)

EUROPE CUSTOMER REFERENCE FORUM, LONDON, OCTOBER 23-24
There is still time to register for our London event, where you can join reference professionals from SAP, EMC, SAS, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Business Objects and several other top firms. To register and to find out more about the event, please click here.


Reference Point is a Customer Reference Forum newsletter about reference programs and how to improve them. To subscribe, please contact me (contact information is below or just respond to this email). To unsubscribe at any time, just reply to this email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line. This email list and your name will never be made available to anyone else, not even to others on the list, unless by mutual request and agreement.



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