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Reference Point
a newsletter for customer reference professionals
FEBRUARY 2007
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Barb Krasner chairs our Special Interest Group (SIG) on Metrics for Measuring the Effectiveness of a Reference Program. Its goal is to develop best practices in this critical area, and it's been up and running now for six months with a talented and diverse group of reference pros. I touched base with Barb recently to find out how the SIG is doing and get answers to such questions as what are the most critical areas of reference management to measure and why.

Btw, Barb's day job is Director of Customer Advocacy Marketing at Lucent Technologies, where she started that firm's (ITSMA) award-winning Client Reference Program in 2004.

Following is a tantalizing excerpt of our interview:) To read the full interview, please click here.

Question 1: The big rap against marketing is that marketers can’t establish the business value of their programs to senior execs, or anyone else for that matter. How close do you think reference professionals are to this holy grail? How much closer do you think they can get?

Answer: I think we're probably closer than most marketing programs, because the goal of reference fulfillment is revenue. Some companies track the relationship between the two systematically, through Siebel, for instance, and others track it manually by opportunity, using whatever means they have available to them. Data collection remains a challenge, particularly systematic data collection, and the SIG has two members who will be developing a best practice approach to that later this year.

Question 2: Who’s been participating in the Metrics SIG? How do you define your mission?

Answer: Participating companies include: Oracle, SAP, PTC, Epicor, Qwest, EMC, Intel, TomorrowNow, and ProjectLine Services. The SIG's goals are to: (1) develop a scorecard with a finite set of reference program metrics for executives, sales, marketing, and operations efficiency that represents best class practices; and longer term, (2) develop an industry standard through benchmarking for each of these metrics (for example, what constitutes a "good" result?).

Question 3: In what areas should reference programs measure results and what are the key metrics in each? And why are they key?

Answer: The SIG has identified a single most important metric in each of these four categories: executive, sales, marketing and operational efficiency. We call these the reference landscape. For executives, the most important metric is the same as the most important metric overall for a reference program: impact on sales. Same goes for sales. For marketing, it's customer recruitment to fulfill marketing requests and/or sufficient collateral by industry, region, product/service/solution, segment, etc. Finally, for operations efficiency, the most important metric is conversion of leads to references.

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To read the rest of the interview, where Barb discusses the critical success factors for creating a successful reference program, tips for assessing sales impact of references, and more, please click here.

Best regards,
Bill

SPRING 2007 CUSTOMER REFERENCE FORUM
Early registration is underway for the Spring 2007 Customer Reference Forum. It will be held in Berkeley, CA at the fabulous Claremont Resort (attendees who register early can stay for $200 a night -- a great deal). We plan terrific presentations on: customer communities; developing effective reference deliverables; getting beyond "avoiding reference burnout" to "instilling reference delight" -- plus a keynote by Ben McConnell, co-author of Citizen Marketers, and much more.

For more information about the event and to register, please click here.

LOOKING FOR A JOB? LOOKING FOR A REFERENCE PROFESSIONAL?
If you are a reference professional looking for a job, or a firm seeking to hire an experienced reference professional, drop me a note (feel free to reply to this email) and I'll get word out to our community.


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