Reference Point
a newsletter for customer reference professionals
December 2009
What are you planning for next year? This is the month to get serious about setting the stage for what you'll be doing then. Effective goal setting and planning are critical to hitting the ground running and making it a great year. Here are some tips for you.

Btw, we're discussing this issue right  now on the
Customer Reference Forum Linkedin Community,  so please feel free to join us. (If you're not a member of the LinkedIn Forum community, and would like to join, please email me at bill@customerreferenceforum.com


1. What did I do well this year? Where did the program do well?

2. What strengths emerged (both personal and the program) that we can build on? What do I need to get better at?

3. What can I STOP doing because it's a waste of time or resources? What can I DELEGATE to someone else (employee, vendor, another group) in order to focus on more critical goals?

4.  What are my goals for 2010?

Thinking through these, and participating in our community discussion, will sharpen and expand your thinking on these issues. You'll come away with some powerful goals.

The second step is making your goals for 2010 happen. Here are some tips on that:


How good are you good at setting, and achieving goals? Most people aren't. If you can get good at it, you'll be miles ahead of the game. Here are some tips to help you:

Goals should be:

1. Written down, and always visible.
This is the most important key to achieving goals: Writing them down, and keeping them in front of you are powerful motivators. Writing them down and filing them away, on the other hand, is a waste of time. Put them in your calendar (and make sure you look at them daily or at least several times a week). Or put them on your office wall, where they'll be constantly visible. These will be your rudder during the storms of busyness or competing demands.

2. Specific.
"We're going to improve our social media efforts" or "explore video testimonials" are not specific.  
3. Measurable.
How else will you know you've achieved your goal?  Measures are sometimes guess work, but don't shy away from this step.

4. Actionable
"We're going to make 100% of our customers referenceable this year" may be biting off a bit too much. Where do you start? For a firm that has only 15% of its customers in its reference program, there's really no place to start. What you've got is an aspiration. These are fine, but  start by breaking such a goal down down into actionable steps, first.

5. Realistic.
Stretch goals are great and thinking big, reaching for the stars-all of these are great. But then divide them into realistic steps. I can't step out of my door and go climb Mount Kilimanjaro. But I can pretty quickly find out how to get there, what it would cost, when I could go there, and what would be required to climb it. I can do that in the next couple of days. Then I can plan how to address these issues and figure out the best options, in another few days or a week at most. Then I can . . . you get the picture.

6. Time Based
"We're going to start developing YouTube style customer testimonials sometime in 2010" is not a goal. (not specific, not time based)  "We're going to create 3 YouTube style customer testimonials by January 31" is a goal.

How would the aspiration of "building our reference pipeline in 2010" be reformulated as a series of powerful goals? Perhaps something like this:

"We're going to meet with the following managers and executives-x, y, z, w--to identify who our most strategic customers are by January 31. We're then going to have meetings/ appointments with 10 such customers by February 28 in order to develop a more powerful value proposition to attract them and other strategic customers into our reference program,. We'll then roll this out to all strategic customers by March 31. Our initial objective is to attract 50% of strategic customers into our reference program by April 30. We'll also do follow-up analysis my May 31 with those customers who won't participate in the program, and develop a gap analysis showing clearly why they aren't doing so."

All the best,

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Linkedin Community (connect with other reference professionals)

- 2010 Customer Reference Forum
- Join our Linkedin community
- New Research: How Effective is Your Customer Engagement?
- Local meetings of reference professionals
- Jobs: Who's Hiring? Who's seeking a position?
March 2-3, 2010
Santa Clara, CA, USA

The premier event for Customer Reference Professionals -- and the only event not organized by a vendor in the space. Satmetrix CMO Deborah Eastman is keynoting, with presentations by reference pros at Hewlett-Packard, Adobe Systems, Red Hat, Cisco WebEx and other leading firms. Plan to join your peers from many of the leading reference programs in the world.

- Network, build relationships, and learn best practices from your peers.
- Get answers to your toughest challenges from experienced reference pros.
- Learn how leading reference programs are leveraging social media and online communities.
- Learn how to get budget, resources and respect from senior management.
- Learn about vendor offerings in a no-sales, non-threatening environment.
- Just getting started? We'll have a special track for you.
. . . and much more.

Early Registration is now open
Featured Presenters

For practitioners only. Exchange ideas and best practices with peers, get your questions answered quickly, expand your network. This recently launched community is already up to 200 members. If you're not a member, join us - just reply to this email "sign me up for your Linkedin community" in the subject line.


The next Boston Customer Reference quarterly meeting will be helt at The MathWorks located in Natick, MA on February 5th from 12:30-3:30. The topics of discussion will be "Running a Global Reference Program", and "Permission for Leveraging Reference Activities from a Contractual Perspective". If you are interested in attending, please contact Kara Manfredi at karamanfredi@deltek.com. If you are not located in the Boston area and would still like to attend, please let Kara know as there are several members located outside of MA. Kara will provide dial in and WebEx details.

The next SF/City Customer Reference Professionals Meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 15th at 3 p.m. PST. Please e-mail Lara McGurk at Lara.McGurk@SUN.com for call-in information.

Who's Hiring

Marketo is looking for a Customer Reference Marketing Manager with 5-7 years experience to work in their San Mateo office and will be responsible for working directly with executives from Marketo's clients to communicate the extraordinary success they are having with Marketo.

inEvidence, the customer reference specialist is seeking amazing case study writers based in Japan (native Japanese speakers) to add to its global team. If you are an exceptional writer with a proven track record of creating customer reference materials for global technology organizationsFor more information on these positions, click here.

Who's Seeking a Position?

Barbara Goldsmith is seeking a contract position, either part or full-time, in the customer reference field.  Barbara has 10 years of experience as a customer reference project manager outreaching to clients' customers in the high tech industry. Most recently Barbara has managed  the customer reference initiative for some of Oracle's recent acquisitions. Her experience includes outreaching to a client's customers, engaging  customers in reference activities such as case studies, success stories, customer quotes, press and analyst briefings, speaking engagements, etc. in support of particular products a customer purchased.  Customer reference opportunities showcased how various products solved a business problem, the benefit received, and cost savings to the business as a result. To see her resume, please click on her name.

Chris Jennings, who formerly managed i2 Technologies' customer reference program, is seeking a new customer programs position. During his seven years at i2, he facilitated over 1,500 references, enrolled over 200 of i2's 380 maintenance paying customers into the reference program and helped close nearly $75M in new business. In addition, he established numerous senior level relationships with many of the worlds best Fortune 500 companies. Chris is based in Connecticut and can be reached on his mobile phone at 203-895-2026 or chris_jennings22@yahoo.com. To view his resume, please click on his name.

Mary Olian, who formerly managed the client reference  program worldwide for IBM's InfoSphere brand, is seeking a full-time or consulting position. Mary is an accomplished marketing professional with expertise  in developing and executing marketing programs aligned with corporate  objectives across multiple organizations and distribution channels worldwide. She is known for leveraging persuasive communications with customers to secure their participation in reference activities, to help drive sales growth, demand generation, and brand awareness. Mary can be reached at maryolian@gmail.com. To view her resume, please click on her name above

Laurene Price is seeking a consulting or permanent position in the Customer Reference Management field. Laurene's experience includes working with customers and sales teams to develop and maintain references, creating systems requirements for reference reporting systems, and acting as a point of contact within the company for reference data and policies. To see her resume, please click on her name.

We can let our community of more than 1000+ reference pros know about your position opening. To post a job (for now, this service is free), please click here.

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