Reference Point
a newsletter for customer reference professionals
July 2010

"Reinventing customer relationships" is top of mind for CEOs today. That's the exciting conclusion from IBM's recently released Global Chief Executive Officer Survey. I encourage you to read through it, because it has exciting implications for the strategic importance of customer reference programs. Following are a few thoughts on how you and your reference program might capitalize on them:

- Share the IBM CEO survey with your senior leadership, if they're not already aware of it. Summarize its implications for your firm's particular market and customers.

- Learn how your senior management is approaching the issue of reinventing customer relationships. Then ask yourself how your reference program and your firm's customer references can help. Make proposals to the appropriate levels of leadership at your firm.

- The 1500 CEOs in the IBM survey, for example, want their firms to get better at anticipating customer needs, rather than passively responding to requests. Can your references help with this? Does someone at your firm systematically probe customers not just on what's worked well, but where customers foresee additional ways in which your solutions might help their firm? If not, your firm needs to correct this situation. For some firms, the customer reference team takes a strong role in this.

- The IBM survey CEOs want to make customer intimacy a priority. Does your CEO have the same priority? How can your reference program help? Reference programs at a number of firms, such as we saw at Oracle at the 2010 Customer Reference Forum, are stepping up and growing increasingly assertive in establishing and maintaining important, key-customer relationships throughout the relationship lifecycle.

- The IBM survey CEOs also want to bring customers into their firms' core processes. We've seen a number of reference programs that are doing just that: bringing references into new product development, product launch efforts, into their advisory boards, and their social media/ Internet marketing efforts. Ask how can your references help improve core processes at your firm.

All the best,

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Is it time to take your customer reference program to the next level? Having trouble getting there?  Bill Lee brings Customer Reference Forum's knowledge, research capabilities, and the most extensive network of reference professionals and suppliers in the world, onsite to you. Currently we're offering two workshops (with more on the way):

Building a Just-in-Time Reference Capability
Bringing Customers Into Your Social Media and Lead Generation Efforts

We're also offering a 15% Summer discount, through August 15, for our onsite workshops.

Learn more.
Transforming the Reference Program: Implementing Significant Changes That Lead to Dramatic Impact

Learn how leading reference managers at Cisco, CA Technologies, Qwest and SAS Canada  are overcoming common obstacles--such as corporate inertia, limited budgets and staffing, customer burnout, sales distrust, changing buyer habits, etc.--and making changes to their Reference Programs that have a significant impact on their businesses. We've just completed our first of three teleconferences. You can still purchase the recording as well as register for the next two teleconferences.

For more information and to register.
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 330+ 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 has not been scheduled. Please check with Kara Manfredi for updated information, at karaManfredi@deltek.com

To follow and attend the San Francisco/Silicon Valley Customer References Council, you can go to their new LinkedIn community site (just copy and paste "San Francisco/Silicon Valley Customer Reference Council" into the LinkedIn search engine for "Groups").

The next Bay Area Reference Group Meeting has been scheduled for July 15. If you are interested in attending, please send an email (and please include your title) to amy.shever@sap.com.


For information on who is hiring and to apply, please click here.

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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