Many marketers find that despite their best efforts, they’re somehow not achieving the results they’d hoped for with their customer marketing programs. Common challenges include sourcing an adequate number of possible reference targets (especially references for new or strategic products) and effectively using reference assets once they’re acquired.
Because sales is a primary consumer of marketing’s advocacy work, it’s easy to see why marketers take a “help me help you” approach to reaching out to sales for support of reference programs. But our research suggests that while advocacy assets are almost universally seen as highly valuable to supporting the sales process, there is a surprisingly low level of formalized sales involvement in customer reference activities. Marketers would be well served by looking through the sales lens when seeking greater engagement from sales. Here are a few ways to increase their participation:
Securing involvement from sales in customer reference activities may seem like an obvious and necessary requirement. Yet too many organizations struggle to lock in a high level of engagement from sales. Whether the problems stem from a reliance on old, rogue reference management techniques or an unwillingness to participate in the current process, sales must be sold on the value of a new approach. Reference team owners need to educate sales about the long-term value of their engagement in the process by implementing programs that designed for the mindset of a sales rep. Only then will sales see a customer reference program as an essential tool in their bag.