Goals. You gotta have goals….
Guest blog from Claire Grove, EMEA Customer Reference Manager from Juniper Networks.

Although customer reference programs rarely operate to a ‘one-size fits all’ model, you now know some of the key areas you need to consider to gear your reference program for success. So what next?

Presumably (arguably?), your reference program is being built to increase the number of customer proof-points available for use across sales, marketing, and possibly PR and analyst relations. The strategy for any program should be aligned to where you want to take your business; not only supporting sales and marketing/comms with their current opportunities, but also mapped to future need. Often strategy and tactics get confused or are treated as interchangeable, but it’s incredibly important to get your strategy correct, before setting goals and objectives to deliver against it. Here’s the indomitable Jeremiah Owyang’s view on the two areas: Difference between strategy and tactics

Once you’ve determined your overall strategy, you can set clear goals to ensure focus across the business. Here are some pointers to help you develop these:

  • Create references in support of business objectives (short-to-long term)
  • Provide an emphasis on quality, not just quantity
  • A focus on thought leadership/strategic is often helpful in elevating your message above that of your competitors
  • Map your information alongside your customers’ journey and align to future aspirations
  • Increase transparency into the reference pipeline and provide ease of access across your business for new and existing references
  • A Collaborative approach – development and consumption of references – often pays dividends

I hope this has been helpful, and I look forward to meeting you at Ice Blue Sky  in collaboration with the BASDA Marketing SIG:  Strategic Customer Reference Programmes – more than just case studies,  on the 16th April. In the meantime, watch out for my next blog!

Claire Grove