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Customer Reference Managers – What do they do and what skills should they have?

by Melis Hamurculu on August 5, 2022

mm-blog3

When it comes to your sales teams needing a reference for a sales call, do they know where to find them?
Is the list of references sitting in a spreadsheet/Dropbox/Google drive somewhere in the marketing department? On the corporate website (and way out of date)? Or even worse, in someone’s head or their personal notepad maybe?
No problem. It’s essentially just a matchmaking service, right?
The seller needs a reference for a potential new customer call. The reference program owner finds an appropriate customer reference and fulfills the seller’s request. How hard can it be?

Without the right program manager, it can be very hard indeed. Especially when you see the program as an important initiative that’s of strategic importance to the business.

To be successful, you need a customer reference manager – and an experienced one at that.

Why? Because implementing a strategic customer reference program is more than just pulling any old case study from the files and sending it over. Especially when you consider:

- Using customer advocates at the right time in the sales cycle increases win rates
- Advocates are more credible to potential new customers than any brochure or salesperson will ever be
- Peer-to-peer marketing has a major influence on B2B purchase decisions

So, what is the role of a reference manager – and what are the skills needed?

ROLE
- Pro-actively drive program adoption, cultivate relationships, and deliver results
- Manage short- and long-term targets of customer reference program to support company growth goals
- Recruit and manage high-touch reference relationships for strategic customers
- Create and maintain in-depth customer profiles and contacts
- Manage reference requests, request fulfillment, and track reference activity and outcomes
- Drive opportunities for promotion and broad-based leverage of customer success story assets

SKILLS
- Strong relationship management skills
- Excellent project management skills
- Data management expertise
- Knowledge of advocacy program management tools

A high-impact customer reference program, that positively influences revenue and growth, requires a highly skilled and experienced customer marketing practitioner. 𝑨 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒄 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒎 𝒓𝒖𝒏 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒔 𝒔𝒂𝒍𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒎𝒔 𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒊𝒆𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝒐𝒃𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒊𝒕 𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒈𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒇𝒂𝒔𝒕 𝒂𝒄𝒄𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒄𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒍𝒖𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒔.

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