And what’s wrong with it?
What is Customer Reference Management? And what is Reference Management Software? That depends on who you ask. To most companies, it is done like the “Wild Wild West”, where sales reps are on their own to turn over every rock to find customers to talk to their buyers, or it’s being managed in spreadsheets or a legacy reference management tool that automates the old-fashioned way of doing it.
SlapFive has re-invented Customer Reference Management Software, along with the process it automates. We’ve made it serve the needs of Sales, while making it enjoyable for your customers. How, you’re asking?
What makes powerful Reference Management Software?
Make it a great experience for customers.
First, we found out from customers how they feel about vendor reference programs. The good news is customers like talking with peers at other companies because it lets them learn and expand their networks.
But they hate reference programs, saying things like:
- “You ask me to do things I don’t like to do, can’t you make not that I like to do X and Y and not ask me to do Z?”
- “Enough is enough, you come to me five times a month, don’t you have anyone else who can do this?”
- “It gets tedious answering the same 10 questions on every call, can’t you record me?”
SlapFive designed its Customer Reference Management Software to give customers more of what they want, and eliminate what they hate. This starts with letting customers pick and choose what types of reference activities they like to do and what topics they like to discuss. Some customers may love one-on-one reference calls, while others may love being on stage. Similarly, some may love talking about industry regulations, while others love talking about measuring their results. By capturing their preferences and interests so you can segment customers on the fly when you’re offering them opportunities to engage in reference activities.
You can easily avoid overusing the same references because SlapFive gives you a complete view of the reference activities any customer has done before, and see any qualifications on the customer’s willingness or ability to participate at the moment.
One thing that makes SlapFive unique from the legacy reference management systems is that we believe in and enable the best practice of “Reference Deflection”. We help you find out the top 10 or 15 questions your prospects ask most frequently on customer reference calls, capture video snippets of customers answering those questions, and create “Recorded Reference” pages that can be shared with prospects.
Customers love this approach because they only have to answer the vanilla questions once. Your prospects can listen to their answers to those vanilla questions, and if they still want to talk with that customer, the conversation is shorter and more specific to the prospect’s needs, which also makes it more interesting to the customer.
Help sales reps sell more.
Sales reps love Recorded References because these pages are available 24×7, so reps can respond to prospect requests for references immediately rather than causing a delay in the sales cycle which always happens when scheduling a live call. Reps also love that they can share these recorded references with buyers earlier in the sales cycle rather than hoarding references to the very end. This lets them use customer voice to earn trust and differentiate from competitors at any point in the buyer’s journey.
Not only that, SlapFive’s Reference Management Software notifies the sales rep when his prospects view the Recorded Reference, and lets them rep see which responses the prospect looked at and which they skipped. What’s even better is you always know what the customer says on the video, unlike a live reference call where what customers say varies depending on whether they have open support tickets, are struggling with product deficiencies or bugs, or are just in a bad mood.
Give sales leaders what they want.
We also found out from Chief Sales Officers and VPs of Sales how they want the reference process to work for their reps. Their overwhelming demand:
“I want my reps out selling.”
They don’t want their reps wasting their time by:
- wandering around the office or sending IMs looking for a needle in the haystack
- filling out those long reference request forms with dozens of filters
- contacting customers directly with no regard for how often those customers participate
- playing telephone or email tag trying to line up reference calls
SlapFive’s Reference Management Software gives reps more time to sell my making it drop-dead simple for them to request references. Right from the Opportunity record in Salesforce.com or another CRM, the rep can see customer content, including Recorded References, that is recommended for that Opportunity based on matching criteria like industry, company size, or region, and share any content asset with Contacts. When they need to request a reference, they just click the button and type in what they need and by when. It takes less than 10 seconds. They can then track the status of the reference request and its fulfillment right from the Opportunity screen.
Measure the influence of reference activities on revenue.
Customer marketers and reference managers have always struggled to prove that their work delivers value to the company. With SlapFive, that challenge is history. SlapFive has invented an innovative Customer Influence Model, in which any type of reference activity can be assigned an Influence Score, and then every Opportunity is tagged with the influence events that influenced it. Influence events include customer referrals, customer reference calls, site visits, customer content shared, and any other activity a customer or their content performs to help advance an Opportunity.
SlapFive provides extensive Influence Dashboards that shows key performance indicators like how much and what percentage of current pipeline and closed revenue was influence by customer programs, how does win rate and length of sales cycle compare for Opportunities that have had customer influence versus those that have not, and which customers are influencing the most revenue.
With SlapFive, as a Customer Marketing or Customer Reference Pro, you can finally prove to senior management the influence of your work, so you can gain the Respect, Recognition and Resources you deserve.