Dallas, TX (PRWEB) November 7, 2005
Customer Reference Forum announces findings from its recent event in Boston. First, customer reference programs are becoming increasingly critical to marketing efforts in major B2B companies. And for the people who run these programs, Customer Reference Forum has emerged as the major event for bringing them together to network, develop best practices, and gain exposure to new ideas and vendor solutions.
Those are the major findings from analysis of feedback from the fall Customer Reference Forum.
-- The Fall Customer Reference Forum drew more than 100 reference professionals from 51 of the top B2B firms in the world, including SAP, HP, Conference Calls Unlimited, Microsoft, Oracle, Siebel Systems, TCS, Intel, Research in Motion, Keane, EDS, VeriSign, Mercury, SAS, IBM and dozens of other top firms. Post event reaction has been strong. When asked, “How likely would you be to recommend this event?” on a scale of 1 to 10, participants’ average answer was 9.03. “This event should be mandatory for anyone running or looking to start a Customer Reference Program,” said Michelle Faulkner, Director, Corporate Communications at Empirix Inc. Post event buzz continues strong. One participant, Zane Safrit, CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited, has publicized an extensive review of the conference on his blog. See here - http://zane.typepad.com/ccuceo/2005/10/customer_refere_1.html - and here - http://zane.typepad.com/ccuceo/2005/10/customer_refere_2.html.
- The importance of customer reference programs is growing. That’s because prospective buyers increasingly demand access to reference customers. In addition, the impact of reference programs on top line growth is direct and measurable – the elusive holy grail of B2B marketing. As Coleen Kaiser, Vice President, Customer Value and Reference Services at SAP pointed out, her firm is demonstrating just that at the board level.
- The strategic key to the SAP reference program is the concept of Net Promoters® developed by Frederick Reichheld in a seminal Harvard Business Review article and in his forthcoming book, “The Ultimate Question.” Net Promoters is a specific measurement of the number and enthusiasm of a firm’s referrals. Reichheld’s research shows that companies who develop the largest percentage of such customers achieve the highest rates of growth. Kaiser and her team are verifying Reichheld’s findings when they analyze Net Promoters in SAP’s businesses.
- While the potential payoff is big, reference programs are complex and require resources, experience and skilled management in order to realize their considerable potential. One of the best ways to get ahead of the learning curve is to bring experienced leaders in the profession together to exchange ideas and best practices, with vendor support as needed. That’s what Customer Reference Forum did in Boston, and will continue to do going forward.
“The positive feedback from Boston was fantastic,” says Bill Lee, President of Customer Reference Forum. “But we also got a lot of suggestions and some very good insight into what people who run these programs need. And we will respond to those. One thing we plan to do is a better job of tapping into the incredible knowledge and experience of the reference professionals who attend our events.”
More information about Customer Reference Forum
One of the highlights of the event was a keynote speech by Jackie Huba, co-author of “Creating Customer Evangelists” who provided valuable perspective on the growing phenomenon of developing happy customers and encouraging them to spread the word.
Participants also benefited from the presence of event sponsors, who can provide valuable solutions – such as database and software, recorded references, marketing communications and consulting - to challenges that can’t be met in-house. Sponsors included Big Sky Communications, Boulder Logic, Cogenix, Mainstay Partners, The Phelon Group, Point of Reference, and Washburn Communications.
For more information on the event, or on future Customer Reference Forum events, please visit our website at http://www.customerreferenceforum.com or contact Bill Lee, President of Customer Reference Forum, at 1-800-329-0379.
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