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How Do You Leverage a Good Success Story?

Posted by Bill Lee on September 25, 2006 at 04:46 PM

“Hi Everyone: Curious to see if anyone out there can share any best practices with working with internal stakeholders on the corporate side when filling references and developing reference strategies. We currently encounter a lot of "silo" projects and wondering if anyone can share ideas as to how to best leverage a good story for multiple opportunities and agendas.”

Debbie Ng, Cognos

To respond to this request, please comment below.

Reference Community Comments

What we have done here is repurpose a case study to fit all our internal stakeholders need. We have marketing materials for different audiences and often will customize a good story for multiple agendas.

Helen Lee, BEA Systems

Debbie - Here are a few things I have done to leverage references within the company here at LANDesk and also during my years in Internal Communications at Novell:
- Company newsletter Internal (Set goal to include customer reference story, best practice etc in every edition)
- Company newsletter External (set goal to include customer reference story in every edition)
- Weekly sales call (Try to participate in at least one call a month on a new reference, update on the program etc)
- Company Calls/Emails (Make sure to provide new stories to executives to include in company calls and emails)
- Company Website (I have a rotating success story banner that includes 4-5 stories and I refresh this every quarter.)
- Company Intranet (Include a spotlight for customer references and rotate new ones in often to keep fresh)

Hope this helps! Good referencing!

Hi Debbie,

Liz has pretty much captured what we are doing. I just want to add one small thing which is creating a one-pager slide summary of the success story so that the sales guys/PMs/PMMs can easily plug it into their existing decks.

Hope this helps

Hi Debbie,

One thing you might think about is strategically considering angles and content before stories are created. Think about which different opportunities and agendas a story could support. If you can smoothly work those various agendas into one versatile story, then great. If not, it's fairly easy to slightly repurpose a story to fit another need or angle.

To add to the list of ways to use them...
- Turned into contributed articles bylined by the customer contact
- As examples in applications for implementation awards

Casey Hibbard
Compelling Cases

1) Know your key stakeholders well and involve them early and often in reference program and content development. Actively involve them in defining reference programs and deliverables, and in the creation of individual ‘reference plans’ for key reference customer candidates, as well as with the actual development of success stories, slides, and other content.

2) A reference’s biggest asset is communication, communication, communication. Announce new reference programs and reference content through the wide range of internal and external communications vehicles mentioned by other contributors in this thread. Be regularly visible at stakeholder’s meetings and planning sessions. Make the reference material you develop easily accessible through a global, corporate customer reference database. Include information about when and how to effectively use reference materials in new hire and ongoing sales training.

By knowing and involving your key stakeholders and ‘internal customers’ as well as broadly communicating the results of your reference program efforts, you will experience fewer renegade reference efforts and achieve more highly-leveraged customer references, which will result in more satisfied customer reference program participants.

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