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Needed: Info on Leveraging References from Resellers

Posted by Bill Lee on December 8, 2006 at 12:10 PM

Todd Berger from Autodesk is seeking information on how to leverage customer references acquired by resellers/ partners

Hi Bill --

The majority of our sales are closed through resellers who are reluctant to pass on their customers for reference activities. Or at least until they feel that they’ve leveraged them to the fullest. By then, they’re either burnt out or the story has been told so much it’s really no longer buzz worthy. Curious to know if any other companies have a similar situation, and if so, what steps they took to work through it? As a customer reference manager, I wonder if my main customer is the reseller and not necessarily the user of our software. We both want the same thing, a customer that speaks highly of the product and would refer us.

Todd Berger, Autodesk

To respond to this request, please comment below.

Reference Community Comments

Hi Todd,

Have you considered leveraging recorded audio interviews in lieu of - or to supplement - live reference calls? That's exactly what we are doing at SAP.

A company called References Online (www.references-online.com)has created an online library of digitally recorded audio and video interviews with some of SAP's best SME reference customers. An SAP channel partner or Account Executive can browse the library of interviews or search by criteria such as country, industry, number of employees, and solution. After identifying the interviews that would be most interesting for the prospect, the partner or AE then sends an email with links to the interviews to the entire decision-making team. Immediately after the prospect listens to an interview, the partner/AE gets an email indicating which questions the prospect listened to. This information is extremely valuable in preparing the partner for the next interaction with this prospect.

The audio interviews are being leveraged in ways that we did not anticipate. Internally, they have been used in analyst reports, press releases, channel magazine articles, and radio ads. They are also being used by Channel Partners in lead gen and marketing campaigns and in RFPs as well as to train their sales teams, gain credibility early in the sales cycle, and help close deals.

The References Online team is AMAZING. I have worked at SAP for nearly 10 years and have worked with a lot of different vendors during that time. References Online is by far the most responsive, polite, creative, supportive team I have ever worked with. When I put in a request or make an inquiry – and I do this a lot - I know I don’t have to keep track of anything. The References online team meticulous keeps track of my requests and follows up with me on a very timely basis. It also doesn’t hurt that they have a product that is superb – there’s not much to improve on there, but at SAP, people have lots of ideas, and I tend to run them by the References Online team to see of we can enhance their base program with SAP creativity. They have been extremely accommodating.

Hope that helps.

Johanna

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