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10 Tips For Getting Budget $ In Tough Times

Posted by Bill Lee on November 12, 2008 at 08:49 AM

"We have a travel freeze in place and may not be able to attend the 2009 Customer Reference Forum.

"Our reference program budget may be cut."

"We're in danger of losing headcount."

Do any of these apply to you? In fact, your reference program and your continuing acquisition of best practices will - or should - merit an exception to these policies. I'm providing several compelling points you can make to demonstrate this to your decision maker.


(most of which can be used as is, or can be easily modified, to get other essential budget $ for your reference program)

1) In an economically challenging time, on-point references that are rapidly delivered to the field and to PR are even more critical. Cautious buyers need proof points now more than ever.

2) Doesn't our reference program need best practices from multiple outside sources more than ever, to help ensure maximum program-productivity in a tough sales climate?

3) Our competitors who do attend the 2009 Forum, will be able to "steal a march" on our reference program, while we fall behind on best practices if we don't participate.

4) Which part of our reference program are we willing to fall behind in: Acquiring new references? Integrating references more effectively in the sales process? Getting our references to reveal the ROI they achieve with our solutions? Integrating references into our Web 2.0 and customer

community programs?

5) Participating in the 2009 Forum fits within the exceptions of the travel freeze - which excepts travel related to acquiring new customers, and keeping them  happy. Having a robust, state-of-the-art reference program Is critical to bringing in new customers, as well as helping keep our most

prized customers happy.

6) There will likely be a lot of our customers represented in the room at the 2009 Forum - including ones that have been hard for us to get "on the record." This creates an opportunity for us to engage their reference teams, and gain their support in this important effort.

7) (Enlist your AR team for this point). Forrester Research is fielding a major survey on reference programs, and will present findings and analysis at the 2009 Forum. This will gain the attention of analysts around the world - and will provide critical information  on how to position  references to

impress analysts and get their approval. We need to be there to learn this.

8) There will likely be several of our technology partners in the room. Consider the joint-reference marketing possibilities with these partners when our people get together with theirs, live, over a two day period.

9) Will our reference team be performing at their highest potential - which we need now more than ever - if we're not making even a small investment to ensure that happens?

10) This isn't a travel or conference expense. It's a customer-acqusition and relationship-building investment.

Bonus Tip) Compare the value of 2 days exposure to 1) representatives from our best customers, 2) representatives from our partners, and 3) processes and best practices from the top reference programs in the world vs. just $2500 (approximate cost of hotel, transportation, conference fee).

Reference Community Comments

Nice post Bill.

We recently added a blog post related to the importance of Customer References Marketing in a down economy that may be worth checking out at:



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