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March 2009 Archives

Who's Hiring Reference Professionals?

Posted by Bill Lee on March 16, 2009 at 02:58 PM

inEvidence, Metia, Projectline Services and SumTotal Systems are currently looking for Customer Reference Professionals. For more info, please click (requires brief registration).

Here's some more details: inEvidence, the specialist global customer reference agency, is expanding its Asia Pacific presence and is currently seeking additional freelance writers fluent in Japanese, Korean or Mandarin Chinese to create compelling customer case studies for its range of technology clients. 

Metia is looking for a full time marketing manager to plan, manage and build upon their client's customer reference and testimonial program. The role is based in the UK but some travelling will be required as the successful candidates will work closely with sales and marketing teams across Europe.

Metia is also seeking an Account Director for their Customer Reference Program who will be responsible for managing the Customer reference program in EMEA, providing tactical and strategic oversight for the region. This person will be responsible for achieving business results that support worldwide program goals, drive business impact, share dotted line management responsibility for local customer reference program vendors, and develop relationships with regional sales and marketing personnel. 

Projectline Services, Inc. is looking for an enthusiastic marketing project manager to help their clients produce high quality and influential customer testimonial case studies. 

SumTotal Systems is seeking a Customer Reference Program Manager. The Customer Marketing Team develops, executes and manages various processes and programs to demonstrate customer success and SumTotal Systems market leadership.  In this role you will serve as the single point of access to meet the customer reference requirements of various internal organizations (Corporate Marketing, PR/AR, Product Marketing, etc.)

2009 Customer Reference Forum Takeaways

Posted by Bill Lee on March 11, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Despite the economy, we had strong representation again at last month’s 2009 Customer Reference Forum. Most of the world’s leading reference programs attended, including Microsoft, Oracle, EMC, Intel, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, SAS Institute, Hitachi Data Systems, Siemens, Sun Microsystems, Genesys, Teradata, Qwest Communications, Research in Motion, Salesforce.com, Alcatel-Lucent, Red Hat, National Instruments and dozens of other great firms.

Please
click here for a recap, including information about our President’s Award Winners for top presentations: Craig Frampton, Leslie Vaughan, Kerry O'Shea and Elizabeth Stack SAS Institute;  Laura Ramos, Forrester Research; Cynthia Hester, Hewlett-Packard.

Here is the major takeaway that emerged in presentations and discussion throughout the Forum - from the fireside chat with ex-Motorola CIO Patty Morrison, the keynote by Forrester Research’s Laura Ramos, the discussion in our Peer Exchange session with experienced reference pros, and other discussions:

Reference Programs can, and should,  increase their visibility with senior management. They are well positioned to do so – particularly in this economy. And we define “increased visibility” with senior management to mean that Reference Programs get the budget they need to make the contribution they’re capable of, along with ongoing attention and involvement of senior management.

  • Ex-Motorola CIO Patty Morrison described how reference managers can play a key role in building close relationships with senior decision makers at your customers. Particularly if you offer such customers the full gamut of what might be called “Customer Engagement” opportunities - including referencing, advisory board and community participation with their peers. This allows your customers to engage with their peers in a meaningful way, which they value highly, and it gives them direct contact with senior decision makers at your firm, as well as input into your firm’s strategy, which they also value highly - provided their input translates into action on your part. In addition, it lets them partner with you in promoting not only your business but theirs as well.

  • Forrester’s Laura Ramos described a larger vision of “Community Marketing” that can include customer decision makers. Laura believes that Reference Programs can and should play a key role in such efforts - "their time has come" as she put it. One of the most compelling findings in Forrester's research is - contrary to come conventional wisdom - the growing propensity of decision makers to use social media in business decision making/ adoption activity.   

  • At our Peer Exchange session, experienced reference pros identified a key need: raising their visibility with senior management. As Patty and Laura pointed out, they are well positioned to achieve this.   
  • As several other presenters mentioned throughout the Forum, senior management understands  that references are even more critical in a downturn, as buyers become increasingly cautious and therefore increasingly dependent on “proof points” -- the most credible of which are references.

What are the implications of this for you professionally and for your program? Stay tuned! We’ll look at those in the next post.