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"Global Economy Gains Steam"

Posted by Bill Lee on September 2, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Today's Wall Street Journal headline is just one of many recent positive signs in the last several weeks. That's not to say we're completely out of the economic woods, or that there won't be some more bumps along the way. But recovery is coming.  Are you prepared? 

Here's a checklist:

- Are you primarily focused on cost cutting? Time to change focus. Cost cutting won't help you grow the business.

- What is your senior management's strategy for recovery? How will your customer engagement efforts -- including Customer Reference program, Communities and Social Media, Advisory Boards, etc -- contribute?

- If your corporate strategy calls for providing new offerings to existing customers, what's your plan for getting buy in from existing references?

- If your strategy calls for cultivating new customers or unfamiliar markets, what's your plan for developing new references? 

- Rather than cost cutting, focus on leveraging what you've got.  One often overlooked approach: better integration with other customer engagement programs. Your community sites are likely hungry for content - can you or your references provides some? Do you have Advisory Board members who'd be willing to act as customer references? Or vice versa? If you have a Net Promoter Score program, is anyone harvesting your promoters into the reference program? 

- Do your customer references match your changing company strategy? Now is a good time to question and cull. Note that yesterday's stars, or even your currently largest customers, aren't necessarily the most strategic. Maeve Naughton has a thoughtful post on this on the Boulder Logic blog.

 - What's your plan for being indispensable to Sales? They'll be on the front lines of the recovery push. Will you be up there with them?

- What's your new value proposition for getting customers into your reference program? If it's not based on performance first, then I'd suggest you push "reset." Tying reference activity to the success of your firm's deliverables will delight the customer , improve their input and referencing activities, and raise the strategic visibility of your program.

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