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The ROI of B2B Customer Engagement: Takeaways from the 2009 Summit

Posted by Bill Lee on October 26, 2009 at 12:51 PM

The 2009 Summit on Customer Engagement was the most intense 2 days I’ve seen yet at one of our events.

There’s no way to provide a list of takeaways and do the content flowing from the  Summit justice. So over the next few weeks I’ll post a series of takeaways as we continue to compile information from the presentations, Executive Forum, peer exchange, panel and fireside chat.

First up is the ROI from Customer Engagement Efforts. There’s a growing body of evidence – evidence that’s persuasive to CFOs – that customer engagement efforts drive growth. Customer engagement includes customer reference programs, advisory boards, communities and customer social network efforts.

 Here’s a few examples from last week’s Summit.

 From co-keynoter and thought leader Sean Geehan:

- Customer programs that engage decision-making customers create measurable ROI vs. those that have little or no engagement with decision makers. In particular, such customer engagement efforts triple account growth rates (from 4% to 12%), more than triple referenceability (94% vs. 28%), and increase retention by 25% (90% vs. 72%).

- Such results impress finance executives. “Our executive customer programs have proven to be the most effective way to positively impact top and bottom line results.” Jeff Garrity, CFO, Services, NCR.

 - Oracle, which has substantially outperformed its industry - as measured by the Dow Jones Software index as well as the overall DJIA - gives great credit to its executive customer programs. “Our executive customer programs have driven the Oracle transformation. The pay-off has been tremendous.” Charles Phillips, COO, Oracle.

From co-keynoter Tim Thorsteinson, retiring President, Harris Broadcast, on the superior performance of Harris relative to its market and competitors.

- Harris has excelled by rapidly revamping its product line: 50% of its current line was developed in the last 24 months. This wouldn’t have been possible without engagement with key executives at its most important customers through its Executive Advisory Board – who drove 16% of the firm’s revenue last year.

At Harris, customer engagement efforts drive:

     - Improved margins, predictability, sustainability (increase in sales)

     - Confidence in the business trajectory and forecasts

      - Market alignment, higher stakeholder returns

From Intel's Rhett Livengood, the firm's social media efforts – which are now well advanced in integrating customer reference and customer advisory board programs at Intel - are driving lead generation and branding. Here’s how Intel measures social media, and the current numbers showing its impact:

- Lead Generation (% of new customers coming from social media efforts)

     Goal: 10%  Current: 3%

- Brand Impact (measured by comment ratio on blog)

     Goal: 1:1   Current: 1:.87

- Community Driven (conversations driven by community members vs. Intel)

     Goal: 90/10   Current: 70/30


More to come . . . . 

Reference Community Comments

Bill, you are right. This was the most impressive content I have seen to date. I also like Abby Atkinson's presentation (Sr. Director, Infor).

In 2008 37% of Top Sales People (Circle of Excellence) used Infor's reference program
In 2009 80% of Top Sales People used the reference program

And how Sugato Deb & John Pasquarette are using business value case studies to increase sales and create sales tools at National Instruments.

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