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November 2011 Archives

salesforce.com and Its Army of Advocates

Posted by Bill Lee on November 29, 2011 at 09:57 AM

Update: we've added a new presentation for the 2012 Summit on Customer Engagement:     

How salesforce.com is Building an Army of Advocates 

Erica Kuhl, Community & Social Media Manager at salesforce.com will show how they built an army of advocates to help manage the rapid growth of information on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp and others. She'll give you an inside look at how salesforce.com built a scalable MVP Program to harness the power of their customer communities and how they've been able to demonstrate substantial ROI. Learn more. 

Click here for more presentations

 Stay tuned for future announcements

 - Keynote Speaker: One of the top 10 CMOs in the U.S. (according to the CMO Council) will show us how he created major gains in his company's growth and profitability through a cutting edge customer advocacy program. Stay tuned for the announcement coming soon.

 - Workshops: Our skills building workshops will include: Communicating Program Effectiveness to Leadership and Creating the Roadmap That Will Take Your Program To the Next Level. Stay tuned for more information on these and other high impact workshops we're developing.

 The early registration discount, is still open, so there is still time to take advantage of that.

 **** COMMENTS FROM THE 2011 SUMMIT

 I enjoyed the networking opportunity and learning how my peers address the same challenges I am faced with. I came out with many good ideas I can readily implement.

Ignacio Lalana, Reference Program Manager, EMC Corporation  

The ability to network with peers was as important (maybe even a little more) as the presentations. 

Heidi Gilmore, Customer Reference Manager, MathWorks

I say this every time - it's the networking! It's great to be able to meet with peers and colleagues and exchange ideas.

Tami Andrews, Voice of the Customer Reference Mgr, Dell, Inc.  

 

The Increasing Importance of the POST Sale Customer Relationship

Posted by Bill Lee on November 15, 2011 at 02:14 PM

That's becoming increasingly apparent, as we continue filling out the agenda for the 2011 Summit on Customer Engagement. Existing customers are increasingly important to the growth of your firm. And so are the people within your firm who develop real live relationships with them -- relationships that get existing customers to help you: 

- Establish awareness in your market.

- Establish thought leadership.

- Confirm your brand promise.

- Help prospects narrow their choices (to include you).

- Help buyers justify their choice, once they've chosen you.

- Proovide critical input that improves existing products and helps create breakthrough innovations.

- Help support and provide community to your broader customer base.

- Provide input to corporate strategy, to help keep it focused on what matters.

 

Apple Is Run By Its Customers, cont'd

Posted by Bill Lee on November 15, 2011 at 07:19 AM

When biographer Walter Isaacson asked Steve Jobs why the iPod crushed Miicrosoft's competitor product, the Zune, Jobs told him:

The older I get, the more I see how much motivation matters. The Zune was crappy because people at Microsoft don’t really love music or art the way we do. We won because we personally love music. We made the iPod for ourselves, and when you’re doing something for yourself or your best friend or family, you’re not going to cheese out. If you don’t love something you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much. [Emphasis added.]

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, p. 407

In the pic below of a young Steve Jobs in his house, note that there's no furniture--he was so famously picky about design that he couldn't find furniture that was up to his standards. But there IS a stereo--a sign of how passionate he was about music throughout his life. And of why Jobs himself was the iPod's best customer, and therefore made the best product on the market.

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8 Important Trends in Customer Advocacy & Reference Programs

Posted by Bill Lee on November 14, 2011 at 08:00 AM

From the November issue of Reference Point:

I'm often asked where I see the future of customer advocacy and reference programs heading--I just spent about 40 minutes yesterday visiting with an executive and reference program manager about this--so I thought I'd share my thoughts in this month's issue.

 The topic is becoming increasingly important, because customer advocacy will be key to corporate growth in the next 5 to 10 years. In a phrase, leading firms are graduating from selling to prospects to building organizations whose customers sell for them. Here's how this is evolving.  

- Prospects will be able to engage with your customer advocates earlier in the sales cycle. 

This means integrating advocacy throughout the marketing process starting with awareness building--in branding and lead generation efforts, and beyond to inbound marketing, in live and virtual events, even telesales, etc.  

- Companies will make it increasingly easy for prospects to engage with customers.

A corollary of the above: companies will make it increasingly easy for prospects to engage with customers. Websites, for example, will "match" prospects who identify what their needs are with relevant customers who have the same need, while making it easy as well as valuable for customers to make themselves available for such interactions. This capability will in turn make it easier for companies to move more of their sales into online channels.

- Reference programs will play an increasingly central role--IF they adapt.  

Social media provides a variety of possibilities for connecting customers to your market, but social media can only help establish and maintain relationships, not build them. Reference managers are the experts in building live human relationships with advocates, which will prove the critical piece in effective advocacy efforts provided they bring social media tools successfully into the relationship building process.  

- Companies will continue expanding the roles customer advocates can play.

Far beyond just providing testimonials, case studies and sales references, advocates today are helping launch new products, build customer communities, organize live events that help bolster retention, support thought leadership efforts, provide access to their C-suites, and more.

- Advocacy will increasingly become a C-suite issue.

That's because in today's hyper connected world, customer advocacy is the key to growth. Having a growing base of customers who are excited about working with you and willing to tout that experience is essential--but only the price of entry. Studies have shown that advocacy doesn't happen on its own no matter how much your customers love you. Leading firms such as Salesforce.com are creating dynamic programs and processes that help customers advocate. That requires senior executive attention, support and involvement.

- Advocacy programs will increasingly be organized holistically around customers.

It won't work to have separate and poorly coordinated reference, advisory board, community, social media and other customer programs. The most effective customer engagement and advocacy programs provide a full range of options allowing potential "rockstar" customers advocates to engage with you in all the ways they want to, seamlessly.  

-- Companies with strong customer advocacy programs will harvest multiples of value from such customers beyond their purchasing.

Firms with leading advocacy programs are finding that purchasing is just one way, and often not the most lucrative way, that customers create value. Let's say that as a buyer, a small business customer generates economic profits of $1500 per year. But as one of your top advocates with support from your vibrant advocacy program, she provides three referrals who become customers this year, supports and provides guidance to three existing customers in your community who decide to renew with you as a result, generates 20 leads as a result of her blogging about her experience with you, two of whom become customers, speaks at a couple of local events that generated additional leads and another three customers, and gets interviewed for an article in your industry publication that drives yet more leads and another three customers. The amount of value from such advocacy efforts dwarfs her value as a purchaser--in this example, $21,000 or 14x her value as a purchaser.   

-- In turn, companies with the strongest customer advocacy programs will develop increasingly difficult-to-match customer value propositions.

The traditional customer value proposition provides products and services that help a customer get the job done--and have a good experience in the process. But look at the value, including powerful emotional value, that a great advocacy program can add to that. Great advocacy programs help customers build relationships with their peers, gain access to the media, build their professional and personal reputations, gain status in their industry, learn and grow, and in some cases even find a job.

NetApp to Present on Moving Reference Content into Social Media

Posted by Bill Lee on November 3, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Here's a quick update on a presentation we've added for the 2012 Summit on Customer Engagement:  

How NetApp Is Bringing References to the Forefront of Marketing 

Rochelle Silveira, Director and Tina Ashamalla, Sr. Manager, Global Reference Office, will show how they are moving NetApp's references to leading edge social media platforms on order to better promote their stories. 

Customer references are moving increasingly to the forefront of marketing, branding and social media efforts—the content they provide is too important not to. Rochelle and Tina will show how they are moving NetApp’s references to leading edge social media platforms to promote their stories. Like many firms, NetApp’s reference program doesn’t own social media, so had to find ways to work with the internal organization that did. You’ll learn how they helped clarify the social media strategy for NetApp and developed a detailed business plan in order to gain the support and endorsement from several marketing VPs. Hear how NetApp is bridging the gap between “Social” and “Reference” with a new program and learn what vendors they engaged to accelerate the initiative, and how the new initiative will cultivate “Power Advocates” among its customers.

 More presentations

 Stay tuned in future announcements for presentations from Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Intel, our keynote speaker, our workshops and more.

Also we're extending the early registration discount, so there is still time to take advantage of that.

**** COMMENTS FROM THE 2011 SUMMIT

I enjoyed the networking opportunity and learning how my peers address the same challenges I am faced with. I came out with many good ideas I can readily implement. Ignacio Lalana, Reference Program Manager, EMC Corporation  

The ability to network with peers was as important (maybe even a little more) as the presentations.  Heidi Gilmore, Customer Reference Manager, MathWorks

I say this every time - it's the networking! It's great to be able to meet with peers and colleagues and exchange ideas. Tami Andrews, Voice of the Customer Reference Mgr, Dell, Inc.