Why should Sales bother helping out the customer reference program?

I just realized it’s been about a month since I’ve written. I’ve spent the past three weeks or so absolutely swallowed up in customer references. Between the one sales guy who needs 15 for an RFP, updating the Fortune 1000 and Global 500 list by confirming who’s a customer and who’s not and about 10 requests for critical analyst meetings I feel like I’m struggling to stay afloat. I’ve been so focused on these that I’ve barely had time to do any of my general work such as weeding out, interviewing and writing customer press release and case studies. The customer information sheets and one page customer .ppt slides will just have to wait another week.

So with all these reference requests how do I make sure that Sales sees the value in them helping me? Yeah, they all know how important references are but why would they help me rather than their having their teammate help me? I think that there is a pretty simple answer. Granted, not all the Sales people care, but once you (the CRP professional) prove yourself, you should be all set. So back to the question of why a Sales person would bother helping you out if they only get measured against their quota? Recognition! It’s that simple. Here’s how I do it.

A Sales person sends me contact information for a customer so that I can chase them for a press release or case study. The Sales person is then generally out of the loop (by their request) so the next time they hear from me it’s in an email to all Sales or the regional Sales team (this includes the C-level execs at the company and all the Sales management) saying that we’ve issued a press release on customer XYZ and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Joe Shmoe! And, to top it off, if it’s a Fortune customer then I send the Sales person money (aren’t all Sales people motivated by money?) and if it’s not a Fortune customer I send them cake. Yup, I send them cake and they love it.

Just this morning I ordered a cake for a Sales guy and he’s super excited. It’s going to be delivered to his house on Friday and say “Happy Birthday!” Yes, it really is his birthday on Friday. I even had one wife email me to order the cake for her sons’ birthday. It might sound like a small thing, but I’m telling you the Sales team loves it! (I wish I could take credit for the cake idea but I can’t)

All in all, let everyone know when a Sales person has helped you. Everyone likes a little recognition and there’s no harm done to you because you then look more like a cross-functional team player who gives kudos to those around you J

I’ll be at the Net Promoter conference in San Francisco next week and am excited to report on it! Stay tuned.


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