If your sales reference program needs a boost, the prospect may be daunting. Do you need to invest significant resources to build out an entire customer advocacy program, complete with its own dedicated staff? It’s not a bad option if you have the time and resources, but it’s also far from the only one.
Companies primarily focused on delivering targeted sales references during sales cycles should consider a lightweight reference app that’s explicitly built for B2B sellers. Despite how widespread the problem of finding sales references is, there are shockingly few solutions built specifically to meet the reference needs of B2B sellers. What sellers really want is a simple, easy-to-learn app that focuses on putting targeted sales references at their fingertips when they need them.
When evaluating reference apps designed to streamline the sales reference request and fulfillment process, organizations should consider five core attributes:
1. 100% native Salesforce application
Most sellers spend nearly every day working from their trusted CRM. In organizations that use Salesforce, a Salesforce-native reference app will be the quickest and easiest for sellers to get started with. Salesforce-native apps offer a familiar Salesforce interface and controls, slashing the learning curve for regular Salesforce users. Salesforce-native apps also deliver the reliability, security, and scalability enterprises expect from all Salesforce applications.
In organizations that use a CRM other than Salesforce, such as Dynamics or HubSpot, a sales reference app with available CRM integrations is the next best choice. Whether organizations opt to integrate their sales reference app with a CRM immediately or down the line, having integrations available keeps options open as business needs evolve.
2. Automated sales reference recommendations
When sellers need a sales reference, they shouldn’t have to waste time evaluating which customers could potentially help out. Instead, a quality sales reference app should provide recommendations automatically by matching reference contacts with opportunities based on key characteristics, such as industry and employee count.
3. Rapid sales reference-request approvals
Leaving the approval and fulfillment of sales reference requests to a single Advocacy Manager is neither sustainable nor scalable. And many companies don’t even have an Advocacy Manager, which is completely fine. A reference app built for sellers should allow relationship owners to approve reference requests directly, accelerating the sales reference approval process. The relationship owners who know their accounts best should also be able to decide which reference contacts are most applicable to opportunities.
4. Natural expansion of the sales reference pool
If sellers always go back to the same trusted sales references, they risk burning them out. That’s why it’s vital that a solution that automatically highlights well-fitting customer accounts even if they’re not currently referenceable. This way, sellers can nominate new accounts as a natural step in their everyday workflows, expanding their sales reference pool quickly and efficiently.
5. Proven success record
B2B sellers face unique challenges. Not all software providers understand what sellers are up against and have a record of success with both traditional advocacy programs and helping B2B sellers win the deals that matter. You can’t fake experience. Selecting a company with a proven track record helps remove risk from the equation.
Bonus: A role for an advocacy manager
Not all organizations are lucky enough to have Advocacy Managers or Customer Reference Managers. If a company has existing managers, they may still want to be involved in sales reference management. Quality reference apps provide managers with the option to maintain oversight of sales references if they want to and the flexibility to leave sales references to sellers altogether if they prefer.
A reference application designed for B2B sellers
Even for companies without traditional reference programs, choosing a sales reference app that can operate both independently and alongside a traditional program is a smart move. By selecting technology that is both flexible and scalable, you’ll help future-proof the purchase and keep options open as your customer reference and advocacy needs evolve.
For more on improving your sales reference process, download our eBook: Win more deals with peer-to-peer sales reference >