Gartner Research

How to Build, Deploy and Manage a Thriving B2B Customer Reference Program That Works

Published: 31 October 2017

ID: G00331524

Analyst(s): Adam Sarner


Few B2B marketers debate the value of customer references. Yet most marketing leaders in B2B organizations manage them in an ad hoc fashion, limiting their usefulness. Establish a customer reference program that involves key stakeholders to amplify its visibility, viability and return on investment.

Table Of Contents


  • What Is a Customer Reference Program?
    • Customer Reference Program Definitions
    • Maximizing Return
  • What to Do Next
  • Set Goals and Recruit References
    • Collaborate With Relevant Business Functions
    • Sell Customers on the Opportunity to Become a Reference
    • Set Boundaries
    • Write a Clear, Comprehensive Permission Form
    • Use Customer Surveys to Fuel Your Reference Program
  • Manage the Program
    • Assign a Point Person
    • Use Customer References to Train Sales Staff
    • Use References in Sales Presentations
    • Monitor the Customer Reference "Temperature" Continually
  • Automate and Measure
    • What Should You Measure?
  • Conclusion

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